Foust’s leadership at Edgerton shows what he can do

J. Patrick Eaken

Cardinal Stritch 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior playmaker Thomas Foust is a standout on offense, but he is a standout on defense, too.

At Edgerton’s Stauffer Field, he returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown to put Stritch ahead of the Bulldogs, 32-22, with 3:13 remaining in the third quarter. The Cardinals held on to win, 32-30, and improve to 3-1, while Edgerton fell to 2-2.

The Cardinals trailed 16-6 at halftime and scored 26 second half points in a game that had been scheduled to be played on a Saturday just 24 hours earlier because both teams had games canceled by previously scheduled opponents due to COVID.

It was one of four turnovers by the Bulldogs, including two lost fumbles in the fourth quarter. Foust was a big part of the offensive side of that comeback, too. Edgerton finished with 285 yards and early in the game it looked like it could get ugly.

“The game was interesting at first in that we got a little down. I was worried a little bit that we might get run down because they are a physical team,” Stritch coach Gene Rucker said. “However, Thomas led the second half. He threw three of four touchdowns in the second half, and he had a fumble that he returned for a touchdown and a game-sealing third down conversion.”

Thomas got the Cardinals’ only first half score on a 4-yard run. In the second half, he threw 8-yard, 26-yard, and 39-yard touchdown passes.

In four games, Foust has completed 38-of-55 passes for 515 yards and six touchdowns, and he has gained 427 yards rushing on 55 carries and scored eight TDs. Defensively, he has 20 tackles and an interception.

Last year in an eight-game season (3-5), Foust completed 68 of 129 passes (52.7 percent) for 742 with four touchdowns and just two interceptions, and he ran for 771 yards on 95 carries (8.1 per carry) and nine TDs. In 2019 as a sophomore, Foust completed 133 of 211 passes (63 percent) for 1,727 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also ran for 1,039 yards on 130 carries, averaging eight yards per attempt and scoring eight rushing TDs

A first team All-Toledo Area Athletic Conference selection his junior year, Foust already has offers from Central State University and Lincoln University in Missouri. Rucker has noticed even more maturity in Foust his senior year and there could be more offers coming his way.

“I think Thomas is getting more efficient. He is leading, he is being more vocal. Everybody knows he has been a four-year starter here and he has done it all. The biggest thing about him is that he is truly humble, and he wants to work,” Rucker said.

“I’ve seen a difference — I’ve seen he has more control over the game. He never seems like he is being rushed. He never seems like he is under duress. He is nice and even and keeps everybody composed and he is always doing positive things.”

Even Foust is noticing the difference.

“We are working together as a team, not giving up. I am getting used to the offense and starting to see the field better,” Foust said.

Foust says he is having fun but wants nothing more than to win. He says Rucker and his staff, as well as his teammates, have helped him set his course on the football field.

“They (coaches) always believe in me and never gave up on me. They (players) love me,” Foust said.

But there is plenty more to the Stritch offense than Foust. Five-foot-7, 160-pound junior running back Idro Price has carried the ball 50 times for 261 yards and two TDs, 5-10, 170-pound senior wide receiver Jaden Moss has 18 catches for 311 yards and three TDs, including the 39-yard TD pass from Foust late in the Edgerton game, and 5-11, 175-pound senior wide receiver Clarence Brown has eight catches for 155 yards and two TDs.

“We have a high-powered offense. We have athletes and we have been able to utilize them and get it going,” Rucker said. “I think it surprises us a little bit (to be 3-1) but we knew we had some pretty good athletes. The biggest thing for us is to stay healthy.”

Defensively Rucker says it is about getting his “best athletes on the field” at a small school, which means his top athletes play on both sides of the ball.

From his cornerback position, Price has two interceptions, 6-4, 185-pound junior defensive end Kam Hughes has six sacks and eight tackles for a loss, 6-2, 205-pound senior linebacker Gage Power has 61 tackles, including four TFL and one interception and 5-11, 180-pound senior linebacker Leo Hayden has 45 tackles, including five sacks and two TFL.


Setting the tone

The Cardinals opened the season with a 40-20 win over Fremont St. Joseph (0-2), which set the tone.

“St. Joseph was good. It’s an old rivalry that I’m getting familiar with and it’s always fun to be in those games,” Rucker said.

Then, the Cardinals hosted Delta (3-1) at Clay Memorial Stadium’s Ted Federici Field and got spanked 49-0. 

“They were physical. We got beat up in that game a little bit. We had a couple guys out, but we don’t make excuses,” Rucker said. “We went in and gave it our best and hopefully we don’t have too many more games like that. We just preach the message of physicality — that was a playoff atmosphere. Running the ball was big and if you want to be in the playoffs and be successful you have to be able to stop that.”

The Cardinals got back on track at South Central, winning 48-33.

“Against South Central, they are a great team and well-coached. I think that was one of our most complete games we played in,” Rucker said.

Stritch’s game with Gilmour Academy Friday was cancelled due to COVID concerns, so now the Cardinals will get into the Toledo Area Athletic Conference schedule. That includes facing off at Northwood in the season finale, a team Stritch has not beaten in 16 years.

“We have got our mindset on that and hopefully we can get it done,” Rucker said. “Things are the same as they were at the start of the season. I think Edon is going to be the team to beat. They have a heck of a quarterback and offense, but at the same time I think we have a pretty good offense as well. The thought is that with what we do, we’ll be right there. 

“Obviously, Northwood is going to give us a good game and they are our rival and Ottawa Hills is tough as well. It’s a lot more parody this year than normally, but I think we’ll be OK,” Rucker continued.

If the Cardinals can keep up their winning ways a playoff spot is looming. Stritch is currently ranked 13th in their region of Division VI, but this year the top 16 teams qualify. 

The last time Stritch was in the playoffs was in 2006 and the program is 1-3 all-time in playoff games, but that includes a trip to the Class AA state semifinals in their first appearance, 1975. Stritch (7-4) lost to eventual state champion Cleveland Holy Name (10-0) 35-0 at Berea George Finnie Stadium.

Rucker and Foust would love nothing more than another playoff appearance.

“We’re excited about that and hopefully we’re in there,” Rucker said.








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