Video & Story By Jefferson Campus Correspondent Yena Seo
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA) -- A downpour and flashes of lightning during their homecoming game couldn't hold back the Jefferson football team as the Colonials stormed their way to a 42-18 victory over the Marshall Statesmen on Friday.
The game was delayed by 30 minutes due to lightning, while spectators were temporarily evacuated from the bleachers. The poor weather conditions could not put a damper on the electric enthusiasm from Jefferson's student body. Dressed in red, white, and blue clothing with vuvuzelas in hand, Jefferson students participated in a "White Out" by throwing baby powder into the air to create a massive white cloud above the home bleachers.
"The Homecoming atmosphere at Thomas Jefferson is unlike anything I have ever seen," Jefferson coach Michael Richter said. "The crowd was amazing, and the fans' support drove us to a huge victory."
After coming back from a string of injuries, the Colonials got off to a slow start, with Marshall leading 12-0 in the first quarter. During the second quarter, Jefferson's offense stepped up their game, with senior running backs Rashad Laher and Patrick O'Connor scoring a combined three rushing touchdowns and heading into the third quarter with the score 21-12.
Jefferson's offense had even more success during the second half of the game as more touchdowns from O'Connor and senior quarterback Nick Mattes increased Jefferson's dominance over the Statesmen to 35-12. O'Connor had a game high of 22 carries for 223 yards and scored three touchdowns during the game, which included a 57-yard touchdown run.
The fourth quarter proved a fitting end to the game, with junior outside linebacker Kia Eskandarian executing a one-handed interception of a Marshall pass and scoring a touchdown on the drive to bump the score to 42-12. Marshall senior running back Kekoa Yamaguchi scored an impressive 80-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but Jefferson had already wrapped up its win.
"The game definitely lived up to our expectations," senior tight end Matt Swanhorst said. "The first quarter was tough, but after that we pulled it together and it was fun."