The Fightin’ Irish of Aquinas handed the Greene County Tigers their first loss on the season Friday, Oct. 27, taking a 14-10 victory.
Aquinas Head Coach James Leonard commented on the successful offensive gameplan after the game.
“We knew we had to run the ball,” said Leonard. “They have a great coaching staff. We knew we were not going to be able to block them upfront, so we had to run the ball. And when all your running backs are hurt, everybody stepped up, and I am so proud of our guys. We had like six guys playing injured tonight, so I am just proud of how tough we are.”
After losing to Washington-Wilkes last week, Aquinas came into Friday’s game needing to win the final two regular season games for a shot at the region title.
After Aquinas failed to convert on fourth down on its first drive, Greene took control on offense but would fumble to give the ball quickly back to the Irish.
With 2:26 left in the first quarter, Aquinas quarterback Jim Franklin threw a 25-yard pass to Jack Rhodes for the first touchdown of the game, putting the Irish ahead 7-0.
Aquinas attempted to go ahead by 10 with five minutes to go in the second quarter but missed a short field goal.
On the very next play, Greene County quarterback Steve Miller threw a deep pass that was tipped and intercepted by the Aquinas defense. The Tigers would get the ball right back, getting an interception of their own, but failed to take advantage and the Irish led 7-0 at the half.
Greene County has a strong rushing game, averaging more than 230 running yards per game. The team tried to follow that plan all night, but the Aquinas defense shut down the Tigers.
Neither team would score in the third quarter.
Greene County finally got on the scoreboard with a 32-yard field goal by kicker Cristian Reyes to begin the fourth to cut the Irish lead to 7-3.
A few plays later, Franklin and Rhodes connected for their second touchdown of the night on a 58-yard pass.
The Tigers’ passing offense finally got involved midway through the fourth quarter with a long pass to put them in scoring position. Reyes failed to convert on a short field goal, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave the Tigers a first down on the 6-yard line. Miller got the Tigers in the endzone for the first time of the game on a 6-yard rushing touchdown, cutting the Aquinas lead to 14-10.
A 57-yard screen pass put the Irish in scoring territory again, but Aquinas attempted a field goal that would be blocked and give the ball to the Tigers with just over three minutes to go.
Linebacker Wesley Michaelson made the game winning tackle on defense, stuffing the run one more time on fourth down with under two minutes to go in the game. With less than a minute to go, Franklin sealed the win on offense with a first down run on fourth and one.
“These kids don’t quit, and that is how we practice and how we lift weights. We are just tough as hell all the time,” said Leonard.
Aquinas, now 7-2, now must win the next game against Warren County Nov. 3 and hope Greene County can defeat Washington-Wilkes next week to secure the region title.
Christopher Rickerson, an Augusta University graduate, has covered area sports for Augusta University, The Augusta Press and Augusta Good News. Subscribe to the Augusta Good News newsletter here.
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