In a game that came down to the wire, Aquinas edged out Lincoln County 28-21 on Friday, Sept. 29, at Greenbrier High School’s Wolfpack Den.
The Aquinas defense was good in the first half but excelled in the second by forcing three turnovers that led to the Irish win.
“I think we have the best defensive coordinator in the state in Tyler Beale,” said Aquinas head coach James Leonard. “He is a phenomenal coach and does a phenomenal job. Our defensive staff John Weigle, John Stewart, Joseph Douglas, Garret Dupuis had a hell of a game plan. I coach the offensive and kind of let us down tonight, but at the end of the day, our defensive staff and kids made big plays.”
After Aquinas punted on its first drive, Lincoln County took the early lead with a 9-yard touchdown by Justin Simmons.
The game was low scoring early, and quarterback Jim Franklin finally got the Fightin’ Irish on the board with a 13-rushing touchdown, tying the game 7-7.
Lincoln County had a chance to take the three-point lead before the end of the half, but the 43-yard field goal came up just short.
On the Red Devils’ first drive to start the second half, Aquinas defensive back Buddyrow Garrer stripped the ball free and ran in a 39-yard defensive touchdown to give the Fightin’ Irish a 14-7 lead.
Aquinas forced another interception on the next drive but failed to take advantage.
With 3:06 left in the third quarter, Lincoln County running back Andrew Beard tied the game 14-14 with a 15-yard rushing touchdown.
After scoring on a defensive touchdown to start the second half, Garrer also helped the Irish offensively with a 40-yard catch that led to a 3-yard rushing touchdown by Zyaire Douglas.
Leonard gave kudos to key players in Friday’s game.
“Buddyrow is a phenomenal player, but he is even a better kid,” Leonard said. “He is a locker room leader. He has one of the best attitudes I have ever been around and is just a phenomenal kid. So proud of him, so proud of Zyaire Douglas, there are just several guys you can go on and on about who had a great performance tonight on defense.”
Lincoln County once again tied the game with 6:25 left in the fourth quarter after a 7-yard rushing touchdown by Semaj Jenkins.
Late in the fourth quarter, the luck of the Irish showed up after a bad snap by the Red Devils special team gave the ball to Aquinas at the Lincoln County 3-yard line. Christian Kates scored on a 3-yard touchdown to give Aquinas the lead with 1:14 left in the game.
Douglas sealed the game with an interception in the endzone, giving Aquinas the 28-21 win.
Despite playing their home games at Greenbrier due to the new facility being built at Aquinas, the crowd traveled well and rooted the Irish to victory.
“Our crowd is going wherever, will have a huge crowd in Towns County next week,” Leonard said. There is nowhere else I’d rather be than Aquinas high school and it all starts with our administration, full support athletics, our student section is great, our booster club. I believe we’re at the best place in the state of Georgia.”
Aquinas (5-1) will travel to Towns County (0-5) next Friday, Oct. 6. Lincoln County (3-3) will go back home to play Washington-Wilkes (3-2) also next Friday night.
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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