BOGART, Ga. — Prince Avenue watched Aquinas’ Ruben Garnett run away with its shot at a season-opening victory on Friday night.
The senior running back was the go-to guy for the Fightin’ Irish as they defeated the Wolverines, 33-18, in a battle of top-10 Class A teams.
“The running back is special — there’s no question,” Prince Avenue coach Jeff Herron said. “My hat’s off to them. They’ve got a good team. They earned the victory.”
Garnett carried the ball 32 times for 230 yards and two touchdowns for the top-ranked Irish. Carrying the ball wasn’t all Garnett did as he had two catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns. A 20-yard touchdown reception by Garnett put the Irish ahead of No. 8 Prince Avenue 23-12 with just under three minutes left in the third quarter.
“They’ve got a good football team,” Herron said. “I felt like that we didn’t handle the hype of the game maybe as much as I would’ve liked.”
Aquinas quarterback Liam Welch connected on 6 of 7 pass attempts for 156 yards and two touchdowns – both to Garnett.
Then, Garnett really made a statement. His 17 total yards on Aquinas’ following offensive series was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown and an Irish extra point to put Aquinas (2-0) up 30-12 late in the third.
Prince Avenue still had some fight left, though. Quarterback Tyson Herron’s 16-yard scamper set the Wolverines up on the Aquinas 1-yard line. Zach Ragle punched it in on the next play. A failed two-point conversion attempt left the Wolverines trailing the Irish 30-18.
Garnett had no problem carrying the load for Aquinas in the first half. The senior touched the football 14 times for a total of 112 yards and a touchdown.
He also scored the game’s opening touchdown when Welch found him through the air on a 52-yard touchdown strike just under 20 seconds into the game.
“We’ve certainly got a lot of things we can improve on, but we played Aquinas for this reason,” Jeff Herron said. “I would have rather won and learned from it, but we get a chance to see ourselves against the defending state champions and we get a chance to fix that.”