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Special season ends for Aquinas

Landmark Christian 28, Aquinas 21

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The greatest football season in Aquinas history wasn’t supposed to end this way.

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Aquinas running back Brendan Douglas rushed for 102 yards on 31 carries and scored two touchdowns in the loss Friday.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Aquinas running back Brendan Douglas rushed for 102 yards on 31 carries and scored two touchdowns in the loss Friday.



Not with a late touchdown by its opponent, and not with the Irish players feeling gutted after a hard-fought battle in the Class A quarterfinals.

Landmark Christian won its fourth consecutive playoff road game, 28-21, against the Irish before a packed Aquinas Stadium. Up next is a trip to the Georgia Class A semifinals; the War Eagles will travel to play Eagle’s Landing Christian.

Connor Tierney’s 39-yard field goal tied the game with one minute to play, but Landmark Christian wasn’t content to sit on the ball and go into overtime. The War Eagles moved into Irish territory on a big pass play, then quarterback Cantrell Frazier scrambled 14 yards to put his team on the Aquinas 28.

On the next play, Jeremiah Kirkland took a screen pass and raced 28 yards into the end zone for the go-ahead score with 13 seconds to play. The Aquinas bench believed Landmark Christ­ian was holding on the play, but no penalty was called against the visitors. Instead, the Irish were penalized three times for unsportsmanlike conduct and the War Eagles kicked off from the Aquinas 30.

Landmark Christian (11-2) recovered the squib kick, and ran out the clock.

“You think there might have been a few guys getting held, but that’s why the referees get paid, to make those calls,” Aquinas coach Matt LeZotte said.

The War Eagles have made a deep playoff run the hard way: winning on the road. Counting a victory over Wes­leyan in a Region 5-A play-in game, Landmark Christian also was the visitor in playoff wins against Darlington and Calvary Day.

Friday night’s game was similar to the season opener between Aquinas and Land­mark Christian. In that one, the War Eagles held on for a hard-fought, 10-8 victory over the Irish.

Aquinas led 10-7 at halftime but fumbled the second half kickoff. Kirkland made the Irish pay the next play with a 25-yard run. He added a 19-yard run later in the quarter, and the visitors took a 21-10 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The Irish (9-4) refused to give up. After recovering a fumble, Aquinas pulled closer with Brendan Douglas’ 6-yard run and a 2-point conversion.

Then the defense held, and Aquinas drove inside Land­mark Christian’s 25 before settling for Tierney’s field goal.

“That’s one of the greatest comebacks I’ve ever seen in my life,” Landmark Christian coach Kenny Dallas said.

Aquinas was bidding for the first 10-win season in school history, but the Irish couldn’t hold on to their halftime lead.

“We fought back tough. It’s a tough one,” LeZotte said. “We got down and showed a heck of a lot of character. We had a great season, the best in school history. I wish Land­mark Christian the best of luck in the playoffs.”

Aquinas scored first on a 65-yard drive that featured Douglas exclusively. He rushed eight times on the nine-play drive, and he threw a pass good for 18 yards on the other to Ray Thompkins. Douglas capped the drive with a 9-yard burst up the middle for the score.

Landmark Christian count­ered with a scoring drive that used two big plays. The first came on Frazier’s 38-yard scramble. Kirkland added the other, a 21-yard run, and then followed on the next play with a 10-yard touchdown run.

Aquinas took the lead at halftime with the aid of two costly face-mask penalties called against the War Eagles. Tierney booted a 49-yard field goal that seemingly had the luck of the Irish – it hit the crossbar and bounced through as time expired.

LANDMARK CHRISTIAN 28, AQUINAS 21

PLAY OF THE GAME: Jeremiah Kirkland took a screen pass 28 yards with 13 seconds to play to lift Landmark Christian to victory.

STAR OF THE GAME: Kirkland scored all four of his team’s touchdowns.

WHY LANDMARK CHRISTIAN WON: The War Eagles were able to contain Aquinas star Brendan Douglas for much of the second half, limiting him to 15 carries for 32 yards.

WHY AQUINAS LOST: The Irish gave up three big plays on Landmark Christian’s final drive, and had a hard time containing the speedy Kirkland when he gained separation.

NEXT: Landmark Christian at Eagle’s Landing Christian,  7:30 p.m. Friday, Georgia  Class A semifinals

LANDMARK CHRISTIAN 28, AQUINAS 21

Landmark Christ. 0 7 14 7 – 28

Aquinas 0 10 0 11 – 21

Second Quarter

A–Brendan Douglas 9 run (Connor Tierney kick), 7:37

LC–Jeremiah Kirkland 10 run (Joshua Vineyard kick), 1:41

A–Tierney 49 FG, :00

Third Quarter

LC–Kirkland 25 run (Vineyard kick), 11:37

LC–Kirkland 19 run (Vineyard kick), 1:02

Fourth Quarter

A–Douglas 6 run (Collin Oliver pass from Grey Klosinski), 8:45

A–Tierney 39 FG, 1:00

LC–Kirkland 28 pass from Cantrell Frazier (Vineyard kick), :13

 LCA
First Downs1414
Rushes-Yards36-16342-128
Passing Yards9058
Comp.-Att.-Int.5-9-13-7-0
Fumbles-Lost1-13-1
Punts-Yards4-34.25-41
Penalties-Yards9-959-100

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–Landmark Christian: Jeremiah Kirkland 14-118, Cantrell Frazier 18-71, Cole Anderson 2-17, Donald Payne 1-1, Chase McFarlin 1-1. Aquinas: Brendan Douglas 31-102, Taz Lindsey 1-1, Grey Klosinski 8-23, Ruben Garnett 2-2.

PASSING–Landmark Christian: Cantrell Frazier 5-9-1 for 90. Aquinas: Brendan Douglas 1-1-0 for 18, Grey 2-6-0 for 40.

RECEIVING–Landmark Christ­ian: Donald Payne 1-25, Jeremiah Kirkland 2-27, Josh Nobles 1-37, Nolan Bryant 1-1. Aquinas: Ray Thompkins 1-18, Ruben Garnett 1-17, Corey Gomillion 1-23.

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TheChairman
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TheChairman 11/26/11 - 01:58 am
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Congrats to Landmark, they

Congrats to Landmark, they played a great game, and executed well. Aquinas had the best season in school history, but picked a bad night to have a rough game. Connor Tierney kicked a 49 yard field goal to end the 1st half. Congrats to the Irish and the coaching staff, looking forward to next year. Go Irish!

augustadog
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augustadog 11/26/11 - 07:02 am
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Best in school history by the

Best in school history by the Fighting Irish. Best of luck next year.
Extremely proud of my ole school! Coach LeZotte is a class act.

augustadog
121
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augustadog 11/26/11 - 07:04 am
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Wish I could have been there.

Wish I could have been there.

j-campbell
2
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j-campbell 11/26/11 - 04:01 pm
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Denny Leonard would have been

Denny Leonard would have been proud of this team but mad as hell over the loss.

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