L vs. Lincoln County, L vs. Lincoln County, L vs. Lincoln County.
Keep going until there are 31 in a row.
For 31 consecutive games, the Aquinas football team has lost, usually convincingly, to the Red Devils.
But Fighting Irish coach Matt LeZotte and his team have been improving and growing expectations. After posting 30 losing seasons in a 36-year span, Aquinas is 25-13 since LeZotte took over before the 2009 season. Still, The Streak has grown.
Tonight, No. 3 Aquinas looks to break the drought when it is home against No. 5 Lincoln County at 7:30. Aquinas, once 2-0-1 in the series, hasn’t beaten the Red Devils since 1972 – Lincoln County coach Larry Campbell’s first year as head coach.
“It gets people fired up about playing football for Aquinas and it’s a chance to do something special,” LeZotte said. “It’s more so than beating Lincoln; our guys love going out and just representing a school, to be a product that everybody can be proud of.”
The numbers are one-sided in the series. The Red Devils have outscored the Irish 1,263 to 159. That averages out to a 40.7-5.1 score every game. The 22-point defeat in 2011 was the closest Aquinas has been since a 27-10 loss in 1987.
Recently, turnovers have been a problem; Aquinas has turned it over 12 times total – LeZotte recalled it as “a thousand times” – in the past three meetings.
Tonight is the Aquinas senior class’ last chance to end the streak and beat the Red Devils. Irish star Brendan Douglas has had three brothers come up empty against the Red Devils, so he knows enough about the series’ unbalanced history.
“They definitely do talk about it sometimes, and how they used to get whipped and couldn’t even hang with them,” Douglas said. “So there’s definitely a little pressure. But we’re just going to play our game and play as hard as we can and see what happens.”
However, LeZotte said his team hasn’t been focused on beating only Lincoln County. Aquinas, which earned its first-ever
state playoff win in 2011, can realistically dream of something bigger – a state-championship run.
The holdup is Aquinas would greatly help its cause by finally beating Lincoln County, especially with the split playoffs for public and private schools in Class A, as only a region champion is automatically in the postseason.
Besides that, a win would show Aquinas has finally, officially arrived.
“To see the success they have year in and year out, our guys want that,” LeZotte said. “Any team in Georgia would. Anybody would want a team and program Lincoln county has. So we hope to maybe go out and compete well and show we are building a program over here.”