ATLANTA — With its big-play defense and explosive offense, Aquinas High School made history today.
The Irish bounced back from a slow start to defeat Calvary Day, 27-7, for the Class A Private School Championship in the Georgia Dome.
Aquinas, which opened in 1957, recorded its first undefeated season, finishing at 14-0. The Irish also won their first football state championship.
The Aquinas defense stuffed Calvary Day three times in the red zone. The Irish also came up huge in the second half, with Antonio Clark, Chris Lambert and Daniel Lindsey all coming up with interceptions.
Calvary Day opened the scoring when Robert Heyward darted up the middle for 17 yards with 3:43 left in the first quarter. The Cavaliers looked like they were going to add to their total when they were assessed a delay of game penalty on a 28-yard field goal attempt. Calvary Day brought its offense back on the field, and Napoleon Williams sacked Michael Peterson to stuff the Cavaliers.
The Aquinas offense fed off the defensive stand. Ruben Garnett scored on a 37-yard run around the right side to tie the game. Later in the quarter, Liam Welch found Daniel Lindsey on a 12-yard pass play with 11 seconds left in the half.
The Irish took a 14-7 lead into intermission.
Calvary Day marched down to the Aquinas 18 to start the third quarter, but the Irish held on fourth down. Later in the quarter, the defense came up with another huge play when Clark stepped in front of a pass and made a juggling interception at the 42.
On the next play, Welch tossed a deep pass to Lindsey streaking open for a touchdown. After Justin Thompson’s extra point, Aquinas led 21-7.
In the fourth quarter, John Morris broke off a 33-yard run to extend the lead to 20 with 7:40 remaining.