After a poor snap led to a fumble on the first offensive play of the season, the Class A No. 1-ranked Irish dominated at Glenn Hills, 41-6, Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
Ruben Garnett was tough to bring down, rushing for 181 yards and four touchdowns in the romp – all that even though the Irish didn’t play a scheduled scrimmage game because of bad weather and scheduling logistics.
“We were a little nervous, because first-game jitters, you usually get them out with a scrimmage,” Garnett said. “But I think, overall, for our first game, we did pretty good.”
Aquinas, the defending Class A private state champions, was a power after the miscue. Garnett was his usual speedy self, nearing 150 yards in the first half and getting three touchdowns. He often made the first man miss and then trucked people when he was confronted.
“Ruben’s going to get it done no matter what,” Aquinas coach James Leonard said. “We just got to keep him healthy. We’re very pleased with what Ruben’s doing.”
Except for a few overthrows, quarterback Liam Welch was solid from the pocket, finding Nash Bennett for a 75-yard strike to open the scoring. Welch had 129 yards passing on 10 attempts in the opening half.
After losing that fumble, the Irish offense hummed, picking up 130 yards and two touchdowns on the next five plays. Later, the score was 20-0 before Glenn Hills picked up first down No. 1.
The Spartans struggled on both sides of the ball. William Evans picked up a huge third-down sack for the Irish as Glenn Hills wasted the early recovered fumble. Despite starting at the Aquinas 24, the Spartans had to punt from the 40.
Though Thaddeus Vandiver had a 39-yard pass to Russell Timely to help Glenn Hills get as far as the Irish 6 late in the second quarter, a bad snap on the last play of the half sentenced the Spartans to a 27-0 deficit.