Mount Paran coach Mitch Jordan said facing the Fighting Irish (11-0) will be similar to Mount Pisgah Christian and Our Lady of Mercy.
“They’ve got some very good skill kids,” Jordan said. “We probably haven’t seen a kid as talented as the running back that they have. We’re going to have to tackle well and get to the ball.”
Jordan is referring to Ruben Garnett, who has rushed for 1,668 yards and 20 touchdowns while averaging 8.1 yards per carry.
Even though Garnett didn’t rush for more than 100 yards, or get into the end zone last week, he has run for more than 200 yards three times this season, including a 335-yard performance against First Presbyterian Day.
In Aquinas’ 42-14 victory over Savannah Christian last week, Liam Welch threw three of his five touchdown passes to Chris Lambert. Welch also completed 11 of 12 passes for 201 yards. Griffin Scott had 22 tackles and two interceptions.
“They got a good program and are very talented on both sides of the ball,” Jordan said.
While the Fighting Irish cruised last Friday, the Eagles had to hold off Our Lady of Mercy for a 31-24 win and first playoff victory in school history.
Late in the game, Taylor Trammell had an interception to end one Bobcats drive, and Matthew Norton recovered a fumble on Mercy’s final attempt to pull even or win with a 2-point conversion.
“By getting that first win, I think our kids understand they can play with anybody and have the confidence to win a close game,” Jordan said.
Trammell also had 122 rushing yards and a touchdown, and Dorian Walker finished with 81 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he left the game because of a possible concussion.
“I’m not sure it was a concussion, but we had to hold him out from a precautionary standpoint,” Jordan said. “But Dorian will be fine. He’s feeling good and getting reps in this week so he will be ready to go.”
Game: Mount Paran Christian (9-2) at Aquinas (11-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: First meeting
All-time series: First meeting
Prediction: Aquinas 27, Mount Paran Christian 24