ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — For the second straight week, McQuaid was on the right end of a game-winning two-point conversion attempt as the Knights stopped Aquinas for a 14-13 rivalry victory.
Allen Nesmith scored a two-yard rushing touchdown for McQuaid with 5:03 to break a 7-7 tie and put the Knights up 14-7.
Aquinas responded with a length drive that put them on the doorstep, faced with fourth-and-goal at McQuaid’s nine-yard line with just nine seconds remaining. AQ freshman quarterback Trent Buttles took the snap, rolled right, avoided pressure, turned back left, and then heaved a pass across his body to a wide-open Thomas Levans III in the end zone to make it 14-13.
The Li’l Irish decided to go for the win. The McQuaid defense swarmed Buttles again, but after he got away Buttles could not summon any more magic as his pass to the end zone was broken up by JP Gianforti.
This is the second straight thriller for the Knights. Last week, McQuaid won on a miraculous two-point conversion as running back John Harding pitched the ball back to quarterback Will DiMarco who dove in for the score. The Knights beat Brighton 32-31.
DiMarco did not play in Saturday’s game, sidelined with a foot injury. He was on the sidelines moving around on a scooter.
Harding scored McQuaid’s first touchdown, tying the game up at 7 in the third quarter. He finished with 20 carries for 101 yards. Nesmith had nine carries for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Paul Rizzo had six tackles and a sack on defense for McQuaid while Brenton Paladino had seven tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
Buttles completed 9 of 14 attempts for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Noah Collins-Howard had three receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown, the game’s first in the first quarter from 54 yards out. Quante Gillians led the Li’l Irish on defense with a pair of sacks.
McQuaid (8-0) secured the top seed in the Class AA playoffs and will play Rush-Henrietta as they begin their quest for an unprecedented fifth straight sectional title. Aquinas (5-3) suffered their first loss after four straight wins. As the fourth seed, they will host Pittsford in the Class AA quarterfinals.