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By 810 Varsity, 11/25/23, 7:45PM CST


Aquinas wins second title in school history, 35-7, over Andover Central

For the second time in its school history, St. Thomas Aquinas are football state champions.

The Saints steamrolled Andover Central, 35-7, in the Kansas Class 4A state championship on Saturday afternoon at Hummer Sports Park in Topeka. The prior state title came in 2018 when the Saints won the Kansas Class 5A title.

St. Thomas Aquinas (10-3) took an early 13-0 lead after a 65-yard opening drive ending on an Aiden Skinner quarterback keeper with 7:27 left in the first, then a Will Callahan 15-yard run on a pitch for a 13-0 lead with just :56 left in the quarter.

Andover Central (9-4) made the game interesting, scoring on a 14-yard Maddox Archibald race to the left side and pylon for a 13-7 deficit with 10:16 left in the half

But the snow continued to fall and played right into the Aquinas attack of its running game and ball control. After both teams traded turnovers, including an interception by Aquinas senior Blake O’Brien at the ACHS 11, Gianni Rizzi scored two plays later on a run from five yards out with 5:47 in the half for a 21-7 lead after a Rizzi two-point conversion. The Saints blew it open before the half after another interception led to a 30-yard drive, capped by on Rizzi’s second touchdown from eight yards out, spinning and lumbering into the end zone for a 28-7 lead with 1:22 left.

Aquinas scored again in the third quarter, keeping the ground attack going in outrushing the Jaguars, 255 to 51. The Saints also picked off Andover Central twice, including one to seal the game with under four minutes left.

Rizzi led all rushers with 171 yards on 24 totes. Slaughter piled up 85 yards, while Callahan added 59.

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