Things were going swimmingly for Aquinas heading into the playoffs a year ago, as a fourth consecutive league title and a 9-1 record had the Falcons ranked No. 2 in the East Valley Division going into the playoffs. But maybe they were going a bit too well.
“I’m not going to say that we overlooked Yucca Valley, but I think we got a little too proud of ourselves,” Aquinas coach Nick Matheny said. “Yucca came and knocked us in the mouth and shocked us a bit.”
The Trojans scored 21 unanswered points in the first half and pulled off the 21-14 upset, as the Falcons ended their season before Thanksgiving for the first time since 2003, when they didn’t make the playoffs at all. That’s disappointment has served as fuel for Aquinas in the offseason.
Aquinas will also get fuel from its array of skill-position players it has returning, namely senior running back Burrell Handy (5-8, 165). Handy led the county in scoring as a junior, rushing for 1,377 yards and 22 touchdowns while serving as the workhorse of the offense.