Perseverance Advances Aquilla into Playoffs over Rival Abbott by Garrett Ross

Abbott- Kadyn Johnson was able to break loose early in the fourth quarter and put Abbott
ahead of Aquilla 44-35 after a Maurizio Bauer PAT; it would be the last lead of the game the
Panthers would see.
“Once Abbott took the lead on us we kept our composure and told our kids to keep their heads,”
said Aquilla Head Coach Josh Ball. “We asked the kids to keep battling and lean on one another
and go get a score of our own.”
Aquilla looked towards their senior leader, Connor McCurdy, to elevate them past Abbott in his
final opportunity to play in this rivalry.
McCurdy helped close the gap to 44-43 on the Abbott lead, with his fourth touchdown of the
game from five yards out, but he wasn’t finished.
The Cougars put together a nice drive as the clock ticked under three minutes remaining in the
game.
Once again, McCurdy was able to capitalize on the moment, with a 29-yard touchdown run that
gave Aquilla a 49-44 lead with 2:25 remaining in the game.
“Connor is a difference maker for us in so many ways. It truly is a great feeling having a kid that
will give everything he has to make his team successful,” said Ball. “He is the one that wants the
ball in his hands when the game is on the line and he wants to carry the weight.”
Nothing ever comes easy when these two teams get together and when playoff implications are
on the line, that amplifies the atmosphere.
“It’s always a fight between Aquilla and Abbott, it’s the biggest game of the year, despite what
the records or anything else,” said Ball. “It’s truly a blast not only to have played in this rivalry,
but to coach in it as well.”
Coming into this game, Aquilla needed to win outright in order to claim runner-up in District 10
1A DI behind Blum. The Cougars have now claimed a playoff berth and will face Saint Jo in the
Bi-District round, with a date, time and location TBD.