Rush-Henrietta had won sectional titles three of the last five years. AQ was on a six-year title streak. Each won a state championship in 2010.
However, because they were in different classes and different leagues, AQ and R-H never met on the field.
At least, not until Sunday night. It was worth the wait.
Ishmael Cox intercepted in the end zone to seal a 21-13 win for (4)Aquinas over Rush-Henrietta in the Class AA semifinals at Sahlen's Stadium. The Comets were the top ranked team in the state.
The game-changing play came early in the fourth quarter. After Chauncey Scissum hit Chase Weichman with a 20 yard TD pass to pull R-H within 14-13, Aquinas was called for a penalty on the point after attempt.
The ball was moved to the one yard line and Rush-Henrietta decided to go for two. Out of a Wildcat formation, Scissum took a handoff running right, but was stuffed far short of the goalline.
The defensive stand changed the entire complexion of the game's conclusion. R-H was still chasing the tie, and with two minutes to go, Alonzo Turney picked off Scissum and ran it back inside the R-H 20.
Cox cashed in the turnover with a 12-yard TD run to give Aquinas a 21-13 lead with 71 seconds to play.
It was almost too much time. R-H effortlessly moved to the Aquinas 12 yard line. On the game's final snap, Scissum got off a hurried rainbow to the back of the end zone where Cox bear-hugged a deflection to seal the win.
Billy Lombardi got Aquinas on the board first with a 50 yard touchdown two minutes into the game. The Royal Comets tied on a Scissum to Joe LaRocca 41-yard TD pass.
Lombardi answered in the third quarter with a three yard run set up by the second muffed punt of the game for R-H. Lombardi finished with a game high 171 yards on the ground, accounting for all but 72 yards of the total offense for the Lil' Irish.
Scissum passed for 176 yards and two scores, while running for another 76. Bay Barley had 78 yards rushing and Chancellor Harris added 56 in significantly below average games for both. Weichman was excellent as usual at receiver with seven catches for 73 yards and a score.
Aquinas moves on to face (3)Pittsford in Saturday's title game, which kicks off at 6pm from Sahlen's Stadium. Pittsford won a thriller with (2)Hilton, going for two late in the fourth quarter to win 29-28.