Aquinas focuses on replacing leaders after losing QB, major playmakers

High School Sports

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Liam Welch played a large part in Aquinas transformation from a struggling football program, to a perennial power. Welch was the Irish’s starting quarterback the past three seasons and led Aquinas to its first state title in 2013. But Welch graduated this spring and is playing college football at Samford University now, leaving a big void at QB for Aquinas.

“Liam was our leader, he was our guy in the locker room for three years,” head coach James Leonard said.

But Welch is just one of several off-season loses for the Irish. Aquinas also graduated four starting offensive lineman and in recent weeks has lost three big playmakers in wide receiver Justin Gibbs, defensive back Verenzo Holmes and running back D’Angelo Durham as transfers to Grovetown High School.

“Right now, it’s about replacing that leadership role,” Leonard said. “You know, not only the quarterback but in the locker room. But the good thing we have here at Aquinas is we have a system. We don’t rely on one or two kids, so it’s just the next man up.”

Leonard said he supports the three players that transferred to Grovetown because they were doing what’s best for them. He said he’s not concerned about the losses, because he’d be taking away from coaching his current players.

Aquinas opens with a tough game at powerhouse Prince Avenue Christian on August 19.

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