Ever since losing to the now No. 1 team in the state, Tampa Jesuit, this has been a much different St. Thomas Aquinas football team.
While the Raiders had beaten Plantation American Heritage (24-16), Miami Monsignor Pace (56-6), Western (31-21), Cooper City (69-0), South Plantation (62-0) and Cardinal Gibbons (39-14) last week, the focus was on last Friday – a meeting that this program took serious.
Even though they dominated every opponent over the past two months, this game at home was indeed different.
For the first time in three decades, St. Thomas Aquinas and Dillard were playing for something more than a kickoff classic or mid-season matchup. This was for the district title.
As head coach Roger Harriott and his team moved to 8-1 with the win – with only a trip to Davie this week to play Nova – the 23-13 win over the 7-1 Panthers was indeed rewarding, and far from easy.
With Dillard now sporting a 6-12 education format, the athletic department will also benefit, and it has. This is a team that has won 25 of the past 27 games and had six shutouts this season.
The Raiders made the plays when it counted – like they have all season. The defense turned the tide and the offense made the plays that counted.
This is a program that is headed for a third consecutive state championship appearance, and while Dillard could be another obstacle in a month, the Raiders have things moving in a very positive direction, picking up yet another district title.
CARDINAL GIBBONS PULLS THE ULTIMATE SURPRISE
When Cardinal Gibbons lost to St. Thomas Aquinas last week, it made it two losses in three games for the defending 4A state champions.
The trip to Venice for a Saturday makeup game from earlier this season, was not what this program was looking forward to.
After all, the 5-2, Chiefs were picked by many as a two touchdown underdog against a program that had dismantled every opponent – even Miami Northwestern in a kickoff classic game that was one-sided.
With all the negatives surrounding this program with those late season losses, the only thing that could even brighten the month of October was a win.
In a game that was filled with penalties, head coach Matt Dubuc and the Chiefs made that three-hour ride payoff as they took advantage of everything that was given to them and now will use the 28-22 victory as a major positive – with two regular season games left before the playoffs start.
THE REST OF WEEK 9
While those games were the marquee matchups for the week, they were not alone. Here is a look at the rest of south Florida teams did:
LAST WEEK’S LOCAL SCORES
American Heritage (Plantation) 56, Boynton Beach 0
Avant Garde (Hollywood) 47, North Broward Prep 11
Benjamin (North Palm Beach) 42, Calvary 24
Boca Raton 42, Coral Springs 12
Carrollwood Day (Tampa) 42, Cambridge Christian 7
Central (Miami) 41, North Miami Beach 6
Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood) 55, Stranahan 0
Christopher Columbus (Miami) 35, South Dade 10
Coconut Creek 42, Boyd Anderson 6
Cooper City 21, Nova 7
Coral Glades (Coral Springs) 42, Cypress Bay 6
Coral Park (Miami) 42, Mourning 7
Deerfield Beach 50, West Boca Raton 0
Douglas (Parkland) 33, South Plantation 6
Edison (Miami) 44, Dade Christian 24
Ferguson (Miami) 27, Southwest Miami 26
Fort Lauderdale 34, McArthur 14
Goleman (Hialeah) 35, Hialeah-Miami Lakes 0
Homestead 27, Booker T. Washington 20
Immaculata LaSalle (Miami) 14, Pine Crest 13
Key West 63, Surge Academy 6
Killian (Miami) 42, Southridge 8
King’s Academy (West Palm Beach) 48, Archbishop McCarthy 17
Miami High 7, Miami Jackson 6
Norland (Miami) 56, Dr. Krop 12
Northwestern (Miami) 44, Carol City 6
Palmer Trinity (Miami) 33, Marathon 14
Piper (Sunrise) 30, Olympic Heights 7
Plantation 48, Northeast 0
Pompano Beach 40, Berean Christian 0
South Broward (Hollywood) 28, North Miami 21
South Miami 41, Coral Reef 14
True North (Miami) 29, Mater Academy 23
Western (Davie) 45, Flanagan 0
West Broward (Pembroke Pines) 29, Pembroke Pines Charter 0
Westminster Academy (Fort Lauderdale) 27, Somerset Academy 0
Westminster Christian (Miami) 28, Braddock 22
TRACKING POSITIONS: Keeping An Eye On The Football Talent In Miami-Dade & Broward Counties Year Round. https://larryblustein.com/prospects/tracking-south-florida-prospects