One of South Florida’s most storied high school football programs is hitting the road once again.READ MORE: CBS4 Investigates: Man Accused Of Killing Ryan Rogers Could Have Faced Two Decades In Prison For Prior Crime
St. Thomas Aquinas, the two-time defending Class 7A state champions, has finalized the terms to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada play in a nationally-televised game against powerhouse Nevada Bishop Gorman September 30th.
It will be the second time in as many years that the Raiders – winners of nine total Flordia state titles – will play in a game that will be broadcast across the country. St. Thomas trounced Miami Booker T. Washington 35-3 to open the 2015 season this past August in a game broadcast on ESPN.
The showdown between Aquinas and the Gaels, who will enter the 2016 season riding a 39-game winning streak, will be televised on one of ESPN’s family of networks.
As he always is, St. Thomas Aquinas head coach Roger Harriott was gracious for the opportunity and careful not to provide any early bulletin board material.
“I think this is an exceptional opportunity presented to us,” Harriott said. “We feel blessed and grateful to represent St. Thomas Aquinas, Broward County and the state of Florida.”READ MORE: Glenneisha Darkins Perseveres During Art Week Despite Challenges
Entering the 2016 season, Aquinas will be among the nation’s best. The Raiders’ roster is littered with division-I prospects, including 6-foot-4 receiver Trevon Grimes – a consensus top five player nationally.
Quarterback and University of Florida verbal commit Jake Allen will lead an Aquinas offense that put 27 or more points 11 times – six times with at least 40 points – this past season.
Defensively, the Raiders will be anchored by defensive end/linebacker Tyler Dunning and Notre Dame commit Drew White – the brother of Auburn quarterback Sean White. Also, defensive end Nikolas Bonitto (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) and defensive tackle Kivon Bennett (6-foot-3, 260 pounds) will look to build on the success they found this past season as they filled in for injured Raiders during Aquinas’ postseason run along with the welcomed addition of defensive back Al Blades Jr., who transferred in from Davie University School.
Bishop Gorman too will be near the top of the preseason polls as it has won seven straight Nevada state championships and has a roster full of future college football players.
Gorman quarterback Tate Martell is committed to Texas A&M, defensive tackle Haskell Garrett is an Ohio State commit and safety Bubba Bolden has a standing pledge to Southern California.
Still, the last time the Gaels lost a game it was at the hands of a team from South Florida. Booker T. Washington defeated Bishop Gorman 28-12 in 2013, whilst the Tornadoes were in the process of winning a Miami-Dade County record 41 games – a streak Aquinas snapped this past season.MORE NEWS: New Warning For Parents Regarding Omicron COVID-19 Variant
“It’s a huge opportunity,” the Raiders’ senior-to-be quarterback Allen told the Sentinel. “We played in a nationally televised game last year against and it was one of the most fun times I’ve had doing anything. It’s an opportunity we all get to have to go out there and show the country what we can do and we’re looking forward to going out there and showing them.”