(3) St. Thomas Aquinas (6-2) vs. (4) Flanagan (8-1)
Friday at Flanagan, 7 p.m.

Here’s an intriguing game between a pair of teams that will likely share the same mindset coming into this game.

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Both the Raiders and the Falcons will want to knock heads with another tough opponent and show that they are superior. That’s what makes the great programs – in a word, great.

Flanagan enters this game on an eight-game winning streak, having most recently dispatched Class 3A power Chaminade-Madonna. The “Dirty Birds” lost their opening week game to Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy and haven’t lost since.

Defensively, Flanagan is still one of the best teams in South Florida. First-year head coach Stanford “Boosie” Samuels has kept pumping the swagger and edginess into the Falcons and they’re continuing to buy in and produce on the field.

What the defending Class 8A champs will need to do is continue to work on the efficiency and consistent effectiveness of its offense. When matching up against teams with winning records this season (four games), the Falcons have only totaled 46 points – or just under 12 points per game.

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Staring back at the Falcons this week is a St. Thomas Aquinas squad that has found a way to fly under the radar since being in the national spotlight for the first two months of the season.

Since its heartbreaking one-point loss in Las Vegas, Aquinas has looked like the team most thought it would be at the start of the season. Even without top receiver Trevon Grimes (torn ACL), the Raiders have put up at least 42 points in four of their past five games.

Flanagan is not a team that will lay down – not on Coach Boosie’s watch. The Dirty Birds will fight and stand toe-to-toe with their opponent until the clock runs out. It just so happens that the opponent this week is still one of the better high school football teams in the country.

St. Thomas Aquinas won’t score 40, but they will take down the Falcons.

Bald Prediction = St. Thomas Aquinas win 23-12

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