If St. Thomas Aquinas was looking for revenge against Cooper City on Friday night, it didn’t take long to get it.
Aquinas, beaten by the Cowboys for the first time since the 1970s last year, dominated Friday’s game from start to merciful finish to take the District 15-7A title with a 53-0 victory against the host Cowboys.
The Raiders took advantage of a Cooper City team decimated by graduation and was a shell of the team that beat Aquinas for the school’s second district title in a row — the only such championships in school history.
Plantation will be the runner-up in the district as Cooper City’s two-year postseason run under third-year coach Art Taylor came to an end. The Cowboys (4-5) won last year’s district title with a 21-16 win at Aquinas.
“We have one kid who started last year,” said Taylor, whose team lost 23 seniors. “But that’s no excuse. I have high expectations for this team. And we came out flat. You can’t do that against a team the caliber of Aquinas.”
On Friday, the Cowboys all but waved the white flag against an Aquinas squad that clicked on all cylinders. In the opening half, Aquinas took a 39-0 lead by outgaining the Cowboys 336 yards to minus-31.
The Raiders (7-2) got a pair of touchdown runs (six and 19 yards) from quarterback John O’Korn and a 28-yard field goal from Alex Knight to take a 17-0 lead in the opening quarter.
• Hallandale 18, Cardinal Gibbons 12: Hallandale has spent all season relying on its young players, particularly starting freshman quarterback Tyler Huntley, to push the team toward a playoff berth.
Youth struck again on sophomore running back Taj McGowan’s 2-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter that proved to be the game winner as the host Chargers beat Cardinal Gibbons.
With the victory, Hallandale (5-4, 2-2) could head into a District 15-5A tiebreaker on Monday for runner-up with Dillard, assuming the Panthers (4-4, 2-1) lose to American Heritage (7-1, 3-0) in a game 7 p.m. Saturday. Dillard beat Hallandale 20-0 in the fourth week of season.
The Chargers, who last made the postseason in 2010, have now won three games in a row.
“When we had big plays they got called back,” said coach Dameon Jones, whose team committed 17 penalties for 137 yards. “That should be expected with a young team. I’m just proud of these guys. My coaching staff was still fighting. I thought we had the toughest schedule in Broward County this year, and we’re still fighting.”
McGowan’s go-ahead score came with 4:10 remaining in the fourth and answered a touchdown by the Chiefs (7-2, 2-2) that tied the game at 12. The Chargers went 2-for-2 on third down during the drive, including a third-and-10, and traveled 80 yards on 11 plays. They failed to convert on all three of their two-point attempts for the game.
Christina De Nicola
• Northeast 26, Monarch 20: Three unsportsmanlike penalties before kickoff provided foreshadowing to what type of district battle would take place between Northeast (8-1, 5-0) and Monarch at Don Conkel Stadium.
Both teams came out a little flat yet plenty fired up, and it was the Knights (6-3, 2-3) that struck first when Darrius Hoggins ran it in from 17-yards out for the first of his two scores.