The Miami Herald continues to unveil its first official South Florida Top 20 poll of the season.
We continue the countdown with the most decorated program in Broward County:
3. St. Thomas Aquinas (13-2)
Outlook: The drive for state championship No. 8 is well underway at Aquinas.
Aquinas opens its schedule with a long-anticipated showdown with Miami Northwestern August 31 at Sun Life Stadium.
After a bye week, the Raiders head to New Orleans to take on defending national champion John Curtis Christian (La.) at the Superdome. Aquinas then returns home to face much-improved Miramar, a team it has lost to each of the past two seasons.
If things go really well, and other South Florida powerhouses dont fare as well against their out-of-state competition, the Raiders will have set themselves up for a potential run at national title No. 3.
Coach Rocco Casullos team will undoubtedly keep its focus on repeating as Class 7A state champions.
The Raiders have another talent-rich squad that is led on defense by senior tackle Anthony Moten and senior defensive back Al Harris. Sophomore defensive lineman Nick Bosa is one of the best nationally at his position and another emerging leader.
On offense is where Aquinas is counting on senior quarterback Wade Freebeck, a transfer from Western to take command. Freebeck has several talented receivers including senior Corey Holmes and junior Devante Peete.
Aquinas should be able to run the football successfully again with talented backs Mardre London and Deltron Sands running behind a stacked line that features seniors Nick Linder, Ryan Crozier, Tyler Deever and Kai Absheer.
The road through Broward County is pretty much the same with Plantation likely the biggest obstacle in District 15-7A in addition to games against Cypress Bay and Deerfield Beach. Boyd Anderson and Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer might be waiting in the playoffs.
The Raiders appear to have all the pieces in place to make it another championship ending in the Citrus Bowl.
Key games: Aug. 31, Northwestern (Sun Life); Sept. 13, John Curtis (Superdome); Sept. 20, Miramar; Oct. 18, Cypress Bay; Nov. 1, Plantation (PAL); Nov. 8, at Deerfield Beach.