Flanagan hadn’t yielded more than 17 points in a game this season.
And that was only one time. In eight other games, its opponents could not manage to score any more than seven points.
St. Thomas Aquinas didn’t care.
The Raiders, ranked No. 8 nationally by USA Today, did what no other team had done to the Falcons this season, amassing 264 rushing yards and 422 yards overall in a 45-19 rout at Flanagan on Friday night.
“It was a ‘we’re-just-better-than-you’ attitude that we had going in,” St. Thomas senior quarterback Jake Allen said. “We felt we had better offensive linemen than you have D-linemen, so let’s just go out and get it done.”
Aquinas (7-2), which opens the postseason next Friday at home against Palm Beach Lakes in a Region 4-7A quarterfinal, backed up that assessment with an onslaught that helped it build a 31-0 halftime lead.
Senior Mike Epstein scored two early touchdowns from 3 and 16 yards out and Allen had plenty of time to find Josh Palmer open downfield twice for touchdowns.
“All the credit goes to this offensive line,” Epstein said.
“Flanagan ran a three-man front so our guys just got through and made things happen.”
Allen and Palmer’s first scoring connection went for 59 yards and a subsequent score went for 15 yards and followed a 40-yard pass play earlier in the drive.
Palmer finished with four catches for 150 yards.
“Everything on offense opens up when we run like this,” Allen said. “I’m blessed to have an offensive line like that blocking for me and running backs like this.”
Sophomore Daniel Carter led all St. Thomas Aquinas running backs with 133 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.
Aquinas’ defense, which was missing a couple of key starters because of injuries, still managed to hold Flanagan (8-2) without a first down until there was 1:01 left in the second quarter.
The Falcons, who host Piper in the first round of the playoffs next week, mustered only 2 total yards to that point.
Quarterback Desjaun Kearse threw three touchdown passes in the second half, but it was too little to mount a comeback against the Raiders, who will begin their bid to win a Broward County-record three consecutive state championships next week.
“Our goal was to demonstrate our physicality and show some real authority in terms of controlling the physical elements of the game,” St. Thomas Aquinas coach Roger Harriott said. “This gives us the confidence we need to roll into the postseason and have a positive playoff series.”