Andre Fernandez: St. Thomas Aquinas returns to spotlight

09/09/2013 10:33 PM

09/08/2014 6:51 PM

2. ST. THOMAS

AQUINAS (1-0)

VS. JOHN CURTIS

CHRISTIAN (LA.) (1-0)

10 p.m., Friday, Superdome.

Two weeks after it dismantled Miami Northwestern at Sun Life Stadium, the Raiders step back into the national spotlight and onto another NFL field.

By Friday night, St. Thomas Aquinas can add the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to its list of “cool places it has played a game.”

The question is will the Raiders win?

John Curtis, a 25-time state champion from River Ridge, La., is one of the few schools nationwide that can rival St. Thomas in name recognition. The Patriots look poised to contend for title No. 26.

This game will go a long way toward remaining in the hunt for a national championship for both sides.

The feature game of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Showcase might come down to which team can impose its will on offense.

John Curtis runs the veer option offense and can occasionally throw a few wrinkles in there with talented players such as receiver Malachi Dupree, rated the No.15 overall recruit in the country by Rivals.com.

Aquinas needs to establish its running game and have backs Mardre London and Deltron Sands chew up yards to set up its passing game. If it comes down to turnovers, Aquinas has plenty of defensive playmakers up to the challenge.

Pick: St. Thomas Aquinas 27, John Curtis 24

4. UNIVERSITY SCH. (2-0)

AT 13. CYP. BAY (1-0)

7 p.m., Thursday.

Cypress Bay did more than manage without suspended coach Mark Guandolo last week, dominating Boyd Anderson for a 27-0 shutout to open its season.

Guandolo returns this week just in time for what promises to be one of the Lightning’s toughest games of the season.

University School, ranked No. 19 nationally by Rivals.com, routed Miami Norland 47-12 last weekend in a complete team effort.

For Cypress Bay to pull off the upset, it cannot afford a turnover.

University can frustrate teams with its quick-strike ability on offense. If the Suns get a couple of those early, it will be a long night for the Lightning.

Pick: University School 34, Cypress Bay 20.

11. PLANTATION (2-0)

AT 6. MIRAMAR (2-0)

7 p.m., Thursday.

The most intriguing local matchup this week in Broward County features teams off to hot starts.

Miramar seems to have figured it out on offense, scoring more than 100 points in its first two games. Plantation, however, figures to be the Patriots’ first challenging opponent.

Pick: Miramar 31, Plantation 17.

14. COLUMBUS (1-1)

AT 8. A. HERITAGE (1-1)

7:30 p.m., Thursday.

Interesting Dade vs. Broward game at a time when both teams seem to be hitting their stride.

One of the state’s best, Sony Michel, helped the Patriots bounce back from a tough opening-week loss to Central with a big game last week to beat Delray American Heritage.

If American Heritage can put pressure on Columbus quarterback Tucker Beirne and slow down the Explorers’ backs it will make it difficult to keep up.

Pick: American Heritage 20, Columbus 17.

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