Plantation is St. Thomas Aquinas’ toughest competition in District 15-7A, but the Raiders showed how much separation there is between first and second on Friday night at Piccolo Stadium.
In true Aquinas fashion, the Raiders bullied another district foe to a 51-0 win in what was essentially a district championship game televised on Fox Sports Florida.
St. Thomas (8-1, 4-0) sweeps through the district by a combined score of 221-0.
For the third consecutive season, Aquinas and Plantation (6-3, 3-1) will finish No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the district.
The Raiders will host Mater Academy, which is making the program’s postseason debut, in the first round of the playoffs. The Colonels will visit District 16-7A champion American High.
In their last six games, the Raiders have outscored their opponents 318-7.
St. Thomas Aquinas coach Rocco Casullo says his team is playing more together than it was earlier in the year, and the switch was flipped after the Raiders traveled to West Point, N.Y., and suffered a 24-7 loss to Don Bosco Prep in the second game of the season.
“You go up there and get punched in the mouth and it’s a humbling experience,” Casullo said. “I think our guys had a reality check. They come out, work hard each week, practice hard each week.”
Senior four-star wide receiver Devante Peete caught a pair of touchdowns on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter Friday as Aquinas put the game away early.
First, Peete got behind the secondary and caught a perfectly thrown deep ball from Jake Rizzo, who finished with 275 yards on 11-of-16 passing, for a 66-yard touchdown. Then Peete took a 56-yard pass to the end zone, catching a ball in the flat, shaking a defender and outrunning the rest of the Plantation defense.
It was a breakout game for Peete, the highly recruited 6-5 receiver who has been playing a lot of tight end lately and admittedly says he busted out of a slump Friday.
“In the beginning I was kind of struggling,” said Peete, who finished with 122 receiving yards. “I fixed a couple of things and coaches put me in a better position.”
Senior running back and UM commit Jordan Scarlett scored three touchdowns and ran for 51 yards on 10 carries.
“The offensive line just gave me a great opportunity, and I just had to take it,” said Scarlett, who at 220 pounds bulldozed between the tackles. “We ran the ball down their throat.”
Scarlett scored the first two touchdowns for the Raiders to put them up 14 in the first quarter.
Fellow University School transfer and junior UM commit Sam Bruce had a 60-yard kick return for a touchdown and had 41 receiving yards on two catches.
Maurquice Flowers led Plantation with 73 yards on 12 carries in a game where the Raiders defense stifled the Colonels.