St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) is expected to be one of the top high school football teams in the country in 2016 and the Raiders have the schedule to match those expectations.
Aquinas, the two-time defending state 7A football champion, will begin its regular season against four-time defending 4A state champion Booker T. Washington (Miami). In the middle of the season, the Raiders travel to four-time defending Super 25 champion Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) and have a rematch with Deerfield Beach, the only team to beat the Raiders last season. Aquinas finishes its regular season against defending 8A champion Flanagan (Pembroke Pines).
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The Raiders have, according to Rivals.com, the No. 1 senior receiver in the country in Trevon Grimes, and three four-star 2017 recruits: quarterback Jake Allen, a Florida commit; running back Kyshaun Bryan; and linebacker Tyler Dunning.
The Raiders’ junior class includes elite defensive end Nik Bonitto and three sons of former NFL players in defensive backs Asante Samuel Jr., Al Blades Jr., and Benjamin Sapp III.
“They’re an extraordinary group of kids,” said coach Roger Harriott, who is entering his second season with the Raiders. “We feel extremely confident with the direction we’re headed in. … The players have been extremely receptive to the change in leadership. They have positioned themselves as not only competitive members of our football program, but also role models. We’re excited about all the expectations that have been placed on us.”
The Raiders also have plenty of depth. Athletic director George Smith estimated the team has about 80-90 players expected for spring practices, which begin April 25. Last season, when Allen went down with a back injury, then-sophomore Beau Fillichio won five games.
“We feel very confident about both quarterbacks at this point,” Harriott said. “Each team has its own personality. Last year’s team did some extraordinary things and this year’s team has some big shoes to fill.”
|Dillard (Fort Lauderdale)||Aug. 18||St. Thomas Aquinas||7 p.m.||Kickoff Classic (exhibition)|
|Booker T. Washington (Miami)||Aug. 26||Booker T. Washington||7 p.m.|
|Miramar||Sept. 2||St. Thomas Aquinas||7 p.m.|
|Plantation||Sept. 9||St. Thomas Aquinas||7 p.m.|
|BYE Week||Sept. 16|
|Hallandale (Hallandale Beach)||Sept. 23||St. Thomas Aquinas||7 p.m.|
|Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)||Sept. 30||Bishop Gorman||10 p.m.||TV: ESPN networks|
|Deerfield Beach||Oct. 7||St. Thomas Aquinas||7 p.m.|
|Fort Lauderdale||Oct. 14||St. Thomas Aquinas||7 p.m.|
|Boyd Anderson (Lauderdale Lakes)||Oct. 21||St. Thomas Aquinas||7 p.m.|
|Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach)||Oct. 28||St. Thomas Aquinas||7 p.m.|
|Flanagan (Pembroke Pines)||Nov. 4||Flanagan||7 p.m.|
|Regional quarterfinal, opponent, TBD||Nov. 11||TBD||7:30 p.m.|
All kickoff times are Eastern. Kickoff times and locations are subject to change.