A battle of state championship South Florida powers headlines week 8 of the CSS High School Football Game of the Week as the Miramar (FL) Patriots host the St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) Raiders, Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET.
Joey Bosa is one of the headliners in tonight's matchup.
St. Thomas Aquinas enters the game 3-1 on the season with the Raiders only loss coming to defending National Champion Don Bosco (NJ) Prep. Aquinas is 36th in the Max Preps National rankings, 4th in the overall Florida rankings and 2nd in Florida's 7A Classification.
The Raiders boast one of the most prestigious programs in the nation with two national championships (2008 and 2010) and six Florida state championships, three of those in the last five years, most recently in 2010. St. Thomas Aquinas has played in 13 state championship games, reached the state playoffs a record 21 consecutive years and seven times have finished a season ranked in the USA Today Top 25 (#1 in 2008).
The Raiders are led by second year head coach Rocco Casullo who was an assistant to George Smith for 10 years before succeeding the legendary coach. Smith coached Aquinas for 34 years posting a 361-66 record and remains the school's athletics director. Former NFL standouts Cris Carter (WR), Al Harris (CB) and Darryl Williams (SAF) are on the Raiders current coaching staff.
Miramar is in the midst of it's best run in school history although the Patriots are only 2-3 on the season after returning just one defensive starter from last season's State Finals team. It marked the second time in three years that Miramar had reached the finals, with the Patriots winning their first state championship in 2009.
Miramar is led by sixth-year Head coach Damon Cogdell who is widely credited with putting the Patriots on the map. He was a linebacker at West Virginia University and played in the CFL until injury cut short his career.
This will be the 20th all-time meeting between the two schools. Miramar posted a 27-20 upset victory over Aquinas last season snapping a nine-game losing streak in the series.
Both schools boast famous football alumni. NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin played at St. Thomas Aquinas as did former Chicago Bear Brian Picolo, after whom the school's stadium is named. The Raiders currently have 10 alums in the NFL, more than any other school in the nation including Geno Atkins, Leonard Hankerson, Major Wright and Marcus Gilbert.
St. Thomas Aquinas In the Huddle Recruit Watch:
4-star Joey Bosa ñ 247Sports Rating (96) - #3 rated SDE Committed to Ohio State
3-star RB Fred Coppet 247Sports Rating (87) Offers: Boston College, USF, and Indiana
3-star OG Austin Bland 247Sports Rating (84) Committed to FAU
3-star WDE Lance Virgile 247Sports Rating (81) 10 offers, West Virginia is his leader, also has offers from NC State, Wake Forest, FIU, UCF, Bowling Green, ECU, Houston, Louisville, Miami (OH)
3-star Pro Style QB John O’Korn 247Sports Rating (80) Committed to Houston
3-star OG Kyle Schafenacker ñ 247Sports Rating (80) Committed to UConn
2-star WR Mark Barr 247Sports Rating (79) 8 Offers: Marshall & UMass are his leaders. Also has offers from BC, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Indiana, Miss State, Tulane
2-star OG Zach Provin Committed to Colgate
Junior 3-star WR Corey Holmes 247Sports Rating (89) 8 Offers: Michigan is his leader. Also has offers from Florida, FSU, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Wisconsin, USF, UL-Lafayette
Junior RB Mardre London Drawing interest from Arkansas and Texas
Junior CB Al Harris, Jr Offer from Purdue
Junior SDE Anthony Moten 2 Offers: Miami is his leader, also has offer from Florida State
Miramar In the Huddle Recruit Watch:
3-Star OLB Jermaine Grace 247Sports Rating (88)18 offers: Miami and Tennessee are the leaders ñ Also: FSU, Penn St, Pitt, TAMU, UK, Louis, Neb, UNC, USF, Syracuse, UCF, West Virginia, Bowling Green, Florida, Marshall, Purdue.
WR Sean Avant 9 offers: Bowling Green, Marshall & FIU are his leaders, also - West Virginia, Wake Forest, Syracuse, UCF, South Alabama, Temple
RB Alex Lee Offers: FAU, South Alabama
Junior WR Geonte Smith Drawing interest from UNC, West Virginia