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5 reasons why St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) will win its fifth state championship in a row

The Raiders are stacked on both sides of the ball and look ready to add a fifth consecutive title to the trophy case

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA- The bright lights of DRV PNK Stadium are a long ways away in December, but the work being put in now by St. Thomas Aquinas always sets this program apart from the rest. 

Last year’s Class 3M state championship winning squad was a very special group indeed and there’s a lot to like about the upcoming version of the Raiders this fall. Enough so that the belief of winning five in a row is pretty strong all around the stories program. 

That all starts July 31st when practices hit and we see this St. Thomas Aquinas team making a deep run back to the Class 3M championship game and winning it all. Read our five reasons why we think the Raiders will be hoisting the program’s 15th overall state crown come December. 

5. Wide receiving corps is one of the best around 

Whenever you got dudes like Chance Robinson and James Madison II lining up on offense for you, it’s a pretty nice luxury to have. Robinson (29 catches, 540 yards, 13 touchdowns in 2022) is a future University of Miami signee and Madison II is a Missouri commitment. Both are nightmares to lockdown for any secondary in Florida and provide the Raiders with two bonafide No. 1 receivers on offense. Good luck stopping these two burners on the outside. 

4. 2023 regular season schedule will prepare them for December 

Now let’s not make it like the Raiders don’t make every schedule grueling to a degree. Last year St. Thomas Aquinas started right out of the gates with St. Joseph’s Prep out of Philadelphia and also faced the likes of Cocoa (eventual Class 2S state champions), Western, Dillard and always tough Treasure Coast. The Raiders this time around at the Broward County Elite High School Football Classic will face St. John Bosco of California, a team coming off a national championship. Roger Harriott’s crew will also face Cocoa, Miramar, Monarch and Western along the way. This schedule will help guide them back close to home, literally, to DRV PNK and to another state title. 

3. Jordan Lyle & Stacy Gage in the backfield 

Having one dynamic, game-changing running back in your backfield is nice enough. Imagine having two guys who are among the best in the state in your very backfield? That’s the kind of problem opposing defenses will have to deal with when they face the Raiders as they feature a 1-2 punch of 3-star rated tailback Jordan Lyle (Ohio State commit) and UCF commitment Stacy Gage. Combine the two statistically from a year ago and you could pose the argument that they could pile up over 2,000 yards on the ground this fall. It’ll be interesting to see how teams defend St. Thomas Aquinas’ wide receivers and backfield on a week-to-week basis. 

2. Offensive line play sets the tone 

Every head coach will tell you it starts up at the line of scrimmage and that’s exactly where a lot of teams struggle when facing the Raiders. The kind of ability and size St. Thomas Aquinas brings to the table is one that very few teams on the high school level can matchup to. The two top linemen leading the way for the Raiders on offense will be 6-foot-4, 270-pound William Roberts and 6-foot-4, 265-pound Caleb Harris. Throw one a slew of others who will fit in along the line and a depth that always creates good rotations, and you have a very good unit once again up front that will set the tone. 

1. Coaching staff like none other 

The legendary George Smith really created the legacy and foundation the St. Thomas Aquinas football program now has to live up to every single season. There’s no other goal left in mind other than ending the season winning a state championship. With a coaching staff like the one led by Roger Harriott, it’s hard to argue that the Raiders will get out-coached. From daily affirmations, tough practices and the preparation for opponents like none other, it’s safe to say that Harriott leads a coaching staff that is solely focused on making it 15 state championships at St. Thomas Aquinas. 

Andy Villamarzo can be reached at andyvillamarzo@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @Andy_Villamarzo.