The St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders shut out the Dwyer Panthers 37-0 in a regional semifinal at Brian Piccolo Stadium on Friday night. It was the second straight year that the Raiders defeated the Panthers in the playoffs. Dwyer was undefeated this season as they entered the contest on a 10-game winning streak. Both schools have combined to win the last four FHSAA Class 7A state championships.
St. Thomas Aquinas(9-2) scored on their second possession of the game when running back Kyshaun Bryan caught a swing pass on the right side from quarterback Jake Allen and ran it in from 33 yards away at 6:51 of the first quarter.
The Raiders compiled 20 points during the second quarter as they put up points on four straight drives and had a 27-point lead by halftime. Dwyer(10-1) turned the ball over on the first play of the quarter when a punted ball bounced off a returning blocker at the Panthers 31-yard line. STA capitalized on it as Marco Salani kicked a 34-yard field goal at 8:21. Wide receiver Michael Harley extended their margin to 17-0 when Allen completed a 32-yard touchdown pass to him in the left side of the end zone at the 4:50 mark.
Salani later added a 40-yard field goal with with 2:04 to go. The Raiders got the ball back in the final minute of the first half as punt returner Tavares Kelly dashed 27 yards to the Dwyer 21-yard line. Allen completed his third touchdown pass of the game as he found wide receiver Joshua Palmer on the right side of the end zone from three yards out with 33 seconds remaining.
St. Thomas Aquinas continued the momentum in the third quarter. Salani nailed a 29-yard field goal at the 6:47 mark for a 30-0 lead. The Panthers brought in Trevor Omans to replace starting quarterback Toddy Centeio on their next possession. Dwyer tried a reverse on their first play from scrimmage, however the pitch back was out of the reach of wide receiver Oyeh Lurry-Davis. Linebacker Darrell Shelton picked up the loose ball and ran it back seven yards for a touchdown with 6:32 left in the third. A running clock would be implemented for the rest of the game.