The St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders pounded the Plant Panthers 45-6 in the FHSAA Class 7A state championship on Friday night at Camping World Stadium. The Raiders became the first Broward County school to win three consecutive state championships. St. Thomas Aquinas(12-2) also compiled their 10th state title in school history and joins Bolles as the only Florida high schools with double-digit football titles. They now have a 7-0 record when they play on that field in Orlando.
In the first quarter, Plant(13-1) was stopped on their first possession when a pass by Dane Frantzen was intercepted by defensive back Adetutu Daranijo at the Raiders 13-yard line. STA rolled down the field on their second drive of the game and scored on a 24-yard pass from quarterback Jake Allen to wide receiver Michael Harley at 5:14.
The Panthers then had a bad snap on a punt attempt and St. Thomas Aquinas took over with great field position. The Raiders scored on their first play of the drive as Allen found wide receiver Joshua Palmer for a 28-yard touchdown reception at 2:21.
St. Thomas Aquinas extended their lead on their next offensive possession to 21-0 at 6:41 of the second quarter. Running back Michael Epstein blasted through with a one-yard run up the middle.
Plant responded as Frantzen threw a 50-yard pass to wide receiver Whop Philyor and they got into Raiders territory. The Panthers broke the shutout when Frantzen rushed in from one yard out to make it 21-6 with 4:17 left in the second.
STA drove deep again into Plant territory on their next drive, but they had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Marco Salani with 1:55 remaining in the second.
The Raiders made another takeaway as defensive back Jaden Davis intercepted a pass at the 1:07 mark. St. Thomas Aquinas continued their scoring spree with a 16-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jordan Merrell from Allen with 38 seconds to go in the first half for a 31-6 lead.
In the third quarter, Allen fired a 10-yard touchdown pass to Harley at the 2:39 mark. Both players would connect again on a long 62-yard pass play for a score with 37 seconds left in the third and St. Thomas Aquinas expanded their margin to 45-6. A running clock was implemented for the rest of the game.