Friday brings an interesting high school football matchup to Yurview Arizona, as Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas heads west to take on the Centennial Coyotes on September 29th at 7:00pm MST. The Raiders are a consensus top-five team nationally, while Centennial is one of the top programs in Arizona. The game will also stream live on Yurview.com.
From Preps to the Pros
St. Thomas Aquinas boasts an impressive lineup of alums who have gone on to play football in college and beyond. This season they have at least nine seniors who will play Division 1 football. Last year, that number was 20. In fact, STA boasts 10 active players in the National Football League, including defensive stalwarts Joey Bosa and Geno Atkins and Super Bowl LI hero James White. Michael Irvin played there, while Sam Madison and Jason Taylor joined the coaching staff this season.
Pretty cool having former @MiamiDolphins player Sam Madison on your coaching staff ✔️✔️ pic.twitter.com/0S07w8nehE
— BCAA Sports (@BCAA_Sports) August 3, 2017
Defense and Running Game
It’s not hard to see the path to victory for Centennial Coach Richard Taylor. They’re allowing under seven points points per game, and allowed only 20 points to Pinnacle and the nation’s top junior quarterback and future Oklahoma Sooner Spencer Rattler. They’ll need to be at their best to keep up with the the three-time defending Florida champs.
Offensively, they have a workhorse at running back in Zidane Thomas. In that same game vs Pinnacle, Taylor gave the Boise State commit the ball 27 times, and he ran it for 316 yards and two scores. Although the Coyotes have scored in the 40’s four times in five games, with so much talent on the other side of the field, expect Thomas to get a ton of work. Why not, when he can do things like this.
Zidane Thomas went beast mode ? @Cehsfootball pic.twitter.com/g0fTImnrGp
— Overtime (@overtime) September 16, 2017
Practice…We’re talking about Practice?
St. Thomas Aquinas is used to talking about practice, and not games, so far this season. Due to Hurricane Irma, this will be only the fourth game of 2017 for the Raiders, with their most recent coming on Monday – four days before their date with Centennial. Still, STA beat California power St. John Bosco 9-3 earlier this season on ESPNU, and they didn’t exactly look rusty against en route to a 44-0 victory over Stranahan this week.
VIDEO: @STA_Football QB @CurtCasteel12 hits #UGA WR commit Elijah Moore for a 32-yard TD. Great grab & dive by @e_moore03. @STA_Football pic.twitter.com/vLWsks4h64
— Wells Dusenbury (@DuseReport) September 25, 2017
Players to Watch
CB Al Blades – St. Thomas Aquinas
Playing for ‘The U’ is in the Blades family genes, as his late father starred for the Hurricanes, while his uncles Brian and Bennie also attended Miami.
.@AlBlades_Jr throws up #TheU at Super 11 photo shoot. #Canes @STA_Football pic.twitter.com/QwFFYimr0Q
— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) August 5, 2017
DB Dominique Hampton – Centennial
Arizona’s #2 rated defensive back, he’ll need to keep STA explosive WR’s Elijah Moore and Tavares Kelly in check.
LB Nik Bonitto – St. Thomas Aquinas
Uncommitted, the linebacker has several big time scholarship offers and has been all over the field making plays so far this season.
CB Asante Samuel – St. Thomas Aquinas
The son of former Patriots shutdown corner of the same name, he forms a potent outside duo defensively with Blades for Coach Roger Harriott. He’s committed to Florida State.
RB Zidane Thomas – Centennial
He may have to break some tackles to keep the chains moving against a talented STA defensive line.
Watch as Fort Lauderdale powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas takes on the Centennial Coyotes on Friday, September 29th at 7:00pm MST on Yurview Arizona and streaming live on Yurview.com.