Covering High School Sports in America
File photo by Lou Novick

St. Thomas Aquinas upset the No. 1 team in the country Friday night.

Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.), the No. 1 team in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25, was upset Friday, 35-18, in a Florida 7A semifinal playoff game against St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).

Manatee was the preseason No. 1 team and has kept its position for the duration of the football season. The loss ended Manatee's win streak at 25 games in a row.

"The effort was unbelievable," St. Thomas coach Rocco Casullo told the Sun Sentinel. "Our kids were so sick hearing about Manatee. They said we're good and they did what the coaches told them in all three phases of the game."

Manatee took a 3-0 lead with about six minutes left in the first quarter on a 35-yard field goal by Gregory Moss, but it was the last time the Hurricanes would have the lead.

The Raiders responded with a 7-yard Fred Coppet touchdown run and never relinquished the lead en route to the 35-18 win. Coppet finished with 131 yards rushing while teammate Mardre London added 123.

After a Manatee missed field goal, Aquinas extended its lead on a 3-yard run by quarterback John O'Korn with 8:29 left in the second quarter. O'Korn finished with 184 yards passing, one touchdown and no interceptions.

A 38-yard touchdown pass from O'Korn to Dion Collier in the third quarter put the game out of reach, 21-3, and the upset was underway.

St. Thomas Aquinas moves on to play Lincoln (Tallahassee, Fla.) in the 7A state title game next week.

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