St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale)
looked like the Raiders of old on Friday night, using a magnificent effort from senior quarterback John O'Korn
to capture Florida's Class 7A title with a 41-25 victory over Lincoln (Tallahassee)
O'Korn did damage with his arm and his legs, accounting for four total touchdowns to power an Aquinas offense that seemed to make big play after big play.
For Aquinas (13-2), it was a perfect end to a season that began anything but.
After a double-overtime loss to Miramar on Oct. 5th, Aquinas' record
stood at 3-2 after the program had lost just four games in the previous
four seasons combined.
the team peaked at the right time, and, after shocking national No. 1
Manatee a week ago, sealed the deal with an impressive performance
against a talented Lincoln squad.
After the game, Casullo spoke very highly of his team.
been a fun year. These kids are resilient. If you look back on this
year we are probably three plays away from being undefeated, but that's
football. Strange things happen," Casullo said after the game on Friday
Night Live. "But these kids and the staff held the team together. They
are outstanding. I am very prod of this team."
The title is the seventh in Aquinas' storied history.
Lincoln opened with a bang in the form of a 96-yard touchdown run on the opening kickoff by John Burt
. A failed two-point conversion attempted gave Lincoln a 6-0 lead.
Aquinas drove down the field, but Lincoln came up with a big interception to protect its lead. However, following a punt, Aquinas finally got its offense in gear. O'Korn piloted a drive down the field that ended with him darting into the end zone to give Aquinas a 7-6 lead.
The Raiders struck again. This time, O'Korn hit standout junior receiver Corey Holmes
on an 80-yard score to make it 14-6. He followed up quickly with a 71-yard touchdown heave to Mark Barr
to quickly make it 21-6.
Lincoln was not done, however. Thanks in large part to two personal foul penalties against Ohio State commit Joseph Bosa, Lincoln drove to the Aquinas 1-yard line, where
punched it in to narrow the gap to 21-13 midway through the second quarter.
With under four minutes left, Aquinas missed a 36-yard field goal. Joseph led another Lincoln drive that resulted in a 50-yard touchdown, this time on a pass to Taj Williams
. After a successful two-point conversion was negated due to holding, Lincoln failed to convert a second time, leaving the score 21-19.
Led by O'Korn, Aquinas drove once more, but had to settle for a field goal as the second quarter ended to take a 24-19 lead into the locker room.
The pace of the game slowed drastically in the third quarter, as the teams traded possessions without scoring.
In the fourth, O'Korn was at it again, this time on a 3-yard touchdown run to grow the Aquinas lead to 31-19. After an Aquinas field goal made it 34-19, both teams would add a touchdown to bring the final to 41-25.
Lincoln finishes the season at 12-2 with the loss.