Aquinas drills Plantation on late drive
October 30, 2012St. Thomas Aquinas High School
St Thomas' Frederick Coppet breaks through the Plantation defense during their game in Fort Lauderdale.
Every Wednesday, the St. Thomas Aquinas offense practices its two-minute drill, visualizing any situation that might arise in a game.
On Saturday, down by 3 with a little more than six minutes remaining in the game, Plantation junior running back Damian Levy fumbled, and the Raiders drove 76 yards on eight plays.
Senior running back Fred Coppet’s 8-yard touchdown run with 3 minutes, 55 seconds left gave St. Thomas Aquinas a 24-20 lead that stood at Brian Piccolo Stadium during homecoming weekend.
With the victory, St. Thomas Aquinas (6-2, 4-0) can clinch the District 15-7A title — its first since 2010 — if Cooper City loses on Monday or by beating the Cowboys next weekend.
Saturday’s game was originally scheduled for Friday night, but was changed because of Hurricane Sandy.
“This is big after the heartbreaker with Miramar — even though it wasn’t a district game — [and] Don Bosco game even though it wasn’t a state game,” said head coach Rocco Casullo, whose team has won three in a row since the Miramar loss. “It was time for something good to happen for us. They kept playing hard and they deserved it.”
Winds of 24 miles per hour wreaked havoc on both teams’ kicking games throughout the afternoon. After a 1-yard punt, the Raiders put together an 11-play drive that ended in senior John O’Korn 23-yard screen pass to Coppet for the touchdown with 2 minutes, 9 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Plantation junior quarterback Chris Lammons’ 5-yard bootleg on fourth-and-3 capped a 13-play drive for the Colonels (6-2, 3-1). All 80 yards came on the ground. But senior De’Yonte Davis’ extra-point sailed wide left.
Coppet answered back with an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play of the next drive, giving Aquinas a 14-6 advantage. He rushed for 220 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 33 yards and another score.
The Colonels rebounded, tying the game at 14 with 6:06 remaining in the half on senior running back Antonio Williams’ 23-yard rush. Senior running back Javonte Ham converted the two points, but battled cramps and only carried the ball once in the second half.
St. Thomas Aquinas opened the third quarter with an 11-play drive that stalled. Senior Alex Knight’s 29-yard field goal put Aquinas back on top 17-14.
The Colonels went back to the ground game with Levy and Williams. After consecutive goal-line stops, Levy ran it in, but the extra point missed, making it 20-17 Plantation. Its offense came into the game averaging 49.7 points.
After both teams traded interceptions, Levy picked up a first down on third-and-5 with a just more than six minutes left in the game. His rush for 15 yards to the Aquinas 25 ended in a costly fumble. From there, the Raiders benefited from a dropped interception and a personal-foul penalty on its game-winning drive.
“It was a big game because that team right there lost one game and every team they were blowing out,” Coppet said. “Our defense held up and our offense put up points. That last drive, we just had to get in the end zone and make something happen. We did what we had to do.”