Nicholas Bosa (97) of St. Thomas Aquinas sacks John Curtis quarterback… (Michael DeMocker / )
NEW ORLEANS – It was supposed to be a national showdown, but instead the second game of Friday night's Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Showcase showed another sliver of South Florida high school football superiority – specifically St. Thomas Aquinas'.
The Raiders' 27-13 win against John Curtis Christian (La.) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a game which they led by 24 points in the fourth quarter, not only snapped the defending national champion's 29-game winning streak, but also boosted St. Thomas' record against out-of-state opponents since 2008 to 8-1, including 6-0 on the road.
"We just proved to everybody what Florida football is about, and St. Thomas football," said defensive tackle Nicholas Bosa, who had three sacks and seven tackles.
Having beaten teams from Ohio, Texas and Alabama in recent years, on Friday they dominated Louisiana's 25-time state champion, which like St. Thomas came in ranked in the top 10 of three major national polls, including No. 4 in USA Today's.
Madre London rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns, Wade Freebeck passed for 155 yards and a 31-yard touchdown to Devante Peete and Bosa led a swarming defense that held John Curtis' veer offense to 264 yards on 71 plays and forced two turnovers, most notably a fumble in the third quarter caused by Darryl Williams at the goal line and recovered by Jake Stewart in the end zone for a touchback.
"This is great because our kids had a great trip here and got to see New Orleans [Thursday] a little bit," St. Thomas coach Rocco Casullo said. "To come and get a win like this against a great program like John Curtis is big for our program."
Said London: "We had a chip on our shoulder because some people didn't pick us to win. We had to come out and play hard knowing they're a national championship team."
Playing in a nationally prominent matchup televised on Fox Sports Florida, the Raiders had last year's 20-10 home loss to national champ Don Bosco Prep (N.J.), their lone loss to an out-of-state team in the past five years, in their memories.
"Last year, we let it slip, and we weren't going to let it happen this year," Bosa said. "These seniors, they wanted to win this."
Friday's convincing victory revealed that St. Thomas (2-0) is capable of winning its third national title this year after claiming the program's first in 2008. And that its defense, which lost all but three starters from last season's team, is ahead of schedule.
"It's maybe better than I expected it at the end of last year," Bosa said. "But St. Thomas, we have so much depth and we always create good teams every year."
"I thought we had a great defensive game plan and our guys did a great job playing assignment football the whole game," Casullo said. "Defensive coordinator Bill Tierney did a great job and the kids executed well."
Minutes after Friday's win, though, Casullo and St. Thomas players were already focused on their next game, this coming Friday at home against Miramar (3-0).
"They beat us two years in a row so we've got a chip on our shoulder again," London said.
Added Bosa: "We just have to get back Monday and start preparing because this is the biggest game of the year for me. It's at our home and we're not going to lose."
email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @sgorten