Football: Jesuit at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas preview (Class 3 Metro state semifinals) — Dec. 2

Class 3M state semifinals

Jesuit (9-4) at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas (12-0), 7, tonight

How they got here: Jesuit d. St. Petersburg 52-0, d. Gaither 45-10, d. Largo 31-0; St. Thomas Aquinas d. Coconut Creek 59-14, d. Delray Beach Atlantic 63-14, d. Pompano Beach Blanche Ely 35-7.

Up next: The winner faces the Orlando Jones-Homestead winner in the 3M state championship in two weeks in Fort Lauderdale.

Stat leaders
CategoryJesuitSt. Thomas Aquinas
Passing yardsWill Griffin, 1,568 (18 TDs)Hezekiah Harris, 1,516 (23 TDs)
Rushing yardsJoquez Smith, 1,368 (19 TDs)Jordan Lyle, 852 (11 TDs)
Receiving yardsJarriett Buie Jr., 720 (6 TDs)Chance Robinson, 472 (13 TDs)
TacklesCyrus Aboud, 86Nicholas Rodriguez, 74
SacksPeter Pesansky, 13Ketshawn Johnson, 11
InterceptionsTroy Bowles, 5Four tied with two.

At first glance, Jesuit’s trip to Fort Lauderdale to face St. Thomas Aquinas seems like a daunting task.

The undefeated Raiders are ranked No. 1 in the class, No. 4 overall in the state and No. 7 nationally by MaxPreps.

Still, the Tigers have plenty of confidence.

After all, Jesuit knows what it takes to beat the state powerhouse.

Last year, Jesuit became the team from the Tampa Bay area (Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties) to knock off St. Thomas Aquinas. That win gave the Tigers the boost needed to go undefeated season and win a state title.

The Raiders rebounded from that defeat to also win a state title in their respective classification. In fact, the Jesuit loss was the only one for St. Thomas Aquinas in the last 33 games.

When the new classifications were announced in the offseason, many had this potential matchup circled on the calendar.

The Tigers have been tested. They lost four games in the regular season, all to teams that are either in the state semifinals or made the playoffs. Two of those losses were by a combined three points.

But Jesuit to get past the Raiders again will not be easy.

All 12 of St. Thomas Aquinas’ wins this season have been by double digits. The last six victories have all been by 28 or more points.