FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Despite moving the football on the ground with some regularity, De La Salle High was guilty of four turnovers and several ill-timed mistakes, and that wasn't going to cut it against a St. Thomas Aquinas-Fort Lauderdale team ranked No. 2 in the nation by ESPNHS.
The result was a 30-6 drubbing at the hands of the Raiders in a nationally televised showdown against the Florida power Friday.
"How do you expect to win a game like that? We didn't deserve to," Spartans coach Bob Ladouceur said. " ... It's embarrassing to come out here all this way and play like that."
It was the first loss for De La Salle (2-1) since a 31-30 overtime loss to Lakeland (Fla.) in September 2009. It was also the Spartans' second-straight cross-country trip gone awry, as they also lost 30-6 to Don Bosco Prep-Ramsey (N.J.) in 2009.
The problems started immediately for the Spartans, who entered the game standing at No. 3 in the same national rankings. After De La Salle moved the ball into Aquinas territory on the game's first drive, a Bart Houston fumble ended up in the hands of Miami-bound defensive end Jelani Hamilton.
Four plays later, Raiders running back Fred Coppet made the miscue hurt, gashing the Spartans through the middle for a 12-yard touchdown run.
St. Thomas Aquinas (3-0) wouldn't score again until there was just under three minutes remaining in the half, this time using the powerful right foot of Nolan Bieck for
De La Salle made its only mark on the scoreboard with 47 seconds left in the first half. Houston tossed a lateral to Andrew Buckley, who in turn lofted it down the field to a waiting Anthony Williams. The 59-yard score left De La Salle down just 10-6 at halftime.
St. Thomas Aquinas busted things open in the third quarter, and again the Raiders benefited from Spartan miscues. De La Salle forced a three-and-out on the Raiders' first possession, but another Houston fumble gave St. Thomas Aquinas the ball back on the De La Salle 48. Coppet punched it in from a yard out, and the Raiders were off to the races.
Max Lescano added a 7-yard touchdown run and Bieck added two fourth-quarter field goals to end the scoring.
"I don't think we dominated them. They moved the ball on us," St. Thomas Aquinas coach Rocco Casullo said. "That's a good football team. I'm sure their coaching staff is going to look at the film and say if we had done this, this and this it would've been a different game."
Defensively, the Spartans put up a fight, just as they have in their first two games this season. But faced with an opponent as good as St. Thomas Aquinas, things turned in a hurry when the offense couldn't finish drives.
"We had to play pretty much a flawless game," Ladouceur said. "If it wasn't for not securing the football, it would've been a lot closer game and we would have had a chance."
Yardagewise, the Spartans held an edge into the third quarter. Once the Raiders started rolling, though, they took control there as well and outgained De La Salle 345-268. The turnover battle wasn't close, with the Spartans giving it away four times to just once for St. Thomas Aquinas.
Sept. 25, 2009
The last time De La Salle lost, also to a national Florida powerhouse, Lakeland