DeLand High School has landed an Oct. 30 home football game against nationally-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale.
The game will kick off at 6:30 p.m. at Spec Martin Stadium, which is shared by the Bulldogs and Stetson University.
Class 7A Aquinas, which tied a state record set by Jacksonville Bolles when it won its 11th state championship last season, was looking for a game and Class 8A DeLand (2-0) jumped at the opportunity.
“It’s not often you get a No. 3 team in the nation in a small town like DeLand,” Bulldogs athletic director Lance Jenkins said. “I think it’s going to be a huge event for our area.”
Aquinas, which has claimed three national titles, is ranked No. 3 this year by USA Today and MaxPreps.
The storied program again leads the nation with 11 former players on NFL rosters this year. The Raiders have topped that list for for eight consecutive NFL seasons.
DeLand canceled a scheduled game at Flagler Palm Coast on Oct. 30 to add Aquinas.
“We hope to reschedule the game against FPC,” Jenkins said. “We’re both open on Oct. 23.”
Jenkins said the door opened to add Aquinas after an Oct. 23 home game against Orange City University (2-1) was canceled. He said DeLand coach Steve Allen and OCU coach Brian Kells mutually agreed to scratch that regular season game after the two neighboring Volusia County schools were matched up against each other for a Nov. 13 first round playoff game at DeLand.
“Neither one of us liked the idea of playing each other and then turning around a few weeks later and playing again,” Jenkins said.
In a change made after the COVID-19 outbreak the Florida High School Athletic Association determined statewide playoff brackets via a computerized blind draw last week.
Aquinas, like other Broward County schools, resumed classes later than other areas of Florida. The Raiders are scheduled to open their regular season on Friday with a home game against a new South Florida power, Tru Prep Academy (3-0) of Miami Gardens.
According to MaxPreps, Aquinas has only four regular season games scheduled — all against undefeated teams. It hosts Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons (1-0) on Oct. 23 and plays Plantation American Heritage (3-0) on Nov. 6.
The trip to DeLand will mark the first time Aquinas has come to Central Florida for a non-playoff game since it played at Cocoa Beach in 1973.
This article was published first on OrlandoSentinel.com. Varsity content editor Buddy Collings can be reached by email at email@example.com.
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