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St. Thomas Aquinas 35, Cincinnati Elder 24 (Final)

Welcome to the official kickoff for the 2008 high school football season.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Florida's reigning and defending Class 5A champion, participates in the first offical game of the year as part of the Kirk Herbstreit Challenge.

Kickoff is at 11 am from Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium.

Update often to follow along.

The Burger King (yes, the one with the big head) is out witht he players for the coin flip. STA wins and defers. Can I get some onion rings, King?

Elder drives 35 yards in six plays and takes a 3-0 lead on a 42-yard field goal y Tony Miliano. Aquinas to receive the kick. 9:52 remains in the first.

STA did not pick up a first and will punt.

Elder drove down the field and reached the STA 12 before Dylan Drake forced a fumble. After trading several possessions, Elder took a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter on a 5-yard pass from Mark Miller to Josh Jones.

After three consecutive Becker passes for 65 yards, STA cut the deficit to three on an 8-yard run by Ronnie Kennedy. With 9:04 remaining in the first half, the Raiders trail 10-7.

Aquinas forces a three-and-out, but Elder recovers the punt after it struck an Aquinas player. Elder has a first-down at the STA 37. Cody Riggs intercepted for Aquinas, but the Raiders were soon forced to punt.

Elder just punted, and Aquinas takes over from its 39 with 2:42 to play in the first half.

Uh oh. Someone woke up the Raiders. Becker just hit Duron Carter for a 59-yard bomb. St. Thomas leads 14-10 with 1:53 to play. Carter blew by two players en route to the score.

Dylan Drake gets an interception for the Raiders, who take over at the Elder 26 with 1:01 to play.

STA touchdown! Becker finds Beau Bucci for an 18-yard gain. Duron Carter and Gabe Holmes each blocked their defender out of the way for the score. Raiders up 21-10 with 39 seconds to play. Halftime. Time to eat some lunch. Back in 20.

And we're back with the second half. STA receives.

That was quick. Becker found Dwayne Difton for a 90-yard touchdown to open the second half. STA up 28-10. I did not even get to recap lunch.

Elder went three-and-out, but got a first down when the Raiders were caught with 12 men on the field. Elder again failed to get a first and punted. Raiders have the ball at the Elder 15 with 9:06 to play in the third quarter.

Penalty after penalty moved the Raiders back to their own 4 before Benjamin Turk's punt to the 45. 7:15 to play in the third.

Home field advantage here. Pass interference is called against St. Thomas on a TIPPED pass to negate a Vincent Mauro interception. Maybe the rules are different in Ohio football. Not a banner day by those in black and white. Not only is Florida football better, the officials down south are better too.

Elder took advantage of several iffy calls (watch the replay on Monday at noon on ESPN to see) and cut the deficit to 28-17 on a 6-yard pass from backup QB Joe Hetzer to Tim O'Conner.

St. Thomas and Elder exchanged possessions, and the Raiders now have possession at their own 15. Becker is picked by Jake Fishburn, who returned it to the STA 9.

Ronnie Kennedy intercepted Hetzer but fumbled. Elder recovers at the STA 27. Nick Gramke fumbled, and STA DB Dezmin Southward.

End of three, St. Thomas leads 28-17.

Elder's Hetzer got drilled by John Marmarosa, and Matthew Gazzilo recovers at the Elder 5. Becker scored on a keeper up the middle, and the Raiders lead 35-17 with 7:42 to play.

Elder cut the deficit to 11 at 35-24 when Alex Welsh recovered a fumble by Josh Jones in the end zone. Elder will now try an onside kick with 5:46 remaining.

After an Aquinas punt, Cody Riggs intercepted Hetzer at the Elder 45. 4:10 to play.

Aquinas runs out the clock and wins 35-24. Becker finished with 283 yards passing and three touchdowns.He also scored on a 1-yard run.