Two of the nation's best and most-tradition rich programs in Broward County will clash this August to kick off the 2014 football season.
Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, a seven-time state champion and two-time national champion, will take on defending Class 5A state champion Plantation American Heritage in each team’s regular season opener at Sun Life Stadium.
According to St. Thomas athletic director George Smith, the game is tentatively scheduled for August 29 at a time to be announced later.
“It depends on scheduling with the Dolphins, but it should be that Friday,” Smith said.
American Heritage won its first state football championship this past season going 13-1 and winning its final 13 games. The Patriots return several starters from last year’s team and are expected to be among the nation’s best next season.
Aquinas reached the regional finals last season a year after winning its seventh state championship and is also expected to be tabbed among the top teams in the country and a favorite to win the Class 7A state championship.
The game adds to an already jam-packed weekend involving South Florida’s top high school football teams.
On August 30, Miami Norland, Miami Central and defending national champion Miami Booker T. Washington will play a tripleheader against three of Georgia’s top teams.
The event will be played at Hallford Stadium (15,000-seat capacity) in Clarkston, roughly 18 miles from Atlanta.
Norland, which is trying to turn around from a 3-7 season, will open the event against MLK High.
Central, the back-to-back defending Class 6A state champions, will take on Stephenson in the middle game.
Booker T., which will enter next season on a 26-game winning streak, will cap the event playing Tucker, a Class 5A state runner-up in Georgia last year.
At least part of the event is expected to be televised nationally by the ESPN networks.
Booker T. began its national championship run with a 55-0 victory over Norcross (Ga.) last season on ESPN.
Georgia teams have not been kind in recent years to Central, which lost to CamdenCounty in 2010 and Grayson in 2012, but won on the road last season against Don Bosco Prep (NJ).
Norland lost to Stephenson in its opener last season at Hallford Stadium. The Vikings’ opponent this season, MLK, defeated Pompano Beach Blanche Ely the same day.
Central and Booker T. are each also working on booking a second road game early next season.