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September 14, 2013
New Orleans, LA - John Curtis may have finished the 2012 season as national champions in some eyes, but the Patriots were shown that's in the past; and that being the 7A State Champions in Florida may carry a little more weight as the Raiders thoroughly handled the Patriots 27-13 in front of 7,220 in the Superdome on Friday Night.
Aquinas held the vaunted Patriots option attack spearheaded by Raekwon James to a mere 156 yards total, while harassing QB Abbey Touzet sacking him four times and knocking him down on countless others while in passing situations.
The Raiders built their lead to 24-0 before the Patriots were on the board, amassing 324 yards of balanced offense (169 rushing, 155 passing) on the legs of Madre London, who finished the game with 101 yards on 12 carries, along with a 61-yd TD and the growing playmaking abilities of Sr. QB Wade Freebeck, who finished the game 12-for-20, a 31yd TD strike to Devante Peete at the very beginning of the second quarter.
It did appear to be an early-season snoozer at times however with both teams combining for 18 penalties totaling 162 yards.
One thing that wasn't apparently slept on was the game plan installed by the Aquinas coaches leading up to this matchup; one that gave Plant major fits in a 33-3 loss last season against almost the entirely same Curtis Roster from 2012.
Curtis tried going laterally and realized Aquinas' speed and gap integrity was not to be taken jokingly. Curtis tried going vertical, but sophomore DT Nick Bosa and Sr. DE Anthony Moten weren't about to let Touzet watch the rest of his passes while standing up.
The pace didn't bother Aquinas and their size either towards the end, something Casullo says they've been preparing for; and losing all those starters on defense while appearing not to skip a beat wasn't a surprise to Casullo either.
"Not really (surprised) with me being a defensive guy and they (the players) understand they've got to be better every time out. It's all about assignment football and the game plan being executed as well as it was this evening," Casullo said."Now we've got a big one against Miramar and it doesn't get any easier. We need to get home, get back to South Florida, and get ready.
"We see that type of pace in South Florida all the time, the teams we play go fast and faster so that's why we get up at 6am in the offseason for workouts is to prepare for that very scenario in the second half."
Casullo went on to reiterate what was most obvious throughout, which was the nearly flawless execution of assignment football on defense:
"I thought we had a great defensive game plan tonight, but the kids had to execute. Our main concern was the dive obviously and what those two running backs were capable of doing so I thought we did an extremely good job of putting it all together. "We just played assignment football very well on defense. This is great. Our kids had a great trip up here, we flew in yesterday, got to see New Orleans a little bit, and it's fun. A lot of these guys haven't even been on a plane before, so to come here and get a win against a great program just puts the icing on the cake. It's big for our program."