Friday Night Legends
Historic Game Recap

Friday Night Legends is a football board game that uses actual team statistics, play calling and some luck to determine the outcome – kind of like real life! In this series, we will take some of these great teams we have compiled and give you a write-up of how the two played using Friday Night Legends.

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This is the first game we have done featuring teams NOT in Texas. Yes, what started out as a game that celebrates great Texas high school football teams has expanded by demand to include some out of state teams. We decided to begin with two great ones. The 2017 Mater Dei Monarchs from Santa Anna, California will take on the 2010 St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders from Fort Lauderdale, Florida at a neutral site. Both teams were not only champions in their respective states those years, but they were also both National Champions.

The battle of Florida vs California!

1st Quarter

St. Thomas got the ball first and despite some minor miscues with their KO return being negated by a penalty, they got things rolling. In a drive that would typify them throughout they game, they drove nearly the length of the field, burning 6 minutes off the clock before being stopped at the Monarchs 3, facing 4th and goal. Deciding to take the safe approach, the Raiders sent out the field goal team. The result? BLOCKED!

After a quick three-and-out, followed by a long punt for Mater Dei, the Raiders had their second possession. This time, things were much different. In two running plays, St. Thomas covered 45 yards for the first score of the game and the 7-0 lead.

The California team took over and their fortunes continued to look bad, this time even sooner than three-and-out. On their first play, Mater Dei fumbled the ball and St. Thomas took over with only 24 yards between them and another score. In a case of deja vu, the Raiders drove down to the 3 and again faced a 4th down situation. Having little faith in the field goal team after the first block, they elect to go for it. INCOMPLETE PASS… but, there is a interference call on California setting them up with a first down. One play later, the score is 14-0 St. Thomas.

2nd Quarter

The second quarter started with Mater Dei getting their first 1st down of the game. But, that was shortly followed by another three-and-out. Things just weren’t clicking for the Monarchs offense which had only completed 1 of 4 passes and rushed for just 1.2 yard per carry thus far. Big plays remained the story for Florida. On a 3rd and 4, the Raiders hit a huge pass down to the California 17 yard line. The next play was another long toss to the endzone and the 21-0 lead. The folks from The Sunshine State were ecstatic and it looked to be a long day for The Golden State faithful.

The teams swapped punts twice before Mater Dei again took over with 7 minutes left in the half. With field position inching their way with every punt exchange, California started the drive on the St. Thomas 40. An 18 yard run got the Monarchs fired up and their second play, a 22 yard scamper gave them their first score of the day – and some hope, 21-7 St. Thomas.

St. Thomas seemed shocked on the next drive as they only managed two yards before having to punt. Mater Dei was not out of fireworks as after having back-to-back big runs their last drive, started this one even better. A 67 yard run saw them cut the St. Thomas lead to 21-14. Folks were saying, “Looks like we have a ball game!”

A calm and unshaken St. Thomas team took the field with 3:20 to go in the half and put on a clinic of poise under pressure. The Raiders methodically moved down the field and capped the drive with a 7 yard TD pass to answer all the Monarch momentum 28-14. Mater Dei was unable to respond with just 50 seconds before the break.

Haltime Stats

                           Pass Att-Comp Yds    %       Rush Att Yds     Avg   PEN-Yds
’10 St Thomas         19-13          138   68.4%      26-251      9.65          3-30
’17 Mater Dei           10-6              54   60.0%       9-120      13.33         3-18

Time of possession was the big story of the first half with St. Thomas leading 16:30 to just 7:30 for Mater Dei. Until those three huge runs by MD, they had literally no running game to speak of but now are averaging over 13 yards a carry. Big Plays are tied at 4 each. A big stat that jumped out was the Raiders’ 251 rushing yard in just a half!

3rd Quarter

The third quarter seemed to be a time for both teams to catch their breath. Mater Dei started with the ball and made some yards into STA territory before punting the ball away. St. Thomas responded by doing the same, with a slow drive that fizzled and forced a punt. In what looked like great news in the field position battle, Mater Dei caught the punt at their 41 but then slipped a couple tackles and raced 61 yards for the score. The Monarchs were again within striking distance, trailing now just 28-21.

St. Thomas again looked calm and collected in driving the ball down to the 28 before being shut down. Again the kicking game was HUGE for the Raiders as they missed the field goal. Mater Dei went three-and-out to end the quarter

4th Quarter

With 12 minutes remaining in a one-score game, St. Thomas set out to ensure the victory. They drove slowly again but were forced to put the game in the hands of their kicking game. This time however, the punt worked out great as the Raider punter dropped it down to the California 1 yard line. Mater Dei appeared undaunted as they hit a 22 yard pass to get them out of the shadow of their endzone. It was not to be however, as they couldn’t escape relentless defensive pressure by the Raiders. Facing 4th and 1 on their own 47 and the game on the line, the California team decided it was now or never electing to go for it. The result? A big play for the defense – SACK! But, a delay of game penalty on California overruled the sack leaving them in 4th and 6 so they punted.

The Raiders took over at their 19 and the previously non-existent Monarch defense showed up, forcing (-3) yards on three carries. Again the St. Thomas kicking game continued their turnaround, this time netting 48 yards on a punt. Midway through the final quarter, Mater Dei wasn’t able to find that fire and punted after 3 plays.

With 6:50 to go, St. Thomas went back to “dance with who brung ya” and put together a methodical clock burning drive that culminated in finally connecting on a field goal. 31-21 with 3:20 to go.  Again, the special team woes appeared corrected for St. Thomas when the ensuing kickoff was FUMBLED giving them the ball back at the California 30. Mater Dei stepped up and didn’t allow anything on four consecutive tries and got the ball back.

Down by 10 with 2:30 to go, it didn’t look promising but the Monarchs were thinking, “so you’re saying there’s A CHANCE!” With no timeouts left, they set about driving the field. It was not to be as they ran out of time at the Florida 30 yard line.

The 2010 St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders took home the 31-21 victory of the 2017 Mater Dei Monarchs in the first ever Friday Night Legends Intrastate football game.

Final Stats

                           P Att-Comp   Yds    %
’10 St Thomas         25-18       172   72.0%
’17 Mater Dei           21-13       107   61.9%

R Att-Yds    Avg    BP      PEN-Yds
’10 St Thomas       52-340      6.5     4            6-60
’17 Mater Dei        15-145      9.7     5            5-28

Time of Possession
’10 St Thomas    31:30
’17 Mater Dei      16:30