4. COLUMBUS (3-1)
vs. 5. CENTRAL (1-2)
7:30 p.m., Friday, Traz.
One of the topics debated by many at the start of the season was how Centrals record would look after the first month of the season. How would the Rockets fare after a gantlet that included two out-of-area teams that were each ranked No. 1 nationally and two local also highly regarded powerhouses?
It has been a weird ride through the three games.
After traveling to Georgia and mustering no offense against then-national No. 1 Grayson, the Rockets put All-American running back Joseph Yearby at quarterback in the second half against Booker T. Washington.
Magic happened, and the Rockets rallied to beat the Tornadoes.
Last week, Manatee brought Central down to Earth with a 44-34 win.
But the Rockets played well and found out that Keith Reed isnt too bad throwing the ball either. Reed threw for 389 yards and three touchdowns, and Yearby threw for another.
So here comes Columbus, a squad that has a good chance of making it to state in Class 8A.
Watching Columbus wide receiver Jesus Wilson and the backfield of Daryl Chestnut and Lorenzo Woodley is worth the price of admission.
The key to this matchup could be up front where two skilled offensive and defensive lines collide. But thats where Central has a lot more size, and if it wears down Columbus the way St. Thomas did earlier in the season, it could tip the balance in its favor late.
• Andres pick: Central 38, Columbus 35.
14. NORLAND (3-1)
vs. 9. HIALEAH (3-0)
7:30 p.m., Friday, Milander.
A much-improved Hialeah team already has avenged a pair of losses from last season by beating Belen and Punta Gorda Charlotte on the road.
Quarterback Alin Edouard and running back Cesar Meneses have paced a steady offense that is averaging nearly 35 points in three games so far.
Although Norland has struggled at times on offense, its defense has still found a way to be stingy for the most part. Outside of their lone loss to Northwestern, the Vikings have given up 15 points in three games.
The defending Class 5A state champs can win this game if they avoid turnovers and run the football well something that has been showing some sign of improvement in recent weeks. If Hialeah can turn either of those factors in its favor, however, its quite capable of securing another big win.
• Andres pick: Norland 14, Hialeah 12.
GULLIVER PREP (1-3)
at MONSIGNOR PACE (2-1)
7:30 p.m., Friday.
After struggling for three weeks, Gulliver finally secured a win by scoring a ton of points against Doral Academy. The 70-point outburst was keyed by four touchdown runs by Bo Ellis and four touchdown passes by Jowan Watson, the Raiders sophomore quarterback.
Paces defense may not be as easy to pile up points at will.
And the Spartans offense has found a pretty good tandem in quarterback Kelly Benson and wide receiver Guy Lemonier. The two have connected for five touchdowns so far.
But this might be where things start clicking between Gullivers young players like Watson and veterans like Ellis.
• Andres pick: Gulliver 24, Monsignor Pace 23.