4. CENTRAL (2-2) VS.
13. HOMESTEAD (4-1)
7:30 p.m., Fri., Harris.
Central survived. Now, the focus is on the district and a return to the playoffs.
District 16-6A doesn’t have a pushover in it, but since that second half against Booker T. Washington, Central has appeared to be a team way too talented to lose to any of its district rivals.
Running backs Joe Yearby and Dalvin Cook likely won’t be slowed by anyone else they will face. With them on the field together and the defense and young offensive line improving, Central will be hard to stop.
Homestead will take its shot, and the Broncos are much improved. Maurice Alexander is a capable quarterback, and Johnnie Hankins is a strong running back. And anyone who follows Miami-Dade County football closely knows wide receiver Ermon Lane is one of the best in the nation.
But those guys alone aren’t enough to counter the size, speed and skill of the Rockets, who get over .500 for the first time this season.
Andre’s pick: Central 34, Homestead 14.
10. KILLIAN (4-0)
VS. 18. S. DADE (4-1)
7 p.m., Sat., Harris.
Killian coach Cory Johnson immediately made the bye week the focus of his team’s attention after its dominant win against Southridge.
Johnson said after the bye week was when things started to go downhill last season and a promising start turned into a near-miss of the postseason despite a 6-4 record.
The Cougars play a pivotal game this week against a South Dade squad that has improved ahead of expectations. The Bucs defense is a big reason they are in a position to take first place in District 16-8A in the first year under coach Nathaniel Hudson. South Dade has allowed only 5.2 points per game and has only given up two offensive touchdowns so far.
Leroy Wilson has emerged as a solid running option (56 carries, 428 yards, eight touchdowns) and South Dade has found another Worton at receiver. C.J. Worton (12 catches, 253 yards, five TDs), the younger brother of J.J. Worton, is a solid receiver for the Bucs.
Killian was a young team last year enjoying true success for the first time. This season, the Cougars are expecting to win. Killian doesn’t have a lot of players with flashy numbers outside of all-around athlete Jaquan Johnson. But the Cougars find a way to win big games like a group that has been together for three years.
Andre’s pick: Killian 17, South Dade 14.
MIAMI BEACH (3-2)
VS. AMERICAN (2-2)
7 p.m., Sat., Milander.
Miami Beach rolled into this game last year appearing to be the favorite in District 16-7A and ready to take the crown before the Patriots stifled it 13-6.
This season, both teams open district play in the four-team division against each other again.
The Hi-Tides are a different team this season after some of their top players from last year graduated. But under new coach Jason Kradman, Miami Beach has stayed competitive so far. The Hi-Tides started well with wins against Mourning, North Miami and Hialeah Gardens, but suffered tough losses to Krop and Jackson.
Inconsistent American has defeated Braddock and HML, but lost to Norland and Jackson.
This one will likely be close again. The Hi-Tides might be able to pull it off if they can get some more big plays from their offense.
Andre’s pick: Miami Beach 14, American 13.