7. CAROL CITY (6-1)
VS. 3. CENTRAL (3-2)
7 p.m., Thursday, Traz.
Carol City’s return to the upper echelon in Miami-Dade County will hit a ceiling or soar to unexpected heights after this week.
After victories over Northwestern and Belen, the Chiefs take on Central knowing they need at least one win against it or Homestead to secure a playoff berth.
But a victory would be monumental for one of the county’s proudest football programs.
Central, however, presents a level of opponent Carol City has yet to face this season. The Rockets are strong at nearly every position and have two of the most explosive playmakers in the country in the backfield.
That, and their improving offensive line and defense, should cause enough trouble to humble the young Chiefs. Carol City has the inside track at making the playoffs, but this is a major obstacle it could end up facing twice this season.
Andre’s pick: Central 24, Carol City 14.
20. NORLAND (5-2)
VS. 19. JACKSON (5-2)
7:30 p.m., Friday, Traz.
Each team looked about as bad as can be last week on the eve of their most critical regular-season game.
Norland had its worst performance in years against a revitalized Southridge squad in a 31-0 defeat.
And Booker T. never gave Jackson a chance as even Quinton Flowers could muster only four completions in a 39-0 loss.
At least both teams have each other on the schedule.
Norland’s defense is still good enough to give Flowers a hard time. It will depend on him to make enough plays if Jackson is to end its drought against the Vikings and take first place in the district.
This one might be ugly, but defense often makes the difference.
Andre’s pick: Norland 7, Jackson 6.
N. MIAMI BEACH (3-3)
VS. HIALEAH (3-3)
3:30 p.m., Friday, Milander.
Following NMB’s big win over Krop and Hialeah’s loss to North Miami, the District 13-8A standings are upside down from preseason predictions.
Of course, all the games haven’t been played yet.
That’s where this crucial week comes in where NMB looks to take control of the district race if it can secure a victory against the reeling Thoroughbreds.
Jeff Bertani’s Chargers are less than a year removed from an 0-10 season but have been a surprise turnaround team.
The formula really has not changed.
It’s still the same “iron-man” approach with several skilled players in key roles on offense, defense and special teams … although NMB actually has kicked extra points this year.
Running back Freddy Leroy, when healthy, has been the key cog to the offense. His 285 yards against Krop made the difference in the 40-27 win. Quarterback Cedric Wiggins is a year wiser and stronger and he and targets such as Steven Ishmael have made the offense more explosive.
The defense was shredded last week in a 57-20 defeat at Apopka.
That could be a big advantage for a Hialeah team that has some major weapons on offense such as Alin Edouard at quarterback and George Williams making big plays on both sides of the ball.
Hialeah looked better last week against Lakeland thanks to a pair of long touchdown passes by that combo. NMB didn’t get its offense going until late against Apopka. Both teams learn from the losses and make this a great game.
Andre’s pick: NMB 14, Hialeah 13.