Preview of top games in Broward this week: Aquinas should edge Plantation

 

BY ANDRE C. FERNANDEZ

13. PLANTATION (6-1) AT 6. ST. THOMAS (5-2), 7 p.m. Friday

Plantation has not made the playoffs since 2009 and has not won a district title since 2004.

Both those streaks could end if the Colonels can find a way to knock off St. Thomas Aquinas on its home field.

The Raiders have been vulnerable at home the past two years with Miramar, Cooper City and Don Bosco Prep coming to Brian Piccolo Stadium and winning.

If Plantation is to join that group, it needs to keep scoring the way it has since an opening weekend loss to Hallandale.

Coach Steve Davis’ squad is averaging 49.7 points over its past six — all wins by 19 points or more. Junior quarterback Chris Lammons has run an explosive offense well throwing 11 touchdown passes and 981 yards, while rushing for 407 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Jovante Ham has also come up big in the running game, amassing 705 yards on 76 carries and 11 touchdowns.

But no team during that winning streak has had a record of over .500.

Since the overtime loss to Miramar where it appeared the Raiders had stopped Alex Lee short of the goal line, St. Thomas has flattened its past two district opponents — Nova and South Broward — by a combined score of 111-13.

The Raiders have faced a tougher slate and the team has responded well.

This one goes down to the wire with a likely rematch in the regional semifinals.

Andre’s pick: St. Thomas 28, Plantation 27.

16. GIBBONS (7-0) AT 4. AMERICAN HERITAGE (6-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday

Ryan Giaratano’s 40-yard touchdown pass to Christian Blake in the final moments saved Gibbons’ season last week against Dillard.

Forget the unbeaten record. A loss could have crippled the Chiefs’ chances of making the playoffs.

Now, Gibbons makes a run at the district title by taking on its toughest opponent yet.

American Heritage, however, is a team that has too much talent to afford to fall behind early the way Gibbons did against Dillard.

It starts with running back Sony Michel, but the Patriots have so much more on both sides of the ball with players like Isaiah McKenzie, Tyler Cogswell, Tyler Carmona, Walter Tucker, Torrance Gibson on offense and Michael Deeb, Mark Aguilar and Justin Chang on defense.

A victory here puts the Patriots a win away from a district title.

Andre’s pick: American Heritage 35, Cardinal Gibbons 20.

17. BOYD ANDERSON (5-1) AT ELY (4-3), 7 p.m. Friday

A matchup of teams going in opposite directions will likely determine the runner-up berth in District 14-7A assuming Northeast handles its business against Coral Glades.

Boyd Anderson has picked up three consecutive wins since losing to Northeast, including hard-fought victories against Miramar and Monarch.

The Cobras have struggled to maintain consistency on offense. Against Monarch, quarterback Gregory Hankerson and teammates got things going in a 20-point fourth quarter.

Luckily for Boyd Anderson, Ely has been struggling as much or worse. The Tigers were blanked 19-0 by Deerfield Beach and last week couldn’t muster enough against Northeast in a 31-12 loss.

Andre’s pick: Boyd Anderson 16, Blanche Ely 13.

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