In My Opinion | Andre C. Fernandez

Preview of top games in Miami-Dade this week: Northwestern will win close game against Homestead

 

a1fernandez@MiamiHerald.com

14. NORTHWESTERN (6-2) VS.

12. HOMESTEAD (6-2)

7:30 p.m., Friday, Harris.

Homestead made this game important with its biggest victory in a long time last week against Carol City.

The Broncos hung on for a 23-22 win that put them one victory from clinching their first playoff berth since 2007.

The fact Homestead is in this position is a credit to Patrick Burrows and his coaching staff. This team will have a definite home-field advantage this week.

Unfortunately for Homestead, its victory also kept Northwestern alive in the postseason hunt. The Bulls, a similar turnaround story under coach Stephen Field, can force a three-way tiebreaker with Homestead and Carol City if it gets the victory.

The Bulls looked great for a quarter and a half against Central before mistakes and the Rockets’ depth crushed their district title hopes.

Both teams are very good at overcoming adversity. But a tiebreaker between these three teams almost seems fitting with the best district in the state.

Andre’s pick: Northwestern 16, Homestead 14.

SOUTHWEST (7-1)

VS. VARELA (4-3)

7:30 p.m., Friday, Tropical.

Both teams have clinched playoff spots. The District 15-8A title is left to settle.

Southwest got its loyal fan base excited for over a month with its 6-0 start. A loss to South Miami brought the Eagles back to earth. But last week, led by its star Dre Pickett-White, Southwest secured one of its most impressive wins of the year in a blowout against Ferguson.

Varela is back in the playoffs after a one-year absence and comes in having won a pair of district games. The Vipers have only allowed three points in its past two games.

But Pickett-White is a player who can change a game single-handedly.

Andre’s pick: Southwest 17, Varela 14.

HIALEAH (4-3)

VS. DR. KROP (4-4)

7 p.m., Thursday, Traz.

The wild and wacky District 13-8A playoff race will wrap up Thursday night as all four teams play.

The winners of this and the North Miami-North Miami Beach game advance to the playoffs. If Hialeah wins, it needs NMB to win to clinch the district. If Krop wins, it needs North Miami to win to do the same.

Hialeah is still the most talented team on paper in this district and started to play like it again a couple of weeks ago in a lopsided win over North Miami Beach.

Last season, it was Krop that denied Hialeah the district title. The Lightning has some stellar players such as Ryan Mayes that could help it pull the upset again. But if Alin Edouard can make plays running and throwing like he did against NMB, the T-Breds will be back in the postseason.

Andre’s pick: Hialeah 24, Krop 21.

N. MIAMI BEACH (3-4)

VS. NORTH MIAMI (3-4)

7 p.m., Thursday,

N. Miami Stadium

This one pits long-suffering North Miami, which hasn’t made the playoffs since 1999, against recently suffering team NMB, which went 0-10 last year.

It has been even longer since the Pioneers won a playoff game, 1991.

If the drought ends Thursday, North Miami needs to slow down NMB’s passing game and running back Freddy Leroy. Charles Romane and the Pioneers will rise to the occasion. But if Steven Ishmael and Cedric Wiggins hook up for big plays, the Chargers will make the playoffs.

Andre’s pick: NMB 16, North Miami 15.

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