Broward High School football

State title hopes begin in earnest with playoffs


Final South Florida Top 20

 1. University (8-0)

 2. Booker T. Washington (9-1)

 3. Central (7-2)

 4. American Heritage (9-1)

 5. St. Thomas Aquinas (8-2)

 6. Cypress Bay (8-2)

 7. Northeast (9-1)

 8. South Dade (9-1)

 9. Killian (8-1)

10. Northwestern (8-2)

11. South Plantation (9-1)

12. Norland (8-2)

13. Miramar (6-4)

14. Plantation (7-3)

15. Columbus (6-4)

16. Boyd Anderson (7-2)

17. Carol City (7-3)

18. Chaminade (7-2)

19. Dade Christian (9-0)

20. Southwest (9-1)

It’s playoff time. Buckle your seat belts for a wild five weeks, especially in Class 8A where any of Broward’s four teams can make a deep run.

We will also get a clearer idea of who might eventually get a shot at Bradenton Manatee in Class 7A and if American Heritage and University are good enough to win state titles.

Region 3-8A quarterfinal — 13. Miramar (6-4) at 11. South Plantation (9-1): Miramar’s defense appears to have finally found its groove in recent weeks with solid efforts against Western and Flanagan to secure a playoff bid. Here comes South Plantation running back Alex Collins and a potent Paladins offense that will be fired up at home.

In what will be one of the best games of the playoffs, I think the Dark Side defense at Miramar gets the job done late.

Andre’s pick: Miramar 17, South Plantation 14.

Region 4-7A quarterfinal — Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer (8-2) at 7. Northeast (9-1): After a loss to district rival Delray Beach Atlantic, some wondered how strong Dwyer is compared with years past. Make no mistake. Northeast is in for a tough challenge. But the Hurricanes and talented star receiver Stacy Coley are capable of pulling off the upset.

Northeast has a strong defense that will keep it in the game. But Dwyer is still loaded with plenty of weapons such as receivers Clint Stephens and Johnnie Dixon.

Andre’s pick: Dwyer 24, Northeast 21.

Region 3-8A quarterfinal — Deerfield Beach (6-4) at 6. Cypress Bay (8-2): Brandon Powell takes on the Cypress Bay defense, and the Lightning will counter with its talented backfield of Matt Dayes, Josh Kaiser and Co., making this a good one. It will be closer than the first meeting in Week 1 — a 29-6 Cypress Bay win, but the end result will be the same.

Andre’s pick: Cypress Bay 24, Deerfield Beach 14.

Region 4-5A quarterfinal — Dillard (5-5) vs. 12. Miami Norland (8-2) at North Miami Stadium: The Panthers and versatile star Dre’Sean Nelson made great progress earning their first playoff berth since 2008. But toppling the defending Class 5A state champions will be tough.

Both teams are similar in that they are strong defensive teams. The Vikings’ unit is a little more battle-tested and will make the difference.

Andre’s pick: Norland 14, Dillard 10.

Region 4-7A quarterfinal — 16. Boyd Anderson (7-2) at Delray Beach Atlantic (8-2): The Cobras have been strong with quarterback Gregory Hankerson and receiver Eddie Jackson. This will be a tough obstacle to overcome on the road against a much-improved Atlantic squad that has an upset win over Dwyer this season.

Andre’s pick: Atlantic 29, Boyd Anderson 23.

Region 4-3A semifinal — West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman (9-1) vs. 1. University (8-0) at Nova: University had no trouble in this one last season and has weapons galore at every position to tough out a win against a good Newman squad.

Andre’s pick: University 44, Cardinal Newman 21.

Region 4-3A semifinal — 18. Chaminade (7-2) at Delray American Heritage (10-0): The future is bright at Chaminade with quarterback Sean White and a talented group of underclassmen who can put up points. But it’s unfortunate for the Lions that this is their obstacle again in Round 1.

Andre’s pick: American Heritage 45, Chaminade 17.

Region 4-7A quarterfinal — 14. Plantation (7-3) vs. Hialeah American (6-3) 7:30 Thursday at Milander Park: American can take pride in back-to-back district titles. Plantation gets the offense that was averaging near 50 points a game for most of the season rolling again.

Andre’s pick: Plantation 37, American 20.

Region 4-7A quarterfinal — Miami Beach (6-3) at 5. St. Thomas Aquinas (8-2): Miami Beach did a great job getting back to the playoffs after graduating a lot of talented stars. But the party’s over when the Raiders step on the field.

Andre’s pick: St. Thomas Aquinas 42, Miami Beach 7.

Region 4-6A quarterfinal — 10. Miami Northwestern (8-2) vs. Hollywood Hills (4-6) at McArthur: Darius Tice and defense has been a winning formula. It won’t change for Northwestern this week.

Andre’s pick: Northwestern 42, Hollywood Hills 13.

Region 4-6A quarterfinal — Archbishop McCarthy (7-3) vs. 3. Miami Central (7-2) at Traz Powell: For the second year in a row, Broward County has a team that has the unfortunate task of taking on the Rockets in Round 1.

Andre’s pick: Central 49, Archbishop McCarthy 7.

Region 4-5A quarterfinal — Miami Jackson (5-4) at 4. American Heritage (9-1): Here’s where Heritage starts flexing its muscle.

Andre’s pick: American Heritage 38, Jackson 7.

Region 4-4A semifinal — North Broward Prep (4-5) vs. 2. Miami Booker T. Washington (9-1) at Curtis Park: This will be similar to the Central-McCarthy game. Maybe worse.

Andre’s pick: Booker T. 50, North Broward Prep 7.

Andre’s record — Last week: 16-5; Season: 205-60.

NOTE: All games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday unless noted.

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