Miami-Dade High School football

Norland’s defense will prevail against Dillard in Region 4-5A quarterfinal


Final South Florida Top 20

1. University (8-0)

2. Booker T. (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)

So Booker T. Washington and Central are in position to make a run at returning to Orlando. But what about Norland, Dade’s lone defending state champion?

The Vikings can still play defense with the best of them. But are they complete enough to get past a tough road in Class 5A that begins this week with Dillard?

Region 4-5A quarterfinal — Dillard (5-5) vs. 12. Miami Norland (8-2) at North Miami Stadium: Dillard 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. Norland’s unit is a little more battle-tested and will make the difference. Andre’s pick: Norland 14, Dillard 10.

Region 4-8A quarterfinal — 9. Killian (8-1) vs. 20. Southwest (9-1) at Tropical Park: Killian caught all of South Florida’s attention with its big win over Columbus last week.

Was that enough for the Cougars to make a run at the Class 8A state title? We won’t know after this week. But Killian and star Jaquan Johnson should have enough to get past Southwest.

The Eagles have had a great year with two stars such as Trevon Sands and Dre Pickett-White. But Killian’s depth of athletes will make the difference. Andre’s pick: Killian 27, Southwest 14.

Region 4-8A quarterfinal — Dr. Krop (5-5) vs. 15. Columbus (6-4) at Tropical Park, 7 p.m. Thursday: Columbus appears vulnerable after that loss to Killian last week, and now many wonder if it can reach Orlando in a year it appears to have enough talent to get there. Krop has some playmakers and can put a scare into the Explorers if they are not careful. But Columbus has enough to start the playoff road on the right foot. Andre’s pick: Columbus 28, Krop 14.

Region 4-2A semifinal — Delray Village Academy (4-5) at 19. Dade Christian (9-0): I’m listing Dade Christian up high because Dade’s lone unbeaten squad deserves it. The Crusaders overcame some early injuries to put together one their best seasons ever so far. Dade Christian has a legit chance to reach Orlando this season and will find a way to get past this game with its versatile athletes. Andre’s pick: Dade Christian 34, Village Academy 24.

Region 4-8A quarterfinal — Coral Gables (3-7) vs. North Miami Beach (4-5) at North Miami Stadium, 7 p.m. Thursday: Gables won the tiebreaker to get to the playoffs again. But NMB and its two-way stars will be too much to handle if it avoids mistakes. Andre’s pick: NMB 36, Coral Gables 16.

Region 4-8A quarterfinal — Varela (4-5) vs. 8. South Dade (9-1) at Harris Field: The first game was a rout. And South Dade has only improved over the past two months. Andre’s pick: South Dade 42, Varela 7.

Region 4-7A quarterfinal — 14. Plantation (7-3) vs. American (6-3) at Milander Park, 7:30 p.m. Thursday: 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. Fort Lauderdale 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. 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 — Southwest Ranches Archbishop McCarthy (7-3) vs. 3. Central (7-2) at Traz Powell: Second year in a row that a Broward County team has the unfortunate task of taking on the Rockets in Round 1. Andre’s pick: Central 49, Archbishop McCarthy 7.

Region 4-5A quarterfinal — Jackson (5-4) at 4. Plantation American Heritage (9-1): Here’s where Heritage starts flexing its muscle. Andre’s pick: American Heritage 38, Jackson 7.

Region 4-4A semifinal — Coconut Creek North Broward Prep (4-5) vs. 2. Booker T. (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.

Region 4-4A semifinal — Gulliver (5-5) at Riviera Beach Inlet Grove (5-4): Although the home team has had an improved season, the Raiders have enough playmakers to spoil their party and secure a rematch next week with Booker T. Washington. Andre’s pick: Gulliver 26, Inlet Grove 17.

Region 4-2A semifinal — Champagnat Catholic (2-7) at Belle Glade Glades Day (8-2): Glades Day running back Kelvin Taylor should have a big night. Not good news for the Lions. Andre’s pick: Glades Day 42, Champagnat 14.

Andre’s record — Last week: 20-5; Season: 233-71.

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

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