In My Opinion | Andre C. Fernandez

Rematches highlight Week 2

 

a1fernandez@MiamiHerald.com

Three big rematches, including two from thrillers earlier this season, and one of the county’s best facing a huge road test highlight the second week of football playoffs.

The first round already had one of the county’s major contenders — American Heritage — exit the playoffs early.

What’s in store for Week 2?

•  Region 3-8A semifinal — Miramar (7-4) at Cypress Bay (9-2): The first time these teams met at the end of September, Cypress Bay hung on for a 17-13 victory at Miramar that helped the Lightning win the District 12-8A crown.

The game certainly ended with an interesting twist as Miramar kick returner Eric Pittman slowed down to celebrate on his way to the end zone, and Cypress Bay safety Gavin Anderson blindsided him at the 5-yard line, forcing a fumble. Eventually, Cypress Bay’s defense forced the Patriots backward.

This time, the Lightning is at home.

And Pittman is in a feature back role since the injury to Alex Lee, hoping for redemption.

Cypress Bay is playing much better of late, as its offense had been clicking behind its running game. But Miramar’s defense has turned its level of play up a notch in recent weeks, posting a shutout of South Plantation last week. If the Dark Side defense is indeed back and ready to make another run to Orlando, this is where it starts to prove it.

Andre’s pick: Miramar 14, Cypress Bay 13.

•  Region 4-3A final — Delray American Heritage (11-0) vs. University (9-0) at Nova: This might be the most highly anticipated matchup statewide because it is considered by many to be the true Class 3A state championship game.

American Heritage survived a brutal schedule that included wins over Seffner Armwood, Belle Glade Glades Central, Delray Beach Atlantic, Gulliver, West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman, Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer and Chaminade.

Heritage won last year’s meeting in this round 31-20 and went on to win the state title. Key in that game were the five interceptions by the Stallions’ athletic secondary.

University quarterback Mike White has to continue to be as efficient as he has been during the season; he has thrown for 1,474 yards, 18 touchdowns and only two picks. The Suns defense has also not allowed a touchdown in its past four games and only allowed three points during that span.

Both have to step up if University is to make the best of this chance to return to state.

Andre’s pick: University 41, American Heritage 40.

•  Region 4-7A semifinal — Plantation (8-3) at St. Thomas Aquinas (9-2): The first meeting between these two decided the District 15-7A title when Aquinas won a Saturday afternoon game at home 24-20.

Fred Coppet finished with 220 yards and three touchdowns for Aquinas, and Plantation ran for 241 yards as a team.

Aquinas’ defense, which has steadily improved as the season has progressed, forced key turnovers late. Look for a repeat performance.

Andre’s pick: St. Thomas Aquinas 35, Plantation 31.

•  Region 4-7A semifinal – Boyd Anderson (8-2) at Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer (9-2): The Cobras proved their toughness by going to Delray Beach and knocking off a tough Atlantic team thanks to a late touchdown hookup between quarterback Gregory Hankerson and receiver Eddie Jackson.

Dwyer pulled away from Northeast in the second half of a 25-3 win last week and has won seven playoff games in a row against Broward teams going back to 2004.

Andre’s pick: Dwyer 35, Boyd Anderson 22.

Andre’s record — Last week: 11-2; Season: 216-62.

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

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