Winning in “The Muck” has been historically difficult for Dade teams. Only Norland led by Duke Johnson pulled off the feat last season. The big question is whether or not this Glades Central team that started 0-4 but has won eight in a row is as good as typical Raiders teams of the past.
Jackson is a state championship contender. But if it wins this one, consider it a favorite.
Andre’s pick: Jackson 21, Glades Central 20.
Region 4-6A final — Central (9-2) at Melbourne Palm Bay (10-2): Strong defensive efforts led the Rockets to a pair of 17-7 wins against Palm Bay and Daytona Beach Mainland last year to reach Orlando. If Central is to beat the Pirates again, and on the road, it needs to continue to be as stingy as it was against Northwestern last week.
Palm Bay is playing in its third consecutive regional final after big plays including a blocked punt for a touchdown made the difference last week in a 21-14 win against Palm Bay Heritage.
This is where Da’Wan Hunte, Ahmad Thomas, De’Vante Duclos, Deatrick Nichols and Devyn Reid just to name a few keep Central’s path to Orlando on course.
Andre’s pick: Central 24, Palm Bay 14.
Class 2A state semifinal — Naples First Baptist (12-0) at Dade Christian (11-0): The Crusaders are on the verge of making it to Orlando for the first time.
Dade Christian contained Kelvin Taylor just enough to squeak by Glades Day last week. Another solid rushing game arrives this week as First Baptist brings senior Chris Dorrill, who had 231 yards and five touchdowns last week in a 56-28 win over Tampa Carrollwood Day.
First Baptist, a four-year program, is another tough challenge. But Dade Christian has found a way in tough spots all season, and at home it may have one more special performance left.
Andre’s pick: Dade Christian 21, First Baptist 17.
NOTE: All games scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m. unless noted.
Andre’s record — Last week: 5-1; Season: 250-74.