South Florida has had huge high school football games in the past.
Coral Gables and Miami High nearly filled the Orange Bowl in the late 1960s.
Miami Northwestern and Miami Jackson did the same in their epic Soul Bowl battles in the late 1990s.
A few others have played on national TV in recent years.
But one of the nation’s most notable hotbeds for high school football talent has never had two teams ranked No. 1 nationally face each other.
Two of Miami-Dade County’s powerhouses – Miami Booker T. Washington and Miami Central – meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Traz Powell Stadium in what is believed to be the first meeting between teams from the same county ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in multiple national polls.
“It’s real special and it says a lot about South Florida being recognized nationally,” Booker T. Washington coach Tim “Ice” Harris said. “Hopefully both of these teams can show the nation that they can perform at this level consistently and show the teaching and the development of student-athletes that’s going on in South Florida.”
The game is the first clash between teams ranked Nos. 1 and 2 since 2009 when Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas defeated South Carolina’s Byrnes High 42-34.
It is the first such game involving a Dade team since Miami Northwestern defeated Texas powerhouse Southlake Carroll in 2007 in Dallas. The Bulls went on to become national champions that season as well.
In 2001, California powerhouses Concord De La Salle and Long Beach Poly met when ranked the top two teams in the country.
But a case of two teams within the same county playing for a national title is believed to be a first in the modern era of national high school football rankings.
But unlike most games in this era of ESPN and other networks broadcasting high-profile matchups, the game will not be televised. It is expected to draw a capacity crowd of 7,500.
“In nearly a decade of being involved with Rivals.com and covering high school football, I can remember a handful of out-of-state games that generated a lot of buzz nationally,” said Rivals.com national writer Dallas Jackson, who said this will be the first 1 vs. 2 game in the six-year history of the RivalsHigh100 poll. “None were even as high profile as state finals … let alone a Week 2 clash. I think this one is topping the charts in terms of excitement and national awareness. People are legitimately upset that it isn’t a nationally televised game.”
Booker T. Washington (1-0), ranked No. 1 by USA Today, got plenty of national exposure two weeks ago when it routed then No. 6-ranked Norcross (Ga.), 55-0 in a game ESPN televised.
The Tornadoes, who have won two state championships (2007 and 2012) since their high school reopened in 1999, enter Friday’s game ranked either No. 1 or 2 in all four major polls.
Central (1-0) began the season ranked No. 1 by Rivals.com and surged to No. 1 in PrepNation.com’s poll following a 42-20 victory against Plantation American Heritage, one of Broward County’s best, last weekend.
The Rockets have won two state championships in the past three seasons and have not lost to another Dade team since 2008. Central beat Booker T. last season in the second week of the season at Sun Life Stadium, 37-26, after rallying from a 19-3 deficit at halftime.