In my opinion | Andre C. Fernandez

Booker T. Washington heads to Las Vegas to square off against Bishop Gorman

 

a1fernandez@MiamiHerald.com

1. BOOKER T. (5-0)

at B. GORMAN (Nev.) (4-0)

10 p.m., Friday.

Ever since beating Central, Booker T. has cruised past its opponents by a combined score of 129-13.

A rare road trip out West for a Dade team shouldn’t distract the Tornadoes from their mission of winning a national championship. The thing they do have to worry about is containing a potent Gorman offense led by Randall Cunningham, the son of the former NFL and Philadelphia Eagles star quarterback with the same name.

Cunningham has led Gorman to some quality victories, including a close one against Bergen Catholic (N.J.) last week that has put it back in the national spotlight.

Booker T.’s defense, arguably the best in the nation, should be up for the challenge. This is the team that already made one trip out of state and won 55-0 in Georgia against a team then-ranked No. 6 in the nation.

Expect coach Ice Harris to have his team ready to take care of business again even with fun-filled Las Vegas nearby.

Prediction: Booker T. 34, Bishop Gorman 20.

7. A. HERITAGE (4-1)

vs. 8. JACKSON (3-1)

7:30 p.m., Friday, Curtis.

The first big game in the chase not only for the District 16-5A title, but maybe the chance to reach the state finals in Class 5A is here.

American Heritage has had two promising seasons in a row ended abruptly by Jackson. The one that hurt the most came last season when the Patriots took a 9-1 record into that first round game thinking they were about to make a deep playoff push.

Jackson quarterback Quinton Flowers instead put on an aerial display that sparked the Generals’ run to the state semifinals.

This season, both teams have become more balanced and more dangerous on both sides of the ball with each hoping to upend the other on their way to a potential state title.

American Heritage has started Brandon Vicens at quarterback the past two games since Torrance Gibson was injured in the Patriots win against Columbus on Sept. 12.

Although its offensive output has gone down, Heritage has won its past two games against Chaminade-Madonna and Daytona Beach Mainland with its defense shutting out both.

In this game, look for Jackson’s own defense, which has become a more physical and athletic unit this season, attempting to disrupt Heritage early and containing Sony Michel. And with Heritage’s recent offensive struggles, that might be possible.

Prediction: Jackson 16, American Heritage 14.

LA SALLE (5-0)

at WEST. ACADEMY (5-0)

7 p.m., Friday.

The only game pitting undefeated teams this week doesn’t involve nationally ranked teams.

You can find it in a showdown between the top two teams in the independent Southeastern Football Conference’s Southern division.

Both teams are tied at the top of the division and vying for a top spot in the conference’s playoffs in a month.

Many expected Westminster Academy to be in this position at this point with one of most talented squads in recent memory.

La Salle has persevered behind a few key returning starters and scored some key wins in recent weeks.

Both teams have explosive offenses and figure to make this an entertaining contest.

Running back Spencer Saliba, receiver Andrew James and quarterback Joe Vairo have led Westminster Academy to an average of 35 points per game so far. Quarterback Joey McCain and Emmanuel Readon have helped the Royal Lions also average more than 30 points.

Westminster’s defense might make the difference in this one.

Prediction: Westminster 34, La Salle 27.

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