They each entered the season with hopes of winning a national championship.
But over a month into the season St. Thomas Aquinas and Booker T. Washington have each suffered a pair of losses and face the real possibility of enduring a third coming into this week.
Booker T. Washington dropped five games last season yet managed to bounce back and win a fourth consecutive state championship.
The last time Aquinas lost three games in the regular season was 1995.
Never miss a local story.
And the school that dealt the Raiders that third loss is their opponent this week.
14. DEERFIELD BEACH (3-2) AT 2. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (3-2), 7, FRIDAY.
Aquinas came up one yard short against Booker T. Washington in week 1.
The Raiders came up one play short against Las Vegas Bishop Gorman this past Friday.
That’s how close the difference for Aquinas is between being a 3-2 team still ranked in the top 10 nationally and being undefeated and likely in the driver’s seat to win a national championship.
But the Raiders have no time to lament their heartbreaking defeats.
Deerfield Beach stunned Aquinas last season in a kicker’s duel, 6-3 on the Bucks’ home field.
Deerfield Beach’s own 2016 campaign has had its bumps so far with the Bucks losing unexpectedly to Hallandale on opening weekend and later falling in a rout at Georgia powerhouse Grayson.
The Bucks will bring a determined squad with a lot of firepower led by receiver Jerry Jeudy to Brian Piccolo Stadium this Friday.
Deerfield Beach is starting to gain momentum toward a potential state championship push in a wide open Class 8A race.
This will be another test to see how far the Bucks have progressed.
Aquinas lost their top-rated offensive weapon in the triple-overtime loss to Bishop Gorman when Ohio State commit Trevon Grimes suffered a season-ending knee injury. But the Raiders have plenty of depth and enough of a balanced squad on both sides of the ball to avoid suffering back-to-back defeats.
Andre’s pick: St. Thomas Aquinas 24, Deerfield Beach 13.
5. NORTHWESTERN (4-1) VS. 8. BOOKER T. WASHINGTON (4-2), 7:30, FRIDAY, TRAZ.
There can be no letdowns for Northwestern for the remainder of this season if the Bulls hope to reach their ultimate goal.
Friday’s game against Booker T. begins a brutal five-game stretch to close out the season against the Tornadoes, their three district foes (Central, Norland and Carol City) and the annual Soul Bowl against Jackson.
Judging by the Bulls’ performance in the first half of the season, look for Northwestern to make a major push for the District 16-6A championship and more.
But talk of district implications begins next week.
This week, Northwestern will be looking to duplicate last year’s effort in this game when it beat the Tornadoes for the first time since 2010.
Booker T. Washington has struggled to find consistency on offense in every game since its big-splash opening week win over St. Thomas Aquinas.
If that trend continues, look for the Bulls to have a very good chance of winning.
Both defenses are solid and have great playmakers with the ability to change a game.
But much like Central, which beat Booker T. 42-14 only 10 days ago, Northwestern can run the football very effectively with Kai Henry leading the backfield.
And with junior Tutu Atwell, the Bulls have an even more dangerous quarterback.
Andre’s pick: Northwestern 16, Booker T. Washington 13.