Nova Southeastern University School will enter the playoffs as the top seed in Region 4-4A.
And with perennial state title contender Booker T. Washington out of the picture, the Sharks appear to have a golden opportunity to make a deep push in the playoffs.
One of only two remaining unbeaten teams in South Florida along with defending Class 5A state champion Plantation American Heritage, University faces its biggest test yet this week when it faces reigning Class 3A state runner-up Chaminade-Madonna.
MORE BIG GAMES
▪ The Soul Bowl features a Northwestern squad that’s looking to bounce back against Jackson after a stunning loss to Norland in which it blew a 20-point second-half lead. The Bulls could be headed for a rematch with Norland in the first round of the playoffs.
▪ St. Thomas Aquinas and Miramar meet again. Aquinas has dominated over the past couple of seasons after the Patriots had put together a three-game winning streak in the series.
▪ And South Miami and Mater Academy meet in one of the last of the games still to be made up after Hurricane Irma. The game would likely decide the final playoff berth in Region 4-7A should West Broward wins District 15-7A with a win Monday night.
THE TOP 20
1. Plantation American Heritage (7-0) vs. Coconut Creek (3-3), 7:30, Friday, Heritage.
Andre C. Fernandez’s pick: Heritage 30, Coconut Creek 6. Patriots complete unbeaten regular season as streak hits 22.
2. St. Thomas Aquinas (7-1) vs. 15. Miramar (7-1), 7, Friday, Aquinas.
Andre’s pick: Aquinas 17, Miramar 7. This one has the potential to be closer than you’d think, but Aquinas should prevail.
3. Northwestern (6-2) vs. Jackson (4-4), 7:30, Friday, Traz.
Andre’s pick: Northwestern 27, Jackson 6. Soul Bowl goes to the Bulls who could use this to get back on track.
4. Central (8-2): Idle.
5. Deerfield Beach (8-2): Idle.
6. Cardinal Gibbons (8-1) vs. Hollywood Hills (2-7), 7, Friday, Gibbons.
Andre’s pick: Gibbons 45, Hills 6. Busy week for Gibbons as it plays two games in five days.
7. Chaminade (6-2) vs. 12. University School (7-0), 4, Friday, Chaminade.
Andre’s pick: Chaminade 28, University 24. Is University ready to take the next step? This game is a good indicator.
8. Carol City (5-3) vs. American (2-6), 7, Thursday, Milander.
Andre’s pick: Carol City 37, American 6. Chiefs take care of business and then hit the road in Round 1 of the playoffs.
9. Norland (5-3) vs. Mater Academy (5-4), 6, Tuesday, Traz.
Andre’s pick: Norland 34, Mater 3. Huge win for the Vikings over Northwestern proves they are capable of making noise in postseason.
10. Columbus (8-1): Idle.
11. Miami High (7-1) vs. North Miami Beach (6-2), 7:30, Friday, Ives Estates.
Andre’s pick: Miami High 30, NMB 20. Good test for Stings a week before the playoffs.
13. Palmetto (7-1) vs. Coral Reef (2-6), 7, Thursday, Harris.
Andre’s pick: Palmetto 40, Coral Reef 6. The Panthers will see if they’ve racked up enough points to grab the region’s top seed.
14. South Dade (7-1) vs. Edison (0-8), 7, Thursday, Traz.
Andre’s pick: South Dade 27, Edison 3. Look for the Bucs to cruise in this one as they gear up for the playoffs.
16. Southridge (4-3) vs. Krop (4-5), 7:30, Friday, Southridge.
Andre’s pick: Southridge 20, Krop 7. The Spartans have looked sluggish in recent weeks but should pull through in this one.
17. Plantation (8-1) at Douglas (5-3), 7, Friday.
Andre’s pick: Plantation 30, Douglas 13. The Colonels complete a great turnaround season.
18. Monsignor Pace (6-1) at Belen Jesuit (6-2), 4, Friday.
Andre’s pick: Pace 27, Belen 24. Very good matchup that could help the Spartans earn a higher seed if they pull it off.
19. Western (7-2) at Cooper City (4-5), 7, Friday.
Andre’s pick: Western 27, Cooper City 14. Wildcats came up short in the district title race, but still look like strong playoff team.
20. Champagnat Catholic (5-2): Idle.
On the cusp: Doral Academy (8-2), Gulliver (5-2), Belen (6-2).
Tuesday — Miami-Dade: Gulliver at North Broward Prep, 3; Gulliver 27-20; Broward: Gulliver at North Broward Prep, 3; Gulliver 27-20; Boyd Anderson at Piper, 7; BA 16-13. Wednesday — Miami-Dade: Varela at Braddock, 3; Braddock 30-7. Thursday — Miami-Dade: Coral Park at Hialeah Gardens, 3:30; Coral Park 21-17; Broward: Coral Glades vs. Monarch (Coconut Creek), 7; Monarch 35-7; Cypress Bay vs. Taravella (Coral Springs), 7; Cypress Bay 28-6; Pines Charter at Nova, 7; Nova 41-3.
Friday — Miami-Dade: South Miami vs. Mater Academy (Milander), 7:30; S. Miami 17-16; Coral Gables vs. Southwest (Tropical), 7:30; Gables 34-7; Mourning at Goleman, 3:30; Goleman 30-6; Westminster Christian at Gulliver, 3:30; Gulliver 33-12; Reagan at Miami Springs, 3:30; Reagan 16-15; Miami Beach vs. Keys Gate (Harris), 3:30; Beach 12-6; Ferguson vs. Homestead (Harris), 7:30; Homestead 27-6; Westland Hialeah at Port Charlotte, 7:30; Port Charlotte 42-3; Boca St. Andrews at La Salle, 7:30; St. Andrews 24-14; FIFC championship: Somerset at Palmer Trinity 3:30; Somerset 34-24; Broward: McArthur at Hallandale, 7; Hallandale 19-6; Stranahan vs. Fort Lauderdale (Dillard), 7; Stranahan 34-12; Everglades vs. West Broward (Flanagan), 7; West Broward 34-7; Piper at Naples, 7; Naples 44-6; Boyd Anderson at Coconut Creek, 7; Creek 22-8; South Plantation at Coral Springs, 7; S. Plant 20-10; Delray American Heritage at Westminster Academy, 7; Heritage 35-7; Everglades Prep at Pine Crest, 7; Everglades Prep 24-22; Pompano Beach at Northeast, 7; NE 12-7; Coral Springs Charter at Calvary Christian, 7; Calvary 33-30; International School of Broward at Crestview, 7; Crestview 47-7; - FIFC championship: Somerset at Palmer Trinity 3:30; Somerset 34-24.
Saturday — Miami-Dade: Braddock vs. Sunset (Tropical), 7; Braddock 37-7; Killian vs. North Miami (Traz), 7; North Miami 17-7; Hialeah vs. HML (Milander), 7; Hialeah 14-6; Broward: Dillard at Blanche Ely, 7; Ely 10-9.
Dade — Last week: 19-5; Season: 174-37; Broward — Last week: 25-4; Season: 164-35.