17. S. PLANTATION (3-1) AT MIRAMAR (1-3) 7 p.m., Friday.
Before I get to this week’s heavyweight showdowns such as Aquinas vs. Hallandale, let me start with the team that made us all pause this past Friday, look at Twitter and say, “Did that just happen?”
Social media buzzed Friday night when this score — South Plantation 13, Flanagan 12 — hit the Web, and for good reason.
The Paladins sent Flanagan, seemingly a sure bet to win District 12-8A, down with a district loss that will likely turn their division and possibly the whole region into an even crazier race down the stretch.
Never miss a local story.
South Plantation didn’t do this by accident.
Led by talented athletes like Johnny Huntley and Anthony Julmisse, the Paladins belong in the discussion for that district title and can really put themselves in the driver’s seat with a win this week at Miramar.
The Patriots still play their tough brand of defense but showed their inexperience against Plantation last week, turning the ball over three times in key situations.
South Plantation is still seen as the underdog by many even after last week. But the Paladins are fearless and should find themselves within striking distance of another major victory this week.
Andre’s pick: South Plantation 16, Miramar 15.
1. ST. THOMAS (4-0) AT 5. HALLANDALE (3-0) 7 p.m., Friday.
Aquinas has victories over Booker T. Washington, Miramar, Cypress Bay and Plantation so far this season.
Hallandale will top all four in degree of difficulty.
The Chargers boast one of the state’s most explosive offenses and arguably the county’s top quarterbacks in Tyler Huntley. He will match up against one of the best underclassmen quarterbacks in Aquinas’ Jake Allen.
Each defense will be tested more than it has so far this season.
Hallandale will get its share of yards on the ground behind Zack Moss, one of the state’s most gifted runners.
But up front on both sides of the ball is where the Raiders wear you down by the second half, and look for Aquinas to pull away late.
Andre’s pick: St. Thomas Aquinas 24, Hallandale 14.
2. HERITAGE (3-1) VS. 11. NORLAND (2-2) 7 p.m., Saturday, North Miami.
For the third consecutive week, look for offensively challenged Norland to stick with one of the state’s best.
But American Heritage is a balanced squad that should come out on top if it can continue to run the football effectively with quarterback Jason Brown and backs Kyshaun Bryan and Khalil Herbert.
Look for Heritage’s defense, led by Brian Burns and Andrew Chatfield, to make a couple of game-changing plays as well.
Andre’s pick: American Heritage 17, Norland 6.
3. CENTRAL (3-1) 13. BOOKER T. (2-2) 7 p.m., Saturday, Traz Powell.
A chance at a national title isn’t at stake, and neither team is undefeated as has been the case the past couple of years when these two meet.
But this rivalry game should still have plenty of intensity from start to finish.
Booker T. Washington is the only team from Florida to beat Central the past two seasons. The Rockets want payback.
The Tornadoes bounced back last week and seemed to gain offensive rhythm with freshman quarterback Daniel Richardson at the helm.
But Central’s defense should set the tone and make enough plays to allow its offense to take a lead and hold on for a tough win.
Andre’s pick: Central 24, Booker T. Washington 10.
4. COLUMBUS (4-0) VS. BELEN (2-2) 7:30 p.m., Friday, FIU.
Great atmosphere and great food in and out of the stadium, and then ... another Columbus rout.
Andre’s pick: Columbus 35, Belen 7.