In addition to the duel of defending state champions, there’s another huge game in Broward County this week.
Deerfield Beach hits the road south to Miramar in a battle of unbeatens that could determine who makes it to state in Class 8A.
Buck Pride meets Dark Side.
Both teams undefeated.
And then there’s that No. 1 team in the nation playing University School over at Nova Friday too.
Let’s look at round 2:
Region 3-8A semifinal – Deerfield Beach (11-0) at Miramar (11-0): These two meet for the fourth time in the playoffs since 2005 with Miramar leading the series 2-1. The Patriots have won the past two thrillers in 2008 and 2010 by four points or less – the first when NFL’ers Geno Smith (Miramar) and Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach) were each throwing the ball for their respective schools.
This game will probably be remembered a little more for two tough defenses, and good running games making plays.
University of Miami commitment Brandon Powell is arguably the most talented player on the field, and can change a game with one play on either offense or defense. The Bucks’ defense has been great the past two games giving up only seven points each to St. Thomas Aquinas and Flanagan – both potent offenses.
Miramar had a scare early against Monarch before it recovered and shut out the Knights 21-0 in the second half to prevail 23-13. If the Patriots had any early playoff complacency, that probably kicked it right out of them.
The edge in terms of consistency and experience in these types of games has to go to Miramar. The Patriots have been to state twice since 2009 and played in a lot of high-pressure playoff games like this. Deerfield just won its first playoff game since 2008 last week. Andre’s pick: Miramar 17, Deerfield Beach 14.
Region 4-4A final – Miami Booker T. Washington (11-0) vs. University School (9-2) at Nova: The showdown has finally arrived. Booker T. is at full strength following the return of quarterback Treon Harris. University had its tune-up after beating Gulliver last week.
The Suns, however, have lost both games in recent weeks against state championship-caliber opponents. Opposing running games have been the most damaging. Booker T.’s offense is more of a balanced attack, which could give University more of a chance to hang in there. But as talented as the Suns are, it’s going to be hard for them to match speed and skill overall with the Tornadoes. Look for Booker T.’s defense to make the difference. Andre’s pick: Booker T. 37, University 21.
Region 4-7A semifinal – Plantation (8-2) at St. Thomas Aquinas (9-2): In the first meeting, Plantation hung tough thanks to its defense before Aquinas pulled away for a 16-6 win. Last year, the playoff matchup finished more lopsided. Look for a repeat of that especially if Chris Lammons is still hurt. Andre’s pick: St. Thomas 27, Plantation 10.
Region 4-7A semifinal – Blanche Ely (6-5) at Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer (11-0): The Tigers won their sixth game in the past seven thanks to another great offensive performance. Quarterback Nelson Irvin threw for four touchdowns and 299 yards in the lopsided victory over West Boca Raton.
Toppling Johnnie Dixon and one of Dwyer’s strongest squads in recent memory is a tougher task. Not impossible for an Ely squad that’s turned its season around, but not likely. Andre’s pick: Dwyer 31, Ely 23.
Region 4-6A semifinal – Dillard (8-3) vs. Miami Central (9-1) at Traz Powell Stadium: Dillard pulled off a turnaround of its own last week jumping ahead of Miami Carol City early and holding on for a 28-19 win. This came a week following a 50-0 loss in the Soul Bowl to Blanche Ely.
This week presents a monster of a challenge against a Central team that put up 48 points in the first half against Boynton Beach. Dillard’s offense might be able to generate some points if it comes out sharp. But look for the Rockets to wear down the Panthers defense with the running game and break some big plays to turn the score heavily in their favor. Andre’s pick: Central 42, Dillard 20.
Region 4-5A semifinal – American Heritage (10-1) at Immokalee (9-2): Going to Immokalee historically has been tough for teams.
But Gibbons, even without injured star quarterback Peyton Bender, nearly went out there and snuck past the Indians last week.
Heritage is road-tested this season and has a potent lineup led by its own quarterback Torrance Gibson that shouldn’t be intimidated by the hostile environment. Andre’s pick: American Heritage 41, Immokalee 17.
Andre’s record – Last week: 10-3; Season: 262-63.
NOTE: All games Friday at 7:30 p.m. unless noted.