Andre C. Fernandez: American Heritage looks for bounce-back win

09/01/2014 7:39 PM

09/01/2014 9:55 PM

5. AMERICAN HERITAGE (0-1) AT 4. MIRAMAR (1-0), 6 p.m., Saturday .

American Heritage entered the season with high hopes of contending for a national championship fresh off its first state title season.

Right now, the Patriots just need a victory.

After being dismantled by St. Thomas Aquinas 38-7, Heritage’s national ranking plummeted and was left needing to regroup quickly against a tough Miramar squad.

Miramar is out for its own redemption this season. The Patriots let a promising chance of winning the Class 8A state title slip through their fingers last season in the regional final round.

A week after Miramar overpowered Hallandale in a preseason classic, it looked a bit more normal against Delray Beach American Heritage in a 14-7 win.

That close victory shouldn’t have much bearing on its performance this week.

But although Miramar is the favorite in Class 8A, where it is ranked No. 1 in the state, it’s hard to see Heritage falling to 0-2.

The Patriots have a tremendous lineup on both sides of the ball and are huge up front. Expect a bounce-back week from quarterback Torrance Gibson and his talented teammates, as well.

Miramar can win this game, and if it wins, it clearly separates itself from the pack in Class 8A early on.

But American Heritage has more at stake and needs this one more.

Andre’s pick: American Heritage 22, Miramar 21.

19. DILLARD (1-0) AT 16. DEERFIELD BEACH (1-0), 7 p.m., Friday.

Both teams likely felt a little disrespected in the early going of this season.

Deerfield Beach, coming off an 11-1 season, has been hearing a lot of hype about district rival Monarch and its Alabama-bound star duo of Shawn Burgess-Becker and Calvin Ridley.

The Bucks routed rebuilding Northeast 48-6 to start what they hope is another successful campaign.

Dillard has been hearing about Hallandale and Boynton Beach and possibly even Coconut Creek overthrowing it as a district champion.

The Panthers didn’t look ready to give up the crown after squeaking past a solid Plantation squad 20-15 last week.

So a win by either side this week would do even more for each team’s quest for respect.

The Bucks have one of the most impressive offensive lines in the county and arguably the state. I think they establish dominance up front. It will help them pull out a close victory against Dillard, which is still a formidable contender in Class 6A.

Andre’s pick: Deerfield Beach 20, Dillard 18.

EVERGLADES (1-0) AT CARDINAL GIBBONS (1-0), 7 p.m., Friday.

An intriguing early matchup because of the improvement of Everglades coming into this season.

The Gators believe they can challenge the power elite in District 12-8A (Miramar, Flanagan, Cypress Bay) this season. Although it has not proven that yet, Everglades did get off to a good start last week.

Everglades established its ground game early and ran for more than 200 yards in a victory over South Broward.

It also limited the Bulldogs to less than 200 yards overall.

A win this week against Gibbons would serve notice that Everglades is a contender.

Gibbons crushed an overmatched Western squad in its opener last week as expected. The Chiefs have a solid ground game and one of the top pass rushers in the county in Richard McIntosh.

Despite their heavy losses to graduation, Gibbons is still likely a playoff team this season. The Chiefs will be tested, but experience should help them prevail in this one.

Andre’s pick: Gibbons 28, Everglades 20.

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