1. BOOKER T. (3-0)
VS. 5. JACKSON (2-0)
7 p.m., Thursday, Traz.
There’s been plenty of smack talking on Twitter and Facebook for weeks.
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Now, we get to see how much better and ready Jackson is to contend for a state championship.
Even if the Generals don’t pull off the upset against Booker T. Washington, this highly-emotional game is a great test for them as they prepare for showdowns with American Heritage and Cardinal Gibbons and a potential march to Orlando.
If they avoid mistakes, Jackson’s offense, led by quarterback Quinton “Winky” Flowers, is good enough to score on most teams statewide.
Getting enough going against this group is a much different obstacle.
I’ve seen a lot of good teams in almost 15 years covering Dade football.
Less than a month into the season, Booker T. is starting to look like one of the best ever. Their defensive front is outstanding both at stopping the run and making very good quarterbacks like Flowers look below average like they did last week to Carol City’s Trayone Gray.
Add that to the fact that Booker T.’s offense has looked unstoppable with Treon Harris throwing and running, and the Tornadoes’ chances of slipping up here are slim.
Prediction: Booker T. 27, Jackson 12.
3. CENTRAL (2-1)
AT DON BOSCO PREP (1-1)
7 p.m., Saturday.
Another Miami-Dade County team hopes to give the nation a demonstration of South Florida’s strength this weekend.
The Rockets bounced back from the Booker T. loss with a lopsided win against overmatched Coral Reef.
Don Bosco Prep, while still one of the country’s most respected programs and talented, lost last week against Mission Viejo, Cal. The Iron Men are at home and still capable of making this a game.
But Central already had its defeat for the season.
Dalvin Cook and Joe Yearby won’t let this trip end with another one.
Prediction: Central 37, Don Bosco Prep 23.
11. NORTHWESTERN (1-1)
VS. 17. CAROL CITY (1-2)
7:30 p.m., Friday, Traz.
Despite its early-season struggles, one thing is clear.
Northwestern can still play some defense.
Carol City is no slouch at it either. The Chiefs can combine that with the fact they have one of the better quarterbacks in the county in Trayone Gray.
Last season, quarterback play by his predecessor Akeem Jones helped Carol City upset the Bulls in this game and nearly knock them out of the playoffs.
This one will be low-scoring and could come down to Northwestern’s defense or special teams making the decisive scores as it did last week against Jacksonville Raines.
Prediction: Northwestern 10, Carol City 8.
19. COLUMBUS (1-2)
VS. 18. C. GABLES (2-0)
4 p.m., Friday, Tropical.
Coral Gables is always aiming to beat Columbus.
But this is the first season in a while that it just might have the tools to get the job done.
Behind a solid defense, the Cavaliers have yet to yield a point in two wins against Southridge and Krop winning by a combined 50-0. Running back Gregory Howell has run the ball well and Gables has thrown the ball effectively.
Columbus has been hard to gauge so far this season.
A botched field goal is the only thing that kept it from beating South Dade the first week. Then the Explorers routed Belen before turning around and suffering a rout of their own against Plantation American Heritage.
Last season, Gables lost two games to Columbus by a combined score of 83-7.
The gap has narrowed quite a bit.
But the Cavaliers will have to prove that the tide has completely turned in this series.
Prediction: Columbus 21, Coral Gables 20.