Call it beginner’s luck if you like, but picking high school games the first week of the season can be a lot of guess work. Separating the pretenders from the contenders to the elite teams to the middle-of-the-road teams to the bottom feeders can sometimes take a few weeks.
But I managed to turn in a pretty nifty 37-10 mark last week and while I only hit three of the five “marquee” games, I was 10-1 in the other Top 20 games.
I’ll take it and run as we move on to Week 2. It isn’t quite as loaded with the sexy matchups as last weekend, but we still have three good ones we’ll look at.
THIS WEEK’S TOP 20
1. Carol City; 2. St. Thomas Aquinas; 3. Central; 4. Northwestern; 5. Deerfield Beach; 6. Booker T. Washington; 7. Plantation American Heritage; 8. Cardinal Gibbons; 9. Southridge; 10. Chaminade-Madonna; 11. Columbus; 12. University School; 13. South Dade; 14. Palmetto; 15. Jackson; 16. Plantation; 17. Miramar; 18. Monsignor Pace; 19. Western; 20. Piper
MOVING IN: Piper
DROPPING OUT: Norland
GAMES OF THE WEEK
No. 3 Central (1-0) vs. No. 6 Booker T. (1-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Traz Powell
My punishment on Sunday morning for incorrectly picking Saturday night’s big Central/Cardinal Gibbons showdown was writing “I WILL NOT PICK AGAINST CENTRAL” 100 times on the blackboard.
The Rockets over the years have proven to be an amazingly resilient bunch. Many times, including Saturday night, they seem to commit a truckload of penalties (some earned and some questionable) and yet, despite falling behind 14-0 early and it looking like everything was coming apart, they keep cool heads and right the ship.
They didn’t just come back to beat Gibbons; they pounded a very good Chiefs team into submission in the second half.
Meanwhile Booker T. got the season off to a nice start with an easy win over Dillard. Tim “Ice” Harris and the Tornadoes took a dose of humble pie last season having to sit and watch the playoffs from the sideline for the first time in 16 years. But some fresh talent emerged over the offseason and BTW, despite the same brutal schedule from a year ago, is a rejuvenated program with no intentions of sitting out the playoffs again.
That said, they will be up against it this week as Central proved itself to be an awfully good team last week. Normally this might be a spot for a letdown after such a big win but not against a neighborhood rival. Plus I don’t feel like having to go to the blackboard again.
BD’s PICK: Central 27-20.
No. 4 Northwestern (1-0) vs. No. 11 Columbus (1-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Tropical
The defending 6A state champion Bulls got their season off to a nice start last weekend with a quality road win over Miramar while an inspired Columbus team held a special ceremony to honor fallen teammate Ari Arteaga before the game with Mater and then proceeded to clobber the Lions 35-0. Chris Merritt has the Explorers ready to compete again this year as there will be lots of wins and a postseason berth. And while there’s no reason Columbus can’t compete and keep this one very close, Northwestern is another one of those teams that just knows how to make plays late to pull these kinds of games out. Look for it again on Friday.
BD’s PICK: Northwestern 28-23.
Dillard (0-1) at No. 19 Western (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
Fresh off its historic playoff run from a year ago, Western got off to a great start last week by routing South Broward on the road. Head coach Adam Ratkevich got hit hard by graduation but has managed to bring in some more fresh talent this season as the Wildcats should be back in the postseason again.
Dillard is always tough and having already dropped their season opener last week to Booker T. Washington, the Panthers could be a very dangerous team in this spot not wanting to start 0-2. But look for Western to use the home field and home crowd to its advantage and find a way to come out on top. BD’s PICK: Western 26-21.
Rest of the top 20
1 Carol City (1-0) – IDLE.
2. St. Thomas Aquinas (1-0) at No. 20 Piper (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.: Off a big upset win over Norland last week, Piper cracks the Top 20 but it might be short-lived as the Raiders have much too much speed, size and depth for the Bengals to hang in this one. BD’s Pick: Aquinas 35-16.
5. Deerfield Beach (1-0) at Buford (Ga.) (2-0), Friday, 8:30 p.m.: After a big opening weekend road win over Chaminade, the Bucks find a way to squeeze past a #47 nationally ranked (MaxPreps) Buford team. BD’s Pick: Deerfield Beach 24-20.
7. Plantation American Heritage (0-1) vs. St. Joseph Regional (NJ) at Milton, Ga, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: After seeing a 28-game win streak end last week against Carol City, no way the Patriots start 0-2. BD’s Pick: Heritage 33-21.
8. Cardinal Gibbons (0-1) at Milton, Ga. (2-0), Friday, 8:30 p.m. If the Chiefs want to be taken seriously, they had better find a way to win this and avoid an 0-2 start. BD’s Pick: Gibbons 31-23.
9. Southridge (1-0) vs. North Miami (1-0) at Southridge HS, Friday, 7:30 p.m.: The Spartans look to get out of the gate quick after last week’s lopsided win over American. BD’s Pick: Southridge 30-17.
10. Chaminade-Madonna (0-1) vs. Muscle Shoals (Ala.) (1-0), Saturday, 10 a.m. at Milton Ga. Much like Gibbons, the Lions cannot even consider starting season 0-2 and will play like it. BD’s PICK: Chaminade 34-17.
12. University School (1-0) vs. Immokalee (0-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m.: Immokalee is a shell of last year’s state semifinal team and the Sharks should roll easily. BD’s Pick: University 37-17.
13. South Dade (1-0) vs. Southwest (1-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Harris Field. The Bucs keep rolling after a Week 1 win over Gables. BD’s Pick: South Dade 30-14.
14. Palmetto (1-0) at Naples (1-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m. BD’s Pick: Naples 24-23. The Panthers traveled west and stunned the Golden Eagles on their field a year ago. Not sure if they can do the same again but they’ll come close.
15. Jackson (1-0) at Hialeah-Miami Lakes (0-1), Thursday, 3:30 p.m. at HML: The Generals get out of the gate with two easy wins but things will get tougher down the road. BD’s Pick: Jackson 38-7.
16. Plantation (1-0) at Blanche Ely (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.: Might be a tough road matchup for the Colonels, but they should be able to handle business and start 2-0. BD’s Pick: Plantation 23-14.
17. Miramar (0-1) IDLE.
18. Monsignor Pace (1-0) vs. Clewiston (0-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m. The Spartans got a nice opening week win over big 8A school Boyd Anderson and won’t let up. BD’s Pick: Pace 33-14.
THURSDAY: Miami-Dade: American vs. Killian, (Tropical), 7; Killian 21-16; Coral Gables vs. Edison (Curtis), 7:30; Gables 20-17; North Miami Beach vs. Coral Reef (Harris), 7; Doral Academy vs. South Miami (Tropical), 3:30; Doral 24-21; Reagan vs. Mater Academy (Milander), 7; Reagan 17-16; Miami Beach at Varela, 3:30; Beach 27-10; Sunset vs. Miami Springs (Milander), 7; Sunset 23-21; Broward: Coconut Creek vs. Greeley West (Colo.), 7 p.m. in Orlando; Creek 24-20.
FRIDAY: Miami-Dade: Krop vs. Miami High (Curtis), 7:30; MHS 10-7; Coral Park at Hialeah Gardens, 3:30; HG 19-13; Goleman vs. Westland Hialeah (Milander), 7:30; Goleman 37-6; Florida Christian at Coral Shores, 7:30; CS 27-16; Gulliver Prep. at Everglades Prep., GP 28-21; Ferguson at Palm Beach Central, 7:30; PBC 30-17; Hialeah at Naples Gulf Coast, 7; GC 20-17; St. Brendan at Marathon, 4; Marathon 26-13; Norland at IMG Academy, 7; IMG 30-14; Champagnat at Delray Village Academy, 7; Champagnat 23-17; LaSalle at Calvary Christian, 7:30; CC 34-13; Pine Crest Prep. at Palm Glades Prep., 3:30; PGP 14-12; Somerset Silver Palms at Palmer Trinity, 4; PT 26-16; Miami Christian at Ransom Everglades, 7; MC 27-14; West Park Prep. at Westminster Christian, 4; WC 35-13;
Broward: Douglas at St. Matthews (Ga.) 7; SM 23-16; Boynton Beach at Boyd Anderson, 7; BA 24-20; Cooper City at Lakeland, 7:30; Lakeland 33-14; West Broward at Coral Glades, 7; WB 22-14; Ft. Lauderdale at Northeast, 7; Ft. Lauderdale 35-13; Hallandale at McArthur, 7; McArthur 20-16; Monarch at Hollywood Hills, 4; Hills 17-13; North Broward Prep. at Benjamin, 7; NBP 28-17; Boca St. Andrews at Pines Charter, 7; SA 27-17; Stranahan at South Broward, 7; SB 21-14; Nova vs. Taravella (Coral Springs), 7; Nova 24-20; LaSalle at Calvary Christian, 7; CC 34-13; Key West at Pine Crest, 7; PC 17-13;
SATURDAY: Cypress Bay at Coral Springs, 11 a.m.; CB 30-21.