High School Sports

South Florida high school football heats up with six top-20 matchups this week

Miami Central Rockets’ running back Lexington Joseph (4) carries the ball against Cardinal Gibbons Chiefs during the football game Saturday, August 25, 2018 at Cardinal Gibbons High in Fort Lauderdale
Miami Central Rockets’ running back Lexington Joseph (4) carries the ball against Cardinal Gibbons Chiefs during the football game Saturday, August 25, 2018 at Cardinal Gibbons High in Fort Lauderdale For the Miami Herald

Lets face it. If you can’t get into high school football in South Florida this week, you can’t get into high school football.

In what could be a first, there are actually six — count’em, six — matchups this week featuring teams in the Miami Herald’s Top 20 poll squaring off against each other. That of course is led by the headline event: Central traveling to Broward County to take on St. Thomas Aquinas in what is easily the game of the year in South Florida to date. Any other week, Plantation American Heritage traveling to Chaminade-Madonna would be the marquee game, but it takes a back seat to Central-St. Thomas.

Time to give credit to all of these programs, especially the likes of Central, Booker T. Washington, Carol City, Columbus, American Heritage, Chaminade, etc. who have not ducked each other and made every effort to treat preps fans to some of the best quality high school football you can get.

Enjoy this weekend. We won’t see another one like it for awhile.

This week’s top 20

1. Carol City; 2. St. Thomas Aquinas; 3. Deerfield Beach; 4. Central; 5. Plantation American Heritage; 6. Chaminade-Madonna; 7. South Dade; 8. Columbus; 9. Palmetto; 10. Southridge; 11. University School; 12. Booker T. Washington; 13. Plantation; 14. Cardinal Gibbons; 15. Northwestern; 16. Jackson; 17. Coral Gables; 18. McArthur; 19. Western; 20. Monsignor Pace.

MOVING IN: McArthur, Western; DROPPING OUT: Coconut Creek, Miramar; KNOCKING ON THE DOOR: Cypress Bay, Piper, Hialeah, Coconut Creek.

Games of the week

No. 4 Central (3-1) at No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas (4-0), Friday, 7

The game of the year to this point in Dade or Broward County. Throw out IMG Academy, which is a non-FHSAA member, and these two are the top ranked teams in the state of Florida regardless of classification by MaxPreps.

Had it not been for Central’s heartbreaking five overtime loss to No. 2 nationally-ranked St. Johns two weeks ago, both teams would’ve been ranked in the Top 10 nationally. The fact that the Rockets are battle-tested having already taken on St. Johns, Booker T. and Gibbons could really help them here. The Raiders have not faced anything close to that kind of schedule. Should be a good one. Get there early if you’re going.

BD’s PICK: Central 28-24.

No. 5 Plantation American Heritage (3-1) at No. 6 Chaminade-Madonna (3-1), Friday, 7

If it wasn’t for Central-St. Thomas, this would have been the marquee game of the week. Another evenly-matched game as both teams have won three in a row since an opening-week loss and both need this one to keep the momentum going. Chaminade’s talented defense will need to come up with a big effort here and perhaps the home field could be the deciding factor.

BD’s PICK: Chaminade-Madonna 21-16.

No. 15 Northwestern (2-2) vs. No. 12 Booker T. Washington (2-2), Friday, 7:30 (Traz Powell)

I’ll come right out and say it: I have absolutely no idea in the world who is going to win this game.

Another classic scrum between inner city neighborhood rivals who don’t shy away from playing anybody each week. These are two desperate 2-2 teams who do not want to be 2-3 on Saturday morning. The Tornadoes have taken things down to the last play of the game each of the past two weeks and three in a row is a distinct possibility.

BD’s “GUESS”: Booker T. Washington 26-24.

No. 9 Palmetto (3-0) vs. No. 17 Coral Gables (3-1), Thursday, 7:30 (Tropical Park)

Mike Manasco has done a terrific job building Palmetto into one of the top programs in the county while the return of Roger Pollard to the sidelines has rejuvenated things for the Gables program. But the Panthers have a few more playmakers than the Cavaliers and that should be the different in the game.

BD’s PICK: Palmetto 33-21

No. 7 South Dade (4-0) vs. No. 16 Jackson (3-1), Friday, 7:30 (Curtis Park)

A good non-district matchup that figures to be close and competitive and might have overtime potential. Jackson lost its first game of the season at Gibbons last week but hung tough with the Chiefs to the end. The Bucs continued to cruise with an easy win over Homestead. This is the week we will find out if Jackson’s resurgence is real or slightly inflated. I’ll take a shot with the mild upset here.

BD’s PICK: Jackson 20-17.

No. 20 Monsignor Pace (3-1) at No. 11 University School (4-0), Friday, 7:30

Pace hit the ground hard last week with a lopsided loss to Heritage in Delray Beach while the Sharks continued to coast along. But this will be University’s biggest test to date and a rematch of last year’s outstanding back-and-forth regional final that U. School pulled out 42-39. Look for another close one, but the Sharks have one of the best running backs in South Florida in University of Miami commit Kenny McIntosh who will be the difference.

BD’s PICK: University 31-24.

No. 8 COLUMBUS (3-1) vs. BELEN JESUIT (2-1), Friday, 7:30 (Tropical Park)

The parking lot at Tropical will smell awfully good before the game as the lechon and arroz con pollo will be plentiful, but that’s where things will end for hopeful Belen fans. One of these years, Charlie Brown is going to kick that football before Lucy can pick it up. Belen might finally enjoy its moment in beating Columbus, but don’t count on it this Friday.

BD’s Pick: Columbus 27-10.

THE REST OF THE TOP 20

1. Carol City (3-0) vs. Krop (1-3), Thursday, 7 (Traz Powell): Whatever score the Chiefs wish to put up. BD’s Pick: Carol City 49-6.

3. Deerfield Beach (4-0) at Coral Springs (1-2), Friday, 7: Bucks keep rolling with easy district win. BD’s Pick: Deerfield Beach 41-13.

10. Southridge (3-1) at Rockledge (4-0), Friday, 7:30: A tough road test for the Spartans as Rockledge (No. 3 in the state in 5A, No. 19 overall) is a very good team that could make it to Orlando. BD’s Pick: Southridge 24-20.

13. Plantation (3-0) vs. Cypress Bay (3-0), Friday, 7 p.m. (PAL Field): The Colonels are coming off big win over Miramar and need to guard against a letdown against the undefeated Lightning. BD’s Pick: Plantation 27-16.

14. Cardinal Gibbons (2-2) at Douglas (2-1), Friday, 7: The Chiefs seem to finally have things rolling and won’t let up here. BD’s PICK: Gibbons 37-14

18. McArthur (4-0) at Nova (2-2), Friday, 7: Mustangs make their debut in Top 20 but face stiff road test against a Nova team looking to bounce back from an upset loss last week. BD’s Pick: McArthur 21-20.

19. Western (3-1) at Flanagan (1-3), Friday, 7: The Wildcats back in the Top 20 and keep rolling with easy road win. BD’s Pick: Western 33-14.

Other Games

THURSDAY:

Miami-Dade: Varela vs. Coral Park (Tropical) 3:30, Varela 17-16; Westland Hialeah vs. Mourning (Ives Estates) 3:30, Mourning 20-7; Doral Academy vs. Reagan (Milander) 7, Doral 35-13; Mater Academy vs. Sunset (Southridge) 7, MA 19-14

Broward: Coral Glades at Pompano Beach, 7, Pompano 20-14.

FRIDAY

Miami-Dade: Palm Glades Prep at Everglades Prep. (Harris) 3:30, EP 30-10; Palmer Trinity at Miami Christian, 3:30, MC 24-21; Ransom Everglades at Marathon, 4, RE 20-17; South Miami at Goleman, 4, Goleman 23-21; LaSalle at Somerset Silver Palms, 4, LaSalle 26-20; Pinecrest Prep. at Westminster Christian, 4, WC 34-13; Calvary Christian at Gulliver Prep., 4, GP 23-21; Champagnat at Niceville, 7, Niceville 23-12; Coral Reef vs. Homestead (Harris), 7:30, Homestead 27-17; St. Brendan at Florida Christian, 7:30, FC 23-14; American vs. Norland (Milander), 7:30, Norland 23-16; Ferguson vs. Killian (Southridge), 7:30, Killian 31-16.

Broward: Calvary Christian at Gulliver Prep. 4, GP 23-21; Delray American Heritage at Archbishop McCarthy, 7, AH 31-20; Boyd Anderson at Blanche Ely, 7, Ely 21-16; Pines Charters vs. Coral Springs Charter (Coral Glades) 7, CSC 38-12; Hollywood Hills at Dillard 7, Dillard 33-13; South Broward at Everglades, 7, SB 17-14; Miramar at South Plantation, 7, Miramar 27-7; Monarch at Northeast, 7, Monarch 28-12; North Broward Prep. at King’s Academy, 7, NBP 27-23; Pine Crest at Ft. Pierce John Carroll, 7; PC 24-22; Somerset Academy at Melbourne Central Catholic, 7, MCC 38-9; Westminster Academy at Boca Raton Christian, 7, WA 27-14;

SATURDAY

Miami-Dade: Hialeah Gardens at Braddock, 10 am, Braddock 19-14; Miami High vs. Edison (Traz), 7, Edison 30-7.

Broward: Hallandale vs. Stranahan (South Plantation), 7, Hallandale 20-14.

Last week top 20: 13-2; Season top 20: 49-12; Last week overall: 36-13; Season overall: 150-47

Bill Daley can be reached at: billd@curtispub.net. Follow him on Twitter: @Billykid11

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