High School Sports

The South Florida football picture is coming into focus as season reaches halfway point

Carol City High’s quarterback Daniel Richardson hands-off to Katravis Geter, (3), in the first quarter during a rain storm as Columbus plays against Carol City in football at Traz Powell Stadium on Friday, September 7, 2018.
Carol City High’s quarterback Daniel Richardson hands-off to Katravis Geter, (3), in the first quarter during a rain storm as Columbus plays against Carol City in football at Traz Powell Stadium on Friday, September 7, 2018. adiaz@miamiherald.com

I’m not much into bragging but I might say correctly predicting 36 of 42 games is a pretty nice percentage which is what I did last week including going 3-0 on the “marquee” games and 12-1 picking games involving Top 20 teams.

As we cross the season’s halfway point, my overall mark of 219-65 comes to a winning percentage of 77% and the 72-16 mark in Top 20 games checks in at 82 percent. Not bad for a “rookie” doing this for the first time.

As we head into the second half of the season, things are starting to come into much clearer focus. Carol City is right where they figured to be (on top) and Central right behind them at No. 2 as well.

If you want to take your calendar out now and circle a date now, do so for Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Traz Powell Stadium. If neither loses, the Chiefs and the Rockets will do battle that night as the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in South Florida in what figures to be the the area’s “Game of the Year,” so you would be advised to get there early.

However, that’s a big “if” as each will face challenges in between including the Chiefs this week as they travel south to take on Southridge Friday night.

In Broward, the top three big shots, as they seem to be every year, are Deerfield Beach, American Heritage and St. Thomas Aquinas. The No. 3 Bucks and No. 5 Raiders are on a collision course this Friday night at Deerfield Beach High School in the “no-brainer” Game of the Week. Heritage will be challenged by district rival Cardinal Gibbons on Oct. 12.

This week’s top 20

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

Moving in: Dillard, Hialeah; Dropping out: Jackson, Taravella; Knocking on the door: Fort Lauderdale, Doral, Westminster Christian, Palmer Trinity, Southwest

Games of the week

No. 5 St. Thomas Aquinas (4-1) at No. 3 Deerfield Beach (6-0), Friday, 7

If you want to see a terrific football game between two very evenly-matched teams, make the trip up I-95 on Friday night as this one could be awfully good. The Bucks have routinely stood toe-to-toe with the Raiders. Don’t look for anything different here. But St. Thomas is coming off a stinging loss to Central two weeks ago followed by a much-needed week off last week to recover, so I look for the Raiders to find a way to avoid two consecutive losses.

BD’s PICK: St. Thomas Aquinas 27-24,

No. 1 Carol City (5-0) at No. 8 Southridge (5-1), Friday, 7:30

Southridge associate head coach Sedrick Irvin made no bones about it last Friday night. His team did not play well and was “most fortunate” to find a way to pull out a miracle win over Palmetto on two late defensive touchdowns. But as tough of a challenge as Palmetto was, the Spartans are taking an even bigger step up Friday night as Carol City comes in clicking on all cylinders. Following last week’s easy win over Hialeah-Miami Lakes, the Chiefs will also come in well-rested and even though they might be challenged, should be able to take care of business.

BD’s PICK: Carol City 34-21.

No. 17 Coral Gables (4-2) vs. No. 16 Booker T. Washington (3-3), Friday, 7:30 at Curtis Park

With arguably the toughest schedule in the entire nation, the physically beaten up Tornadoes of Booker T. Washington have very little time to lick their wounds or feel sorry for themselves. With two more mega-titans, Chaminade-Madonna and Carol City on deck, Booker T. can ill-afford to lose this game or could risk being left out of the playoffs like last year. Gables is a good team and certainly won’t roll over but look for “Ice” Harrris’ kids to come out with a quality effort.

BD’s Pick: Booker T. Washington.34-20

Miami Springs (4-1) at Doral Academy (5-1), Thursday, 7

Even though District 16-7A “wouldn’t scare a flea” with so many struggling programs, Miami Springs and Doral represent the top teams in the district, both undefeated in district play and will square off in what figures to be a game that will determine who finishes first.

Doral coach Jase Stewart saw his roster purged over the summer but has managed to put enough talent out there to field a quality team. Springs coach Darryel Bethune, meanwhile, has performed nothing short of a miracle as his Golden Hawks had their roster purged as well losing seven starters over the summer including their three best defensive players.

While Springs has won four straight since an opening with a lopsided loss to Hialeah, the four opponents, all district teams, have a combined record of 7-15 so this will represent a major step up for the Hawks. Look for the Firebirds to come away with the win and enjoy the inside track to another district title.

BD’s PICK: Doral 33-17.

The rest of the top 20

2. Central (5-1) vs. Blanche Ely (1-5), Friday, 7:30 (Traz Powell): There was once a day when Ely was one of the larger Broward powers but those days are long gone as the Rockets will name their score. BD’s Pick: Central 44-7.

4. Plantation American Heritage (4-1) vs. Stranahan, Friday, 7: After a week off, the rested Patriots will cruise in this district contest. BD’s PICK: American Heritage 40-9

6. South Dade (5-0) vs. North Miami Beach, Friday, 7:30 (Ives Estates): Bucs also enjoyed a bye week last week and should get little resistance from NMB in this non-district matchup. BD’s PICK: South Dade 31-8

7. Columbus (5-1) at Lakeland Lake Gibson (2-4), Friday, 7: Explorers travel upstate for a minor road test, one that they should be able to handle without a problem. BD’s Pick: Columbus 34-17

9, University School (5-0) vs. Delray Beach American Heritage (5-0), Friday, 7: A big-time test for the undefeated Sharks as Delray Heritage is back playing dominating football again. Look for U School RB Kenny McIntosh to be the difference. BD’s PICK: University School 28-24.

10. Chaminade-Madonna (4-2): IDLE

11. Plantation (5-0) at Everglades (2-3), Friday, 7: Undefeated Colonels will remain that way and not be challenged in this district matchup. BD’s Pick: Plantation 38-12.

12. Palmetto (4-1) vs. North Miami (3-2), Thursday, 7 (Ives Estates): Palmetto coming off a brutal loss to Southridge last week and Panthers cannot afford to take their eyes off a pretty talented Pioneer squad. BD’s PICK: Palmetto 27-17.

13. Cardinal Gibbons (4-2): IDLE

14. McArthur (6-0): IDLE

15. Northwestern (3-3): IDLE

18. Western (4-1) vs. Cypress Bay (3-2), Friday, 7: A huge neighborhood rivalry game that will not be easy for the Wildcats as inspired Lightning figure to make a game of it. BD’s PICK: Western 24-19.

19. Dillard (4-2) at Archbishop McCarthy (1-4), Friday, 7: The Panthers make their debut in the Top 20 and should not have a problem with host Mavericks and virtually lock up first place in their district. BD’s Pick: Dillard 35-16.

20. Hialeah (4-1) vs. Monsignor Pace (4-2), Friday, 7:30 (Milander): First year head coach Gary Sanchez has done a nice job turning T-Breds program around and will be challenged by a very good Pace squad. BD’s PICK: Hialeah 21-20

Other games

THURSDAY: Miami-Dade: Hialeah-Miami Lakes vs. American (Milander) 7, American 38-6; Coral Park vs. Braddock (Tropical) 7, Braddock 33-9; Killian vs. Miami High (Curtis) 7:30, Killian 27-13; Delray Village Academy at Ransom-Everglades, 7, RE 35-13; Broward: Cooper City at South Broward, 7, Cooper City 23-16; Taravella at Coral Glades, 7, Taravella 30-12; Boyd Anderson at Northeast, 7, BA 21-13

FRIDAY: Miami-Dade: Boca Raton at Belen, 4, Belen 27-23; Somerset at Somerset Charter, 4, Somerset 20-14; Champagnat at Venice, 7:30, Venice 34-18; Sunset at Goleman, 4, Goleman 23-21; Miami Beach vs. Homestead, 7:30 (Harris), Homestead 30-14; Mourning at Reagan, 3:30, Reagan 37-7; Norland at Southwest, 3:30, Norland 27-20; Palm Glades Prep. at Palmer Trinity, 4, PT 34-12; South Miami vs. Westland Hialeah, 3:30 (HML), SM 41-7; Westminster Christian at Florida Christian, 7:30, WC 33-13; Calvary Christian at Everglades Prep., 4, EP 21-20; LaSalle at North Broward Prep., 7, NBP 31-13; Miami Christian at Westminster Academy, 7, MC 30-17 Broward: Hallandale at Coconut Creek, 7, Creek 20-16; Douglas at Coral Springs, 7, Douglas 24-20; Pompano Beach vs. Coral Springs Charter, 7, (Coral Glades), CSC 34-6; Miramar at Flanagan, 7, Miramar 38-7; Monarch at Piper, 7, Piper 27-16; Pine Crest at King’s Academy, 7, King’s 33-16; West Broward at South Plantation, 7, WB 35-9; Nova vs. Ft. Lauderdale, 7, (Northeast), FTL 31-13; Calvary Christian at Everglades Prep., 4, EP 21-20. LaSalle at North Broward Prep., 7, NBP 31-13; Miami Christian at Westminster Academy, 7, MC 30-17.

Last week top 20: 12-1; Season top 20: 72-16; Last week overall: 36-6; Season overall: 219-65

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

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