Dolphins High school Media day at Hard Rock Stadium
The 2019 high school football season got under way last weekend with very few surprises as most of our Top 20 teams got out of the gate running.
Two of the exceptions were the No. 1 Central Rockets, who ran into a buzzsaw in the form of No. 2 nationally-ranked St. Frances Academy (Md.), and No. 4 Deerfield Beach, which took on Carol City in the Dade vs. Broward Classic at Traz Powell. The Bucks did not look like a team ready to challenge for the 8A state title as some (including yours truly) are predicting and both dropped back slightly in our poll.
Picking games in the first week is never easy because there is a feeling-out process as far as who’s going to be good and not-so-good, especially with the smaller schools but we managed to go 34-12 overall and 16-2 in Top 20 games.
This week’s top 20
1. St. Thomas Aquinas; 2. Northwestern; 3. Carol City; 4. Central; 5. Columbus; 6. Palmetto; 7. Plantation American Heritage; 8. Deerfield Beach; 9. Chaminade-Madonna; 10. Western; 11. University School; 12. South Dade; 13. Dillard; 14. Booker T. Washington; 15. Plantation; 16. Champagnat; 17. Miramar; 18. Gulliver Prep; 19. Hialeah; 20. Cardinal Gibbons.
Knocking on the door: North Miami Beach, Southridge, Edison, Ft. Lauderdale, Coconut Creek, Hallandale.
This week’s top games
No. 14 Booker T. Washington (1-0) vs. No. 4 Central (0-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m., Traz Powell: Nobody could definitively answer the last time Central was on the short end of a running clock like they were Saturday against St. Frances. The thinking was at least 12 years, predating the Telly Lockette days.
Suffice to say the Rockets will not be in a good mood when they take the field Friday night and will be looking to bounce back. Even though Booker. T. Washington is still a very good team despite the loss of head coach Tim “Ice” Harris, this is the wrong time to be playing the Rockets, who will look to get back on track. BD’s PICK: Central 33-17.
No. 6 Palmetto (1-0) at No. 20 Cardinal Gibbons (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.: Palmetto, with as much preseason hype as the team has ever seen, got things off on the right foot last week by routing Killian. Meanwhile Gibbons may be the defending 5A state champ but head coach Matt DuBoc and his staff were hit hard by graduation and have lots of holes to fill. It showed up in a big way last week as the Chiefs were no match for Northwestern, getting skunked 32-0.
I don’t expect a lopsided score this week, but I look for Palmetto to head north and pick up a quality road win over a team that may not win another state title but is still very good. BD’s PICK: Palmetto 24-17
No. 17 Miramar (1-0) at No. 13 Dillard (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.: The top matchup of the week in Broward County will feature a Miramar team that enjoyed a nice season opening win last week over a quality opponent in Norland against Dillard, which put a 55-0 beating on Piper. With Deerfield Beach and Western getting a lot of preseason hype, the Panthers could very quietly wind up being the best team in Broward this season. They defend their home field well. BD’s PICK: Dillard 20-13
No. 3 Carol City (1-0) vs. No. 2 Northwestern (1-0), Thursday, Traz Powell, 7 p.m.: By far the top game of the week in Dade County, “the Mecca” will be rocking on Saturday night as these two rivals go at it again. It will be a little different this time as the Bulls and Chiefs no longer reside in the same district or even the same classification and thus won’t see each other in the postseason.
Both got off to great starts last weekend, especially the Chiefs who looked very impressive in a convincing win over Deerfield Beach. The Bulls also turned in a big 32-0 beatdown of Gibbons. Look for both of these teams to put on a show, a game that could easily come down to the last possession. Overtime is even a possibility. BD’s PICK: Northwestern 21-20.
Bergen Catholic (N.J.) at No. 1 St. Thomas Aquinas (1-0), Saturday, 7 p.m.: The Raiders traveled to California last weekend and got a nice hard-fought season-opening road win over De La Salle. Bergen Catholic (from Oradell, New Jersey) is a good team (ranked No. 64 nationally Max Preps) but not in the same class as St. Thomas.
The Raiders, ranked No. 1 in the country in USA Today’s Super 25, have their eyes not only returning to the top in the state of Florida, but another national championship as well. BD’s PICK: Aquinas 34-16
The rest of the top 20
5. Columbus (1-0) at Kissimmee Osceola (1-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.: After a nice season-opening win over Belen, a really challenging road game for the Explorers as they travel upstate to take on this Central Florida power. This one will be close. BD’s Pick: Columbus 24-20.
7. Plantation American Heritage (1-0) at Gonzaga (D.C.), Friday, 6:30 p.m.: After a good season-opening win over Pace, Patriots travel to the nation’s capital for what will be a very difficult game against the No. 13 (Max Preps) team in the country. BD’s Pick: Heritage 27-24.
8. Deerfield Beach (0-1) at St. John’s (D.C.), Saturday, 2 p.m.: Like Heritage, the Bucks also make the trip to D.C. to take on a national power. Not a good spot for Deerfield as St. John’s (No. 5 Max Preps) pounded Southridge 48-0 last week. BD’s Pick: St. Johns 30-20.
9. Chaminade-Madonna (1-0) at Hallandale (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.: Hallandale got a nice season-opening win over Boyd Anderson and might be a team on the rise. But Chaminade is a major step up for Chargers. The Lions should come out on top. BD’s Pick: Chaminade 28-16.
10. Western (1-0) vs. UMS-Wright Prep Saturday, 7 p.m. (Milton, Ga.): The Wildcats are stepping into the big time, traveling to Georgia to play in Freedom Bowl. Wright Prep, from Mobile, Alabama, does not figure to be an obstacle. BD’s Pick: Western 27-14.
11. University School (1-0) vs. No. 19 Hialeah (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.: The Sharks got an impressive road rout of Pahokee last week and should keep rolling here although Hialeah might test them. BD’s Pick: University 31-20
12. South Dade (1-0) vs. Homestead (0-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m. Harris Field: Once upon a time, this crosstown rivalry had a lot of sizzle. Now, it’s a mismatch. BD’s Pick: South Dade 38-9.
15. Plantation vs. McArthur, Friday, 7 p.m., PAL Field: Another good Broward game between a couple of good teams. The Mustangs gave Chaminade a battle last week while Plantation won big. Look for a close one here. BD’s Pick: Plantation 23-17
16. Champagnat (1-0) at Lowndes (Ga), Friday, 8 p.m.: I know nothing about Lowndes other than it’s in Valdosta, Georgia. What I do know is that the Lions love to go on the road and beat you on your own field. BD’s Pick: Champagnat 31-14
18. Gulliver Prep. (1-0) vs. Belen Jesuit (0-1), Friday, 4 p.m.: A good battle between old rivals. Gulliver got off to great start last week with win over Gables while Belen fell hard to rival Columbus. Look for a close finish. BD’s Pick: Gulliver 27-23
THURSDAY: Miami-Dade: Westland Hialeah at Reagan, 3:30: Reagan 28-6; Sunset vs. Mourning (Ives), 7: Sunset 34-0; Coral Reef vs. Killian (Tropical), 7: Killian 33-14; Jackson at Doral Academy, 7: Doral 30-16; Broward: South Broward vs. Stranahan (Dillard), 7: Stranahan 17-14.
FRIDAY: Miami-Dade: Calvary Christian at Westminster Christian, 4: CC 23-21; Goleman at Varela, 3:30: Goleman 34-10; Hialeah Gardens at Ferguson, 3:30: Ferguson 21-7; Miami Springs vs. Krop (Ives), 3:30: Krop 20-7; Pinecrest Prep. at Palmer Trinity, 4: PT 35-13; Westminster Academy at Somerset Silver Palms, 4:30; WA 26-14; Edison at Naples, 7:30: Naples 31-23; Mater Academy vs. Miami High (Curtis), 7:30: MHS 38-12; Southwest vs. South Miami (Tropical),7:30: SW 25-20; Norland at IMG Academy, 7:30: IMG 37-17; Coral Shores at Florida Christian, 7:30: FC 24-19; Hialeah-Miami Lakes at Jacksonville Bolles, 7:30: Bolles 42-6; Coral Gables at Apopka, 7: Apopka 33-13; Broward: Blanche Ely at Coral Glades, 7: Ely 26-7; Nova at Coral Springs, 7: CS 34-14; Cypress Bay at Archbishop McCarthy, 7: CB 27-16; Flanagan at Cooper City, 7: CC 30-17; Piper vs. Monarch (Coconut Creek), 7: Monarch 24-9; Ft. Pierce Westwood at Douglas, 7: Douglas 28-20; Everglades vs. West Broward (Flanagan), 7: WB 23-12; Ft. Lauderdale at Vero Beach, 7: VB 31-20; Coconut Creek at South Plantation, 7: Creek 34-10; Boyd Anderson at Naples Barron Collier, 7: BC 20-16
SATURDAY: North Miami vs. North Miami Beach (Milander), 7: NMB 22-21; Monsignor Pace at Clewiston, 7:30: Pace 27-21; Miami Christian at WPB Berean Christian, 7: MC 34-12.