High School Sports

Brutal schedule has been a challenge for Carol City, but Chiefs still formidable

Carol City coach Joshua Taylor shook his head in defiance last Friday night following his team’s 45-24 not-as-close-as-it-looked beating from the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders.

“Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us so we’re sure not going to feel sorry for ourselves,” he said.

Taylor referred to what many think might be the toughest six-game stretch to ever open a season by any team and how the Chiefs are 2-4 and looked like a pretty beaten down team, both physically and mentally.

But despite its tough start, Carol City might be the first team to ever be 2-4 and still be in the Miami Herald’s Top 20 South Florida poll, checking in at No. 14 this week.

With another road trip upstate to Ocala Vanguard and South Dade waiting on deck, one can only wonder if Carol City will survive to even make the postseason. And even if the Chiefs do, what kind of physical shape will they be in.

As an example, Booker T. Washington played a similar “murderer’s row” schedule last season and when the first round of the playoffs came around, quarterback Torrey Morrison, so important to that offense, was hobbled with an ankle injury and the Tornadoes found themselves knocked out by Glades Central.

This week’s top 20

1. St. Thomas Aquinas; 2. Central; 3. South Dade; 4. Plantation American Heritage; 5. Chaminade-Madonna; 6. Northwestern; 7. Palmetto; 8. Dillard; 9. University School; 10. Western; 11. Deerfield Beach; 12. Booker T. Washington; 13. Cardinal Gibbons; 14. Carol City; 15. Columbus 16. Plantation; 17. Gulliver Prep; 18. Douglas; 19. Monarch; 20. Calvary Christian. Knocking on the door: Champagnat, Miramar, McArthur,, Stranahan, North Miami Beach.

This week’s top games

No. 6 Northwestern (3-2) vs. No. 2 Central (5-1), Friday, 7:30, Traz Powell: Even though it’s not a district showdown, this could be the marquee matchup of the year in Miami-Dade County. Traz Powell will be jammed and rocking as these two neighborhood rivals should once again put on a show.

The Rockets have won five in a row after an opening week loss to St. Frances while the Bulls, smarting from a lopsided loss to Lowndes up in Georgia last week, have dropped two of their last three. This is a tough one to call and overtime is always a possibility but I’ll lean toward Central as the Bulls have struggled with way too many penalties each week. BD’s Pick: Central 27-23.

Jacksonville Trinity Christian (3-3) vs. No. 12 Booker T. Washington (4-2), Thursday, 7, Traz Powell: Don’t be fooled by Trinity Christian’s record. The Conquerors, who are still favored to play in the 3A state title game, have played a very tough schedule and will be a formidable challenge for BTW.

The Tornadoes got manhandled last week by IMG Academy (52-14) but that’s nothing new as IMG does that to most of its opponents. Booker T. has emerged as the favorite to possibly come out of the vaunted “Region of Death” in Region 4A in November and could make a big statement here by knocking off TC. BD’s Pick: Booker T. Washington 24-20.

No. 4 Plantation American Heritage (4-1) at No. 13 Cardinal Gibbons (4-1), Friday, 7: Even though these long-time district rivals are no longer in the same classification, that won’t make this contest any less intense.

Gibbons ended Heritage’s dreams of a third consecutive state title last November with a lopsided win at home in the regional final and the Patriots will surely be looking to avenge that loss. Meanwhile the Chiefs survived a sluggish start to the season and have now won four straight. Like Central/NW, this one is a coin flip game. Heads Heritage. Tails Gibbons. It came up heads. BD’s Pick: Heritage 28-26

Rest of the top 20

1. St. Thomas Aquinas (4-0) at Jacksonville Mandarin (3-2), Friday, 6: A month ago, this one had a lot of sizzle when the game was scheduled. But Mandarin have lost twice since then and even with five-star quarterback Carson Beck behind center, the Mustangs are still a shell of last year’s 8A state champion. Raiders should cruise. BD’s Pick: Aquinas 34-17.

3. South Dade (5-0) vs. Southridge (2-3), Friday, 7:30, Harris Field: This one looked competitive in August. Not anymore. BD’s Pick: South Dade 38-12.

5. Chaminade-Madonna (4-1) vs. Doral Academy (2-4), Friday, 7: Only question here is if Lions can institute a running clock. BD’s Pick: Chaminade 41-13.

7. Palmetto (5-1): IDLE

8. Dillard (6-0) vs. Archbishop McCarthy (1-5), Friday, 7: This one will get out of hand very quickly. BD’s Pick: Dillard 45-6.

9. University School (4-1) vs. Miami Christian (3-2), Friday, 7: Fresh from a week off, Sharks should keep things rolling. BD’s Pick: University 40-14.

10. Western (4-1) vs. Flanagan (4-1), Friday, 7: Yes, Flanagan has the same record but wins are soft and these two are not on the same level. Cats should roll. BD’s Pick: Western 37-16.

11. Deerfield Beach (4-2): IDLE.

14. Carol City (2-4) at Ocala Vanguard (3-1), Friday, 7:30: Another tough one for Chiefs but I say they get it done this week. They’re due. BD’s Pick: Carol City 23-17.

15. Columbus (3-2) at Monsignor Pace (2-4), Friday, 7:30: A first-ever meeting between these two private schools in football. Pace has some talent waiting to bubble to the surface but not this week. BD’s Pick: Columbus 35-16.

16. Plantation (5-0) vs. South Plantation (4-2), Friday, 7, PAL Field: Big rivalry game here and unbeaten Colonels will need to keep their eye on the ball to avoid an upset. BD’s Pick: Plantation 27-16.

17. Gulliver Prep. (5-0) vs. North Broward Prep. (2-3), Friday, 4: Raiders enjoyed a week off last week and should be fresh and ready to remain unbeaten. BD’s Pick: Gulliver 33-17.

18. Douglas (4-0) at Taravella (2-3), Friday, 7, Coral Springs HS: An important district matchup as Douglas can take control of the district. A hunch here that Taravella give the Eagles a battle. BD’s Pick: Douglas 19-17.

19. Monarch (5-1) vs. Coral Springs (2-4), Friday, 7, Coconut Creek HS: Knights should continue to cruise. Waiting for big one with Deerfield in a few weeks. BD’s Pick: Monarch 34-13.

20. Calvary Christian (6-0) vs. North Palm Beach Benjamin (4-1), Friday, 7: Calvary makes its debut in Top 20 and will immediately be put to the test as Benjamin is very good. Home field will help. BD’s Pick: Calvary 24-21.

Other games

Thursday: Miami-Dade: South Miami at Belen, 7: Belen 30-20; Miami High vs. Jackson (Curtis), 7: MHS 23-20; Coral Gables vs. Mater Academy (Milander), 7: Gables 41-8; Miami Beach vs. Coral Reef (Harris), 7: Reef 34-6 Broward: Blanche Ely vs. Stranahan (Dillard), 7: Stranahan 23-17

Friday: Miami-Dade: Hialeah-Miami Lakes at Braddock, 3:30: Braddock 27-13; Mourning at Ferguson, 3:30: Ferguson 40-6; Reagan at Hialeah Gardens, 3:30: Reagan 20-14; Westland Hialeah at Sunset, 3:30: Sunset 44-0; Varela vs. Krop (Ives Estates), 7:30: Krop 33-14; Coral Park vs. Goleman (Milander), 7:30: Goleman 40-12; Killian vs. Southwest (Tropical), 7:30: Killian 28-20; Palmer Trinity at Palm Glades Prep., 4: PT 24-17; LaSalle at Boca Raton St. Andrews, 7: SA 34-16; Pines Charter at St. Brendan, 7: STB 30-14; Broward: American at McArthur, 7: McArthur 36-9; Miami Springs at South Broward, 7: South Broward 44-12; Cooper City at Everglades, 7: Cooper City 17-16; Hallandale at Miramar, 7: Miramar 30-6; Coral Glades at Delray American Heritage, 7: AH 38-7; Fort Lauderdale at Cypress Bay, 7: FTL 24-16; Hollywood Hills at Nova, 7: Nova 23-12; Piper vs. West Broward (Flanagan), 7: WB 15-14; Pompano Beach at Westminster Academy, 7: WA 42-6; Coconut Creek at Bradenton Manatee, 7: Manatee 37-14; Somerset Academy at Ft. Myers SW Florida Christian, 7: SA 20-16

Saturday: Northeast at Boyd Anderson, 7: BA 40-8

Last week overall: 37-7; top 20: 12-1.

Season overall: 210-50; top 20: 77-12

Bill Daley can be reached at: billd@curtispub.net.

Follow him on Twitter: @Billykid11

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