High School Sports

Andre C. Fernandez: Central’s running game will control DeMatha

1. CENTRAL VS. DEMATHA

Noon, Saturday, FedEx Aux Field, Landover, Md.

The national championship implications for this game grew following Bradenton IMG Academy’s loss to American Heritage on Saturday.

Central moved up to No. 2 in both the USA Today and MaxPreps national polls, with DeMatha moving into the top five at No. 5.

Central is no stranger to tough road games, having won three consecutive matchups against out-of-state opponents on the road.

This included victories at Hoover (Alabama) and Stephenson (Georgia) to open the 2014 season.

The Rockets defense is once again replete with talent, led by Donovan Thompson (FIU commit), Keir Thomas (FSU commit), Jamel Cook (FSU commit) and Eric Mitchell (Florida commit).

DeMatha has its own set of top-notch defenders, led by end Shane Simmons (Penn State commit), and defensive backs Darryl Turner (Maryland commit) and Robbie Robinson (Arizona State commit).

Neither of these teams will yield too many points this season, but because this is the first week of the regular season, the opposing offenses might have a chance.

Central’s ability to run the football behind a stout offensive line will make the difference.

Andre’s pick: Central 24, DeMatha 17.

7. BOOKER T. AT 2. ST. THOMAS

8 p.m., Friday.

Booker T. nearly experienced defeat for the first time in three seasons this past Saturday before putting together a thrilling comeback against Citra North Marion in an exhibition game.

The young Tornadoes stepped up in crunch time and held on defense with three key stops. The offense put together a couple of clutch drives. And special teams were huge as kicker Jose Borregales, recently committed to FIU, hit a go-ahead 44-yard field goal, and the Tornadoes later blocked North Marion’s game-winning attempt as time expired.

Although the victory was encouraging for a squad that needs that kind of late-game experience, Aquinas presents a much tougher obstacle.

The Raiders will be at home with a distinctly hostile atmosphere for Booker T. and with a squad that has some of the top prospects in the country at nearly every position.

That showed last week when Aquinas didn’t even play as well as it could and still blanked a very good Dillard squad 24-0.

Aside from being the Miami-Dade County record, Booker T.’s 41-game winning streak is the sixth-longest active streak in the nation.

Keeping it alive past Friday would be an impressive feat.

Andre’s pick: St. Thomas Aquinas 24, Booker T. 10.

11. JACKSON VS. 5. COLUMBUS

7 p.m., Wed., Tropical.

Jackson returned to prominence last season by going 6-5 and making the playoffs. A lopsided Soul Bowl victory over Northwestern really opened some eyes.

The Generals appeared to pick up where they left off last week with a 34-3 drubbing of Cypress Bay in an exhibition game. Quarterback Desmond Phillips showed why he is one of the county’s best.

Columbus struggled and lost 25-24 to Winter Haven in its preseason game.

The Explorers’ defense is still one of the best units around if it puts it all together. But if Jackson wins this one, the Generals would send a clear signal they are ready to contend for a state title.

Andre’s pick: Columbus 21, Jackson 17.

9. MIRAMAR AT IMG ACADEMY

2 p.m., Sunday.

Even though it was an exhibition game, American Heritage delivered the first major shakeup of the season by stunning nationally ranked IMG at its home field Saturday night.

Miramar had just a couple of hours earlier handled American in the Patriot Bowl 34-6.

Can Miramar deliver an even more impressive victory on the road? It’s hard to see IMG losing two in a row at home to start the season with the kind of team it has. But win or lose Sunday, Miramar is showing it will still be a contender this season.

Andre’s pick: IMG Academy 20, Miramar 14.

Miami-Dade games

THURSDAY’S GAMES, ANDRE’S PICK

Hialeah vs. Miami Springs (Milander), 7, Springs 14-13

Varela vs. South Miami (Southridge), 4, S. Miami 24-14

Palmetto vs. Sunset (Southridge), 7, Palmetto 20-18

Scheck Hillel at Miami Country Day, 7, Hillel 23-20

FRIDAY’S GAMES, ANDRE’S PICK

North Miami vs. Miami High (Curtis), 7:30, MHS 27-14

Krop vs. Mourning (N. Miami), 7:30, Krop 21-6

Champagnat Catholic at Westminster Christian, 4, WC 31-21

Southwest vs. Coral Park (Tropical), 7:30, Southwest 35-7

Reagan vs. Miami Beach (Memorial), 7, Reagan 35-14

Ferguson vs. Homestead (Harris), 7:30, Homestead 28-7

Gulliver at Oxbridge Academy, 7, Oxbridge 35-28

Hialeah-Miami Lakes at Monsignor Pace, 7:30, Pace 17-14

Chaminade-Madonna at Belen, 4, Belen 27-24

Goleman at Western, 7, Western 24-7

Calvary Christian at Florida Christian, 7:30, Calvary 35-31

Doral at Pembroke Pines Charter, 7, Doral 41-7

West. Hialeah vs. Hialeah Gardens (Milander), 7:30, Gardens 28-10

Miami Community Charter at Archbishop Curley, 4, Curley 22-6

Palmer Trinity at Ransom Everglades, 7:30, Palmer 28-7

Tavernier Coral Shores at La Salle, 7:30, C. Shores 17-13

Dade Christian at Fort Myers Canterbury, 7, Dade Chr. 33-14

Pinecrest Prep at Archbishop Carroll, 4, Carroll 27-13

Somerset Charter at Marathon, 7:30, Marathon 16-10

SATURDAY’S GAMES, ANDRE’S PICK

NMB at Braddock, 10 a.m., NMB 16-14

Mater Academy vs. Killian (Southridge), 7, Killian 17-14

Everglades Prep vs. Keys Gate (Harris), 7, Keys Gate 23-17

Broward games

THURSDAY’S GAMES, ANDRE’S PICK

Cooper City at South Plantation, 7, S. Plant.19-14

Hollywood Hills vs. Monarch (Deerfield), 7, Hills 34-7

Coral Glades vs. West Broward (Flanagan), 7, Glades 13-10

Highlands Christian at Pompano Beach, 7, Pompano 28-13

FRIDAY’S GAMES, ANDRE’S PICK

Everglades at Coral Springs, 7, Everglades 20-7

Taravella at McArthur, 7, McArthur14-13

University School at Nova, 7, University 26-12

Boyd Anderson at South Broward,, 7 Boyd 34-7

Northeast at Piper, 7, Northeast 21-3

Fort Lauderdale at Punta Gorda Charlotte, 7, Charlotte 35-34

Somerset at Moore Haven, 7, Moore Haven 14-12

Chaminade-Madonna at Belen, 4, Belen 27-24

Goleman at Western, 7, Western 24-7

Calvary Christian at Florida Christian, 7:30, Calvary 35-31

Doral at Pembroke Pines Charter, 7, Doral 41-7

Coral Springs Charter at Palm Beach Benjamin, 7, CSC 38-27

Naples Barron Collier at Archbishop McCarthy, , McCarthy 27-20

Village Academy at North Broward Prep, 7, Village 38-13

Westminster Academy at Kings Academy, 7, Kings 27-24

Pine Crest at Boca Pope John Paul II, 7, Pine Crest 31-13

SATURDAY’S GAME, ANDRE’S PICK

Citra North Marion at Blanche Ely, 7, N. Marion 27-12

  Comments