High School Sports

Andre C. Fernandez: Northwestern Bulls have history on their side

17. NORTHWESTERN (5-4) VS. 18. JACKSON (5-4) 7:30 p.m.,

Friday, Traz.

Jackson is capable of securing a rare victory in this series.

It makes sense in my mind that the Generals showing the improvement they have this season under first-year coach Earl Little could win this rivalry game.

But over the past quarter of a century, Jackson has rarely been able to win a Soul Bowl against the Bulls even when considered a potential favorite.

Jackson is better and playoff-bound but still up against all that one-sided history.

And Northwestern just clinched a return to the postseason, increasing its own young team’s confidence going into this game, which always means a lot to both communities.

This one’s going to be fun.

Andre’s pick: Northwestern 14, Jackson 13.

9. CORAL GABLES (7-2) VS. 19. SOUTHWEST (8-1)

Coral Gables appears to be picking up momentum in recent weeks and is out to prove it still belongs in the discussion as to who will win the Class 8A state championship.

Southwest is reeling after letting another opportunity slip away in Monday’s district tiebreaker.

The longtime rivalry has been a little more even in recent years, with Southwest winning more often.

But if Gables has recaptured the winning formula of punishing ground game and stingy defense coupled with a little bit from its passing game, it will be tough to beat in this game and in the upcoming postseason.

Andre’s pick: Coral Gables 20, Southwest 10.

BLANCHE ELY (5-4) AT DILLARD (5-4) 7 p.m., Saturday.

Dillard might be out of the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean the Panthers are done playing teams tough.

Dillard knocked Monarch from the ranks of the unbeaten last week in a 22-16 overtime thriller.

The Panthers next will try to spoil things a bit for a longtime rival that is also playoff bound.

Ely won the District 14-7A title and has been playing better in the second half of the season.

But these upset-minded Panthers are still among the better teams in Broward County and look poised to earn another victory and secure bragging rights in the annual Broward Soul Bowl.

Andre’s pick: Dillard 21, Ely 18.

13. AMERICAN (8-1) VS. CAROL CITY (4-5) 7 p.m., Thursday, Traz.

American won another district title in even more dominant fashion than previous years and appears poised to go deeper in the playoffs this season.

It will be interesting to see Carol City’s reaction following Monday night’s defeat in a district tiebreaker to Northwestern.

The Chiefs had high expectations entering the season but started 0-4 and eventually missed out on returning to the playoffs.

American takes advantage of the situation and squeaks by with another hard-fought victory.

Andre’s pick: American 17, Carol City 12.