High School Sports

Booker T. faces Aquinas in what could be South Florida’s biggest showdown

St. Thomas Aquinas teammates surround Devonta'e Henry-Cole after he scores in the first quarter as St. Thomas Aquinas beat Booker T. Washington 35-3 on August 28, 2015.
St. Thomas Aquinas teammates surround Devonta'e Henry-Cole after he scores in the first quarter as St. Thomas Aquinas beat Booker T. Washington 35-3 on August 28, 2015. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

This afternoon at Tropical Park, the 2016 high school football season officially kicks off as South Miami takes on Varela.

Consider it an appetizer for what should be a memorable opening week in South Florida.

The main course comes Friday night at Traz Powell Stadium in what could be a match-up for the ages as St. Thomas Aquinas and Booker T. Washington square off in a battle of nationally ranked, powerhouse teams.

Although the Raiders walloped Booker T. last year in Fort Lauderdale to snap the Tornadoes 41-game winning streak, this year’s game has been anticipated for months as two of South Florida’s top programs meet.

The Raiders have won nine state championships with a pair of mythical national titles. Booker T. has five state championships and one on the national stage.

In last week’s preseason tuneups, Aquinas blew past host Dillard 51-0; the Tornadoes ran away from nationally-ranked American Heritage 27-7.

A victory Friday keeps the winner in the national title talk as Aquinas is the top-ranked team by USA Today with Booker T. ranked sixth.

Aquinas and Booker T. isn’t the only big game in Week 1 although it sure seems like it.

In Broward County, Deerfield Beach visits Hallandale on Friday with the hard-hitting Bucks looking like a serious challenger in Class 8A. Flanagan, the defending 8A champs, play host to West Palm’s Oxbridge Academy on Friday night in a big early-season test for the Falcons.

Boyd Anderson and Chaminade-Madonna, a pair of teams who lost their head coaches on the verge of fall practices, are both off this weekend.

Miami-Dade’s opening week is highlighted by a nice game on Opening Night as Carol City and Coral Gables meet up at Curtis Park Thursday at 7.

For all your high school football needs this weekend, follow Andre Fernandez, Manny Navarro and the Miami Herald high school sports team on Twitter.

▪ THURSDAY’S FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Varela vs. South Miami (Tropical), 3:30

Carol City vs. Coral Gables (Curtis), 7

x-Braddock vs. NMB (N. Miami), 7

x-Sunset vs. Palmetto (Southridge), 7

Miami Country Day at La Salle, 7

Monarch vs. Hollywood Hills (Cooper City), 7

ISB vs. Coral Springs Charter (Coral Glades), 7

McArthur vs. Ralston Valley, Col. (Key West), 7

Homestead vs. Ferguson (Tropical), 7:30

Somerset Charter vs. Silver Creek, Col. (Orlando), 8

▪ FRIDAY’S FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Miami Beach at Reagan, 3:30

Western vs. Goleman (Milander), 4

Boynton Beach S.Canyons at Palmer Trinity, 4

Aukela Christian at Somerset Academy, 4

Champagnat at Westminster Christian, 4

Mourning vs. Krop (Ives Estates), 4

Taravella vs. Orlando Evans (Disney WWOS), 5

x-Mater Academy at Miramar, 7

Keys Gate at Coconut Creek, 7

Highlands Ch.vs. Miami Community Ch.(Florida City), 7

Killian at Jacksonville Sandalwood, 7

Gulliver at Orlando Cel.(West Orange), 7

Monsignor Pace at Hialeah-Miami Lakes, 7

Calusa Prep at Everglades Prep, 7

Oxbridge Academy at Flanagan, 7

Deerfield Beach at Hallandale, 7

South Broward at Cypress Bay, 7

South Plantation at Cooper City, 7

Plantation at Cardinal Gibbons, 7

Coral Springs at Everglades, 7

Archbishop McCarthy at Naples Barron Collier, 7

University School at Nova, 7

Pompano Beach at Calvary Christian, 7

Pines Charter at North Broward Prep, 7

Riviera Beach Inlet Grove at Coral Glades, 7

Piper at Northeast, 7

West Broward at Douglas, 7

Stranahan at Dillard, 7

Blanche Ely at Citra North Marion, 7:30

Fort Lauderdale at Punta Gorda Charlotte, 7:30

Pinecrest Prep at Doral, 7:30

Marathon at Coral Shores, 7:30

Ransom Everglades at Florida Christian, 7:30

Westminster Academy at Key West, 7:30

St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Booker T. (Traz), 7:30

Central at Clermont East Ridge, 7:30

Columbus vs. Jackson (Curtis), 7:30

Edison at Southridge, 7:30

South Dade vs. Coral Reef (Harris), 7:30

Miami High vs. North Miami (N. Miami), 7:30

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

Hialeah Gardens vs. Westland Hialeah (Milander), 7:30

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