Miami-Dade High Schools

Big tests and an emotional home opener highlight this week’s high school football slate

Can Henry Parrish and the Columbus Explorers make another statement win this week when they face Carol City?
Can Henry Parrish and the Columbus Explorers make another statement win this week when they face Carol City? For the Miami Herald

Week 2 is in the books, and things are starting to take form. Carol City rested up while Columbus stamped its place firmly into the top 10 with a big early season upset of Northwestern. The Explorers reward? A Friday-night date with No. 1 Carol City at Traz Powell.

American Heritage, Deerfield Beach and Chaminade-Madonna all made the trip to Georgia to participate in the Freedom Bowl series and made it count as they all recorded big wins, especially Deerfield as the Bucks knocked off No. 2 nationally-ranked Buford (Ga.) and have now themselves moved into Max Preps’ Top 20 at No. 16.

The biggest shock of the first two weeks has been Cardinal Gibbons. There was much fanfare and hype surrounded the Chiefs heading into the 2018 season but, one week after getting clobbered by Central in a season opener, they were the one team that traveled to Georgia last weekend that did not enjoy success.

Not only did they lose to Milton (Ga.) but lost by a lot (42-17) and will need to get things straightened out quickly or risk seeing their season spiral out of control before it barely gets started.

This week’s top 20

1. Carol City; 2. St. Thomas Aquinas; 3. Central; 4. Deerfield Beach; 5. Plantation American Heritage; 6. Columbus; 7. Southridge; 8. Northwestern; 9. Chaminade-Madonna; 10. Booker T. Washington; 11. Palmetto; 12. University School; 13. South Dade; 14. Jackson; 15. Plantation; 16. Cardinal Gibbons; 17. Miramar; 18. Monsignor Pace; 19. Coconut Creek; 20. Taravella

MOVING IN: Coconut Creek, Taravella; DROPPING OUT: Western, Piper

Games of the week

No. 6 Columbus (2-0) vs. No. 1 Carol City (2-0), Friday, 7:30 at Traz Powell

Columbus coach Chris Merritt likely gave his kids all of 15 minutes to enjoy their big win over Northwestern last week before settling into the reality that things will only get tougher this week as they will take on arguably the best team in the state.

The Chiefs, who are so deep that their second team could probably beat many first teams in Miami-Dade and Broward, ended American Heritage’s long winning streak to open the season and will be well-rested after an off week. Columbus proved against Northwestern it can stand up and tough it out with an opponent that has had its number through the years but asking the Explorers to do it two weeks in a row is asking way too much.

BD’s PICK: Carol City 30-21.

No. 10 Booker T. (1-1) at No. 7 Southridge (2-0), Thursday, 7

After hanging in there for one half, it turned out to be a tough night for Booker T. as the Tornadoes wound up getting blitzed by crosstown rival Central last week. Southridge struggled before managing to knock off North Miami. Sedrick Irvin’s move from Miami High to “the Ridge” will pay dividends this year, but this is a big game for BTW as the Tornadoes will be looking to bounce back from the bad Central loss and have no intentions of repeating last year’s 4-5 campaign.

BD’s PICK: Booker T. Washington 27-21.

No. 5 Plantation American (1-1) at No. 17 Miramar (0-1), Friday, 7

After seeing its long winning streak come to an end to open the season, Heritage squeezed out a close last-second win in Georgia and will look to keep that momentum going. Miramar had a week off after a close loss to Northwestern to open the season. Hit hard by graduation, Heritage is in a transitional year of sorts but there still should be enough talent to pull this one out on the road making Miramar the best 0-2 team in South Florida.

BD’s PICK: Heritage 24-20.

No. 3 Central (2-0) at St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) (2-0), Saturday, 2

Pure logic would dictate there’s just no way the Rockets can keep up their strong start to the season after two brutally tough wins to open the season. But I learned long ago to take pure logic and throw it right out the window when it comes to Central, a team that knows how to travel out of town against big-time competition and bring back a win.

BD’s PICK: Central 23-17.

South Broward (0-2) at Douglas (1-0), Friday, 7

Normally this one might not make it into our “marquee” games of the week but clearly this will be a very special evening on Friday night as it will mark the Eagles’ first home football game since the awful events of last February. Thus, with many tributes to the lives lost planned, there will be plenty of emotion in the air and look for Douglas players, who had a nice season-opening win over St. Matthews (Canada) last Friday, to turn in an inspired effort.

BD’s PICK: Douglas 28-13.

The rest of the top 20

2. St. Thomas Aquinas (2-0) vs. Flanagan (0-1), Friday, 7: The Raiders roll over a far inferior opponent. BD’s Pick: Aquinas 48-7.

4. Deerfield Beach (2-0) vs. Westlake (Ga.) (2-0), Friday, 7 at Deerfield: If the Bucks can beat No. 2 nationally-ranked Buford (Ga.) on the road, imagine what they can do to the unranked team from Atlanta at home. BD’s Pick: Deerfield Beach 35-16.

8. Northwestern (1-1) at No. 13 South Dade, Friday, 7:30 (Harris): Not the easiest game for the Bulls to bounce back from after the Columbus loss, but Northwestern’s not likely they lose two in row. BD’s Pick: Northwestern 30-23.

9. Chaminade-Madonna (1-1) vs. Blanche Ely (1-1), Friday, 7: The Lions keep the momentum going after big out-of-town win. BD’s Pick: Chaminade 33-13.

11. Palmetto (2-0) vs. Ferguson (1-1), Friday, 7:30 (Southridge): Following a huge road win over Naples for the second year in a row, the Panthers knocking on the top 10 door and should roll. BD’s Pick: Palmetto 41-13.

12. University School (2-0) at Everglades Prep. (0-2), Friday, 3:30: The Sharks are off to fast start and will keep rolling here. BD’s Pick: University 38-9.

14. Jackson (2-0) vs. North Miami (1-1), Thursday, 7:30 (Traz): After two easy opponents, the Generals will get their first real test. BD’s Pick: Jackson 26-21.

15. Plantation (2-0) – IDLE.

16. Cardinal Gibbons (0-2) vs. Dillard (1-1), Friday, 7: Only huge preseason expectations keep Chiefs in the Top 20 and this week will be no cakewalk against a talented Dillard team either. BD’s Pick: Gibbons 31-20.

18. Pace (2-0) at Naples Gulf Coast (2-0), Friday, 7:30:. Tough road game for the Spartans as undefeated Gulf Coast defeated Hialeah last week, but look for Pace to find a way to stay unbeaten. BD’s Pick: Pace 20-17.

19. Coconut Creek (2-0) vs. Monarch (2-0), Friday, 7: The Cougars make their Top-20 debut but will have a tough one against their undefeated rival. BD’s Pick: Coconut Creek 28-21.

20. Taravella (2-0) at Coffee, (Ga.) (3-0), Friday, 7: A nice win over Nova last week got the Trojans into the Top 20, but they will face a stiff road test in Georgia against an unbeaten opponent. BD’s Pick: Taravella 17-16.

OTHER GAMES

THURSDAY: Miami-Dade: Hialeah Gardens at Varela, 3:30; HG 34-14; Coral Park vs. Homestead (Harris), 3:30; Homestead 23-13; Mater Academy vs. South Miami (Tropical), 3:30; SM 21-20; Miami Springs at Reagan, 3:30; MS 24-16; Somerset Silver Palms at Coral Springs Charter, 7; CSC 30-20; Miami High vs. Southwest (Tropical), 7; SW 24-21; Norland vs. Edison (Curtis), 7:30; NOR 27-14.

FRIDAY: Goleman vs. Mourning (Ives Estates), 3:30; GOLE 37-12; Island Christian at Miami Christian, 3:30; MC 40-14; North Miami Beach at Belen Jesuit, 4; Belen 23-20; Braddock at Palm Beach Central, 7; PBC 35-14; Coral Reef at Miami Beach (Memorial), 7; MB 24-10; Westland Hialeah at Doral Academy, 7; Doral 48-7; Krop at Vero Beach, 7; VB 41-13; Florida Christian at Marathon, 7; Marathon 28-24; Westminster Christian at Ransom Everglades, 7; WC 20-16; Palm Beach Benjamin at LaSalle, 7:30; Benjamin 33-21; Champagnat at Superior Collegiate, 7:30; Champagnat 30-17; Coral Gables vs. Killian (Tropical), 7:30; CG 17-14; North Broward Prep. at Gulliver Prep. 4: GP 23-21; Palmer Trinity at Westminster Academy, 7; WA 27-22; Pompano Beach at Hollywood Hills, 4; HH 16-14; Somerset at Somerset Canyons, 4; Somerset 22-14; Archbishop McCarthy at Melbourne Central Catholic, 7; MCC 31-26; Piper at Boyd Anderson, 7; Piper 19-16; Pine Crest at Calvary Christian, 7; CC 33-20; Cooper City at Ft. Lauderdale (Northeast), 7; FTL 27-17; Coral Springs at Coral Glades, 7; CG 17-16; Western at Hallandale, 7; Western 27-20; West Broward at McArthur, 7; McArthur 22-17; South Plantation at Nova, 7; Nova 34-17; Pines Charter at Boca St. John Paul, 7; SJP 21-13; Everglades at Thomasville (Ga.), 8; Thomasville 30-16; North Broward Prep. at Gulliver Prep. 4: GP 23-21; Palmer Trinity at Westminster Academy, 7; WA 27-22;

SATURDAY: Coral Shores vs. St. Brendan (Tropical) 1; CS 28-13.

LAST WEEK OVERALL: 40-12; LAST WEEK TOP 20: 11-4; SEASON OVERALL: 77-22; SEASON TOP 20: 24-7

Bill Daley can be reached at billd@curtispub.net. Follow him on Twitter: @Billykid11

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