When you’re hot, you’re hot. After turning in an impressive 36-6 mark two weeks ago, I managed to even top that last week by correctly predicting 39 of 42 games and threading the needle by going a perfect 14-0 in top-20 games. The only depressing thing is that after going a torrid 75-8 over two weeks, there’s likely nowhere to go but down from here.
If there was one thing I took from last week’s action, it’s that it appears the Carol City Chiefs are playing at a level all by themselves. And while I’m sure that Roland Smith and the folks at Central might bristle over that statement and will have their shot at CC on Oct. 26, how could anyone not take away that opinion after what they did to Southridge last week?
In case you missed it, they traveled south to take on a very good Spartans team on their field and the final was 50-0. That’s no typo. Even the folks at Northwestern might be saying, “give us our shot” which they will get Friday night, but right now it would appear this is Carol City’s 6A state title to lose.
Having said that, there could be some dark clouds on the horizon as word has gotten out that the program could be in trouble with the state over some ineligible players that could possibly result in some early-season forfeits.
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That still remains to be determined but regardless of that outcome, this team is so deep that even the loss of a few players and a few games will likely do nothing to slow down what at this moment is a downhill runaway freight train.
This week’s top 20
1. Carol City; 2. Central; 3. St. Thomas Aquinas; 4. Plantation American Heritage; 5. South Dade; 6. Deerfield Beach; 7. Columbus; 8. University School; 9. Chaminade-Madonna; 10. Plantation; 11. Palmetto; 12. Southridge; 13. Cardinal Gibbons; 14.McArthur; 15. Northwestern; 16. Booker T. Washington; 17. Western 18. Dillard; 19. Hialeah; 20. Westminster Christian
Moving in: Westminster Christian; DROPPING OUT: Coral Gables
Games of the week
No. 13 Cardinal Gibbons (4-2) at No. 4 Plantation American Heritage (5-1), Friday, 7:30: The game of the week in Broward County will feature a Heritage team that has won four state titles in the past five years against a district opponent in Gibbons it has frustrated along the way with close wins both in the regular and postseason.
This was supposed to be the year the Chiefs unseated the district giant but they got off to a terrible start and the Patriots, who were supposed to be in a more-or-less rebuilding mode, have continued to play at a high level. This game figures to be close once again, but until Gibbons can prove somebody wrong, I’m not going against a trend that never seems to end.
BD’s PICK: American Heritage 27-23.
No. 1 Carol City (6-0) vs. No. 15 Northwestern (4-3), Friday, 7:30 at Traz Powell: The 2018 season has been a rough one for Northwestern as the defending 6A state champions have found out what it’s like playing with a bullseye on your back every week. Meanwhile, Carol City continues to play at a level that nobody with the possible exception of Central can even come close to matching. Having said that, never ever underestimate the collective toughness of the Bulls and you would do well to expect that Max Edwards will have his troops ready to go against the Chiefs. But it won’t be enough.
BD’s PICK: Carol City 34-21.
No. 9 Chaminade-Madonna (4-2) vs. No. 16 Booker T. Washington (4-3), Friday, 7:30 at Curtis Park: A really tough one to pick here in a game that easily has overtime potential. Chaminade is on a week off while Booker T. survived a late collapse against Gables last week before hanging on for the win. The Tornadoes are in the midst of playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation and, with Carol City on deck next week in a game they do not figure to win, the need for a victory falls on their side this week. Chaminade is in good shape for the playoffs regardless of this outcome.
BD’s Pick: Booker T. Washington. 28-24
Palmer Trinity (6-1) at No. 20 Westminster Christian (7-0), Friday, 4 p.m.: How bout a shout-out for the “Little Guys”! While all of the high-profile big shots have been stealing the headlines all season, these two Palmetto Bay schools have very quietly put together outstanding seasons.
Ed Holly has done an especially nice job of rebuilding a Westminster program that dipped severely when Sedrick Irvin departed a few years ago and I look for the Warriors, who make their debut in this week’s Top 20 poll, to remain unbeaten.
BD’s PICK: Westminster Christian 24-20.
The rest of the top 20
2. Central (6-1) vs. Hialeah-Miami Lakes (0-6), Thursday, 7, (Traz Powell): The Rockets will be able to play a lot of reserves in this one. BD’s Pick: Central 45-0.
3. St. Thomas Aquinas (5-1) vs. Fort Lauderdale (5-1), Friday, 7, (Northeast HS): This will be a tricky one for the Raiders as they could be a little flat following last week’s huge win over Deerfield and the Flying L’s are a nice team having a nice season. BD’s Pick: Aquinas 37-17
5. South Dade (6-0) vs. Killian (3-4), Friday, 7:30 (Harris Field): With two huge games against Palmetto and Southridge on deck, the Bucs need to keep their eye on the ball in this district matchup. BD’s PICK: South Dade 31-6.
6. Deerfield Beach (6-1) vs. Douglas (4-2), Friday, 7: Following last week’s lopsided loss to St. Thomas, the Bucks are the wrong team to be playing this week. BD’s Pick: Deerfield Beach 40-17.
7. Columbus (6-1) at Miami Beach (3-3), Friday, 7: The Explorers are getting ready for a big showdown with Gables in a few weeks. BD’s Pick: Columbus 38-13.
8, University School (6-0) vs. Champagnat (3-3), Thursday, 7: U. School made a huge statement last week clobbering Delray Heritage and will get little resistance from the defending 2A state champs who are struggling this year with a depleted roster. BD’s PICK: University School 38-12.
10. Plantation (6-0) at No. 17 Western (5-1), Friday, 7: Plantation nearly stumbled against Everglades last week and I smell a mild upset here from Adam Ratkovich and his home-standing Wildcats. BD’s Pick: Western 19-17
11. Palmetto (5-1) vs. Homestead (5-1), Friday, 7:30 (Southridge): With a huge showdown against South Dade on deck, the Panthers need to be careful here as Homestead is a very good team and capable of pulling off the upset. BD’s Pick: Palmetto 27-20.
12. Southridge (5-2): IDLE
14. McArthur (6-0) at Hollywood Hills (2-4), Friday, 4: The Mustangs should keep rolling and remain unbeaten in this district matchup. BD’s Pick: McArthur 33-14
18. Dillard (5-2) vs. Northeast (0-6), Saturday, 7: The Panthers will lock up first place in their district with the easy win. BD’s Pick: Dillard 42-6.
19. Hialeah (5-1) vs. North Miami Beach (2-4), Thursday, 7, (Ives Estates): With a pending showdown against North Miami on the horizon, the T-Breds can’t afford to let up against the scrappy Chargers. BD’s PICK: Hialeah 28-16
THURSDAY: Miami-Dade: Westland Hialeah vs. Miami Springs, 3:30 (Milander), MS 42-7; Hialeah Gardens vs. American, 7, (Milander), American 24-12; Coral Reef vs. Ferguson, 7:30 (Tropical), CR 26-13; South Miami vs. Sunset, 7:30 (Southridge), SM 34-13; Broward: Coral Springs vs. Monarch (Coconut Creek), 7, Monarch 30-7; South Plantation at Cypress Bay, 7, CB 34-9
FRIDAY: Miami-Dade: St. Brendan at Palm Glades Prep., 3:30, PGP 14-12; Coral Park at Coral Gables, 4, Gables 42-6; King’s Academy at Gulliver Prep., 4, King’s 33-20; Goleman at Doral Academy, 7, Doral 44-12; Everglades Prep. at Marathon, 7, EP 27-16; Somerset Silver Palms at Westminster Academy, 7, WA 35-13; Belen Jesuit vs. Braddock, 7:30, (Tropical), Belen 30-14; Mourning vs. Mater Academy, 7:30 (Milander), MA 34-16; North Miami vs. Krop, 7:30 (Ives Estates), NM 40-7; Miami Christian at Florida Christian, 7:30, MC 41-9; Pine Crest at LaSalle, 7:30, PC 28-20; Edison at Monsignor Pace, 7:30, Pace 23-17; Broward: Boyd Anderson at Archbishop McCarthy, 7, AM 20-17; Blanche Ely at Coconut Creek, 7, CC 33-12; Calvary Christian at Palm Beach Benjamin, 7, Benjamin 27-21; Cooper City at Nova, 7, Nova 17-14; Coral Glades at Pines Charter, 7, PC 21-16; Coral Springs Charter at Boca St. John Paul II, 7, CSC 28-20; Flanagan at Everglades, 7, Everglades 20-17; Piper vs. Taravella, 7, (Coral Springs), Piper 30-21; Pompano Beach at Port St. Lucie, 7, Port St. Lucie 40-6; South Broward vs. West Broward, 7, (Flanagan), WB 34-13; Key West at North Broward Prep., 7, KW 26-21; Jackson vs. Stranahan, 7, (South Plantation), Jackson 30-23
SATURDAY: Broward: Miramar at Hallandale, 7, Miramar 19-13
Last week top 20: 14-0; Season top 20: 86-16; Last week overall: 39-3; Season overall: 258-68
Bill Daley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @Billykid11.