This Week Will Certainly Separate The Playoff Contenders From The Pretenders

If you saw the release of the first RPI state football rankings, and were upset at where your team stood, you may now understand how important every game is.

A few weeks ago when we came out and said that under the new playoff structure, teams in contention have to play every game. Every game! That was met with some friction by coaches and parents, who felt that making games up were not a priority.

If you are a team that was further down than you expected, the new format will slap a little reality into you – and that is why we said that all games mean something.

We have no stake in what happens, and it truly means nothing to us whether one team gets into the playoffs, but understanding the playoff format, we know that every game counts and that every points will mean the difference where teams end up and who they play.
 

5 GAMES TO WATCH

There are a number of big games this week – perhaps the most competitive of the season- so choosing 5 games to spotlight was not easy.

We came up with five very impressive matchups that everyone will want to check out:

Carol City at No. 2 South Dade (Harris), Friday, 7:30. After last week’s loss to Edison, the Chiefs may face elimination from the playoffs with a loss in this game – in what was such a promising season. Don’t expect the Bucs to come into this game without fire in their eyes. They are unbeaten, at home, have rival Palmetto next week and are playing for the No. 1 seed in 8A.

No. 6 Chaminade-Madonna at Vero Beach, Friday, 7. This is a really good and under the radar matchup between two of Florida’s best programs. Vero Beach, an 8A power, is nearly impossible to beat at home – and their fans arrive early and make plenty of noise. For head coach Dameon Jones and his 6-1 Lions, this game and next week against Miami Central should define their season. Mistake free football will be essential for the two-time defending 3A state champs.

No. 9 Deerfield Beach at No. 1 St. Thomas Aquinas, Friday, 7. This is a game that is one that is marked on the calendar each year – and while Deerfield has been red hot the past six week, mauling everyone in their path, they are playing one of the nation’s elite programs –and just saying that you are going beat the Raiders does not make it so. Ask Plantation, which came in unbeaten last week with all kinds of streaks and numbers. The Raiders are amazing on defense and help this young offense continue to mature.

No. 14 Gulliver Prep at Calvary Christian Academy, Friday, 7. On the surface, this has all the makings of a must see game. Both programs come in to this game unbeaten – and both are NOT getting any respect for the amazing season they have had. The 4A Raiders are loaded with big time college prospects – while the 3A Eagles have played well on defense and boast solid coaching under veteran head coach Kirk Hoza. Should be a game where the intensity will be sky high.

Miami High at No. 8 Palmetto (Southridge), Friday, 7:30. Here are two teams who will be around for a number of years to come – and while head coach Mike Manasco’s Panthers are pointing toward a top 4 seed and a state championship run with one of the best 8A defenses in Florida, Coach Corey Smith’s young Stingarees can secure a playoff spot with an upset. This is a major task for Miami High. Will Palmetto be looking ahead to South Dade? We will find out.

 

Here is a look at the remainder of this week’s important schedule:
 

THURSDAY

No. 12 Cardinal Gibbons at Coral Springs Charter (Coral Glades), 7

No. 5 Central at South Miami (Tropical Park), 3:30

Coral Glades at Coral Springs, 7

Edison at Miami Christian, 3:30

Hallandale at Flanagan, 7

Hialeah Gardens at Mourning (Ives Park), 7

Homestead at Hialeah (Milander), 7

McArthur at Cooper City, 7

Piper at Cypress Bay, 7

Southwest at Miami Jackson (Traz Powell), 7

Varela at Coral Park (Tropical Park), 7

 

FRIDAY

American Collegiate Academy at No. 3 Plantation American Heritage, 7:30

Belen Jesuit at Norland (Ives Park), 3:30

Blanche Ely at Coconut Creek,7

Boyd Anderson at Taravella (Coral Springs), 7

Champagnat Catholic at Delray American Heritage, 7

Christopher Columbus at Dillard, 7

Douglas at Nova, 7

Everglades at South Broward, 7

Everglades Prep at Florida Christian, 4

Hialeah-Miami Lakes at Dr. Krop (Ives Park), 7:30

Hollywood Hills at Archbishop McCarthy, 7

Key West at No. 4 Northwestern (Traz Powell), 7:30

Mater Academy at Doral Academy, 7:30

Miami Springs at Killian (Tropical), 7:30

Miramar at American (Milander), 7:30

Northeast at South Plantation, 7

North Miami at Miami Beach (Memorial), 7:30

North Miami Beach at No. 10 Booker T. Washington (Curtis Park), 7:30

Pines Charter at West Palm Beach Berean Christian, 7

Somerset Silver Palms at Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest, 7

Southridge at Monsignor Pace, 7:30

Stranahan at West Broward (Flanagan), 7

Sunset at Reagan, 3:30

No. 11 University School at Clearwater Central Catholic, 7

Westland Hialeah at Barbara Goleman, 3:30

Westminster Academy at Glades Day, 7

Westminster Christian at St. Brendan, 7

SATURDAY

Ferguson at Braddock (Tropical), 7

Catch the South Florida High School Sports Radio Show each Tuesday night (8-10) on 560 THE JOE - WQAM (560AM - https://wqam.radio.com/media/podcast/south-florida-high-school-sports-radio). For the past 13 years, the players and coaches who are making the headlines, join the program. You will learn a lot about football recruiting! Also Follow us on Facebook (Larry Blustein- SFHSports) and Twitter (@SFHSSports -  @larryblustein).