Miami-Dade County Roundup: Week 5

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - Week 5 produced some of the better match ups we've had this season with some ultra competitive high school football action.

Although they were all non-district games with Columbus-North Miami Beach, Edison-Pace and especially Central-Killian doing battle, they were everything we could ask for in one weekend, let alone all being played on the same night.

But we are back to district games this weekend, the games that actually matter, as Southridge vs. Killian at Tropical Park is the feature game of the week Friday night when the undefeated Spartans play the Cougars in a key district match up.

However, with that said, will they hurry up and get Traz Powell Stadium in working order? My goodness, it was supposed to be completed by Week 2. We are going on Week 6 now and it still won't be done until next week. I am sure that new synthetic turf is going to look real sweet and the players will love to battle on it, but let's get it done.

I can't take much more of the clock less, scoreboard less Curtis Park. Who can actually trust officials to keep the clock and the scoreboard when one quarter takes forever and the next takes 10 minutes? At least that's what it seems like.

Let's get to our Week 5 recap.

WEEK 5 RECAP

In what I thought was the Game of the Week because I was there Central and Killian went at it last Thursday night at FIU Stadium in one heck of a game that saw one player overcome incredible grief to come up with the big play in the key moment of the game.

Central came in with many questions unanswered. Sure, the Rockets were 3-0 coming in and ranked in the top 5 in the state in Class 6A, but they hadn't played a team worth a snot in their first three games.

That changed Thursday.

If the Central-Killian game had taken place following Killian's loss to Northwestern, I would have said Killian would beat Central, and handily for that matter. In fact, I did say that to a few people, but Killian looked bad against Homestead in a rain-shortened half of football that will restart with 4:47 to play in the first half October 5 at Harris Field, but it was enough for me to really question the Cougars and start to believe that Central would pull it out.

Besides running back Lamar Miller, the Cougars are simply ugly on offense. Even with him, they are ugly because he's still learning how to play running back, although he is an immensely talented sophomore.

And the defense hasn't been that great to be quite frank. Central pulled out the 18-14 win when quarterback Travaris Cadet, whose newborn nephew died earlier that day from a medical procedure gone bad, hit Larron Moss on a 53-yard touchdown pass with 3:56 to play capping a comeback that saw the Rockets a yard from being knocked out in the third quarter. With Killian leading 14-6 midway through the third quarter, Killian quarterback Ricky Rowe fumbled the snap on fourth and goal from the one into the end zone. Central recovered the fumble and regained life in the process.

Central's Gordon Warner showed me something though I must say. Warner had a monster game rushing 15 times for 200 yards and a touchdown to lead the Rockets to the win. He sliced and diced the Killian defense and could have had a ridiculous game with a few more carries. The win moved the Rockets up to No. 2 in the latest Class 6A state poll behind top ranked Northwestern, but quite honestly they have about as much chance of beating Northwestern as I have to be the next starting quarterback at UM. But don't be surprised to see those two teams play each other twice, first in the district in a few weeks and then in the Regional Final. However, a Central win would be beyond a huge upset. It would be almost the impossible happening with as much talent as the Bulls have this year.

On another note, Southridge's Deshon Daniels will get a chance to prove me wrong or right for calling him "The Truth" when the Spartans play Killian Friday.

The biggest difference between Warner and Daniels truthfully is that Central can throw the ball some and Southridge really can't, or make that, doesn't do it well. That might limit Daniels.

In the other two big games, North Miami Beach overcame a 17-16 fourth quarter deficit and turned two turnovers into points in the fourth to win 32-17 ending Columbus' 15-game regular season winning streak that dated back to 2004. The Chargers are establishing themselves as one of the best in the county this year and a team to be reckoned with as they are now ranked No. 6 in the latest Class 6A state poll.

And Pace beat Edison for the third straight year, this time 14-9 when an Edison touchdown pass with 20 seconds left was called back for illegal man downfield.

Not to harp on officials, but the pass came from the 8-yard line. How is that penalty called? The only way is if the lineman is standing in the end zone practically and the film didn't show that to be the case.

WEEK 6 OUTLOOK

As I said before, the Game of the Week is between Southridge and Killian at Tropical Park Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

The Spartans enter the game 4-0 and lost to Killian last year. Two weeks ago, the Spartans beat South Dade 6-0 at Harris Field in front of a big crowd that saw their defense step up big time.

They got revenge on one team that beat them last year (South Dade). The other one was Killian. Now is the time for the Spartans to prove themselves to the rest of the county that still thinks they might be a farce and beneficiary of a weak schedule to open the season.

The key is Daniels and his offensive line. If they can create holes for Daniels and he has have his normal explosion flying through them, Southridge should win this game because I can't see Killian scoring too many points outside of special teams, i.e. a Lamar Miller kickoff or punt return for touchdown.

This game could be ugly, in fact, don't be surprised if that's what happens. I am talking a 13-12, 10-7, 7-6 type of game.

But if you hit one game this week, this is the one to make sure you get to.

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH & WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM THIS WEEK

Dwayne Gatlin – QB – Palmetto – Gatlin is a multi-talented quarterback for Palmetto, currently 3-2 on the season with a big test awaiting them when the Panthers travel to Harris Field to play Homestead in a huge district game. Gatlin played wide receiver last year and was a great target for former QB David Cozzo, but had to move over to become the team's do-everything guy at QB. He's a great athlete who can play just about anywhere on the field, but is projected as a defensive back on the next level. (vs. Homestead @ Harris Field – Friday).

Doug Wiggins – QB – North Miami Beach – Wiggins has shown himself to be the Chargers next E.J. Biggers who was NMB's do-it-all player a couple of years ago when Wiggins was a sophomore receiver. Wiggins has his team sitting at 4-0 following a huge win over Columbus. A win over Carol City Friday will put the Chargers in prime position to win the district. Imagine that Carol City could be 1-5 when that happens because they don't have a chance against NMB. (vs. Carol City @ North Miami Stadium – Friday).

Brandon Harris – DB/WR – Booker T. Washington – What can we not say about Brandon Harris. He's only a junior, but one heck of a talented one that comes from a football family. His dad is the head coach at BTW. His brother, a track star at UM, Tim Harris, Jr., was the quarterback at BTW a couple of years ago and could have played college football if he hadn't chosen to run track full time. Fact is, Harris knows this game and he shows it on the field as a two-way starter and the clear cut leader of the Tornadoes who are now sitting at 4-1 with an expected decapitation in store for Hallandale Friday night. But Harris is definitely a player Miami should be looking at. He's a former teammate of current UM corner Chavez Grant. (@ Hallandale H.S. – Friday).

A.J. Guyton – QB – Homestead – I can't keep talking about Guyton because he just continues to impress more and more. Homestead beat Coral Park a ridiculous 67-7 last week and Guyton didn't even play most of the first quarter when the Broncos jumped to a 20-7 lead. But in short duty, Guyton was 5 for 6 for 108 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for a touchdown as the Broncos built a 54-7 halftime lead. Guyton is going to make one school very happy when he makes his decision. They also led 14-12 against Killian when the lightning halted the game until Oct. 5 and that was all Guyton. (vs. Palmetto @ Harris Field – Friday).

OTHER GAMES OF NOTE

Central vs. American @ Milander Park – Thursday – Catch a glimpse of Gordon Warner and Travaris Cadet against a 4-1 American team, but the Rockets (4-0) should roll in a key district meeting. However, in the past Central has been known to blow a game like this following a big win. However, a loss in this situation could cost them a playoff berth, so the Rockets better come out clicking.

Northwestern vs. Hialeah @ Curtis Park – Thursday – The Bulls are on a mission to win the school's third state championship in 11 years and the T-Breds are the unfortunate victim of being in a loaded district with Central and Northwestern. The Rockets already thumped Hialeah 32-14. A loss to the Bulls and the season is essentially over. The sad part is, Hialeah could actually finish 7-3 or 8-2 and not sniff the playoffs.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat can be reached at rudy@canestime.com

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