Everyone will be playing in their final district game and a number of them will play a big time role in playoff positioning. Some are playing for a district title while others are playing just to make it into the playoffs as a runner-up.
With no Wild Card anymore, it's put up or shut up time this weekend in Miami-Dade County.
WEEK 9 RECAPSome surprises took place and an old school power kept its season alive in Week 9.
Starting off with South Dade and Killian at Harris Field Friday night, the Bucs kept their chances at a playoff berth alive as they creamed Killian 20-7 in a game that wasn't as close as the scoreboard indicated.
If anyone would have even thought that South Dade would be playing for a playoff berth Friday when the season started, that person might have been committed because following the loss of 19 of 22 starters from last year's 10-1, it's quite remarkable what South Dade coach Don Drinkhahn has done with this program.
Killian, on the other hand, was expected to be a contender for the state title. Since its 18-14 loss to Central, the Cougars have simply taken a downward spiral losing to Homestead and South Dade and essentially ending its chance at a playoff berth.
In other important games, Carol City which was on the cusp of not making the playoffs for the first time in over a decade managed to sneak in with a 28-27 win over Norland. The winner of that game was a lock to make the playoffs even though both has had a terrible regular season.
Norland's Hannibal Beauford won the rushing battle accounting for 278 rushing yards to Carol City's Keino Burton who rushed for 210, but the Chiefs got into the playoffs with a 3-5 record while Norland fell to 1-7.
In the other big match up of the week, Jackson dropped Edison 3-0 in overtime on a field goal that ended the Red Raiders season. It was Jackson's second straight week winning 3-0 after beating Norland by that same count a week earlie.
Now, the Generals, 7-1, will face Booker T. Washington also 7-1, Friday night in the District Championship.
WEEK 10 ROUND UPLike was said earlier, it's time.
There are four games on tap that have major playoff implications. The first one is Homestead vs. South Dade at Harris Field Friday night. The place will be packed to the brim as the Battle on Lucy Street adds another chapter.
Homestead coach Bobby McCray said last week that this game was for the future of the program as the Broncos have lost a number of players to South Dade because of consistent turmoil over the years at Homestead.
The Broncos seemed primed for a blasting of South Dade a few weeks ago following a string of games where their offense couldn't be stopped, but after losing to Southridge and struggling for a half against a miserable Coral Reef team the Broncos don't seem as likely to blow South Dade out.
Couple that with the fact South Dade just ripped Killian and has a ton of momentum on its side, the Bucs seemed primed to pull the upset and advance to the playoffs following a season where they lost 19 of 22 starters from last year's 10-1 Regional Finalist.
Two weeks ago, I would have said Homestead would clobber South Dade. That's not the case now. South Dade wins a squeaker as it finds a way to contain A.J. Guyton and company.
Then we've got Columbus facing South Miami in a District 14-6A match up. At the start of the season one would have expected this game to be for the district title, but both teams lost to Coral Gables by one point, so the loser goes home.
The Explorers have been up and down this year. South Miami has had its share of close calls. Talent wise, South Miami has more, but in the gut, a Columbus win is inevitable because the Cobras seem to find a way to lose games like this. Columbus makes the playoffs while the Cobras stay home.
Jackson faces Booker T. Washington for the district title. Both teams are in, but the winner will be at home for most of the playoffs. The Tornadoes should cruise. Jackson's defense is pretty good, but BTW simply has too many weapons and has been here before.
Which brings us to the...
GAME OF THE WEEKNORTHWESTERN (8-0, No. 1 – Class 6A) vs. CENTRAL (8-0, No. 2 – Class 6A) @ the Orange Bowl on Saturday night.
It doesn't get any bigger than this. No. 1 vs. No. 2. A match up like this hasn't happened since Willie Williams was a senior at Carol City. His Chiefs lost to Northwestern in the regular season game, but came back to beat the Bulls in the playoffs and eventually win the state championship.
But this game is getting a lot more hype because football in Miami has been incredibly bad, i.e. the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes.
The reality is though Central has as much of a chance in this game as the Dolphins do to play in the Super Bowl this year. The Rockets don't stand a chance against Northwestern. These Bulls are simply too dominant.
Neither of them has really played what you could call a tough schedule overall, but the Rockets have struggled at times whereas the Bulls haven't been breathed on yet this year. 235-0 over the past five games is what Northwestern has done. 86-0 over the past three games is what Central has done, but the only way the Rockets can stay in this game is if they put Jacory Harris on his butt over and over and over again. If he has time, he'll pick Central apart with his 6-foot-4 wide receivers in Aldarius Johnson and Tommy Streeter, both still juniors.
There will be a big crowd at the Orange Bowl Saturday and the clock operator might get a little confused when he has to actually put points on the board for the home team, whichever team that is, since Miami hasn't scored much of the season, but the game's excitement might last a half at most.
Northwestern should win this game by four touchdowns and the shut out streak for the Bulls continues, defensively at least. The only way Central gets on the board is with a return or a big play on defense. Otherwise, it won't be easy for the Rockets.
By the way, this game really means nothing since both are in the playoffs and the winner will be the district champion with the possibility of the two meeting up again in November.
Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org