Nobody has to tell you that this has already been a crazy high school football season.
Hurricane Irma changed the landscape of 2017 in many ways, and while it could have been a lot worse – as we are watching what has happened in places such as the lower Keys and Puerto Rico, with Maria, South Florida wants its football back.
Call this region spoiled or anything else that may come to mind, but at the end of the day, this is what we all live for. This is where our student athletes thrive and attain those college scholarships, so any wasted opportunity could be life altering.
In the wake of the storm, everyone had to be on the same page – and that meant schools had to be open and power needed to be restored to many homes and businesses.
It is indeed about infrastructure, and while you and I may not have sustained damage to our homes, others did – and that had to be taken into consideration. Students, whether they participated in athletics or not, still needed to be safe.
Credit to both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties for easing the season back. But you can almost guarantee that two games a week will be the norm, for a few weeks, to get things back on track – especially in a year where Florida is using points to determine region ranking.
Also kudos to those who understood that providing free breakfast and lunch for all students until the end of October was brilliant. It helps the students get back the structure that was lost – while the parents have the chance to save plenty of money during this time – with the holidays right around the corner.
As Floridians have done for decades and decades, rebounding from adversity, life goes on – and while it is tougher for some, we all seem to get through the darkest of times.
We continue the 2017 season this evening – with some rare Wednesday night games and continue right through Thursday, Friday – for most non public schools – and Saturday night’s epic showdown in Bradenton, between No. 3 Northwestern and national powerhouse IMG Academy.
Northwestern’s defense is very strong, but against this IMG team, they will need to put offensive drives together. Last week in a 14-7 win against Booker T. Washington, they had too many penalties and key mistakes that just cannot happen against the Ascenders.
No Friday games for most schools because of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.
Check some of these key Thursday night matchups this week:
Miami Central vs. Norland, Traz Powell, 7: This should be a very interesting matchup between two impressive schools that happen to be in the same district. Last year, the Vikings played the Rockets tough. Always a lot at stake when these two teams meet.
Miami High at Columbus, 5: Very interesting game here. The Explorers have dominated this series, but the Stingarees have loaded up and have looked impressive. Potentially, one of the best games of the week.
Miramar at Cypress Bay, 7: In the 8A region, programs cannot afford to lose twice and still be in contention. This is a huge game for veteran head coach Mark Guandolo and his Lightning at home.
Palmetto at Southridge, 7: The talk is over – and the first and second place teams from a year ago will grab that early 8A regional advantage with a victory. The Spartans haven’t played in nearly a month – while the Panthers knocked heads in a close one last week.
South Broward at Nova, 7: The Titans, picked by many to finish near the bottom of the district are suddenly 3-0 and at home to host a Bulldog team that is well coached and talented. Regional ranking in 7A will be up for grabs in this contest.
St. Thomas Aquinas at Centennial (Arizona), 9 p.m. This is a Friday night nationally-promoted game, putting the Raiders in the spotlight for the second time this season. On the road and ready to go – this is a team ready to play, as they showed on Monday night against Stranahan.
Here is a look at some of the other games on tap:
Booker T. Washington at Edison, North Miami Stadium, 7
Coral Springs Charter at Coral Glades, 7
Hallandale at Jackson, Tropical Park, 7
Hialeah-Miami Lakes at Carol City, Traz Powell Stadium, 7
Belen Jesuit at Coral Reef, Harris, 7
Blanche Ely at Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park Northeast, 7
Cardinal Gibbons at Coconut Creek, 7
Chaminade-Madonna at Piper, 7
Champagnat Catholic at Everglades Prep, 7
Coral Gables at Miami Beach, Memorial, 7
Dillard at Stranahan, South Plantation, 7
Doral Academy at Mater Academy, 3
Douglas at Northeast, 7
Goleman at Miami Springs, 3:30
Hialeah at Hialeah Gardens, 3:30
Homestead at Killian, Tropical, 7
Keys Gate at Florida Christian, 7
Krop at North Miami Beach, North Miami, 7
McArthur at Archbishop McCarthy, 7
Mourning at Sunset, Tropical, 3
North Miami at American, Milander, 7
Pine Crest at North Palm Beach Benjamin, 7
Plantation at Flanagan, 7
Pompano Beach at Pines Charter, 7
South Plantation at Everglades, 7
Southwest Miami at Ferguson, 3
Taravella at Deerfield, 7
Varela at Braddock, 3
West Broward at Hollywood Hills, Cooper City, 7
Westland Hialeah at Reagan, 3:30
Gulliver Prep at Westminster Academy, 6
Key West at LaSalle, 7
Miami Westminster Christian at Fort Myers Bishop Verot, 7
Calvary Christian at West Palm Beach King’s Academy
International School of Broward at Cocoa, 7
Catch the South Florida High Sports Radio Show each Monday night (9-10) on WQAM (560AM). For the past 10 years, the players and coaches who are making the headlines, join the program. You will learn a lot!