By Larry Blustein

larry block6 SFHSS Top 15: Round 2 of the Playoffs Were Exciting

In the world of high school football, it you are practicing on Thanksgiving Thursday, it is a badge of honor in the sport.

After last week’s second round of the Florida State High School Football Playoffs, there are a number of local teams who will enjoy part of their holiday at practice – and you can guarantee that nobody will complain.

While turnover chains are taking much of the spotlight in South Florida these days – and for good reason – the level of football being showcased on fields from Homestead to Palm Beach – is what makes this sport so impressive.

In an area of the country – where football is so important – and high school takes center stage – all eyes have been peeled on what has transpired the past two weeks.

Upsets and surprises have certainly made this an interesting few weeks of the season.

Playing in this region of the country has such a year-round spotlight shining, the playoffs are truly a formality of the season.

As we race toward the third week of the season, the Top 15 is starting to thin down – and those programs with the hopes of heading to Orlando in the first week of December – have been dashed. But there are indeed others who continue to roll along.

Here is a look at how the Top 15 stacks up, heading into Week 3 of playoffs:

1. Plantation American Heritage – (11-0, 5A): LAST WEEK: In winning for the 25th consecutive time, the Patriots rolled Orlando Bishop Moore, 56-27. THIS WEEK: It’s the rematch with No. 3 Cardinal Gibbons on Friday at 7:30.

2. Columbus (9-1, 8A) – LAST WEEK: The No. 1 seed continued to roll along with a convincing 28-14 victory over South Dade. THIS WEEK: Region final on Friday afternoon against No. 4 Miami High at Tropical Park at 1.

3. Cardinal Gibbons (11-1, 5A) – LAST WEEK: The Chiefs, for the second straight week, went on the road and came away with a 19-14 win at Rockledge. THIS WEEK: Nothing else needs to be said – as No. 1 American Heritage will host the rematch on Friday at 7:30.

4. Miami High (10-1, 8A) – LAST WEEK: The most storied program in Florida – since the 1920’s – is back – and beating defending 8A state champs, Southridge, 27-21. THIS WEEK: Region final on Friday afternoon against No. 2 Christopher Columbus at Tropical Park at 1.

5. Miami Northwestern (10-2, 6A) – LAST WEEK: After nearly losing a big lead, the Bulls hung on to beat rival Central, 24-18. THIS WEEK: It will be another rematch of a nationally-televised meeting with the defending 6A state champion (No. 10) Carol City Chiefs on Friday night at the Mecca – Traz Powell Stadium at 7:30.

6. Chaminade-Madonna (9-2, 3A). LAST WEEK: The Lions, who are now the favorite to win it all, trounced North Palm Beach Benjamin, 56-0. THIS WEEK: It’s a clash of No.1 seeds on Friday night at Clearwater Central Catholic at 7:30 for the right to pay in Orlando on Dec. 9.

7. St. Thomas Aquinas (9-2, 7A). LAST WEEK: The three-time defending state champs did what they do every year in the playoffs – trouncing West Broward, 38-7. THIS WEEK: It will be yet another home game for this nationally-recognized team, hosting Doral Academy on Friday at 7:30.

8. University School (9-1, 4A) – LAST WEEK: In one of the most thrilling games of the year, the Sharks moved to within one win of heading back to state, beat surprising Monsignor Pace, 42-39. THIS WEEK: It will be a meeting at defending state champion Cocoa on Friday at 7:30 – with the winner moving to Orlando on Dec. 7.

9. Western (10-2, 8A) – LAST WEEK: The dream continued last Friday night for the Wildcats as they came from behind to beat Palm Beach Central on the road, 14-12, advancing to the Final 4 of the region. THIS WEEK: It’s back on the road – with a huge meeting against Atlantic in Delray Beach on Friday at 7:30.

10. Carol City (8-3, 6A) – LAST WEEK: The Chiefs continued defense of their state title, beating Daytona Beach Mainland on the road, 17-10. THIS WEEK: This is the matchup that head coach Benedict Hyypolite and his team have been looking for. It’s No. 5 Miami Northwestern on Friday night at the Mecca – Traz Powell Stadium at 7:30.

11. Doral Academy (10-2, 7A) – LAST WEEK: The Firebirds also continued this amazing season, beating perennial power Dwyer in Palm Beach Gardens by a baseball-like, 6-5 score. THIS WEEK: It’s a step up in a major way as the three-time defending state champion, No. 7 St. Thomas Aquinas, will pay host.

12. Champagnat Catholic (8-2, 2A) – LAST WEEK: With Orlando being the destination all year for the defending 2A state runner-up Lions, they traveled to Moore Haven and got by the unbeaten Terriers, 47-0. THIS WEEK: It will be a battle of No. 1 seeds when the Lions travel to Skyway Park on Friday night (7:30) and take on Tampa Cambridge.

13. Miami Central (9-3, 6A) – LAST WEEK: The Rockets watched their season come to an end, 24-16, to rival Miami Northwestern.

14. Southridge (7-4, 8A) – LAST WEEK: The defending 8A state champs saw their chances to get back to Orlando come up just short – in a 27-21 loss to Miami High.

15. South Dade (9-2, 8A) – LAST WEEK: The season came to an end last Thursday night in a 28-14 loss to Christopher Columbus.

Outstanding season for Deerfield Beach (8-3, 8A), Miramar (8-2, 8A), Palmetto (8-2, 8A), Plantation (9-2, 8A), Norland (6-4, 6A), West Broward (9-3, 7A) and Monsignor Pace (8-3, 4A). When the final rankings are done, we are sure you will see a number of these quality programs.

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!

south florida high school sports SFHSS Top 15: Round 2 of the Playoffs Were Exciting

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