By Larry Blustein

larry block6 State Football Playoffs – 4 Schools Remain In The Hunt

With Chaminade-Madonna and Champagnat Catholic already punching their respective tickets to Orlando next Thursday, Friday and Saturday, there are four more spots that will be filled by Friday night.

South Forida, which does not have a 1A school, did advance programs in 2A and 3A for next week’s state championships at Camping World Stadium.

With 5A, 6A, 7A and 8A programs in action this week in South Florida in 4th round – or better known as the state semifinals – nobody knows exactly what to expect.

AMERICAN HERITAGE PUTS WINNING STREAK ON THE LINE

Over the past two years, here is a program that has answered every bell – and under head coach Pat Surtain has won 26 straight games – which includes a state title last year.

There are talented players all over the field and great coaching, but that being said, somewhere along the line, people have to pay attention to head coach Rodelin Anthony, a former Immokalee and UNLV standout.

What this team has done this season is run over everyone! In winning 12 straight, they have mauled the opposition, 582-194, but to get any recognition from this season, they have to win on Friday. Does this team have that IT factor? We will certainly find out on Friday evening in Plantation.

NORTHWESTERN HAS BEEN THE CHOICE FROM DAY 1

It has been a decade since Miami Northwestern has played for a state title – and while the Bulls appear to be in a great position, heading into Friday night’s (7:30) state semifinal at home against once beaten Naples.

The Bulls have played one of the toughest schedules around. They are indeed stacked on the defensive side of the ball – while have enough on offense to get by.

Because Miami Palmetto went to play head coach Bill Kramer and his Golden Eagles back on Sept. 1, winning 37-23, many in South Florida are taking this game as an automatic. That would be a mistake.

Since then, this program has won nine straight – and while they should be a huge underdog on the road – sometimes that could work against the favorite. We will certainly find out on Friday evening.

RAIDERS ARE GOING FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT

While St. Thomas Aquinas (7A), a three time defending state champion, goes to much-improved Venice as a favorite to reach the state title game for the fourth straight year, there is always those John Bosco, Deerfield, Centennial (Arizona) and Miramar games that play over in your head.

Can the Raiders ride one of the strongest defenses in Florida to Orlando? It’s always tough to play at the very highest level like the Raiders have – and usually they have met all road challenges, nationally, head-on, but Venice is indeed out to prove what happened last year in Fort Lauderdale is not what head coach John Peacock and the Indians are all about.

It should indeed be a very good one.

MIAMI HIGH COULD MAKE HISTORY ON THE ROAD

If you know anything about the history of Miami-Dade County football, from the very beginning, the Miami High Stingarees are a huge part of what the 305 has become today.

With 17 national titles and numerous major wins across the country from the 1930’s through the early 1960’s, this is indeed the first school from Florida to achieve national recognition back in the early years.

But as all things good, they have to come to an end – and after the 1965 win over Melbourne, the Stingarees would never make a return, although coming close twice.

The school known for basketball and state titles has a chance to return to glory for all those who walked the halls of this Little Havana landmark.

For Delray Atlantic, this has also been a season to remember. This very talented team features a number of big time athletes who believe they can reach the title game.

5A

Immokalee (12-0) at American Heritage (12-0), Friday, 7:30.

LAST WEEK: The Patriots won or the 26th straight time, 58-57, in triple overtime against Cardinal Gibbons. The Indians rolled to an impressive 42-14 win against St. Petersburg Lakewood.

NEXT WEEK: The winner of this outstanding game will get either Pensacola West Florida or Baker County on Dec. 8 at 3 p.m.

6A

Naples (10-1) at Miami Northwestern (11-2), Friday, Dec. 1, Traz Powell Stadium, Miami, 7:30.

LAST WEEK: The Bulls got out to an early start but had to hold on for a 23-15 win over defending state champion Carol City. Coach Bill Kramer’s Golden Eagles hung on for a huge, 7-6 win over rival Fort Myers.

NEXT WEEK: It’s been a while since both of these programs advanced to the state title game – and the winner will get either St. Augustine or Seffner Armwood, which will be a battle of No. 1 seeds on Dec. 8 at 8 p.m.

7A

St. Thomas Aquinas (11-2) at Venice (12-1). Friday, Dec. 1, 7:30.

LAST WEEK: The Raiders ended Doral Academy’s season with a convincing 48-6 win. Venice scored early and often in a 48-17 win over Tampa Bay Tech.

NEXT WEEK: The winner will get either No. 1 seed Jacksonville Bartram Trail or perennial power Tampa Plant in Orlando on Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. 

8A

Miami High (12-1) at Delray Beach Atlantic (12-1), Friday, Dec. 1, 7:30.

LAST WEEK: The Stingarees came from 22 points down to beat rival Christopher Columbus, 28-22, avenging a one-point loss earlier this season. The Eagles rolled to a 35-22 decision over Western.

NEXT WEEK: Either way an Orlando area team will be in the finals – with last year’s runner-up Dr. Phillips playing against Apopka Wekiva and the winner will play on Dec. 9 at 8 p.m.

Catch the South Florida High Sports Radio Show this Monday night (8-10) 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!

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