(3) Booker T. Washington Tornadoes (2-1) vs. (6) Southridge Spartans (2-0)
Friday vs. Southridge, 7:30 p.m.

This is the Man-Size Matchup of the week.

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There are so many intriguing storylines in this game; the most intriguing of which being how Booker T. Washington is able to respond after being upset – in a major way – by rival Miami Jackson.

The Tornadoes did not look like themselves during the game last week. Say what you will about the rain, and it did play a factor, but Booker T. was bested by a team that came in with an exceptional game plan that was executed to the T.

Now, there’s no rest for the weary. Booker T. has to get right back up and travel down to Southridge – a team that is considered a Class 8A title contender and one that has a roster loaded with talent.

The Spartans’ collection of talent will surely present a tough test for the Tornadoes. Similar to St. Thomas Aquinas, Southridge has at least 20 Division-I quality players and the talent is spread out on both sides of the ball.

It’ll be in this game, I think, that we’ll truly see the coaching prowess of Tim “Ice” Harris Sr. He has to find a way to get his squad to put last week behind them, put together a game plan to slow down a very potent Spartans team, and motivate his players to come out and avoid losing a second straight game.

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I feel like much of the onus will be on the Tornadoes defense. Robert Hicks, Jaquan Beaver and Guy Thomas have to step up and provide a consistent pass rush on Southridge’s Michael Cox.

Yes, the Spartans have great weapons in Rodney Scott and Kemore Gamble and Daquris Wiggins Ben and Thompson – but Cox is the trigger man to the offense. If he’s constantly on the run or has someone in his face, that could throw off Southridge’s rhythm.

It’ll be interesting to see how Booker T. sophomore quarterback Daniel Richardson rebounds after his poor game against Jackson.

As long as there are normal weather conditions, I could see this game being a high-scoring shootout. Either way, I think Booker T. gets a slight edge because I can’t fathom the idea of an “Ice” Harris-coached team losing two straight games.

Bald Prediction = Booker T. wins 30-28

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