(2) Northwestern (6-1) vs. Norland (3-3)
Friday at Traz Powell Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

Northwestern fans rejoice – I feel like I’ve typed that before – your team is on the verge of clinching a playoff berth.

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Better yet, your Bulls are one win away from totally vanquishing the playoff hopes of your bitterest of rivals – Miami Central.

The Bulls’ thrilling 45-44 double-overtime win over the Rockets may have effectively shifted the power back to 71st Street – showing everyone that there is a new shine in the blue and gold.

Looking at this matchup, Northwestern enters as still one of South Florida’s hottest teams right now. The Bulls are playing a very good brand of football at this point in the season and their confidence is through the stratosphere.

Running back Kai Henry has earned a spot in Northwestern lore with his “Superman Dive” for the win, but I came away even more impressed with junior quarterback Chatarius “Tutu” Atwell.

His ability to not only extend plays but downright terrorize opposing defenses with his speed and athleticism was on full display against Central.

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Norland is the epitome of the gift and the curse of high school football in South Florida. By South Florida standards, the Vikings are considered an “upper half” team but they’re not in the elite class this season. However, Norland is a team that has its fair share of athletic football players and would likely be able to find plenty of success if it were playing in almost any other part of the state – definitely somewhere in the country.

Still, looking at this matchup, I question Norland’s ability to put up points against this Northwestern defense. Bulls head coach Max Edwards was ecstatic about his team defeating Central, but I’m sure he wasn’t happy about his defense giving up 44 points – even in a double overtime game.

I fully expect Northwestern’s defense to blitz and pressure Norland quarterback Alec Carr for much of the night – making it hard for the Vikings to ever get into an offensive rhythm.

On the flip side, Norland’s defense is solid – but Northwestern should be confident in its ability to make plays through the air and on the ground. And if all else fails, the Bulls can just keep the ball in the hands of Atwell and Henry.

Bulls win; eliminating Norland and Central in one swoop.

Bald Prediction = Northwestern wins 22-7

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