(12) Miami Palmetto (6-0) vs. (15) Southridge (5-2)
Friday at Southridge, 7:30 p.m.

Here’s one of those district champion deciding games.

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Things seem to be coming together for Southridge – at a very good time. The Spartans were on just about everyone’s short list of South Florida teams that could truly compete for a Class 8A state title this season. And after getting off to a rocky start, Southridge is starting to look like the team that everyone anticipated it being in 2016.

Being healthy and building that much-need camaraderie are two of the factors that have led to “The Ridge” being a team to be reckoned with once again.

Palmetto has been one of the best stories of this season. The Panthers enter this game undefeated and vying for a district championship despite being cast to finish in the lower half of district 16-8A prior to the start of the season.

One of the big reasons that Palmetto has had such a great season is the emergence of junior running back Trey Flowers. Flowers has become the Panthers’ offensive bell cow and has delivered at every turn – evident by his nine touchdowns this season.

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This game represents, however, Palmetto’s “big test”. The efforts of Panthers head coach Mike Manasco and his young squad has gotten the attention of a lot of folks, but this is the game where the rubber meets the road.

Ultimately, I believe Southridge will have the overall advantage in this game. Between the Spartans gelling as a team and their still overwhelming amount of talented players, I think Palmetto will find itself hard-pressed to manufacture a victory in this one.

Palmetto is a young team and if they keep the core together, they will be fine moving forward – Southridge is just on a different level.

Bald Prediction = Southridge wins 20-13

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