(9) Coral Gables (7-1) vs. (21) Southwest (7-1)
Thursday at Tropical Park, 7:30 p.m.

Here’s a game that a lot of people will brush under the rug, but I think it’s a fairly intriguing matchup.

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Since its late-game collapse against district rival Columbus, Southwest has been able to rebound and get back on the winning track.

The Eagles have a legit playmaker in sophomore Te’Cory Tutson. Though he’s small, he’s someone who can make positive things happen wherever he is on the field. He’s even among Southwest’s leading tacklers this season from the cornerback position.

Coral Gables has its own “big thing in a small package” in junior Johnny Ford. Unfortunately, Ford is working his way back from a pretty bad ankle injury. He was limited during the Cavaliers’ 14-7 loss to Columbus – and it’s unclear just how healthy he’ll be for this game.

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Still, this game represents a solid test for both programs that’ll want to go into the postseason on a high note.

There’s an underlying trait to watch here; Southwest defeated North Miami Beach earlier this season. North Miami Beach will host Coral Gables in the opening round of the playoffs next week. I’m not one who usually applies the transitive property to sports, but it’s worth noting and I think it’s something that Gables head coach Roger Pollard can dangle in front of his players.

Ultimately, I think Coral Gables has a more physically gifted team man-for-man and players like junior safety Gilbert Frierson and senior athlete Kevin Romer represent the mitigating factors that’ll sway this game in the Cavs’ favor.

Bald Prediction = Coral Gables wins 21-13

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