(12) Deerfield Beach (9-2) vs. Delray Beach Atlantic (9-3)
Friday at Deerfield Beach, 7:30 p.m. – Region 3-8A Regional Final

Here’s a game that won’t get much of the attention, but it’s a game in which one team can take another big step forward in living up to the expectations placed on it at the start of the season.

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Of course, I’m talking about Deerfield Beach.

I’ve been hard on the Bucks this season. I’ve held the team to the fire for some of its performances this season and I feel justified for it because of the immense amount of talent that is on Deerfield Beach’s roster.

Like fellow Class 8A elite eight participant Miami Southridge, Deerfield Beach has a roster brimming with talented players with Division-I offers and just a great collection of high school football players.

Looking at a roster like that, it’s easy for folks – including myself – to want to rush “the process” and expect greatness right out of the gate. The team has to gel, a hierarchy has to be built and things have to go on a progressive arc as the season toils on.

Delray Beach Atlantic is a team that hasn’t always fared well against South Florida teams – not in recent history at least.

The Eagles came to Dade County just this past spring and were sent back home with a 48-12 loss thanks to Northwestern. This past season, Atlantic went head-to-head with Flanagan and failed to register any significant blows in a 35-0 loss – the Eagles’ only loss in the 2015 season.

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Granted, every team is different year to year and a squad will look a lot different from seeing them in May to laying eyes on them in late November, but those are lasting images.

What I will say about Atlantic is that it always has a nice group of athletes on the roster. This season is no different. Senior quarterback Zavion Thompson is a dual-threat weapon that has had a productive career for the Eagles. Athlete Marquis Waters is, arguably, the team’s best player – the Duke University commit will run the ball for the offense and line up at safety (his more natural position) for the defense.

Deerfield Beach will likely be in the top three in terms of overall talent for teams that Atlantic has faced this season. As I’ve said and written on multiple occasions, the Bucks are more than just Jerry Jeudy. Much more actually.

I think this is another matchup, like the region 4-8A final, where the more talented team just has to go out and execute the necessary steps to win the game. With Deerfield playing the cleanest game it possibly can, dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s, the Bucks should come out with a win.

A part of me thinks that this game could end up with a double-digit margin, but football is a funny game. And come playoff time, it’s downright wacky.

Still, Bucks win.

Bald Prediction = Deerfield Beach wins 27-21

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