ITG Next sports writer Jack Thompson makes his predictions for games the week of 12/5-12/7.
Bolles vs Booker T. Washington
The last of the local teams, Bolles has a Goliath-like opponent standing in the way of their state title. Booker T. is a South Florida powerhouse known for its consistency and prominent players at the next level. Both schools have a great pedigree and have faced hard-fought paths to get here, but only one team can be the best. I have to go with my heart on this one. I’ve been right about Bolles all season long, and I think they have the momentum and mindset to win it all.
Florida State University vs Chaminade–Madonna
This is a Class 3A matchup of a couple of dominant teams. FSU High School is led by quarterback Willie Taggart Jr., an FSU commit and son of the former FSU head coach. This team has been absolutely lights out recently as they’ve beaten up on teams all postseason. Taggart has a chance at Mr. Florida, but I think that’ll be the only hardware he’ll bring back to Tallahassee. C-M is a smaller school, but they have an impressive resume. I have the Chaminade Lions winning this game by a slim margin.
Jones vs Northwestern
A couple of heavyweights that have played incredibly difficult schedules all year will face off head to head for a chance to win it all. Both teams are ranked nationally, and this game will be decided by a few points. Whichever team comes out more physical will win this game. Jones is coming off a one-point victory against a good Wakulla team, so this may have a positive or negative effect. NW is ranked in the Maxpreps Xcellent 25, and their two losses have come from IMG Academy (No. 10 nationally) and Georgia’s best Lowndes (No. 8 nationally). As much as I would like to see Jones win, I think Northwestern has a bit too much fire power for them.
Escambia vs Miami Central
Central has so much talent it’s insane, and Escambia likely doesn’t have the same caliber athletes. However, the Gators have yet to be stopped this season, taking a 13-0 record into this game. I watched Central play on national TV at the beginning of the season, and although they lost by a few scores to St. Frances Academy in DC (No. 3 nationally), they still displayed a type of speed that is almost impossible to stop. I have to give the edge to Central here.
Edgewater vs St. Thomas Aquinas
I’ll make this one quick. Edgewater is good, and I’m sure they’ll put up a fight. But Aquinas is the best team in the state, and I don’t see them losing in any capacity.
Apopka vs Columbus
Sheesh. As I go through the classifications, these games just keep getting better and better. I have trouble not taking the South Florida teams just because of the perennial dominance, but I have followed this Apopka team closely since their statement victory over Bartram Trail a few weeks back. They have outscored their opponents 127-53 so far this postseason. Columbus is coming off of a win against an absolutely stacked Deerfield team, so they deserve credit. But the Darters are on a warpath, and no one is going to end that.