Well, here we are. The first week of the 2022 state football playoffs – and while Hurricane Nicole did her best to scramble things up for the first week, games will be played.
Every week during the season, and into the state playoffs, we pick out five games to keep an eye on.
With the stake higher than ever – each and every week – each game becomes more important and often brings out the best in football teams.
With that in mind, here are five contests that could really get interesting in Week 1:
Region 3-3M - No. 6 Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer (7-3) at No. 3 Pompano Beach Blanche Ely (8-0), 7, Monday. After completing an unbeaten season, the Tigers will be at home in the first round against a much-improved Panther squad that worked hard to reach the playoffs. Ely’s defense has really been the story this season, using speed and talent to get the advantage. While we believe that they will win, this could be closer than many think.
Region 3-3M - No. 5 Plantation (7-3) at No. 4 Delray Beach Atlantic (7-3), 6:30, Monday. While the Eagles fly high into this first-round matchup and will be at home, the Colonels are coming off a terrible season-ending loss at Western. Coach Steve Davis and his team need to turn back the clock to last season when they came in as an 8th seed and pulled off two surprises. Atlantic is a dangerous team, capable of playing at a high level.
Region 3-4M - No. 5 Parkland Stoneman Douglas (7-3) at No. 4 Lantana Santaluces (7-2), 6:30. Monday. Here is the tale of two programs – neither expected to get this far, but they are here and will create a really good matchup. While former Hialeah Champagnat Catholic head coach Hector Clavijo and his Chiefs are solid, they haven’t played well the last two weeks of the season. On the other side, the Eagles are one of the hottest teams in south Florida, winning their last five and averaging over 40 points per outing. Tough road game, but definitely a game that head coach Quentin Short and Douglas can win.
Region 4-4M - No. 7 Weston Cypress Bay (7-3) at No. 2 Davie Western (6-3), 7:30, Friday. This is a rematch of two district teams that are huge rivals. The Wildcats, after playing average football for much of the season, had a wakeup call last week and totally dominated Plantation. They looked great in every phase of the game. The Lightning have been very tough to figure out this season – and while they have been through a lot – they will need to bring their “A” game to Davie for this first round game.
Region 4-3M - No. 6 Miami Jackson (7-3) at No. 3 Miami Norland (7-2), Traz Powell Stadium, 3:30, Friday. This matinee is truly one that could end up being the best game in the first round. The Vikings have been solid and explosive all season, coming up with huge wins – with an explosive offense and a timely defense. The Generals have completely turned things around under veteran head coach John Harris – and come into the game with plenty of confidence and a load of talent. The team that makes the least mistakes will come out on top, and while it’s a cliché, it is a fact!
No. 2 Miami Booker T. Washington 27, No. 7 Miami Carol City 13
WAIT. THERE ARE OTHER GAMES ON TAP
In addition to those five matchups in the first weekend of the state playoffs, there are other contests to check out on Friday, Saturday and because of Hurricane Nicole, even Monday.
No. 8 Miami High (4-6) at No. 1 Miami Christopher Columbus (9-1), 7:30
No. 5 Pembroke Pines West Broward (5-5) at No. 4 Miami Palmetto (Tropical Park), 3:30
No. 6 Pembroke Pines Somerset Academy at No. 3 Doral Academy, 7:30
No. 7 Pembroke Pines Charter (6-3) at No. 2 Miramar (8-1), 7:30
No. 4 Miami Belen Jesuit (5-5) at No. 5 Miami Krop (6-4), Miami Gardens Monsignor Pace, 6
No. 8 Coconut Creek (6-4) at No. 1 Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas (9-0), 7:30
No. 7 Fort Lauderdale (6-4) at No. 2 Fort Lauderdale Dillard (6-3), 5
No. 7 Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest (8-2) at No. 2 Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons (9-1), 7:30
No. 6 Boca Raton St. Andrews (7-3) at No. 3 Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian (7-2), 7:30
No. 8 Miami St. Brendan (7-3) at No. 1 Miami Central (9-0), Traz Powell Stadium, 7:30
GMAC INDEPENDENT CHAMPIONSHIP
Miami Braddock (8-2) at Miami Coral Reef (8-2), Tropical Park, 7
No. 6 Hollywood South Broward (5-4) at No. 3 Miami Southridge (6-4), 3
No. 1 Homestead (7-2) at No. 8 North Miami (5-5), Traz Powell Stadium, 2
No. 5 Miami Gulliver Prep (5-3) at No. 4 Miami Northwestern (5-4), Traz Powell Stadium, 6
No. 8 Riviera Beach Inlet Grove (7-2) at No. 1 Plantation American Heritage (9-1), 7
No. 7 Boca Raton (6-4) at No. 2 Coconut Creek Monarch (8-2), Coconut Creek High School 7