High school football picks: American Heritage big favorite against Glades Central
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Let's call this week Rematch Week.
Glades Central's 41-34 overtime win at American Heritage last fall was the game of the year in Palm Beach County. It had everything fans could ask for: Soaring interceptions, momentum changes, big runs and all kinds of emotion.
Thursday's rematch in Belle Glade could be the exact opposite of that memorable 2011 contest.
Glades Central (0-2) is out of The Post Top 10 rankings, something even the best area historians can't ever recall happening. Meanwhile American Heritage (2-0) is fresh off a road upset at Seffner-Armwood, considered one of the nation's top programs.
Another game that generated highlights and hoopla last fall was Dwyer's 23-14 home win over Seminole Ridge. The Hawks get a shot at revenge on their home field this time, but they'll need major tweaks after last week's rocky 2012 debut, a 21-7 home loss to Park Vista. Defense, and defensive stars, will be on display in Loxahatchee.
And who could forget the showdown Palm Beach Central and Palm Beach Gardens produced last fall? Expect plenty of offense and fireworks again in their Wellington meeting.
Enough chatter: Let's get to the picks.
GAMES OF THE WEEK (Games at 7 p.m. Friday unless noted)
No. 1 American Heritage (2-0) at Glades Central (0-2), 7:30 p.m., Thursday
These teams have produced thrillers of late, and it's going to take a monster effort from Glades Central to make this year anything more than a snoozer. The Raiders are sorting out issues everywhere, while Heritage is coming off a road win at top Class 6A team Armwood.
Jeff's pick: Heritage 38-10.
Matt's pick: Heritage 34-17.
No. 2 Dwyer (2-0) at No. 6 Seminole Ridge (0-1), 7:30 p.m.
Two teams with outstanding defenses go at it. Dwyer's defense is better than Ridge's, and its offense, while unsettled up front and under center, is more consistent than Ridge.
Jeff's pick: Dwyer 16-13.
Matt's pick: Dwyer 24-10.
No. 7 Palm Beach Gardens (1-1) at No. 4 Palm Beach Central (1-0)
It was a shootout in Gardens last year when Central pulled off the early season upset. Expect more the same, though the scoring might be done differently. Gardens has a nice mix of passing and rushing offense, while Central will get its yards from its dominant offensive line and trio of rushing weapons.
Jeff's pick: Central 41-35.
Matt's pick: Central 38-31.
No. 9 John I. Leonard (2-0) at Wellington (2-0)
A win over up-and-coming Wellington would make Leonard 3-0. They can throw on anyone, and don't sleep on that defense and run game. Leonard is legitimate, but let's remember the Lancers were 3-0 last year before finishing 4-6.
Jeff's pick: John I. Leonard 28-14.
Matt's pick: John I. Leonard 30-10.
Pahokee (0-2) at Atlantic (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
It's been a sloppy proposition the past few meetings, and this one will be no different. Atlantic is simply bigger, faster and stronger this season, something that may change in the near future. Don't be fooled: Pahokee is better this season, but the schedule is extremely challenging.
Jeff's pick: Atlantic 33-10.
Matt's pick: Atlantic 28-14.
West Boca Raton (0-2) at Lake Worth (0-2)
This is an intriguing matchup between a pair of winless teams. Both offenses can move the ball a bit, with West Boca's powered by running back Eugene Bethea and Lake Worth's by its passing attack. But the defense for West Boca's been a bit more trustworthy.
Jeff's pick: West Boca 24-21.
Matt's pick: West Boca 20-17
Treasure Coast (2-0) at Daytona Beach-Mainland (1-1): T-Coast is off to a nice start, but Mainland is considered one of the tougher teams in the state. Mainland 20-16.
Boca Raton (1-1) at Jupiter (0-2): Boca's tough road loss at Atlantic doesn't hurt its stature, while Jupiter's opening games have been disastrous. Boca Raton 28-7.
Boynton Beach (1-1) at Forest Hill (1-1): Good luck picking this one. Both teams lost to Wellington, and both struggled to score. Boynton has more athletes. Boynton Beach 18-16.
Spanish River (0-2) at Olympic Heights (2-0): Two new coaches, and two programs headed in very different directions. Love O-Heights' discipline so far. Olympic Heights 35-0.
Inlet Grove (0-2) at Jupiter Christian (0-1), at Dwyer: Concerns abound about both teams' offenses after rough starts. Depth is also an issue. Jupiter Christian 17-16.
Glades Day (2-0) at Clewiston (0-2): Kelvin Taylor is off to his usual blazing start, and he'll look for better results this time after his team lost to the Tigers last fall. Glades Day 28-21.
Coral Springs Charter (1-0) at John Carroll (1-1): John Carroll got rolled last week at Benjamin, but that says more about the Bucs than John Carroll. John Carroll 21-14.
Fort Pierce Westwood (0-2) at Vero Beach (2-0): This might be the biggest mismatch of the week, as Vero's become one of the top teams (again) in Class 8A. Vero Beach 45-0.
Centennial (0-2) at Okeechobee (1-1): Hard to judge these teams after two games. Okeechobee was strong in Week 1, but struggled in Week 2. Centennial's offense is lagging. Centennial 14-13.
Boca Raton Christian (2-0) at Miami-Hillel (1-1): Boca Christian is off to a good start with senior A.J. Puente at quarterback, but Hillel can score and shut down the pass. Hillel 31-18.
Suncoast (1-1) at No. 8 Cardinal Newman (2-0): Cardinal Newman has put up more points than anyone in the area, and unless Suncoast can get stops early, this one will be over quick. Cardinal Newman 45-10.
No. 5 Park Vista (2-0) at Palm Beach Lakes (1-1): Park Vista has allowed just a touchdown and 172 yards of offense through two games. Lakes, which won't increase those totals by much. Park Vista 28-0.
Pope John Paul II (2-0) at Benjamin (2-0): Two of the Southeastern Football Conference's best teams get together in Palm Beach Gardens. Benjamin junior McKenna Johnston has been a pleasant surprise carrying the ball. Benjamin 24-21.
Miami-Archbishop Curley (0-2) at St. Andrew's (0-2): Both SFC teams have looked shaky in the outset, but the Scots should take this one at home. St. Andrew's 14-7.
Pompano Beach-Highlands Christian (0-2) at Village Academy (0-2): Village tested itself with a preseason game against No. 4 Palm Beach Central and big school Treasure Coast in Week 1 before falling to powerful 3A Chaminade last week. They're primed for a win. Village Academy 34-7.
Martin County (0-2) at Melbourne-Eau Gallie (1-1): Martin County hasn't shown it can keep teams from driving down the field, giving up 46 points to South Fork and 48 to Vero Beach. Eau Gallie will be similarly tough to stop. Eau Gallie 34-14.
Sebastian River (1-1) at No. 3 Fort Pierce Central (2-0): Short week for Central, which finished a comeback win over Melbourne-Palm Bay on Monday night. Sebastian has a chance if FPC is dog-tired. Fort Pierce Central 48-13.
Jensen Beach (1-1) at Port St. Lucie (0-2): Port St. Lucie has gained the sixth-most yards in the area, but has just 20 points to show for it. Jensen Beach makes good on its opportunities. Jensen Beach 21-13.
Berean Christian (1-0) vs. South Florida HEAT (1-1) at Wellington, noon: Berean stomped Posnack Day last week, and should roll against HEAT. Berean Christian 34-17.
Jeff Greer: 13-5 last week; 26-7 overall.
Matt Porter: 13-4 last week; 26-7 overall.