High school football picks: Village Academy faces test against Glades Day
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
by Matt Porter
When a tiny charter school in Delray Beach started its football program in 2005, Glades Day and Jupiter Christianprovided a glimpse into the life of a small-school powerhouse.
On Thursday night, Delray's Village Academy, now a fiercely competitive team despite its numbers, gets a chance to go toe-to-toe with Glades Day, a seven-time state champion and regular fixture in the small-schools-as-juggernauts conversation.
Village may already have two losses, but both were excusable: Hollywood-Chaminade-Madonna is a quality South Florida small school, and Treasure Coast is simply bigger and deeper. But there's no doubting Village's chances in District 7-2A, where, yes, Glades Day is the favorite but Village is easily the second-best team in the group.
That's what makes Thursday so important for Village.
Sure, the Tigers have the immensely challenging task of stopping Glades Day running back Kelvin Taylor, a future Florida Gator with his sights set on the national high school career rushing record. But they also have their own star in quarterback Larry Brihm, an undersized signal caller with a slingshot arm.
We don't think Village has all the tools to beat Glades Day -- the Gators possess great size on their lines (and Taylor) -- but we do think this will be a breakthrough game for Village, one that shows the Tigers belong on the field with teams like the Gators.
Meanwhile, in Greenacres, John I. Leonard has a shot at its second upset of the season when recently rolling Seminole Ridge comes to town Friday. Royal Palm Beach can take another step toward a playoff spot with a win at West Boca Raton. And Gardens gets a bit of a reprieve when it hosts Boca Raton, which lost its stud quarterback Kevin Anderson for the rest of the season and struggled mightily without him last Friday.
Games of the Week
(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted)
Seminole Ridge (2-2) at John I. Leonard (3-2)
A slow start for Ridge prompted some panic in Loxahatchee, but the Hawks have a big defense boosted by the return of safety Mike Almonte. Leonard's up-and-down season is tough to read, but the Lancers have speed and grit.
Jeff's pick: Seminole Ridge 24-21.
Matt's pick: Seminole Ridge 20-17.
No. 7 Palm Beach Central (3-2) at Jupiter (0-5)
Central took a big step forward in last week's rout of then-No. 5 Park Vista. Building on that performance -- especially on offense -- is critical against the struggling Warriors with plenty of football left in the season.
Jeff's pick: Palm Beach Central 35-7.
Matt's pick: Palm Beach Central 38-13.
No. 6 Royal Palm Beach (3-1) at West Boca Raton (1-4)
The ship finally settled in Royal Palm after the Wildcats' second loss in two seasons against John I. Leonard. West Boca's sluggish offense must somehow come up with answers against one of the area's top defenses.
Jeff's pick: Royal Palm Beach 21-7.
Matt's pick: Royal Palm Beach 26-10.
Boca Raton (2-3) at No. 4 Palm Beach Gardens (4-1)
Boca managed seven points last week without injured quarterback Kevin Anderson. Not good news against a Gardens defense that allows 8.2 per game. Worse: the Gators can feature the run or pass whenever they need to.
Jeff's pick: Palm Beach Gardens 28-10.
Matt's pick: Palm Beach Gardens 35-6.
Santaluces (3-2) at No. 2 Dwyer (5-0)
Santaluces woke everyone up with a solid win over an enigmatic Atlantic team, but the Chiefs aren't ready for this kind of prime time. Dwyer's defense is jacked up and rested after a bye week.
Jeff's pick: Dwyer 52-7.
Matt's pick: Dwyer 49-7.
Village Academy (2-2) at No. 9 Glades Day (5-1), 7:30 p.m.
Village hasn't made the playoffs in its brief history, but senior quarterback Larry Brihm (846 yards, 11 touchdowns on 57.7 percent passing) and the Tigers can take over the top spot in District 7-2A with a win. Like everyone else, they'll struggle to stop Kelvin Taylor.
Jeff's pick: Glades Day 49-35.
Matt's pick: Glades Day 42-28.
Forest Hill (1-5) at Miami-Solid Rock Christian (3-3), Thursday: In theory, the larger school (Forest Hill) should dominate, but this one will be tight because of the Falcon's porous rushing D. Forest Hill 21-14.
Berean Christian (4-1) at Boca Raton Christian (5-0): Two of the best defensive squads among small schools meet in Boca. Favor the team with the better quarterback. Boca Raton Christian 28-14.
Spanish River (0-6) at Lake Worth (0-5): River averages two points per game; Lake Worth's offense hasn't been the problem. Lake Worth 28-0.
Fort Lauderdale-Pine Crest (6-0) at Benjamin (5-1): A pivotal Southeast Football Conference matchup in Palm Beach Gardens pits Pine Crest's stingy defense against the Bucs' potent running game. Pine Crest 20-17.
Titusville-Astronaut (3-2) at Jensen Beach (2-3): A struggling offense makes this one a tall order for Jensen Beach, especially against an Astronaut squad that posted a shutout last week. Astronaut 21-7.
Jupiter Christian (2-3) at Highlands Christian (3-3): Highlands has three consecutive wins after a tough start, but Jupiter Christian's got two in a row as well. Should be a fun game. Highlands Christian 33-28.
St. Andrew's (1-5) at John Carroll (4-2): John Carroll needs to win this one to keep pace with the top three teams in its division. The Rams should be able to move the ball. John Carroll 35-7.
Glades Central (1-4) at Fort Lauderdale-Dillard (4-2): The Raiders got their first win of the season after enjoying a bye week to focus on several glaring holes. This is a tough one, though. Dillard 28-23.
Miami-Monsignor Pace (2-3) at Treasure Coast (4-1): The classic big school vs. small school showdown always favors the big school purely because of size. T-Coast hasn't impressed, but should win. Treasure Coast 20-14.
Clewiston (2-4) at Fort Myers-Dunbar (5-1), 7:30 p.m.: Clewiston's mojo came home the past two games, with back-to-back Ws that put the Tigers in the playoff hunt, but Dunbar is the district's best. Dunbar 35-20.
Pahokee (1-4) at Fort Lauderdale-Calvary Christian (3-3), 4 p.m.: Despite a loss, the Blue Devils made it tough for Seminole Ridge last week. Calvary is a tough challenge on the road. Calvary Christian 17-14.
Summit Christian (3-1) at Coral Springs Christian (2-3): Both teams have taken similar lumps (stomped by Cardinal Newman, for example) but Summit is a tad friskier. Summit Christian 14-10.
Suncoast (2-4) at Inlet Grove (3-3): Inlet has the best player on the field: two-way junior playmaker Shawun Lurry (406 yards, 4 touchdowns on nine receptions; two interceptions on defense). Inlet Grove 22-11.
Pope John Paul II (5-1) at Coral Springs Charter (3-3): Running back DeQuan McGriff (679 yards, six touchdowns on 100 carries) is second among small-school players in rushing yards, but Pope can throw the ball, too. CSC doesn't have that kind of balance. Pope John Paul II 30-10.
Pembroke Pines-North Broward Prep (3-3) at No. 6 Cardinal Newman (6-0): Another blazing start for the Crusaders, who lead the area in total yards (2,024) and points scored (273). One of NBP's losses was to Inlet Grove, which Newman beat by 48 points. Cardinal Newman 56-14.
Miami-Dade Christian (7-0) at King's Academy (3-2): King's should flirt with an upset here, but Dade Christian's defense has averaged less than 10 points allowed in its past five. Dade Christian 24-21.
Centennial (1-4) at South Fork (5-0): Disappointing season for Centennial, which has the size and power to hang with most teams on the T-Coast. By per-game averages, South Fork has the area's fifth-ranked offense (38.8 points scored) and third-ranked defense (5.8 points allowed). South Fork 28-7.
Port St. Lucie (1-4) at Sebastian River (3-2): Sebastian River builds on last week's win over then-unbeaten Olympic Heights. Port St. Lucie has one of the T-Coast's best athletes, senior quarterback D.J. Juste, but has been sluggish overall. Sebastian River 31-21.
Fort Pierce Westwood (0-5) at Martin County (3-3): Westwood hopes Martin left some on the field in last week's overtime win against Port St. Lucie. Martin has been plenty inconsistent, but has more than enough in this one. Martin County 35-7.
No. 1 American Heritage (5-0) at Miami-Gulliver Prep (2-3), 7:30 p.m.: A bye can only help Heritage, which expects senior fullback/H-back/tight end Tyler Provo (ankle) to play his first game of the year. American Heritage 44-10.
Matt 13-2 last week, 75-19 overall; Jeff 12-3 last week, 76-17 overall.