High school football picks: Atlantic and Glades Central look to bounce back after opening losses
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
by Matt Porter
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The opening week of the high school football season was a story of haves and have-nots.
And when we say "haves," we mean "having a boatload of offense." The winners of nine marquee games last week - American Heritage, Cardinal Newman, Dwyer, Fort Pierce Central, John I. Leonard, King's Academy, Palm Beach Gardens, Park Vista and South Fork - put up 363 points, an average of 40.3 points per game. Those nine allowed just 40 total points, with more than half of that total allowed by Newman, but the Crusaders routed Inlet Grove 72-24.
While players hit the end zone with dizzying pace, two longtime powers were left hanging with the have-nots: Atlantic and Glades Central. Granted, the Eagles and Raiders matched up against state championship contenders in American Heritage and Dwyer, but it was expected they'd combine for more than nine points. Expect Atlantic to find the end zone this week against Boca Raton, and Glades Central to erase the shaky feelings in Belle Glade with a road win over Plantation High.
Some teams were have-nots for a different reason - they didn't have a game to play. Seminole Ridge, Palm Beach Central, Pahokee and Royal Palm Beach would like to forget Tropical Storm Isaac, and those teams want to wait another minute before playing this week's game.
In fact, we can't wait another minute, either. Lots of good ones this week, so let's get to the picks ...
GAMES OF THE WEEK
(All games at 7 p.m. Friday unless noted)
Royal Palm Beach (0-0) at John I. Leonard (1-0), 7 p.m. Thursday
Royal Palm's season-opener at Pahokee was canceled, but its defense was last seen dominating in a preseason win at Glades Central. Leonard's passing attack led it to a 41-0 win over Jupiter last week, but the Wildcats' secondary and front seven should bring heavy pressure.
Jeff's pick: Royal Palm Beach 21-18.
Matt's pick: Royal Palm Beach 24-17.
Boca Raton (1-0) at Atlantic (0-1)
Last year's showdown was a shootout, with Atlantic winning by three in Boca. This fall should produce a similarly exciting game, with both teams' passing attacks locked and loaded and playmakers all over the field, but we're banking on Atlantic to finally win a big game.
Jeff's pick: Atlantic 35-28.
Matt's pick: Atlantic, 31-30.
Dwyer (1-0) at Jupiter (0-1)
Will be interesting to see how Jupiter's players handle the heat. Dwyer isn't completely pleased with its quarterback and offensive line play, but the Panthers' defense and offensive weapons are phenomenal.
Jeff's pick: Dwyer 35-0.
Matt's pick: Dwyer 45-0.
Palm Beach Gardens (1-0) at West Boca Raton (0-1)
These teams hoped to play this game at FAU, but they moved it back to Friday night in Boca, where Gardens will look to stop West Boca RB Eugene Bethea. Gardens brings a potent offense and huge offensive line down south, but don't underestimate the Gators' defense.
Jeff's pick: Gardens 28-14.
Matt's pick: Gardens 35-18.
Park Vista (1-0) at Seminole Ridge (0-0)
After a week of flooding, no school and no practice, Seminole Ridge will be itching to get its 2012 regular season underway, and who better to start against than a former district rival? Vista's defense is in midseason form, but its offense has work to do. Expect Ridge to stage a strong season opener.
Jeff's pick: Seminole Ridge 21-7.
Matt's pick: Seminole Ridge 14-10
Cardinal Newman (1-0) at Pahokee (0-0), 7:30 p.m.
Tough task for Pahokee, which saw its season opener washed out by flooding, to jump in against a Newman squad that hung 72 points on Inlet Grove. Pahokee's young and athletic, but Newman is rolling.
Jeff's pick: Cardinal Newman 42-14.
Matt's pick: Cardinal Newman 35-10.
Jeff Greer's picks
Lake Worth (0-1) at Palm Beach Central (0-0): Lake Worth's defense struggled in its season opener, and now it faces the county's best offensive line and deepest rushing attack. Palm Beach Central 38-21.
Vero Beach (1-0) at Martin County (0-1): Vero's defense is stout and its offense efficient, while Martin County's opener was anything but inspiring. Vero Beach 35-7.
American Heritage (1-0) at Seffner-Armwood (1-0): This is one of Heritage's multiple national-interest games this season, and it should be more than a challenge for the Stallions. Armwood's one of the nation's top-rated teams. Armwood 24-14.
Santaluces (0-1) at Palm Beach Lakes (0-1): Santaluces pushed Park Vista, while Lakes really struggled in coach Willie Snead's debut. I trust the Chiefs' D a bit more. Santaluces 21-14.
St. Andrew's (0-1) at Fort Lauderdale-Pine Crest (1-0): Scots have their hands full on the road this week, especially with the all-around struggles they've encountered thus far. Pine Crest 35-7.
Forest Hill (1-0) at Wellington (1-0): First-year coach Thomas Abel got his debut win last week with Wellington, and QB Cole Smallridge should help him get another in the home opener. Wellington 20-16.
Olympic Heights (1-0) at Suncoast (1-0): This one's as close to a toss-up as any in Palm Beach County, with two new coaches going head-to-head in Riviera Beach. O-Heights is the slight favorite. Olympic Heights 21-14.
Port St. Lucie (0-1) at South Fork (1-0): These teams experienced complete opposites in their season openers, and South Fork should build on its huge Week 1 win. South Fork 38-28.
Summit Christian (0-1) at Jupiter Christian (0-0), at Dwyer: Season opener for Jupiter Christian should be the Eagles' best shot at a District 7-2A victory. Jupiter Christian 35-7.
Glades Central (0-1) at Plantation (0-1): Another road challenge for Central, but the Raiders' D should hold well enough to earn the Raiders their first win in the calendar year. Glades Central 21-7.
John Carroll (1-0) at Benjamin (1-0): John Carroll will need a far more efficient performance in Palm Beach Gardens if it wants to hang with its new division foe. Benjamin 31-17.
Boca Raton Christian (1-0) at Merritt Island Christian (0-0): Boca Christian got its kickoff classic kinks out and scored 42 points in the 2012 opener. Expect more Friday. Boca Christian 35-14.
Matt Porter's picks
Spanish River (0-1) at Boynton Beach (0-1): Close losses for both last week, but Boynton's strength of opponent (Wellington) was greater than River's (Suncoast). Boynton 20-7.
Pompano Beach-Highlands Christian (0-1) at Glades Day (1-0): Kelvin Taylor watch: 314 yards last week leaves him 2,973 shy of the national record (11,232). Also, add three touchdowns to his state-record total (151). Glades Day 45-7.
Treasure Coast (1-0) at Fort Pierce Westwood (0-1): T-Coast had first-quarter trouble with Village Academy last week before putting the hammer down. Expect a smoother ride against struggling Westwood. Treasure Coast 42-10.
Clewiston (0-1) at King's Academy (1-0): Tough start to the season for Clewiston, which opened on the road at powerful Plantation-American Heritage and visits a rejuvenated King's club this week. King's 35-12.
Fort Pierce Central (1-0) at Melbourne-Palm Bay (1-0): Outstanding matchup here. Fort Pierce Central will be fired up coming off a thrashing of Westwood, but it's always tough to play at Palm Bay. Cobras in a thriller. Fort Pierce Central 28-23.
Village Academy (0-1) at Hollywood-Chaminade (0-0): Village has hung with big-school bullies Palm Beach Central (preseason) and Treasure Coast. Expect the Tigers to grab their first win. Village 38-21.
Coconut Creek-Monarch (0-0) at Inlet Grove (0-1): Monarch has enough experience on offense to make it tough for Inlet, which allowed 72 points against Newman last week. Monarch 34-6.
Eau Gallie (1-0) at Jensen Beach (0-1): Jensen's defense allowed 59 yards on 39 attempts in last week's loss to Dakota Ridge (Colo.). Eau Gallie is trying to turn around last season's 1-9 mark. Jensen 24-3.
Sebastian River (0-1) at Centennial (0-1): Neither team scored a touchdown in its season opener, but Sebastian had the cleaner, more efficient game of the two. Sebastian River 20-7.
Fort Lauderdale-Westminster Academy (0-1) at Pope John Paul II (1-0): Pope did just enough to win last week, and more of the same is expected this week. Pope 18-13.
Okeechobee (1-0) at Arcadia-DeSoto County (1-0): Okeechobee's ground game looks strong with Elijahwon Williams and D.J. Washington, but DeSoto has a stronger defense. DeSoto 14-10.