Only seven South Florida high school football teams remain alive in the hunt for a state title.
Week 11 kept things hopeful for those teams, with many of them moving on to the next round. Some of them did face scares, however, including two games that went down to the wire.
After further evaluation, here are 305 Sports’ updated power rankings:
No. 1: St. Thomas Aquinas (5-1)
Last week: No. 1
The Raiders had no trouble blowing right past Mantatee High School (FL) 45-0. Junior quarterback Zion Turner led the way with four total touchdowns, while running back Anthony Hankerson added 115 all-purpose yards and a score.
The defense, as well, continues to keep clicking, with seniors Isaiah Taylor and Tyson Russell both getting interceptions and Tyreak Sapp recovering a fumble.
Week 13: St. Thomas Aquinas will host a 10-3 Venice (FL) squad in the Class 7A regional finals. The Indians have lost to the Raiders for the past two years. All likelihood indicates this will the third.
Kickoff is Friday at 7:00 p.m.
No. 2: Plantation American Heritage (8-2)
Last week: No. 2
Although the 26-14 score implies it was a tight game, the Patriots really had no trouble edging past Rockledge (FL) last week. UM commit James Williams was a vital factor defensively, recording an interception, fumble recovery and forced fumble.
Offensively, quarterback Blake Murphy had three first-half touchdowns.
Week 13: The Patriots’ rode to a Class 5A state championship carries on this Friday against Eau Gallie (FL). The 7:30 p.m. contest favors Coach Patrick Surtain’s team, just two weeks after defeating the reigning three-time defending state champs in Miami Northwestern.
No. 3: Cardinal Gibbons (6-1)
Last week: No. 3
The Cheifs were one of two South Florida programs to advance to states last week, with a 26-14 victory over American Heritage Delray (FL). Coach Matt DuBuc’s group continues striving, moving past everyone they’ve faced in the Class 4A playoffs so far.
Week 13: For obvious reasons, Gibbons’ matchup against 10-0 Cocoa (FL) will be their most difficult challenge in the postseason. In a state semi-final showdown, the Tigers are as hungry as the Cheifs. It’s bound to be a down to the wire game.
The match will be Friday at 7:30 p.m.
No. 4: Miami Central (5-1)
Last week: No. 5
The Rockets overcame a 14-3 halftime deficit over Naples last week, using a 28-point spurt to capture a 31-21 Class 6A regional semifinals victory. Texas A&M commits Yulkeith Brown and Amari Daniels led the way, with Brown scoring on offense and defense while Daniels racked up over 200 yards.
In what was a wake-up call to not take any opponent for granted, Central remains a heavy favorite to repeat as state champions and represent Miami-Dade county as one of the two teams remaining.
Week 13: Their regional finals matchup will be against a Dunbar team Central defeated 38-0 last season. Now 8-2 on the year, the Tigers shouldn’t pose any serious threat to the Rockets’ title aspirations. Still, it’s an opponent Central should take seriously.
No. 5: Chaminade-Madonna (7-1)
Last week: No. 6
With UM commit Thaddius Franklin limited for their game against Miami Edison, freshman running back Davion Gause was the x-factor offensively -two touchdowns – en route to a 28-0 win. Ohio commit Torrie Cox Jr. added an 80-yard pick-six to his resume, along with a ferocious hit on an opposing Edison player.
Week 13: The Lions seem to be playing as good as ever, with their offense clicking and the defense remaining prominent. They’ll be tested Friday at 7:30 p.m. against 7-1 Berkeley Prep (FL) in a Class 3A state semifinal match between two teams that had never met during Chaminade’s three-straight state title runs. It should be an intriguing game.
No. 6: Miami Northwestern (3-2)
Last week: No. 4
Week 13: N/A.
No. 7: Christopher Columbus (5-0)
Last week: No. 7
Week 13: The Explorers welcome Marjory Stoneman Douglas (FL) for a home game this Friday at 7 p.m. The game is headlined by offensive lineman Ryan Rodriguez and Michael McLaughlin, both being Miami commits.
No. 8: Miami Palmetto (4-1)
Last week: No. 8
The Panthers’ showdown against Treasure Coast was a prime example of how their season has gone by. Without starting quarterback Kevin Smith, it took Palmetto a two-point conversion in overtime to capture a 22-21 win and move onto the Class 8A regional finals.
Week 13: Defense has been a perennial factor as to why Palmetto remains in the hunt for a state title. From Leonard Taylor to Jason Marshall, it’s been a group effort for the defensive side, who’s given up an average of 10.2 points per game.
This time around versus 8-2 Vero Beach (FL), they’ll need assistance on the offensive side as well. Still, it’s a contest that favors the Panthers, and ultimately one that’ll be theirs to lose.
No. 9: Deerfield Beach (2-0)
Last Week: No. 9
Week 13: Just two games into their season, the Bucks are playoff-bound this Friday at 7:30 p.m. against an undefeated Jupiter (4-0) team. Playing the Warriors (4-0) is a huge opportunity for Deerfield Beach to get loose and prepared for the road ahead.
No. 10: Tru Prep Academy (5-2)
Last week: No. 10
Week 13: The Saints will take on a 3-5 Clearwater International (FL) team as they open up their playoff schedule. Tru Prep comes off a bye week after falling to IMG Academy (FL) on the road. They should be healthy and ready to go come Friday at 6:30 p.m.