Here is our rundown of the Top 10 Statewide Games of the Week and what to expect including predictions from Joe Pinkos, USA TODAY High School Sports’ Score Predictor and our prediction for each game. Rankings are from FloridaHSFootball.com’s Sunshine State 25 rankings or classification rankings.
#7 Booker T. Washington at #2 St. Thomas Aquinas
When: Today, 8:00 p.m. ET
Why: Booker T. Washington puts its 41-game win streak on the line here in this game while St. Thomas Aquinas has reloaded the roster. Both teams have new head coaches that are familiar names in the South Florida-area. Looking at everything involving this game, there appears to be some mismatches on the roster and it those mismatches could show early, depending on how things start out during the game.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: St. Thomas Aquinas 16 over Booker T. Washington
USA TODAY HSS Score Predictor: St. Thomas Aquinas 28, Booker T. Washington 21
FHSF Prediction: St. Thomas Aquinas
#18 Delray American Heritage at #21 Naples
When: Today, 7:30 p.m. ET
Why: Both teams will put their Sunshine State 25 ranking on the line in this game that will have talent across both teams. However, the key for American Heritage to win this game will game will be to get a fast start as it is usually hard for any team to get a win against Naples on Staver Field. Expect a big crowd for this game, so get their early if you are going to the game.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: American Heritage 6 over Naples
USA TODAY HSS Score Predictor: American Heritage 38, Naples 20
FHSF Prediction: Naples
#14 Manatee at Hoover, AL
When: Today, 7:00 p.m. CT
Internet Stream: ManateeFootball.com
Why: Manatee will get the season started against a Hoover program that has had decent success against Florida programs over the last few years. Manatee will need to be ready for whatever Hoover dishes out, but we feel this will not be much of an issue for the Hurricanes. We expect this game to go down right to the wire.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Hoover 6 over Manatee
USA TODAY HSS Score Predictor: Hoover 35, Manatee 7
FHSF Prediction: Manatee
#7 Cocoa at Palm Bay
When: Today, 7:00 p.m. ET
Internet Stream: Friday Night Locker Room
Why: This is the first meeting between the two Brevard County programs and both are hungry to get the season started out on the right note. Palm Bay, which missed the playoffs last season, has a lot of fuel in the fire seeking to get the first win of the season, but Cocoa is a tough competitor no matter the size of the roster. We feel a close game will take place here on this one.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Cocoa 1 over Palm Bay
USA TODAY HSS Score Predictor: Cocoa 35, Palm Bay 13
FHSF Prediction: Cocoa
#6 (7A) Plant at Colquitt County, GA
When: Today, 8:00 p.m. ET
Why: Plant will travel to Moultrie, GA to take on very challenging Packers team that is loaded with talent across both sides of the ball. Plant has recently gone through a quarterback situation where Rex Culpepper went down for the season, leaving the Panthers the position they thought they had settled, unsettled. We are not sure if this game could get out of hand on Plant, but if the Panthers can find a push, they will make this game competitive.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Colquitt County 14 over Plant
USA TODAY HSS Score Predictor: Colquitt County 42, Plant 17
FHSF Prediction: Colquitt County
#8 (6A) Escambia at #7 (5A) West Florida
When: Today, 7:00 p.m. ET
Radio: WBSR 1450 AM/101.1 FM, Pensacola
Why: Escambia Gators will travel across town to take on the West Florida Jaguars and this should be a great battle of the two of the best teams in Escambia County. Both teams look equally matched on paper, but the question will be is who is hungriest the most? That will be answered tonight when the teams hit the field.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: West Florida 1 over Escambia
USA TODAY HSS Score Predictor: West Florida 28, Escambia 27
FHSF Prediction: West Florida
#8 Plantation American Heritage at Stephenson, GA
When: Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET
Why: After a big kickoff classic win over IMG Academy last weekend, the Patriots try to carry that momentum into Georgia as they take on Stephenson as part of the Third Annual Chick-fil-A Battle of the Borders which will also involve other Florida teams including Hallandale, Coconut Creek and Godby. Stephenson struggled a bit last season, going 8-4, so the Jaguars will be looking for an upset over our defending Class 5A state champions.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: American Heritage 35 over Stephenson
USA TODAY HSS Score Predictor: American Heritage 35, Stephenson 14
FHSF Prediction: American Heritage
Spartanburg, SC at #20 Wakulla
When: Saturday, 1:00 p.m. ET
Radio: WAKU 94.1 FM, Crawfordville/Tallahassee
Why: This will be a great battle between nationally ranked teams and one that will allow Feleipe Franks to show that he can lead the War Eagles to victory on national television. Spartanburg is coming off 2014 season in which they won the Class AAAA – Division II state championship and is ranked in the Top 25 by most national ranking services. A win for Wakulla, would be a huge start to what could be a highly successful 2015 season.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Spartanburg 10 over Wakulla
USA TODAY HSS Score Predictor: Spartanburg 42, Wakulla 34
FHSF Prediction: Wakulla
#1 Miami Central at DeMatha Catholic, MD
When: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET
Why: This game will be a national title eliminator as both teams are highly ranked in every single national high school football poll in the country. For Miami Central, they are a confident team that has rarely been stopped over the last few years while collecting up three straight Class 6A state championships.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Miami Central 7 over DeMatha Catholic
USA TODAY HSS Score Predictor: Miami Central 28, DeMatha Catholic 22
FHSF Prediction: Miami Central
Miramar at IMG Academy
When: Sunday, 2:00 p.m. ET
Why: A very rare Sunday game in high school football, this will be a game that national analyst will be keeping an eye on after IMG was upset by Plantation American Heritage last week in the preseason kickoff classic. Miramar is coming off a huge win over American in their kickoff classic. This could be setting up to be a close game and we feel this game might be worth watching as someone could pull of the upset.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: IMG Academy 6 over Miramar
USA TODAY HSS Score Predictor: IMG Academy 26, Miramar 14
FHSF Prediction: IMG Academy