No. 1 Booker T. Washington vs. No. 2 Miami CentralLocation:
Traz Powell Stadium, MiamiKickoff time:
7:30 p.m. ETLive scoring: via Qwixcore here
Washington Preseason Top 25 Photo ShootCentral Preseason Top 25 Photo Shoot
Historically, games between teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 have been manufactured showdowns between two teams from distant lands who ordinarily don't play.
De La Salle traveled nearly 400 miles to take on Long Beach Poly in 2001. Miami Northwestern flew to Dallas to down Southlake Carroll in 2007. Two years later, Byrnes lost to St. Thomas Aquinas over 700 miles from home.Take a look at our brand new Miami Metro site
On Friday night, the nation's No. 1 and No. 2 teams will once again do battle. But this time, when Central (Miami)
and Washington (Miami)
play at Traz Powell Stadium, this clash of football titans feels more like a glorified neighborhood brawl than a game with national title implications.
And this week, that neighborhood is buzzing with anticipation.
"It's exciting," said Tim Harris Jr., the offensive coordinator of No. 1-ranked Washington. "Not only in school and practice, but our whole community, the whole inner city of Miami. There's a lot of bragging rights and predictions. It's so great for the kids, so great for the two programs."
The two schools, separated by a mere seven miles, have been a source of pride for the Miami area in recent years. With the Hurricanes struggling and the Dolphins floundering, the high school football fervor in Miami is at an all-time high.
The two schools definitely have a rivalry, but tantamount is the mutual respect they share.
"It's a rivalry, but not one that has some animosity like you'd see other times," Miami Herald preps editor Andre Fernandez said.
The players know one another and the coaches are very familiar with each other. Central defensive coordinator Max Edwards used to coach at Booker T. Washington, alongside head coach Tim Harris, and actually coached Harris Jr., the Tornadoes' current offensive coordinator.
"There's a lot of those relationships that make this rivalry that much more special," Harris Jr. said.
With the wealth of talent that will be on the field on Friday, numerous opponents will soon be teammates.
Washington features three Miami commits: Chad Thomas
, Nigel Bethel
and Demetrius Jackson
. Running back Joseph Yearby
and offensive lineman Trevor Darling
are future Hurricanes on the Central roster.
Central's other vaunted running back, Dalvin Cook
, will play at rival Florida while Washington quarterback Treon Harris
will buck family tradition and play at Florida State.
The last time these two teams met in 2012, Harris struggled in the second half, allowing Central to erase a 16-point deficit and come away with a 37-26 victory, handing Washington its only defeat of the season.
Both teams went on to capture state titles last December. Central was Class 6A champion; Washington, Class 4A. Both were ranked inside the Top 10 of the MaxPreps Preseason Xcellent 25
in June — Central was No. 2 and Washington No. 9.
The stakes rose significantly when Washington traveled to Georgia in week one to hand Norcross — then No. 3 in the country — a 55-0 defeat
That catapulted Washington to No. 1 in the rankings and paved the way for a showdown between the country's top two high school football teams.
Though it is only his second game at the helm of Central, Rockets first-year head coach Roland Smith, a veteran of the Miami high school football scene, is ready for the challenge — though he's downplayed it with his players.
"I've been in big games before, so it's like another game. We try to treat it like another game, even though we know it's a big game," he said.
The 10,000 fans who will file into Traz Powell Stadium on Friday night, along with the thousands who will be following along at home, would seem to agree.