Posted: 12:35 am Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Thanks, Irene: Now we have preseason football predictions a day early 

By Matt Porter

Football season was already fast approaching, but a storm-that-wasn’t made it show up even faster.

We’re thankful, Irene.

As of early Wednesday morning, Irene wasn't expected to show up on our doorstep.

As of early Wednesday morning, Irene wasn't expected to show up on our doorstep.

Sure, we still might get some nasty weather from you, but since the threat you originally posed caused teams to move their games, we now have football a day early.

Glad you shortened the wait.

We’re ready for some promising preseason matchups, with plenty of intriguing storylines.

As we wrote last year, the standings will look the same after this week, but it’s still worth showing up to see how the teams look. No coach will show every wrinkle in the playbook, but he might draw up a few new plays this weekend. Tons of underclassmen are trying to be noticed.

Perhaps most importantly, these are the first real nights of high school football this season. It’s time to get back in the stands and yell, scream, talk about your team and enjoy everything else that makes high school sports fun.

Picking preseason games is a crapshoot, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have opinions on who will win.

(Oh, as always, we do have opinions. And so do you. So let’s get to the picks, and let’s hear what you think in the comment section.)

All games at 7 unless noted

Wednesday, Aug. 24

Fort Lauderdale-Pine Crest at Benjamin, 6 Pine Crest senior RB Traveon Henry returns to lead an offense that scored just shy of 30 points per game last year. Benjamin’s line will be tested here, but Bucs have potential game-changers in junior running back Charlie Nicklaus and senior lineman Trenton Saunders.
Matt’s pick: Pine Crest, 24-21.
Jeff’s pick: Pine Crest, 35-21.

Lake Worth at Park Vista, 6 Matt’s covering this one. Can’t wait to see how far the Cobras have advanced in installing that new spread offense, who’s going to carry the ball out of the backfield, and if they’re fully healthy and ready to go. We’ve seen plenty of Lake Worth, and we know what they can do. I just wonder how fast that Evan Moore offense can go.
Matt: Lake Worth, 35-10.
Jeff: Lake Worth, 30-21.

Santaluces at Boynton Beach, 6 Tigers talking like this could be a season to remember. It should start with a win against a nearby rival, with Boynton’s revamped offense showing it can put together some nice drives.
Matt: Boynton Beach, 22-14.
Jeff: Boynton Beach, 14-6.

American Heritage at Bradenton-Manatee Outstanding game. A perennial small schools sate title contender facing a team ranked in the top 40 nationally by Rivals, whose schedule includes MaxPreps’ No. 1 team in the country (Don Bosco Prep, N.J.). Stallions are playing up a level here, and a win would make some serious noise. Manatee has too many athletes, too much depth.
Matt: Manatee, 35-18.
Jeff: Manatee, 24-20.

Oakland Park-Northeast at Palm Beach Central Jeff’s covering this one. Northeast, a team just missed the state semifinals last year, has the athletes and the size to give Palm Beach Central a great early-season test. Expect good things from Central this year, but Northeast has more winning experience.
Jeff: Northeast, 28-21.
Matt: Palm Beach Central, 14-7.

Thursday, Aug. 25

North Miami Beach at Boca Raton
Boca Raton enters the 2011 season with a more confident quarterback in Kevin Anderson and a chip on its shoulder. This will be a good challenge for the Bobcats, though North Miami Beach lost its top offensive contributor (Ritchy Desir) to graduation. Boca looked strong in the spring against a good Northeast team. Here’s another challenge they’ll handle.
Jeff: Boca, 27-22.
Matt: Boca, 34-14.

Aventura-Hillel at Berean Christian Berean Christian looks to improve by playing an independent schedule, joining Hillel in the ranks of the districtless.
Matt: Berean Christian 14-6.
Jeff: Berean Christian 20-12.

Inlet Grove at Fort Lauderdale-Westminster Academy Inlet Grove feels pretty good about this year. The charter school has received several transfers from other programs and feels it can make noise eventually. “We’re under the radar,” coach Jimmie Bell said. “We haven’t earned the spotlight yet.”
Matt: Westminster Academy 24-14.
Jeff: Inlet Grove 18-14.

Friday picks coming soon. Click here for the full preseason schedule.