Miami Central & Northwestern Kick-Off Tonight in 'Cage' Match

Friday night is a snooze-fest for college football. So instead of nuking a bowl of nachos and watching Oklahoma State vs. LA-Lafayette, get off your fat ass and check-out the best high school football game you will ever see.

Miami Central and Northwestern, two of the top teams in the state, square-off tonight in "The Cage," FIU's 23,500-seat stadium here in Miami.

For the Rockets, a win over their cross-town rivals would re-establish them as the team to beat after a heart-breaking loss to open the season. For Northwestern, tonight will be all about revenge after losing to Central in last year's playoffs.

The game also features two of the best high school quarterbacks Miami has ever seen.

Northwestern QB Teddy Bridgewater is having a stellar season, completing a redonkulous 72 percent of his passes for 1,181 yards, 13 touchdowns, and just one interception. Just last week, he led the 4-0 Bulls to a comeback victory over Booker T. Washington.

His Miami Central counterpart boasts an even more impressive resume. Rakeem Cato has already set a Miami-Dade record for career passing yards (7,402) and has started this season on fire: throwing for 979 yards, 12 TDs and only three picks in his first five games for Central (4-1) since transferring from Miami Springs last summer.

Tonight Cato is also likely to break UM starting QB and ex-Northwestern star Jacory Harris's record of 87 career touchdown passes.

As if matching up against Bridgewater -- rated one of the top QB prospects in the nation and already committed to UM next season -- and sweeping a Northwestern Hall of Famer from the record books wasn't motivation enough, tonight will be Cato's first game in FIU's stadium since he committed to the Golden Panthers earlier this year.

Having watched both teams play this year, Riptide is betting on at least 70 points between the two powerhouses tonight, with Central eking out a narrow win.

Our prediction: Central 42 - 35 Northwestern.

Game tonight at 7:30 at FIU Stadium: 11200 SW 8th Street.

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Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.