Miami Central Meets Cypress Bay Tonight in State Semifinal

Last week was all about the cheese plates, champagne, and pretending you knew who Marina Abramovic was: "But of course! I love her... stuff."

So now that Art Basel is over, why not shed the haute couture and come out to see some hard knocks instead. Sixty-yard spirals? Breathtaking! A quarterback sneak? Brilliant!

Local favorite Miami Central plays Broward bruiser Cypress Bay tonight in the state semifinal. Riptide's legion of high school football scouts tells us it's going to be one helluva game.

As our tens of faithful readers know well, Central -- then ranked #2 in the nation -- lost its first game of the season on a last-second field goal against Camden County, Georgia. Since then, however, the Rockets have rattled off 12 straight wins and climbed back near the top ten.

"We were a couple of seconds away from being perfect," says head coach Telly Lockette. "But my kids keep fighting, sharpening that blade. With the Lords blessing, we'll win (tonight) and move one step closer to that #1 ranking."

Although Central has little chance of winning a national championship with even a single loss on their record, the Rockets have an opportunity to win their first ever state title. But Lockette is not looking past tonight's matchup against the Cypress Bay Lightning.

"They have a tremendous, balanced offense," Lockette says. "They throw and run the ball well. They have a tremendous quarterback (sophomore Jaranta Lewis) and a good running back and receivers."

Ranked #1 in the state, Central is still the favorite tonight. But this year, Lockette -- a quiet and serious man -- is on guard against complacency. The Rockets lost in last year's semifinals after knocking out arch-rival and title favorite Northwestern. The defeat was a huge let-down that Lockette is looking to avoid this time around.

"Everybody in the playoffs is good," Lockette warns. "On any give day, anybody can be beat."

Riptide's prediction: Miami Central 35 - 28 Cypress Bay.

Miami Central plays Cypress Bay tonight at 7:30 at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale.

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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.