The potential matchup, which will almost certainly happen, is still several weeks away.
University School has three regular-season games remaining, and then an opening-round playoff game before it would face Miami Booker T. Washington in a Class 4A regional semifinal that might as well be called the 4A state championship.
Because let’s face it, the winner of that game will win the title.
So we’ve still got some time until the colossal University-Booker T. clash.
But it’s been hard for University coach Roger Harriott to brush aside all of the talk about that game, which seems to be coming from every direction around him.
“I’ve programmed my team to prepare one game at a time, but the media attention and anticipation regarding this matchup has been a challenge, to say the least,” Harriott said Wednesday. “However, this preliminary excitement is what high school football is all about.”
It’s hard to blame high school football fans for wanting to talk about that matchup as opposed to University’s regular season up to this point. After all, how do you get excited by one beatdown after another? Cypress Bay lost by 30 points to University School. Every other team has lost to the reigning 3A state champs by at least 35, including Glades Central at home last week.
Of course, Harriott knew he needed to prepare his team for the playoffs.
So, he smartly also scheduled a road game against nationally-ranked Bradenton Manatee for this Friday and another road game against nationally-ranked Miami Central for the regular-season finale Nov. 8.
Preserving what’s now a 20-game winning streak isn’t as important as providing his players with two challenging obstacles before the postseason.
“Playing games of this caliber, late in the season, is certain to keep the mental and emotional senses sharp, which is advantageous to our overall focus on and off the field,” Harriott said. “From a physical standpoint, I’m not concerned about wearing down [from tough competition] because our head athletic trainer, Jon Casero, does a great job keeping our players healthy through the rigorous season.”
Harriott added of playing Manatee this week, “This matchup, for us, is the optimal playoff preparation in our pursuit to win another state championship.”
Harriott said while he made University’s schedule with “a strategic purpose to ensure we’re properly battle-tested for postseason aspirations,” he didn’t do so while predicting a playoff matchup with Booker T. Although, we all know it’s coming.
And we’ll know a lot more about how University will match up with Booker T. based on these next three weeks than on any of the previous eight weeks.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun