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By Ryan Rohde

SportsPower Correspondent

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 18, Arlington Country Day Apaches (FL) vs. Roman Catholic Eagles (PA): Arlington Country Day has won four consecutive Class 2A state titles and has the talent to make it a record five in a row. Roman Catholic is a traditional Philadelphia Catholic power and the program has featured some of the best teams in the city’s history. Roman Catholic point guard Maalik Wayns is

one of the best ball handlers in the country and has signed with Villanova. Country Day forward Walley Judge is a Kansas State recruit who stands 6-9 and is a great rebounder. Meanwhile, guard Rodney McGruder is smooth player in the open court. This game takes place in the exclusive City of Palms tournament.

 

 

 

Dec. 19, Montverde Academy Eagles (FL) vs. Boyd Anderson (FL): Montverde could be the most talented team in the state. The Eagles are ranked in most national polls, thanks in part to seven legit Div. I players. Ruslan Pateev has signed with Arizona State, Robert Chubb with Auburn and James Bell with Villanova. Meanwhile, Boyd Anderson fell five points short of a 6A state title last season and is ready to take that next step. This is a great match up of Public vs. Private schools and should turn out to be one of the best games of the year.

 

 

 

Jan. 9, Scott County Cardinals (KY) vs. Mason County Royals (KY): Two top teams in Kentucky square off in a matchup of storied programs. Mason County heads into the contest as the defending state champs and look to make another run at a title. Scott County bowed out early in the playoffs but returns a deep team that can make make it deep into the playoffs. Scott County get an early season test to see how good they are in the heralded Hoop Fest at Mashall County High. This game might be an early preview of the state championship

game.

 

 

 

Jan. 15, South Atlanta Hornets (GA) vs. Leflore Rattlers (AL): The best from Atlanta takes on the best from Alabama. Each team arguably features the best crop of players in their respective state. Derrick Favors vs. DeMarcus Cousins will be one of the best showdowns this season. South Atlanta was bounced out in the first round of the playoffs last season and Leflore looks to get back to the title game after winning it in ’06.

 

 

 

Jan. 19, Veritas Academy (NC) vs. Centennial Knights (GA): Centennial Guard Lorenzo Brown is the best in the state and is headed

to N.C. State next fall. Brown is a playmaker out on the court and possesses great vision. Veritas Academy is another North Carolina private school power. Sasha Borovnjak is a versatile forward and he can score both inside and out. The senior is considering N.C. State, Xavier and Cincinnati. This game is going to be an out of state classic.

 

Jan. 20 Gonzaga Eagles (DC) vs. DeMatha Stags (DC): The eyes of the WCAC will pay close attention to this game. DC’s top two teams play twice during the season with this being the first. This game will give good indication as to who is the frontrunner for the best squad in the city. DeMatha shooting guard Naji Hibbert is potent from the outside and is going to Texas A&M. These teams split the season series last year and look for this season to feature more of the same intensity. 

 

 

 

Jan. 21, Olympia Titans (FL) vs. Winter Park Wildcats (FL): These are two of Central Florida’s best. Winter Park’s Austin Rivers is

widely regarded as one of the state's best players. Only a sophomore, Rivers has already committed to Florida and is a preseason all-state selection. Olympia is a deep team that has four Div. I signees in the starting five. Olympia came up short in the playoffs after losing in the district semifinals and is poised to make a run this time around. This game in January could be a preview of the 6A state title game.

 

 

 

Feb. 14, Oak Hill Warriors (VA) vs. St. Patrick Celtics (NJ): Oak Hill has been a dominant force in high school basketball for a long time. The Warriors are known for producing NBA talent and winning national titles. Oak Hill also does not shy away from top teams around the nation. This year's schedule includes Veritas Christian (NC), South Atlanta (GA) and Christ School (NC), but it’s this game against St. Patrick’s that is the one to keep your eye on. St. Patrick’s is a traditional national power as well and fell to Oak Hill last season, 63-55. Celtics shooting guard Dexter Strickland is a North Carolina commit who has the ability to penetrate or shoot from the outside. Our preseason No. 3 and No. 6 teams showcase their talent this February. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To contact correspondent Ryan Rohde, send an e-mail to ryan.rohde@activenetwork.com

 

 

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By Brett Manney

SportsPower Correspondent

 

Dec. 27, Lone Peak Knights (UT) vs. Mountain View Lions (AZ) (Arizona Basketball Challenge): Lone Peak will travel to Arizona to take on some of the state's finest basketball programs. BasketballPower Emerging Star Tyler Haws looks to wreck havoc against Mountain View. The Lions are well coached and will certainly be prepared when the two teams battle for state bragging rights.

 

Jan. 3, 2009, Findlay Prep Pilots (NV) vs. Mount Zion Christian Academy (NC): Two Prep schools  face off in a nonleague matchup in Lexington, Kentucky. Mt Zion, which is the alma mater to Tracy McGrady, will be looking to knock off one of the best teams in the country. Meanwhile, Findlay will have plenty of miles on their frequent travelers card by then and is not afraid of playing anybody. Texas recruit Avery Bradley is their key playmaker.

 

Jan. 9, St. Marys Knights (AZ) vs. Desert Vista Thunder (AZ): This rematch of last year's state final will surely be the must-see game in Arizona. St. Mary’s will still have a bitter taste in its mouth and look for Demetrius Walker, one of BasketballPower's emerging stars, to lead the charge against Desert Vista. Guard Josh Lowry will control the Thunder in his senior campaign. This game will be played with a lot of emotion and intensity when both teams collide.

 

Jan. 15, Etiwanda Eagles (CA) vs. Rancho Cucamonga Cougars (CA): These league rivals meet for the first time after splitting last year's regular season matchup. In addition, last season's games were both decided by four points or less. Etiwanda is coming off an impressive season, one that saw the squad lose only to King, Fairfax and Rancho. These two heated rivals both like to push the ball. Look for plenty of scoring and animosity in California when its tip-off time.

 

Jan. 16, Fairfax Lions (CA) vs. Westchester Comets (CA): Two of the best teams in Los Angeles clash in what will be their first league matchup. These two teams spilt their games in the regular season last year before Fairfax won in the playoffs.  The Lions feature BasketballPower emerging players Solomon King and Renardo Sidney. All early season indications favor Fairfax with the talent returning, but Westchester head coach Ed Azzam always prepares his Comets in one of the toughest leagues in the country.

 

Jan. 19, De La Salle Spartans (CA) vs McClymonds Warriors (CA): Two of the top teams in the state battle for supremacy in California. McClymonds  -- last years' state champions -- returns three starters and one of the most athletic teams in the state. Longtime McClymonds head coach Dwight Nathaniel has stepped down and the Warriors have to move on. De La Salle lost to the Warriors twice last season but are much improved. Transfer and Georgetown recruit Hollis Thompson, along with point guard Brandon Smith, will head a formidable Spartans squad.

 

Feb. 7, Mater Dei Monarchs (CA) vs. St. Benedicts Prep (NJ): This matchup of West Coast vs. East Coast combines two of the most respected programs in the country in the Nike Extravaganza. Mater Dei has the home court advantage and will rely on its size and five Div. I recruits to keep the athletic Grey Bees off the offensive glass. Mastermind Dan Hurley will try to bring toughness and athleticism to Santa Ana in February.

 

Feb. 7, De La Salle Spartans (CA) vs. Dominguez Dons (CA) (Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei): The second game featured as part of the Nike Extravaganza will be played at neutral court Mater Dei. Both squads are polar opposites in terms of style of basketball. The Spartans run a similar version of the Princeton offense and will look to slow down Dominguez. Run-and-gun could be used to describe Dominquez, who only lost to City Champions Taft and state champion McClymonds last year. This should be a great game and an exciting event for any basketball enthusiast. 

 

Feb. 24, Putnam Kingsmen (OR) vs. Oregon City Pioneers (OR): Oregon City only had two losses last year and just one to an in-state team (Grant). The Pioneers' biggest rivalry is with Putnam and in last year's two meetings, Putnam played the Pioneers tougher than any other team that came out on the losing end. The Pioneers are the returning state finalist but will have to fight off a pesky Kingsman team if they hope to repeat as league champions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To contact correspondent Brett Manney, send an e-mail to brett.manney@activenetwork.com

 

 

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By Ryan Rohde

SportsPower Correspondent

 

1. Scott County Cardinals (Georgetown, Kentucky): It's hard to say that the 2007 state champs are a surprise team, especially with the talent this group has. The Cardinals were bounced out in the first round of the playoffs last season by a solid Lexington Catholic team, and this year's Cardinals have redemption on their minds. Scott County has many opportunities to prove its worth as they play one of the hardest schedules in the nation.

 

2. Gastonia Huss Huskies (Gastonia, North Carolina): This young team made a statement by winning a game in last season’s playoffs. Sophomores Jarvis Anderson and T.J. Wilson are two of the Charlotte area's brightest young stars. This team still has some maturing to do, but they will learn fast in a city with great talent. If this team comes together, they can go deep into the playoffs.

 

3. White Station Spartans (Memphis, Tennessee): Last season's state runner up won’t sneak up on anyone this season. The Spartans are consistently one of the top teams in Tennessee and the nation. White Station has won four state titles since 2000 and wants to finish what they started last season. Junior guard Joe Jackson is emerging as star and senior forward Ferrakohn Hall is a strong post presence.

 

4. Austin East Roadrunners (Knoxville, Tennessee): Austin East made another appearance in the AA playoffs last season but look to go deeper this time around. The Roadrunners feature senior twins Chase (6-5, 210 lbs.) and Chance (6-0, 185 lbs.) Jones, two forces to be reckoned with. Meanwhile, Travei Pryor has a nice post game that complements well with the Jones brothers. These three also play football, so it might take some time for the tem to gel, but they will be a force by season's end.

 

5. Bishop O’Connell Knights (VA): O’Connell is a traditional D.C. powerhouse and a four-time Virginia Independent school champion. The Knights came up short of the coveted WCAC title to Gonzaga last season. The D.C. league is one of the best in the nation and features other formidable teams like DeMatha, Good Counsel and Gonzaga. Gonzaga and DeMatha received all the hype last season, so look for O’Connell to try and steal some for themselves. They will get their chance against DeMatha on Feb. 17, which will be aired on ESPN.

 

 

 

6. Wheeler Wildcats (Marietta, Georgia): Wheeler has won four state titles and is favored again this season. The Wildcats posses one of the best frontcourts in the country. Forward Ari Stewart is a 6-7 wing man who can shoot the three, and 6-8 forward Richard Howell averaged 17 points and 11 boards last season. Wheeler will showcase its talents as they play one of the toughest schedules in country.

 

7. Porter Gaud Cyclones (Charleston, South Carolina): Small forward Khris Middleton has become one of the best outside shooting threats in the country. Porter Gaud fell short in the SCISA title game last season to Pinewood Prep and look to finish the job this year. Plus, they will have two shots at Pinewood Prep during the regular season and either of these two matchups could be game of the year candidates.

 

 

 

8. Redan Raiders (Stone Mountain, Georgia): The Raiders try to make another step in the playoffs after bowing out in round one last season. Power forward Kenny Hall is one of the toughest players in the state. The Tennessee commit averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds in ’07-’08. Redan looks to make its mark in the talent-rich state of Georgia.

 

9. Fayette County Tigers (Fayetteville, Georgia): The Tigers made a somewhat surprising run to the AAAA title game last season before falling to Columbia. Two-guard Noel Johnson is a great pull-up shooter in transition and has signed with USC. Fayette County has the depth and tools to make another title run.

 

 

10. Mt. Zion Christian Academy (Durham, North Carolina): Mt. Zion is just one more in a long list of great North Carolina private schools. At 6-11 and 240 lbs., center Bawa Muniru is physical specimen and is still developing his skills around the net. Muniru is signed to play at Indiana next fall. Mt. Zion plays a tough schedule and has plenty of opportunity this year to showcase its talent.

 

11. Lake Norman Wildcats (Mooresville, North Carolina): This team has the chance to open some eyes in the Charlotte area. Garinger transfer Reggie Price adds his 20 points per game to center Paul Larson’s potent inside game. This potent inside-outside threat could make some waves across the state.

 

 

 

 

 

To contact correspondent Ryan Rohde, send an e-mail to ryan.rohde@activenetwork.com.

 

 

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By Brett Manney

SportsPower Correspondent

 

1. Bellevue Wolverines (Bellevue, Washington): The dominant Metro league in Seattle usually produces the state champion, but if there is another team making a case it's Bellevue. The Kingco league school is very talented and hopes to change the tide of champions in the Evergreen state.  After missing the 3A tournament with a 19-7 record from a year ago, they have too much talent to not be successful.

 

2. Chandler Wolves (Chandler, Arizona): Chandler looks for success in '09 after advancing to the state tournament round of eight just a season ago. They feature a mixture of seniors and juniors, but will rely on the younger juniors to carry the team. A vigorous offseason program could be what the Wolves need to be state champions in March.

 

3. Bingham Miners (South Jordan, Utah): The road to the state championship most likely will go through South Jordan. The Region 1 champs from a year ago look poised to make a run at the state title. Junior Ben Clifford will be a top scoring threat for a talented team that went 18-9  a year ago.

 

4. Regis Jesuit Raiders (Aurora, Colorado): The Raiders finished the '08 season at 19-8 overall, but really made a strong push in the state playoffs. Despite their 6-6 record in the league last year, the Raiders went to the state quarterfinals by upsetting top-seeded Poudre along the way.  The late season surge showed the true potential of the team, which could surface in '08-'09.

 

5. Kentwood Conquerors (Covington, Washington): The Conks should be able to make waves this year after failing to qualify for the state tournament last season. After winning their league title then failing early in district play, expect an improvement over last year's 19-7 record. Josh Smith is their go to guy down low and should hover around 20 points a game again this season.

 

6. Roosevelt Roughriders (Portland, Oregon): Despite a 14-13 record last year, the Roughriders should be much improved this season. A few of those losses came against powerful Jefferson, and so Roosevelt could certainly sneak up anybody this time around with an improved team. Look for the Roughriders to become contenders and not pretenders this year.

 

7. Cheyenne Desert Shields (North Las Vegas, Nevada): The most talked about team in Nevada might be Findlay Prep, but once March rolls around, Cheyenne could join their counterpart's success.  The Desert Shields finished the '08 season at 19-8, but the squad only lost each game by an average of four points. 6-4 guard Elijah Johnson is one of the state's best players and should lead his team far in the state tournament.

 

8. Robbinsdale Cooper Hawks (New Hope, Minnesota):  After advancing to the state semifinal last year, the Hawks could be the team to knock off Minnetonka in the state tournament in '09. Minnesota recruit Rodney Williams might be the best player in the state and may have to carry his team to the state championship. The Hawks will have to learn to win away from their friendly confines as all of their losses came away from their home court last season.

 

9. Sylmar Spartans (Sylmar, California): With a 17-9 record from a year ago, Sylmar looks to improve significantly on its winning ways. The Valley Mission league champions are lead by 6-8,180 lbs. small forward Tyler Honeycutt. Slymar also has added Malik Johnson at point guard who looked impressive in preseason workouts. The UCLA recruit will have to carry more of the load this year for the Spartans to exceed expectations in an ultra tough Los Angeles City Section.

 

10. West Valley High School (Cottonwood, California): This is one team that could sneak up on people this year, but one player certainly will not and that is 6-7 forward Joe Burton, an Oregon State recruit, who will look to beef up the inside for West Valley. The supporting cast does a solid job of distributing the ball inside to Burton, who has great vision for a big man. West Valley could make some noise this year behind their super talented forward.

 

 

To contact correspondent Brett Manney, send an e-mail to brett.manney@activenetwork.com.

 

 

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By Adam C. Warner

SportsPower Editor

 

1. Jefferson Orange Wave (Brooklyn, NY): After going 23-8 last year, Keith Spellman, David Coley, Davontay Grace and Joel Wright all return to shape one of the top cores in the city. In ’09, there is no shortage of talent, so it’s championship or bust this season with many of the squad’s top players graduating in the spring. Last year, the Orange Wave blew a lead to rival Lincoln late in the PSAL semifinals, so you know that the potential is still there for greatness.

 

2. Lawrenceville Prep Big Red (Lawrenceville, NJ): After a 13-11 campaign last year, the Big Red has the potential to be one of the region’s top teams. With McDonalds All-American nominee Leonard Hayes leading the way and standouts Devin Figueroa and Will Kernan providing support, the Big Red possess quickness up and down their lineup. Team depth is another strength and you can expect to see a balanced scoring attack at Lavino Field House this year.

 

3. Bishop McNamara Mustangs (Forestville, MD): The Mustangs are coming off a 17-12 campaign, but can improve on that margin by perhaps eight games if the squad plays to its potential. This year’s team is headed by Talib Zanna, a 6-9 forward and Pittsburgh recruit who averaged 15 points per game, 13.5 rebounds per contest and 3.5 blocks per game last year. Rashard Whack, a 6-3 senior guard and George Mason recruit (16 ppg last year and 5.5 rpg) and Lawrence Smith (6-5 guard/forward and North Carolina A&T recruit) are two more headliners for this athletic team. The trio combines to make one heck of a unit and will likely propel the Mustangs towards an improved campaign.

 

4. Edison Inventors (Queens, NY): Edison went 17-8 last year en route to the PSA semifinals. This season, expectations will be even higher with Isiah Stokley and Stephon Hodges leading the way, in addition to big men Eddie Egharevba and Stephen Nwaukoni. Jevon Thomas and Kris Owens make up part of a deep bench for the squad – which should improve on last season’s record.

 

5. Archbishop Molloy Stanners (Queen, NY): After a 13-13 campaign in ’07-’08, Ashton Pankey left for St. Anthony and Devin Figueroa left for Lawrenceville Prep, but expect Sr. G Russ Smith and 6-6 forward Jim Hong to fill the void. Also, Ryan Dillon should provide some sharp shooting from the outside. Molloy should be a definite dark horse CHSAA contender.

 

6. DeMatha Stags (Hyattsville, MD): With a lineup blessed with talent, the Stags should be much improved from last year and have the potential to be one of the region’s most versatile teams. Texas A&M recruit Naji Hibbert heads the cast at shooting guard while junior guard Josh Selby is one of the nation’s elite scorers. Head coach Mike Jones believes that this season’s team may be the deepest in all of his years at DeMatha. With that said, expect this perennial basketball power to be frontrunners for another WCAC title.

 

 

7. Penn Wood Patriots (Lansdowne, PA): The Patriots offered a possible glimpse of the future after going 23-9 last year and earning a spot in the PIAA AAAA quarterfinals. Junior guard Tyree Johnson and forward Duane Johnson are back and will likely be the focus on offense, while newcomer Aaron Brown will provide additional support. Expect this team to emerge as one of the Keystone State’s best.

 

8. Northland Vikings (Columbus, Ohio): The Vikings are coming off one of their best campaigns in history after going 21-1 and are once again equipped to win a state championship. It’s no secret that center Jared Sullinger will be the talk of the team. The junior is one of the nation’s best players

 

9. Paterson Catholic Cougars (Paterson, NJ): After a 23-5 campaign, Paterson returns with a young but athletic squad that can compete with the state’s top programs. Forward Fuquan Edwin is the catalyst in the paint while T.J. Clemmings adds another imposing element as a 6-7 forward.

 

10. Neumann-Goretti Saints (Philadelphia, PA): The Saints went just 15-10 last season, but can certainly eclipse the 20-win plateau in ’08-’09. The dynamic trio of Andre Gillette, Daniel Stewart and Tony Chennault already make the Saints one of the city’s best, but with a tough Catholic League schedule, they will have to play to their capabilities to make a title run.

 

 

 

 

 

To contact editor Adam C. Warner, send an e-mail to adam.warner@activenetwork.com.

 

 

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By Adam C. Warner

SportsPower Editor

 

1.) Maalik Wayns, PG, Sr. (Roman Catholic Eagles, Philadelphia, PA):

At 6-0, this strong, aggressive guard can distribute and share the rock

at an elite level and always seems to be one step ahead and can pass

with the best of them. The Villanova recruit is a fiery player with a

competitive edge, a strong defender and gets to the rim well. Wayns

averaged 22 points per game and five assists per game for his AAU squad

this year.

 

2.) Alex Oriakhi, PF/C, Sr. (Tilton Rams, Tilton, NH):

Oriakhi is a big, powerful player equipped with a mid-range game that

is steadily improving. The Connecticut recruit can certainly finish,

frequently dominates the paint offensively and can turn around and be a

force defensively, whether its on the boards, blocking shots or

providing helpside defense. At 6-9, 225 lbs., Oriakhi is a one of a

kind athlete.

 

 

 

3.) Lance Stephenson, SG, Sr. (Lincoln Railsplitters, Brooklyn, NY):

This 6-5 guard is a pure scorer and can penetrate at breakneck speeds

and get to the basket. Meanwhile, Stephenson can also spot up and hit

the tough outside shots. The Brooklyn native – who is looking at

Kansas, UNC, Memphis and Indiana for his collegiate destinations --

passes well and likes to have the ball in his hands when the game is on

the line.

 

 

 

4.) Dominic Cheek, G/F, Sr. (St. Anthony Friars, Jersey City, NJ):

Cheek is currently considering Villanova, Kansas, Pitt, Memphis for

college and its easy to see why. The 6-7 guard/forward is one of the

most explosive players in the region. Cheek, who was a member of the

U.S. Under-18 junior National Team, is a big time outside shooter, but

has a reputation for being unselfish and can pass at a high level.

Under the tutelage of legendary coach Bob Hurley at St. Anthony, Cheek

is one of the most sought-after players in the nation.

 

 

 

5.) Dexter Strickland, SG, Sr. (St. Patrick Celtics, Elizabeth, NJ):

Strickland is an excellent scorer who can also play some point guard.

That versatility will be very important this season as St. Patrick has

a daunting schedule. This North Carolina recruit is extremely athletic

and gets to the rim quickly with either hand. All the while, he can

shoot three’s well, excels at pull-up jumpers and also creates his own

shot, too.

 

 

 

6.) Tristan Thompson, F, Jr. (St. Benedicts Prep Gray Bees, Newark, NJ):

Thompson owns a wide frame, excels at rebounding, is great around the

rim and can even score with accuracy to about 15 feet. The Texas

recruit runs fast for a big guy and can get up and down the floor. Add

that to his stout defense and ability to block shots and you have one

of the region’s most talented forwards.

 

 

 

7.) Josh Selby, G, Jr. (DeMatha Stags, Hyattsville, MD):

Even playing on a team filled with Division I prospects, Selby is still

the standout. The Tennessee recruit is a top-notch scorer and can play

both shooting guard and point guard. Selby can shoot jumpers well and

can also take it to the hole and finish with consistency. You can count

on hearing his name frequently this year.

 

 

 

8.) Thomas Robinson, PF, Sr. (Brewster Bobcats, Wolfeboro, NH):

At 6-8, Robinson is a giant in the paint and can finish well

offensively, grab offensive boards, boxes out well and controls the

glass on defense. The Kansas recruit has made major strides in the last

year and is a true competitor, which will serve him well under Bill

Self.

 

 

 

9.) Erik Murphy, PF, Sr. (St. Marks Lions, Southborough, MA):

Murphy is a superior post presence with top-notch skills and seemingly

controls the glass with ease. The Florida recruit’s mid-range game is

improving, which makes him even more of a threat. Murphy is a leader on

and off the court and is terrific off the ball on both ends of the

hardwood.

 

 

 

10.) Dante Taylor, PF, Sr. (National Christian, Fort Washington, MD):

Taylor is an athletic, aggressive and tough player that can be

effective in both transition and a half-court setting. The Pittsburgh

recruit is versatile for a big guy. He can hit outside jumpers with

consistently or can drive to the hole and finish. All the while, the

Fort Washington native can also dominate the boards on both ends, which

makes him very tough to match up against.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To contact editor Adam C. Warner, send an e-mail to adam.warner@activenetwork.com.

 

 

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By Ryan Rohde

SportsPower Correspondent

 

1. John Wall, PG, Sr. (Word of God Academy, Raleigh, NC): With tremendous size and speed, Wall immediately draws comparisons to Dwayne Wade out on the court. His first step is second to none and the senior can take over a game either offensively or defensively. Wall is a once-in-a-generation athlete for a high school to have, as evidenced by his last season stats of 18 ppg, 10 assists and 7 rebounds and has received offers from Memphis, Baylor, Miami and N.C. State.

 

 

2.    Derrick Favors, PF, Sr. (South Atlanta Hornets, Atlanta, GA): A tough post player with soft hands, Favors plays center for South Atlanta, but at 6-9, 220 lbs. and with a pension for scoring, Favors will move to power forward in college. Few have the ability to finish like Favors. And his businesslike attitude has landed offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Memphis.

 

 

3.    John Henson, PF, Sr. (Sickles Gryphons, Tampa, FL): Henson has a tremendous ability to run the floor for a player of his size. An extremely athletic player who averages 24 ppg, the North Carolina commit is also an excellent shot blocker. At 6-10, 200 lbs., Henson will be a dominant force at the next level when he fills out his body frame.

 

 

4. DeMarcus Cousins, PF, Sr. (Leflore Tigers, Itta Bena, AL): A very strong power forward who is  tough in the low blocks. Cousins averaged 17 ppg and 8 rebounds per as a junior. Cousins stands 6-9 and 245 lbs. and has an excellent feel for the basket and is not afraid to get physical. The Alabama native -- who will attend UAB next season -- is very tough to stop when he gets into a rhythm.

 

 

5.    Mason Plumlee, PF, Sr. (Christ School Greenies, Arden, NC): At 6-11 and 210 lbs., the power forward has a great ability to use his size to his advantage. The senior possesses outstanding rebounding skills and plays facing the basket. Plumlee's game is well rounded, as he produced 14 ppg, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 assists per game last year. The Duke commit has a great mid-range jumper and should fit very well in Coach Krzyzewski's system.

 

 

6. Ryan Kelly, PF, Sr. (Ravenscroft Ravens, Raleigh, NC): Another recruit going to play for the Blue Devils next season, Kelly has great perimeter shooting ability but is also not afraid to attack the basket. He averaged 24 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks per contest last season. Kelly also participated on the USA U-18 team this summer and also plays on the same AAU team as fellow state standout John Wall.

 

 

7.    Kenny Boynton, SG, Jr. (American Heritage Patriots, Plantation, FL): Boynton is widely considered one of the top scoring threats of his class. Think Allen Iverson when you hear Boynton’s name. The senior has averaged 30-plus points per game over the past two seasons. Boynton is a playmaker who demands the ball when the game is on the line. His pull-up jumper is tops in the state and his clutch shooting makes him a special package. Boynton will play for the Florida Gators next season.

 

 

8.    Milton Jennings, F, Sr. (Pinewood Prep Panthers, Summerville, SC): The Clemson-bound product might be the best Tiger recruit in the past decade. The 6-9, 210 lbs. forward has tremendous ability from the outside. He has a lot of upside too, but must improve his low post game to succeed at the next level. Lucky for Clemson, this kid has good values and work ethic.

 

 

9.    Leslie McDonald, SG, Sr. (Briarcrest Christian, Eads, TN): McDonald is one of the most versatile guards in the country. He has great ability to attack the rim and either dish it off or take it himself. He also plays well in a system and is good at hitting jumpers when coming off screens. His ability to play either shooting or point guard will give Roy Williams and the Tar Heels many options next season.

 

 

10.    Brandon Knight, G, Jr. (Pine Crest Panthers, Fort Lauderdale, FL): Knight possesses one the quickest first steps in the country. The junior guard has an innate ability to switch gears and blow by defenders. Knight can burn you either on penetration in the paint or via the pull-up jumper from the outside. Knight is an all-around great player and has outstanding vision. Knight is considering Florida, Miami, and UConn for college.

 

 

 

To contact SportsPower correspondent Ryan Rohde, send an e-mail to ryan.rohde@activenetwork.com.

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By Brett Manny

SportsPower Correspondent

 

1. Solomon Hill, SF, Sr. (Fairfax Lions, Los Angeles, CA): This 6-6, 210 lbs. wing forward has improved every year at Fairfax. With his wide frame and athletic makeup, he likes to attack the basket and can leap out of the building. His ability to improve his game is why Fairfax should shine in '09.

 

 

 

 

2. Brendan Lane, PF, Sr. (Rocklin Thunder, Rocklin, CA): This lean 6-9, 205 lbs. power forward possesses great hustle and unselfishness. He is more comfortable away from the basketball and tends to get many points on transition. The UCLA recruit will likely have to improve his strength to excel at the next level.

 

 

3. Jamal Franklin, SF, Sr. (Serrano Diamondbacks, Phelan, CA): Franklin is a great wing player who loves to run in transition. His jumper is shaky but scouts drool over his athleticism. He will need to bulk up to develop at the next level but should be making opposing teams dizzy all year with his quickness and raw scoring ability.

 

 

 

 

4. Demetrius Walker, SG, Sr. (St. Marys Knights, Phoenix, AZ):  At 6-3, 190 lbs., Walker has the ideal body for a shooting guard and will stay in state next year as he has committed to Arizona State. Walker is great in transition and can make a tough pass look simple. Known as hard worker, he constantly is a step ahead of his defenders and looks to finish plays at the rim.

 

 

 

5. Mike Moser, SF, Sr. (Grant Generals, Portland, OR): The best player in the state of Oregon will be heading south to play for UCLA next year.  Moser’s game is still developing, but his overall athleticism makes him a terrific defender with great wingspan. He likes to penetrate and finish near the basket where he collects most of his points. His potential is sky-high. 

 

 

 

 

6. Jeronne Maymon, SF, Sr. (James Madison Memorial Spartans, Madison, WI): Maymon is an athletic wing player who relies on his quick first step to get into the lane and finish in traffic. He can best be described as a slasher as he doesn't rely on his outside shooting ability, yet his broad build allows him to get many rebounds. The Marquette recruit should be penetrating defenses all season in Wisconsin.

 

 

 

7. Adbul Gaddy, PG, Sr. (Bellarmine Prep Lions, Tacoma, WA): One of the nation's best point guards will try to improve upon his 25 ppg average from a year ago. The Washington recruit, who originally committed to Arizona, is heralded as the best player in the state. His smooth ball handling skills combined with great vision makes him an ideal point guard. Look for Gaddy to defend his Gatorade Player of the Year honors in Washington.

 

 

 

 

8. Renardo Sidney, PF, Sr. (Fairfax Lions, Los Angeles, CA): There aren't many negatives in Sidney's game as the senior might be the best overall player on the West Coast. At 6-9, he can play 20 feet away from the basket and loves to penetrate. Additionally, he has great timing on his blocks which makes him an intimidating defender. He joins teammate Solomon Hill on the list to form one of the nation's best frontcourts.

 

 

 

 

9. Tyler Haws, SG, Sr. (Lone Peak Knights, Highland, UT): Not many folks outside of Utah have heard about Haws, but they should in due time He's been a major factor for Lone Peak since his freshman year and is a BYU recruit. What he lacks in athleticism he makes up with his basketball IQ and his shooting ability. Haws once again will be considered as one of the best players in the state in ‘09.

 

 

 

 

10. C.J. Wilcox, SG, Sr. (Pleasant Grove Vikings, Pleasant Grove, UT): The long and athletic guard will be a force to be reckoned with this year in Utah. Wilcox has a tremendous wingspan which allows him to create opportunities on the defensive end via steals. The Washington recruit joins Abdul Gaddy on the list to provide the Huskies with a formidable backcourt for the years ahead. Wilcox averaged 23 points a game last year -- leading Class 5A in Utah -- and posseses a dangerous outside jumper.

 

 

 

 

 

To contact SportsPower correspondent Brett Manney, send an e-mail to brett.manney@activenetwork.com.

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By Adam C. Warner

SportsPower Senior Editor

 

This week, millions will gather together in a celebration of family, friendship, food, and of course, football.

 

Over the past 120 years, football is one of many traditions formed around Thanksgiving. Today, the two go hand-in-hand as amateurs, high school athletes, collegiate athletes and professional athletes all participate or gather for action on the gridiron.

 

But some of the most historic and cherished Thanksgiving football rivalries revolve around the high school level, where some epic clashes have been occurring since the late 19th century. The tradition typically finds many Northeastern teams playing on the holiday, but as you will see throughout this feature, teams from California and Missouri are bucking that trend.

 

Meanwhile, Turkey Day matchups often pit two rivals together from the same conference or schools that are a few miles apart. Other times, championships are on the line or regional bragging rights can be earned with a win, making the games even more significant and noteworthy. And with Thanksgiving matchups occurring late in the fall season, weather can also play a key role in the outcome.

 

Add all of these factors together and one has the perfect recipe for exciting holiday football.

 

The FootballPower editorial staff has picked a series of notable Thanksgiving games from coast to coast that best embody the holiday tradition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norwich Free Academy Wildcats (CT) vs. New London Whalers (CT)

 

This traditional Thanksgiving Day game is the oldest high school football rivalry in the country and commenced in 1875. Both teams are very familiar with each other, seeing that the programs are just 12 miles apart in Southeast Connecticut. Bragging rights are always on the line each and every season in this historic battle.

 

But this year’s matchup has an extra element of excitement added to it. New London just recently secured a Class SS playoff berth despite losing its first game of the year last week to Ledyard. While the playoffs are out of reach for Norwich, the squad realizes that this game can be theirs with New London entering on the heels of a loss and with starting Whalers quarterback Jordan Reed questionable to play. There would be nothing better for the Wildcats to beat their playoff-bound rival to conclude the season.

 

The series – which Norwich leads 75-59-11 -- has certainly seen some colossal matchups in years gone by. In 1891, the game was halted after the ball was lost during a punt when a strong wind and snowfall sent it sailing. Unfortunately, that was the only football any of the teams had.

 

Don’t expect anything like last year’s 62-14 trouncing by New London, but do expect a hard-fought battle between rivals that has the chance for an upset. Norwich enters the matchup at 6-3 and has lost two of three after winning five games in a row. 

 

All the while, the Whalers enter at 9-1 overall after winning their first nine games of the season. Starting end Tom Eschenfelder should be back in uniform for New London and will likely give his team a lift. Running back Richie Vitale is coming off a 153-yard performance last week and will need a similar performance for the Whalers to notch their tenth win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calvert Hall (MD) vs. Loyola Blakefield (MD)

 

 

 

 

These two Maryland private schools have been playing this annual football game for 88 years on Thanksgiving Day. The matchup -- more formerly known as the “Turkey Bowl” -- is one of the oldest ongoing Catholic prep school football rivalries in the country.

 

Thousands of high school fans in the Baltimore area pack into M&T Bank Stadium every year to see these storied programs do battle on the gridiron. The series has been relatively even, although Loyola has taken control in recent years and now enjoy a 47-33-8 all-time record. Loyola has won the last five meetings against its regional rival, and will look to make it six on Thursday.

 

In a series of streaks, Calvert Hall is hoping to stop Loyola’s run and begin its own. Looking back on the rivalry, Loyola won seven in a row from ’57-’63 before Calvert Hall took seven consecutive games from ’78-’84.

 

The ’08 matchup features two teams that have experienced vastly different campaigns. Calvert Hall enters the matchup at 3-6 overall and a 42.38 FootballPower State Power Rating. The Cardinals have endured a season of streaks, including two losses to start the year followed by two wins, then four losses and then one more victory. Quarterback Patrick Fitzgerald will likely need to mix in some passes downfield to a steady dose of a rushing attack for the Cardinals to come out on top.

 

On the other side, Loyola Blakefield comes into the matchup at 10-0 overall with a State PR of 92.24. The Dons won their third straight MIAA Class A conference title with a 35-7 victory over Georgetown Prep. With a win over their archrival on Thursday, the Dons will have the opportunity to surpass a school mark for victories in a season.

 

The Cardinals want nothing more than to stop the Dons from accomplishing the feat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fordham Prep (NY) vs. Xavier (NY)

 

 

 

 

While both of these teams first met in 1905, this New York City rivalry has been pulsing for 85 years, making it the city’s oldest high school football clash. The matchup has occurred on Thanksgiving Day ever since ’23.

 

 

This season, Fordham Prep enters the matchup at 3-6 overall and have lost three in a row, including a 63-39 defeat to Holy Trinity Diocesan on Nov. 1. Peter Gorynski’s team will need to put forth their best effort to date to stop Xavier. The Knights are 7-1 overall and have a State PR of 76.49.

 

Quite simply, the Knights’ offense has been downright explosive. Xavier has scored at least 37 points in all eight of its games. They have scored 397 points in eight games, good for 49.7 points per game.

 

Perhaps the biggest highlight of the year came against Cardinal Hayes on Oct. 11, as the Knights won 86-42. In that game, running back Seamus Kelly rushed for 291 yards and five touchdowns and had 448 all-purpose yards as well.

 

For the Rams to have a prayer in this year’s matchup, they will certainly need to prevent Kelly and company from putting up points. While the Knights have scored 37 points in every game thus far, the Rams have scored 37 points or more in just one game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Brett Manney

SportsPower Correspondent

 

 

 

 

“Big Bone”

 

One of the few games to be played on Thanksgiving on the West Coast is San Jose High Academy versus Lincoln High of San Jose. These two teams meet every year in the “Big Bone” game which features the winner receiving a cow femur. The game is the longest continuing Thanksgiving Day rivalry in California.

 

Rumor has it that the first Big Bone game was played in 1943 and the winner received the femur. Supposedly a San Jose High student found a large femur in his father’s butcher shop and claimed it as the trophy. Now the 18-inch femur sits upon a three-tiered base and is painted in the colors of both schools. 

 

Lincoln High is more comfortable with the femur considering they have won the last 10 years and 38 of the 62 years that the game has been recorded. Both teams would rather play this game than a section playoff game because of the history and pride they have for their respective school and the rivalry. With over 5,000 attending each year, the game has become a must-see rivalry in California.

 

 

 

 

“English vs. Latin”

 

When it is time for football in the Boston area, there is one rivalry that tops all others. Boston English versus Boston Latin is one of the oldest rivalries in the country. The two schools have played every Thanksgiving since 1887, and is the fourth longest rivalry of all time. Boston Latin is considered the oldest public high school in the country and was founded in 1635.

 

The first game was played November 25, 1887, with Latin winning 16-0. Latin has dominated the series since the late 60s partly because English has 700 fewer students than Latin. Since 1967, English has only won three games, but the team’s intensity and compassion for the game has never ceased.

 

In the 123rd meeting of the two schools, both squads look for vengeance. Latin won last year’s game, 33-6, and English hopes they can stop the winning streak in ‘08. Both teams have struggled this year and a win for one of the programs could be a bright spot in their losing season. With such rich traditions the rivalry lives on for bragging rights in Boston.

 

“State Liner”

 

The Delaware River is all that separates the Easton Area Rovers from the Phillipsburg Stateliners, but this Thanksgiving rivalry is widely recognized as one of the best in the nation.

 

Since 1905, these two teams have met almost every year for bragging rights. The city of Easton, which is also home to Lafayette College, sits on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware, while Phillipsburg is directly across the river on the New Jersey side.

 

Easton holds the all-time lead 56-40-5, which includes a 17-6 win last year. Neither team has won more than five games in a row.  The rivalry was recognized by Sport Illustrated as one of the best rivalries in the country and ESPN covered the game nationally in 1988 and 2006, which was the 100-year anniversary.

 

Phillipsburg dominated the series in the 1980s, winning eight games, while Easton dominated the 1990s by winning nine games. The turn of the century has seen the two teams battle back and forth. Phillipsburg comes into the game with a 9-1 record, while Easton is 6-6. The battle across state lines is certainly a can’t-miss clash on Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Ryan Rohde

SportsPower Correspondent

 

 

 

 

 

 

Webster Grove Statesman (MO) vs. Kirkwood Pioneers (MO)

 

 

 

 

The first game took place on thanksgiving morning of 1907. Dubbed as the annual “Turkey Day Game”, Webster Grove-Kirkwood is the oldest Thanksgiving rivalry west of the Mississippi river. Kirkwood leads the series 49-37-5.

 

The winner receives the Frisco bell, a giant 400 lb. bell donated by the Frisco Railroad Company in 1952. To the loser goes the Little Brown Jug, modeled after the jug given to the winner of the Michigan-Minnesota college game.

 

The festivities are not just reserved for game day; the celebration takes place all week. Each class from both schools decorates the halls of the high school and a winner is voted on. Pep rallies take place all week and bonfires are set ablaze the night before the game. There is also the “friendship dance”, which is co-produced by both schools and sees a friendship king and queen be selected. There is even a video game tournament held between the two schools during this week.

 

The 101st edition is sure to not disappoint. Games in the past have been played as “sub-varsity games” due to teams being in the state playoffs, but that is not the case this year. Kirkwood lost on Nov. 10 in the state sectionals, so both squads will be fielding their varsity rosters.

 

Webster Grove comes into the game at 5-4 and failed to make the state playoffs. The Statesman might be without QB Derrick Dilworth, who suffered a knee injury during the last game of the season. His status is unknown. Dilworth has thrown for 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns to go along with 339 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. The defensive front seven is the strength of this team. Defensive end Darion Mcmiller leads the team with 10 sacks, and linebacker Jason Meehan has a team-high 78 tackles.

 

Kirkwood is 6-5 overall and features a duo of senior running backs that hope to combat that tenacious Webster defense. Deandre Buckner leads the team with 1,461 yards and seven touchdowns, while Kimuel Keller has 348 yards rushing and 427 yards receiving with 11 totoal touchdowns.

 

The community waits for this all year. Even when the NFL Cardinals were based in St. Louis, members from both communities protested the team from playing on Thanksgiving because Webster-Kirkwood had already established itself. Both teams will dawn throwback jerseys dating to the ‘50s as well. A game of this importance is destined to be a classic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wellesley Raiders (MA) and Needham Rockets (MA)

 

 

 

 

It all started when Wellesley student Arthur Judson Oldham challenged his Needham counterparts to a friendly game of football 126 years ago. The game was played on Thanksgiving morning with Wellesley winning 4-0.

 

 

 

 

The two towns were originally one before Wellesley defected in 1881. Since then, both towns let the football game decide town superiority. In early years, winning this game was so important that many of the teams played ringers, sometimes even semi-pro and professional athletes that were hired by each respective town. Finally in 1904, the decision was made to play with strictly high school students.

 

 

 

 

The rivalry has since turned friendly. Both towns hold a rotary dinner the Tuesday before each game for coaches, parents and alumni. School representatives also have a chance to trade stories and poke fun at one another.

 

 

 

 

Wellesley leads the oldest public school rivalry in the nation 58-53-9. The Raiders come into the rivalry losing their last five games while the Rockets have posted a .500 record sitting at 5-5.

 

 

 

 

The beauty of rivalry games like this is that the records do not matter. Both teams can make their seasons with a win and cement their place in town history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malvern Prep Friars (PA) vs. St. Joseph’s Prep Hawks (PA)

 

 

 

 

The history of this game is not like any other Thanksgiving Day rivalries, but there is no shortage of bad blood. There were questions over whether or not the game would even be played with St. Joe’s participating in the PIAA playoffs.

 

 

 

 

The two schools are longtime Philadelphia private school powers. St. Joseph's has captured 15 Philadelphia Catholic League championships, while Malvern has won 27 Inter-Academic league titles. This game will only be the fourth meeting ever between the two schools, but that does not make this game any less important.

 

 

 

 

There are no trophies handed out when the final whistle blows, just bragging rights. Thse two all-boys schools even compete for the same girls who attend the local all-girls academies. Often times, students will attend their rivals' dances, showing up in force to try and prove their dominance.

 

 

 

 

The Hawks dominated last season’s game and ended Malvern’s bid at a perfect season. But this season, the Hawks are 8-3 and fell in the Catholic league semifinals to league rival LaSalle. St. Joe’s is no short on talent though. RB Mike Yeager has been steady all year, providing 1,151 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Hawks defense is always big and fast. Senior captain Mike Arciadono leads a defense that has held seven opponents to 14 points or less, including two shutouts.

 

 

 

 

Malvern comes in at 9-0 with revenge on their minds. The Friars have dominated the Inter-Ac this season by winning their games by an average of 43 to 9. QB Billy Conners has been impressive this season, throwing for 1,241 yards and 15 touchdowns. His main target has been WR Joe Price, who has hauled in 29 passes for 767 yards and 10 touchdowns. Running backs Neil Willis and James Connelly have combined for 1,432 yards and 29 touchdowns.

 

 

 

 

The game is held at Villanova stadium and you can be sure that both teams will try to prove which prep is better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can reach senior editor Adam C. Warner at adam.warner@activenetwork.com. To reach correspondent Brett Manney, you can e-mail him at brett.manney@activenetwork.com. And to contact correspondent Ryan Rohde, send an e-mail to ryan.rohde@activenetwork.com.

 

 

 

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Team: Saint Anthony Friars

Location: Jersey City, New Jersey

Group: North Non-Public B

 

By Jimmy Oliver

SportsPower Correspondent

 

The Friars of St. Anthony High School are no strangers to being on top and in the national spotlight. Year after year, fans and prognosticators alike often talk about this talented team from Jersey City as not just the region’s best, but one of the nation’s most dynamic squads.

 

Well, in 2008-2009, they very well may be at the summit once again.

 

Most recently, the Friars did the unthinkable in high school basketball and went 32-0 during the ’07-’08 season, and they did so with authority. The Friars averaged 78 points per game while allowing fewer than 40 per game.  All the while, 16 of those wins came at neutral site events. It’s evident that the Friars can win wherever the road takes them.  And perhaps even more importantly, St. Anthony can pull off victories when it’s needed the most.

 

Judging by the team’s track record, winning certainly seems to be contagious. The Friars possess a remarkable 25 New Jersey Parochial championships and nine Tournament of Champions titles. The tournament has been in existence since ‘89 and some even say that the event was put in place just to showcase the mighty Friars.

 

The Friars first made national headlines with that ’89 team littered with talent as three different players made it to the NBA (Terry Dehere, Bobby Hurley and Rodrick Rhodes).  Two other players made a splash, all-Big East selection Jerry Walker and future Seton Hall Pirate Dan Hurley

 

This year’s Friars team returns eight players for the new campaign, and all but one is less than six feet.  Dominic Cheeck can be considered as the the most vital piece towards the team returning to the championship this year.  Last season, the standout forward posted 12 points per game and 7 rebounds per outing. 

 

Meanwhile, the Friars will also benefit from two transfers in Devon Collier and Ashton Pankey. There is no doubt that infamous head coach Bob Hurley will have the newest version of the Friars ready to hustle and defend, two core ingredients of success for the squad.

 

And who would know better than a man that has over 900 wins in his 35 years at St. Anthony. By all accounts, Hurley is certainly demanding, but the longtime coach is also a figure that can motivate his players every night and get the most out of each personality. And he asks for a level of play that would be considered state championship style.  It’s no wonder that Hurley is a candidate for the Hall of Fame this year.

 

With Hurley at the helm and another capable roster back ready to reclaim the championship, the Friars will certainly be making waves from Jersey City and all the way to the shores of the Pacific. By the looks of it, this is a talent-laden team poised to make a splash in ’09.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can reach SportsPower correspondent Jimmy Oliver at jimmy.oliver@activenetwork.com.

 

 

 

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Hometown: Santa Ana, California

Group: Class Southern Section

 

By Brett Manney

SportsPower Correspondent

 

Mater Dei Monarchs head coach Gary McKnight has a lot to be

excited about for the 2008-2009 basketball season. The Monarchs return

four starters from an electrifying CIF state championship team, which

is a huge reason why BasketballPower has ranked them as the No. 1 team

in the nation in its preseason rankings.

 

Many former and current Mater Dei athletes are now household names and

hold impressive resumes and, coincidently, have turned the program into

a national powerhouse for sports. In ‘08, Sports Illustrated

ranked Mater Dei second for “Best High School Athletic Program,” and

the institution has the athletes and championships to prove it.

 

For football, the illustrious program has produced the likes of Matt Leinert, John Huarte, and Colt Brennan. They currently have the nation’s number one recruit in QB Matt Barkley, who is following Leinert’s footsteps to USC.

 

And although it's still football season, everyone around the Santa Ana

community is already talking about the highly anticipated start to the

basketball campaign.

 

It’s easy to see why. McKnight’s squad went 35-1 a year ago and returns

four starters after winning back-to-back CIF state championships.

 

Meanwhile, McKnight’s resume could be thicker than a phonebook and is

right up there with the nation’s best high school coaches. Furthermore,

since he started coaching the Monarchs in ‘81, he has tallied a record

of 797-74 along with 24 league championships, 19 Southern Section

championships and seven CIF state championships (‘87, ‘90, ‘95, ‘01,

‘03, ’07-‘08). He is also the winningest coach in Orange County boy's

basketball history. Some of his most notable alumni include Leron Ellis ‘87, Reggie Geary ‘92, Miles Simon ‘94, D.J. Strawberry ‘03 and Taylor King ‘07.

 

The Monarchs will certainly have a target on their back considering

they are two-time defending state champions and a perennial powerhouse.

But the cupboard at Mater Dei is still full with Div. I recruits.

Spearheading the attack this season are twins David (6-10, 220 lbs.) and Travis Wear (6-10, 220), forward Andy Brown (6-8, 215 and a Stanford recruit), junior transfer guard Tyler Lamb (6-5, 190, UCLA) and junior point guard Gary Franklin (6-3, 180, USC).

 

The Wear twins, whose father David is an assistant coach with the team,

are the center of attention and for a good reason. Behind big frames,

both players provide almost identical production. Last season, David

averaged 16.8 ppg and 8.9 rebounds and was a member of the USA Men’s

Under-18 team, in addition to league MVP, all-county and all state. All

the while, Travis averaged 16.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg and was also selected to

the USA under-18 team in addition to all-league, all county and

all-state.

 

Additionally, Brown averaged 14.6 ppg and 5.9 rpg in addition to

providing a solid inside game to compliment the Wear twins. Running the

show is Franklin (12.9 ppg and 4.9 apg), a true sparkplug for the team,

and he often pushes the ball in transition and distributes well to his

big men.

 

Lamb will fill the missing piece of the puzzle after transferring from Ontario High,

where he averaged 27 points and over five steals a game. Lamb can be a

streaky shooter, but has great anticipation on defense and is another

scorer in the already potent Monarch attack.

 

Said Eric Sondheimer of the Los Angeles Times about Lamb, “His arrival at Mater Dei would give the Monarchs the best starting five in California."

 

When football season eventually ends, Mater Dei fans will not miss a

beat. With a solid core of seniors and two big-time juniors, the

Monarchs will continue to dominate California from the valleys to the

mountains. Much like the signature warm weather and sunny skies in the

state, the Monarch program will hopefully be looking for their

signature success to continue '09.

 

 

To contact correspondent Brett Manney, send an e-mail to brett.manney@activenetwork.com.

 

 

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Spotlight on: Garnet Valley Jaguars

Hometown: Glen Mills, Pennsylvania

Group: District 1 -- AAAA Central League

 

By Jimmy Oliver

SportsPower Correspondent

 

The Pennsylvania Central League has a long-standing tradition of being one of the most competitive leagues in the entire state with perennially formidable squads like Strath Haven, Ridley and Upper Darby included.

 

But this year, there is a new kid on the block who hopes to rank among the elite teams for years to come.

 

The Garnet Valley Jaguars initiated the 2008 season by joining a new, more talented league (previously they were a part of the Southern Chester County League) and have not changed their style one bit, as evidenced by the team taking the Central League crown this year.

 

Not only did they win the league title in their first season, but they also went undefeated with a regular season record of 10-0.  And they now have their sights set on repeating as District 1 champions returning to the state championship game. 

 

Last season, the Jags went 13-2 with losses to Unionville (which they made up for in the playoffs with a win) and a championship loss against Thomas Jefferson.  The goal now is to get back to the finals and finish what they started last year.

 

Offensively, this team is at its best when grinding it out on the ground.  The Jags have two running backs with over 800 yards apiece this season.  Tim Keyser and Jared Bonacquisti make up the sure-handed tandem that frequently controls the time of possession.

 

Although they do not strike through the air as often as some others, when they do, Mark McHugh is capable of rising to the occasion.  The talented signal-caller has only three interceptions on the season while throwing for 806 yards and eight touchdowns.   

 

With a ball control offense, the opposition has little chance to score on Garnet Valley.  The Jags are letting up an average of 11 points per game – good for just 113 total points allowed on the season.  It’s evident that this team is primed for a deep run through the playoffs.

 

And while they are new to the Central league this season, they are not foreign to being at the top of the District 1 standings.  In both ‘06 and ‘07, they were the district representative for AAAA and this year should be no different. Garnet Valley is no longer the unknown in the Central League. 

 

In fact, they are already the elite of the pack and the new kid has the ball.

 

 

Next up. November 14 vs. Pennsbury (State PR: 76.50, Rank: 24).

 

 

 

 

 

Look for Jimmy's spotlights each week right here at FootballPower.tv. Got any ideas for future spotlight teams? E-mail editor Adam C. Warner at adam.warner@activenetwork.com.

 

 

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Spotlight on: Dick Dullaghan – Head coach at Ben Davis High and Carmel High (Indiana)

 

By Omar Muhammad

SportsPower Correspondent

 

Dick Dullaghan is widely regarded as a living legend in the state of Indiana.

 

Thanks to his unmatched knowledge, wisdom and authority in the game of football, he has been a mentor to high school athletes for the past 31 years, all while racking up state championships and tremendous accolades along the way.

 

His resume speaks for itself. He captured his first state title as a head coach in 1978 with Carmel, is the only coach in Indiana history to lead a team to a national championship, was the only coach in the state to win a state title at two different schools and was one of only two Indiana coaches to have won the state championship eight times.

 

The longtime coach commenced his career at Carmel, where he first taught exactly what it took to be a champion. Dullaghan instilled his football wisdom there and immediately took this 3A team to the state championship. Surely, it was a sign of things to come.

 

After ten years at Carmel, Dullaghan then took the head coaching reigns at Ben Davis.

 

It took Dullaghan only three years to achieve another state title (in ’87) and Ben Davis’ first 5A championship.  With this achievement, Dullaghan put himself at the top of the list of elite coaches in Indiana history by becoming the only coach to win the state championship at two different schools.

 

Dullaghan first enjoyed the national spotlight when he won the first AP national championship in Indiana history in ’91 with Ben Davis. Dullaghan’s Giants defeated the Penn Kingsmen, 38-14, at the Hoosier Dome for the 5A title game. Dullaghan was also named the national coach of the year.

 

With Dullaghan at the helm, the Giants program was a force to be reckoned with, capturing six more state titles before his departure in ’03. Altogether, Dullaghan posted a 313-58 overall record in his tenure as a head coach --- good for a winning percentage of 84.1.

 

Today, Dullaghan is retired, but has still found a way to reach out to countless players about the important values of sportsmanship and competitiveness in the community.

 

Dullaghan and J.R. Bishop (formerly of Wheaton College) created the Bishop Dullaghan Football Camps, established in ’74.

 

The program started with 22 campers and now employs over 160 coaches.  Last year, the camp registered athletes from 15 states across the country, with an attendance of well over 2,200 athletes. With two great football minds leading the way, the camp became nationally renowned for its excellent skilled position results at the high school level. The skills camp has graduated All-State players in all skilled positions and dozens of All-Americans, including former camper Jay Cutler, now of the Denver Broncos. Rex Grossman of the Chicago Bears was also a three-year camper.

 

In his 40 years of football, not only has Dullaghan been a mentor and wealth of football knowledge, but also the legend has forever left his mark through the Ben Davis and Carmel football programs, his many high school student-athletes and the thousands of lives he has deeply touched.

 

 

 

 

 

Check for Omar's spotlights each week right here at FootballPower. Got any spotlight teams that you want to see featured? E-mail editor Adam C. Warner at adam.warner@activenetwork.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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Spotlight On: Maryville Red Rebels

Hometown: Maryville, TN

Group: TSSAA Class 4A

 

By Ryan Rohde

SportsPower Correspondent

 

The Tennessee Titans are the talk of the state right now thanks to the team’s surprise record of 9-0. But there is another talented team within the Volunteer State that typically steals the headlines due to a pattern of undefeated records, winning streaks and championships.

 

While the Titans may have the attention today, the Maryville Rebels (11-0, State PR: 95.50, Rank: 2) have earned the reputation over time as one of the most dominant football teams in the state.

 

The Red Rebels continue their quest for a fifth straight state championship this week. They have swept through each of the past four seasons while posting 70-straight wins in the process, including a 10-0 regular season this year, good for the second best winning streak in the country at the moment behind South Panola’s (Miss.) 83 straight victories.

 

And the architect behind this unprecedented run is none other than George Quarles, who took over as head coach in 1999. Quarles knew what he was getting into when he took the job, too. The Red Rebels had been the defending state champs after a perfect 15-0 season and had captured the program’s first state title in 20 years.

 

Since then, Quarles has taken Maryville to a whole different level. Over the past 10 years, Quarles and the Red Rebels are 135-9 overall, while capturing seven state championships over that span. Meanwhile, the team’s last loss was in November of ‘03 by three points in the state semifinals. 

 

Coach Quarles knows the key to a winning program is pride and tradition, and it all starts at the bottom with the feeder programs.

 

"There's a lot of pride involved, said Quarles in a WATE.com interview by Mark Nagi. “These kids grow up wanting to play for Maryville High School. They grow up playing for the middle school, and they can't wait to get that opportunity on Friday night.  Because of that, they play with more pride and emotion than a lot of other schools do."

 

 

Everyone in the program, including the kids in middle school and even younger, is fully aware of the winning streak, but Quarles won’t let his team get caught up in the hoopla.

 

 

"We don't mention it," Quarles said. "I will mention it in jest to try to get their attention. I'll talk about their 1000 game win streak, just joking around.  It isn't anything we talk about as a staff or as a team.”

 

 

That one game at a time mentality is a major reason for Maryville’s success. Although Coach Quarles doesn’t like to talk about it, he certainly knows what five more wins will pave the way for: a fifth straight state title.

 

 

 

 

 

Look for Ryan's spotlight each week right here at FootballPower. You can reach him at ryan.rohde@activenetwork.com. 

 

 

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Spotlight on: McQueen Lancers

Hometown: Reno, Nevada

Group: 4A

 

By Brett Manney

SportsPower Correspondent

 

The famous proverb “revenge is a meal best served cold” might be hanging up in the locker room at McQueen high school.    

 

After losing in last year’s 4A Nevada state championship game, the Lancers (10-0, State PR: 95.74, Rank 2) have been dominant this season and are taking out their anger on everyone who gets in their way.

 

Losing isn’t something the Lancers are accustomed to as of late. The program has been a force in high school football ever since 1990. From ‘90 to ’08, they have been a powerhouse amongst Nevada’s elite football programs, as evidenced by state titles earned in ‘90, ‘92, ‘97, ‘00 and ’02.

 

This season, should one ask any of the nine opponents McQueen has defeated so far and it’s likely that they do not want to play them again, and for good reason.

 

McQueen has scored 383 points this year while giving up only 53, and 23 of those came in the team’s first game. Since then, their stifling defense hasn’t allowed more than seven points in any game and have four shutouts along the way. They average 42.5 points per game while yielding just 5.8 points.

 

With a squad that features four all-state performers from last year, it’s no wonder that the Lancers are cruising through their competition. All-State running back Tyler York is an explosive back and averages eight yards a carry, 113 yards rushing per game and has accumulated 13 touchdowns. Backup Anthony Martinez is a playmaker as well, averaging 74 yards rushing per game and making it tough for any defense to slow down the Lancers’ running attack. Quarterback Anthony Stolo has been very accurate by completing 65% of his passes for 13 touchdowns and only one interception.

 

McQueen has already locked up the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and looks to continue its perfect season late into November. The No. 2 seeded Hug Hawks were supposed to give McQueen its toughest game of the regular season but were demolished by the Lancers, 30-0, on Oct. 24. The dominance displayed so far by the Lancers has been nothing short of astonishing.

 

After losing in the state final last season, McQueen still carries a bitter taste in its mouth and has nothing other than redemption on its mind. And the indication so far is that this team won’t stop until it raises another championship trophy up into the Nevada night sky.

 

 

 

 

Check for Brett's high school spotlight each week right here at FootballPower. You can reach him at brett.manney@activenetwork.com.

 

 

 

 

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