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By Omar Muhammad

SportsPower Correspondent



Many teams throughout the region are already in the midst of state playoffs, but thousands of teams that haven’t started postseason play most certainly are starting to feel the wear and tear of the regular season. Tensions don't get any higher for high school football with conference titles on the line and a single loss possibly indicating the end of one's season.




Roosevelt Rough Riders (7-2, State PR: 77.80, Rank: 34) vs. Smithson Valley Rangers (8-1, State PR: 86.02, Rank: 19): The Rough Riders look to rebound after a 36-21 loss to Madison.  Roosevelt will turn to running back Brandon Armstrong, who has been averaging nearly 190 yards per game. Meanwhile, Smithson Valley coach Larry Hill has regrouped his team after a tough three-point loss to fellow district 26 foe Reagan High earlier this season. Currently the Rangers are on a six-game winning streak.  Look for their experienced defense headed by Alex Rubin to be a major factor in capturing a District 26-5A crown. 


Denison Yellowjackets (8-0, State PR: 92.75, Rank: 5) vs. Sherman Bearcats (7-1, State PR: 82.53, Rank: 15): This veteran Yellowjackets squad has all the right keys to finish off an undefeated season and have a top five playoff ranking. Denison’s offense, commanded by QB Jordan Taylor and RB D.J. Jones, will have no problem racking up points, since the offense averages 51 points a game.   Sherman will turn to RB Waymon Jones to carry the offense and carve up another 1,000 yard rushing season.  Even though the Bearcats defense is young, they have still put together a 5-0 record in District 9-4A, which some say is the strongest in all of 4A. 


Highland Park Scots (8-0, State PR: 95.69, Rank: 3) vs. Rockwall-Heath Hawks (9-0, State PR: 88.65, Rank: 9): Highland Park’s offense has been lead by QB Luke Woodley, who is averaging 256 passing yards per game with 442 total yards a game and has commanded the Scots to a perfect 8-0 record and the top spot in the district 10-4A standings.  The Hawks will have their star RB Kendial Lawrence to carry the load on offense -- the standout is averaging 186 yards per game.  Rockwall-Heath’s defense will cause trouble for the Scots' offense with key returners at LB in George Bamfo and Greg Deloache.


West Brook Bruins (6-0, State PR: 89.32, Rank: 9) vs. North Shore Mustangs (7-0, State PR: 97.14, Rank: 4): The Bruins has been on a roll by posting a undefeated season so far and look to make a statement in the 5A playoffs.  By the help of RB Christine Michael and QB Christian Lewis, West Brook has been blowing out its opponents by averaging 40 points per game.  The Bruin defense has also held their challengers to a total of three touchdowns all season by the help of all-district standouts LB Taylor Reed, LB Caleb Gatlin and DT Roland Bordelon.  These Mustangs have been coasting in the District 21-5A standings and don’t look to turn back until the state championship is won.  The strength on this North Shore team has been the defense, which has been dominating offenses by only giving up 21 points on the season.  This conference crown battle will determine who the best is in district 21-5A.


Hightower Hurricanes (7-0, State PR: 92.03, Rank: 5) vs. Elkins Knights (6-0, State PR: 84.86, Rank: 21):  This Hurricane team has been riding the wave of their experienced QB A.J. Highsmith, who is coming up on another 2,000-yard passing season.  The Hightower defense has been nothing but excellent by putting up two shutouts and have allowed a total of just 56 points all year.  FS Colton Valencia, LB Shaun Lewis and CB Alex Francis are the leaders of a defense that has put together an impressive 7-0 regular season record.  The Knights will look to counter Hightower’s defense with their veteran offense.  Elkin’s pro-style QB Dean Brantley will be looking for his favorite targets in WRs Nick Harwell and Jordan Jolly in order to claim a district 23-5A title.


Midway Panthers (9-1, State PR: 88.00, Rank: 10) vs. Waxahachie Indians (7-2, State PR: 78.15, Rank: 23): This experienced Panther squad looks to finish the regular season undefeated and keep their eight-game winning streak alive for the playoffs.  Midway is alone at the top of the district 16-4A standings and will be a contender for the 4A state title.  The Indians have a very young team but have found a way to post an impressive 7-2 regular season.  Waxahachie’s veterans in WR/DB Sam Gagliano, LB/RB LaJordan Easley and TE/DT Drew Harrison have helped the team average 30 points per game with a current four game winning streak.


Steele Knights (8-1, State PR: 83.06, Rank: 14) vs. Alamo Heights Mules (7-2, State PR: 75.79, Rank: 29): The Knights will try to make a last push for the District 27-4A title against Alamo in this conference battle. With 12 starters back from a surprising 11-2 team last season, the Knights hope to find  similar success in '08.  OL Matt Goetz is a three-year starter and has opened passing lanes in the offensive line for QB Jake Trevino. Mules QB Drew Allen has thrown for more than 232 yards per game and has been vital towards his team averaging 30 points a game. RB Sergio Acosta will give Allen a lift when needed with his breakaway speed. The defense has been led by LBs Miguel Vazquez, Ryan Murphy and Beau Wilson and DBs Colin Bibb and JR Philip Massari.


Reagan Rattlers (6-2, State PR: 77.09, Rank: 36) vs. Madison Mavericks (8-1, State PR: 85.71, Rank: 20): The Rattlers will have their last regular season game to determine how this district 26-5A three-way tie will unfold.  Reagan’s offense, led by QB Derrick Walls and WR Zach Behnsch, has combined to average over 30 points a game.    Madison RB Aaron Green has been racking up the points for the Mavericks by collecting over 184 total yards per game.  The Mavs will need to come out with a win to stay alive in this crazy three-way tie.







Kirbyville Wildcats (8-0, State PR: 90.89, Rank: 1) vs. Newton Eagles (6-2-1, State PR: 69.13, Rank: 38): With the help of the Wildcats' seven returning starters on each side of the ball, this squad should be considered one of the favorites for the 2A state crown. Linebackers Stephan Jackson and Broderick Jackson have been key in holding their last five opponents to only seven points or less.   The Eagles have their eyes set on the District 22-2A title after knocking off Shelbyville, 47-15, to put them 4-0 in conference play.  Newton is on a five-game winning streak and hasn’t lost by more than six points.


Cinco Ranch Cougars (7-1, State PR: 84.61, Rank: 22) vs. Katy Tigers (6-2, State PR: 77.38, Rank: 35): Cougars RB Adam Hirtz averages nearly 180 yards per game, while on defense, end Devin Williams and standout James Radcliffe give their team a chance at the district 17-5A title.  Katy has turned around its season after losses to North and The Woodlands to commence the season.  The Tigers are riding a seven-game winning streak into the contest and look to get back to the 5A-II state title game. But first, they will need to get by Cinco Ranch for the District 17-5A title and look to carry that momentum into the playoffs..












Enid Plainsmen (7-2, State PR: 78.54, Rank: 9) vs. Union Redskins (8-1, State PR: 95.88, Rank: 4):  Enid has jumped into the top of the District 3-6A standings by posting a 34-16 win against Ponca City last week.  This will be the biggest test for the Plainsmen defense, which had trouble with explosive offensives earlier this season in losses to Owasso and Stillwater. The Redskins lost their first contest against Broken Arrow and have been on an eight-game winning streak ever since.  Union looks to get back into the 6A championship game behind top returners RB Jeremy Smith, Terrell Williams and WR Anthony Foster scoring at will. Also, the defense will make it hard for offenses to pass the ball behind returning DBs Daniel Hauser, Howard Scarboroug and Randy Stanley.


Glenpool Warriors (9-0, State PR: 93.34, Rank: 2) vs. Star-Spencer Bobcats (8-1, State PR: 81.88, Rank: 52): The Warriors took the loss to Bishop McGuinness last year in the 4A state championship game as motivation to return this season and capture the title.  Glenpool has been nothing but impressive by collecting eight shutouts so far in this 10-game season.  The Warriors will be playing for their fourth straight District 2-4A title.  The Bobcats are achieving great accolades by putting together an eight-game winning streak with a 4-0 home record and 4-1 mark on the road.  Star-Spencer will need to knock off this tough Warrior squad to capture a district title.


Eufaula Ironheads (8-1, State PR: 81.64, Rank: 55) vs. Chandler Lions (9-0, State PR: 92.16, Rank: 1): Eufaula has been fearless on offense led by QB Ethan Sharp, who has produced 345 total yards a game while being the force behind his team averaging 37 points a game.  The Ironheads have had trouble in the past with undefeated teams and most recently as evidenced by the 45-42 loss to Checotah in the beginning of the season. The Lions' defense is the king of the 2A league by only giving up a total of two touchdowns to their opponents in game play.




Macarthur Highlanders (6-2, State PR: 78.80, Rank: 6) vs. Deer Creek Antlers (7-2, State PR: 77.14, Rank: 8): The Highlanders have locked up the No. 1 spot in the 5A-District 1 standings and look to get ready for the playoffs.  MacArthur’s defense has been the backbone of their success and have posted two shutouts against Western Heights and Northwest Classen.  These vets have their eyes set back on the 5A state final game.    Meanwhile, Deer Creek has a new head coach and the entire team has found a way to get back into the playoff picture for the first time since their transition up to class 5A this year.  The Antlers are coming off a great shutout win against Altus and with the help of 23 seniors on the team, they could have the leadership they need for a strong playoff push.


Washington Hornets (7-1, State PR: 89.30, Rank: 3) vs. Bixby Spartans (7-2, State PR: 80.36, Rank: 5): The Hornets have moved down to the 5A class and they look to be a contender for the state championship.  The Hornets have been red-hot on offense by blowing out their challengers by more than three touchdowns in their last five games.  Also the defense has been nothing but stellar by collecting three shutouts in their last five games.  Although these Spartans suffered losses to Jenks and Glenpool in their first two contests, this team is still a favorite in the run for the state title in 5A. Meanwhile, Bixby’s offense have been improving every week and most recently posted a season high of 62 points against Rogers. 














Dutchtown Griffins (7-1, State PR: 80.65, Rank: 8) vs. Destrehan Wildcats (8-0, State PR: 94.41, Rank: 2): The Griffins' success  has come from talented skill players like QB Wesley Perkins and two of the best RBs in the state, Eddie Lacy and Kelvin York.  Dutchtown is currently on top of the district 6-5A standings and have been outscoring challengers by 30 points or more.  Destrehan’s defense has been their bread and butter and have been shutting down opposing offenses with ease.  Led by defensive Div. I prospects DE Darrington Sentimore, LB Rufus Porter and CB Antonio Parker, the Wildcats have posted three shutouts so far in the regular season.  These Wildcats will aim to get back into the 5A state championship game but first has to take down Dutchtown for the district title.


Byrd Yellowjackets (8-1, State PR: 79.53, Rank: 10) vs. Ouachita Parish Lions (6-1, State PR: 75.15, Rank: 117): At the moment, Byrd is in complete control of District 1-5A.  LB Jonathan Stewart has led his defense to three incredible shutouts against formidable opponents in Airline (28-0), Ruston (13-0) and Huntington High (49-0).  The Lions are also coming off a shoutout of their own against Huntington (59-0).  Ouachita Parish has had trouble in the past against high-caliber teams like Byrd, so this weekend's contest will be a statement game for sure. 


Brother Martin Crusaders (7-0, State PR: 86.67, Rank: 4) vs. Archbishop Rummel Raiders (7-0, State PR: 86.26, Rank: 5): The Crusader offense has been averaging 30 points by the help of OL Joey Fontana and RB Dalton Hilliard -- both key returners. Brother Martin will look to take the No. 1 spot in the District 10-5A standings and advance deep in the playoffs.  Once again, the Raiders will look to take the district crown and make another journey back into the playoffs.  The Raiders defense has been the backbone of the team and has posted three shutouts while only letting opponents score no more than two touchdowns all season. 















Central Cougars (8-0-1, State PR: 92.42, Rank: 8) vs. Batesville Pioneers (9-0, State PR: 91.00, Rank: 1):  These Cougars have been on a roll ever since week three when they tied West Memphis (14-14).  Central has been a scoring machine steered by QB Deondre Johnson and RB and Arkansas commit Turrell Williams, who have combined to lead their team to an average output of 46 points or better.  This will be the Pioneers' first challenge for the offense to put up points and the defense to step up because of Central’s potent offense. 


Russellville Cyclones (9-1, State PR: 83.96, Rank: 2) vs. Cabot Panthers (8-1, State PR: 88.39, Rank: 1): The Cyclones will need to rebound after a surprising loss to Conway, 10-7. Russellvilel will look for all-state LB Terrell Carter to lead his team and have speedster RB Kenneth Golden.




Top Playoff Matchups












Palatine Vikings (7-2, State PR: 79.96, Rank: 13) vs. Bartlett Hawks (9-0, State PR: 90.72, Rank: 5):  The second round of the class 8A playoffs kicks off with Palatine ranked No. 8 and Bartlett ranked No 1 in the upper bracket.  Palatine is coming off an easy 24-7 first round win to start the playoffs.  Meanwhile, Bartlett is trying to regroup after a tough 10-7 victory against Notre Dame.









Derby Panthers (8-1, State PR: 69.83, Rank: 5) vs. Goddard Lions (3-6, State PR: 36.21, Rank: 19):  Derby is coming off an upset loss to Heights High, 33-14, to end the regular season but that didn’t have an effect on their No. 1 seed for the playoffs.  The Lions started the regular season struggling, but have been playing better as of late and are thinking upset this weekend.












Lawrence Central Bears (9-2, State PR: 82.56, Rank: 10) vs. Warren Central Warriors (8-3, State PR: 87.36, Rank: 7): The Bears are coming off a 3-8 season last year, but they still made the second round of the state 5A playoffs before dropping out. This year, Lawrene Central has made it into the Sectional 5 championship by beating Richmond, 73-41, in the semifinals. On the other side, the Warriors had no problem knocking off Fisher High, 56-27, in the semifinals to advance to the championship.





Indianapolis Cathedral Fighting Irish (8-2, State PR: 78.14, Rank: 13) vs. Whiteland Warriors (11-0, State PR: 92.72, Rank: 3):  Cathedral is coming off an 11-3 season that ended with a one-point loss in the semifinals of the state 4A playoffs to eventual champion Reitz. Now the Fighting Irish are back into the 4A section 14 championship by taking out Greenfield-Central, 45-7.  Whiteland is also coming off an impressive semifinal victory over Greenwood.











Check for Omar's regional breakdowns each Thursday right here at FootballPower. You can contact him at







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By Ryan Rohde

SportsPower Correspondent


Conference titles and playoff lives are on the line throughout the southeast this weekend. Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama all begin playoff action. Meanwhile, North Carolina and Florida will be wrapping up the regular season as many teams are battling for conference championships. South Carolina features two of the best games all season, including a matchup between South Pointe and Rock Hill. With so much at stake, this is going to be a great weekend of football.









Class 5A -- First Round Playoffs

Springville Tigers (8-2, PR: 73.74, Rank: 16) vs. Fairfield Tigers (7-2, PR: 77.93, Rank: 13): This might be the best matchup in the 5A playoffs as both teams feature explosive offenses. Springville is lead by the QB-WR connection of Seth Baker and Jeremy Richardson. Keep an eye on RB Demarcus Tremble, who ran for 200 plus yards in a big win last week over Ashville. Fairfield QB Antonio Hagler is a dual threat who can beat you with his arms and legs. This is going to be a high-scoring affair and perhaps the last team with the ball might come out on top.


Class 6A

Hoover Bucs (9-1, PR: 91.14, Rank: 6) vs. Hueytown Golden Gophers (6-4, PR: 68.90, Rank: 27): Hueytown's record doesn’t quite indicate the talent of this team. Running backs Lennard Stevens and Calvin Young have carried this squad all year, and will look to be the difference in this matchup.  Meanwhile, Hoover is undefeated in the state with its lone loss coming to Georgia power Camden County. Hueytown came close to an upset in last season's playoff game against Hoover, falling 44-42. Make no mistake, both teams have not forgotten about that game. With that said, this is going to be another classic.


Vestavia Hills Rebels (7-3, PR: 78.16, Rank: 17) vs. Minor Tigers  (8-2, PR: 82.70, Rank: 12): Minor has turned around its program full circle after finishing 2-8 last year. Other than suffering back-to-back losses against Jess Lanier and then a week later to Tuscaloosa County, Minor has been a force. Senior RB Desmond Ivory has racked up big yards in his final campaign. All the while, Vestavia Hills enters as a worthy foe seeing that its three losses came against three of the best team in the state: Mountain Brook, Briarwood Christian and Hoover. Vestavia Hills might have trouble containing Minor’s athleticism. Neverthless, this one should be terrific.












MPSA AAA Div. I -- First Round

Jackson Prep Patriots (10-1, PR: 83.98, Rank: 1) vs. Jackson Academy Raiders (7-3, PR: 69.06, Rank: 4): One of the best rivalries in the state carries over into the playoffs this weekend as Jackson Prep and Jackson Academy meet head-to-head. These teams battle hard every year and this season's matchup went to Prep, 20-7. The rivalry has only strengthened after Jackson Prep's  thrilling overtime win in last year's MPSA Championship. Jackson Academy looks to exact revenge on its crosstown foe.


Class 4A

Noxubee County Tigers (8-0, PR: 96.50, Rank: 1) vs. Hernando Tigers (7-2, PR: 71.47, Rank: 17): The No. 1 team in 4A should have a tough first round test against another top 25 team. The Tigers have been destroying the competition with seven of their nine wins coming via shutout. Hernando is a talented team that features an offense that puts up 36 points per game. Noxubee looks to march to the state title after coming up just short in last season's championship game against Laurel.




Itawamba Indians (8-1, PR: 78.53, Rank: 10) vs. Yazoo City Indians (6-3, PR: 65.41, Rank: 24): Itawamba is 9-1 for the second straight year and is lead by RB William Shumpert, who is listed at 240 lbs. The Indians' only loss came to a very formidable Shannon squad. QB Fred Claybon leads Yazoo City and is a dual threat and the main focus of his team's offense.









Class 5A -- First Round Playoffs




Bearden Bulldogs (8-2, PR: 74.70, Rank: 14) vs. Soddy Daisy Trojans (7-3, PR: 69.71, Rank: 21): Bearden poses as a formidable team with its two losses coming in back-to-back weeks against Dobyns and Farragut. The Bulldogs feature a balanced offense with Devrin Young averaging almost eights yards per carry at tailback. Soddy Daisy comes into the payoffs having lost its last two games to Farragut and Ooltewah. The Trojans will look to regroup and make a strong playoff push. 


Cordova Wolves (8-2, PR: 74.67, Rank: 15) vs. Germantown Red Devils (8-2, PR: 78.30, Rank: 11): Thanks to 13 returning starters, Germantown has vastly improved from last season's 4-6 record. The Red Devils feature four running back's that have combined for over 1,900 yards, while QB Hunter Hiatt is a dual threat. Cordova looks to bounce back after a loss to Millington in the last game of the season and make it beyond the first round.


Franklin Rebels (8-1, PR: 91.39, Rank: 4) vs. Hunters Lane Warriors (8-2, PR: 78.04, Rank: 12): It's likely that both of these teams were not too happy to see this matchup so early. The winner of this game holds the ability to do some major damage in the playoffs as both squads are ranked within the top 12, something not very common for a first round game. A three-point loss was the only blemish on Franklin's record this season. Running backs Alex ford and Keylo Lee have combined for 1,800 yards on the ground while QB Graham Nichols has thrown for 1,500 yards. Meanwhile, Hunters Lane is no pushover. Hendersonville and Gallatin were the only road blocks for the Warriors this season. This game has the makings to be a classic.


Gallatin Green Wave (8-2, PR: 78.56, Rank: 10) vs. Centennial Cougars (7-3, PR: 71.02, Rank: 18): QB Cody Mathews and RB Sanchez Holder lead a potent rushing attack for Gallatin. The Green Wave came three points shy of a region title against champ Hendersonville. Meanwhile, Centennial boasts a 6-3 record and looks to make some noise after missing out on the playoffs just one year ago.


Class 4A

Maryville Rebels (10-0, PR: 95.91, Rank: 2) vs. Cleveland Blue Raiders (7-3, PR: 74.88, Rank: 11): Maryville will begin its quest for a fifth straight state title. The Rebels have a 70-game winning streak dating back to 2004 and have once again plowed through their schedule. Alcoa provided the only close game for the Rebels, as they prevailed, 20-13. QB Phillip Juhlin has 400 yards on the ground and 700 through the air, while running backs  Thomas Shuler and Buddy Jones have rushed for 800 and 600 yards, respectively. Cleveland, however, is no pushover. QB Tucker Tipton is a dual threat and has amassed 1,400 combined yards this season. Tipton will likely need to put forth the best game of his career in order for his team to take down Maryville.









South Carolina




South Pointe Stallions (10-0, PR: 97.00, Rank: 1) vs. Rock Hill Bearcats (9-1, PR: 83.60, Rank: 5):  Crosstown rivals square off with a conference title on the line. South Pointe has proven so far this season to be one of the state's best. Stephon Gilmore is a South Carolina commit and might be the best dual threat quarterback in the state. RB Devin Wherry is a Div. I prospect with interest from Clemson, Florida State and Georgia. Rock Hill has a strong 9-1 record and is hungry to take down one of the top teams in the state.




Byrnes Rebels (9-1, PR: 91.54, Rank: 3) vs. Boiling Springs Bulldogs (8-2, PR: 75.79, Rank: 10): Byrnes wants to end its season on a high note against a worthy adversary. The Rebels pounded a solid Mauldin team, 70-27, last week after losing to Dorman the week before. QB Chase Dodd and RB Marcus Lattimore lead the high-powered offense. All the while, Boiling Springs is a tough squad with its only losses coming to Aiken and No. 1 Dorman. Boiling Springs has a good opportunity to put Byrnes in a unfamiliar spot, a two loss regular season.





North Carolina


Butler Bulldogs

(10-0, PR: 94.77, Rank: 1) vs. Independence Patriots (9-1, PR: 94.10, Rank: 2): Butler ended Independence’s amazing winning streak in last season's matchup and will look to repeat the feat. It's always a great game when these two talented teams get together, and most especially when they are ranked No. 1 and No. 2. Independence is undefeated in-state with its only loss coming to Florida power Madison County. Butler has trounced every team they have faced and look to take home a second straight conference title.









Dr. Phillips Panthers (7-1, PR: 83.57, Rank: 5) vs. Boone Braves (8-0, PR: 92.66, Rank: 1): Boone is ranked No. 1 for a good reason: team defense. The Braves haven't allowed double digits all season long. Meanwhile, with an offensive averaging 35 points per game, the Braves have been unbeatable. North Carolina State commit James Washington lead's the offense at running back. Additionally, Dr. Phillips has reeled off six straight wins and is playing very good football right now. Both teams try to wrap up the District 5 title Friday night.


Everglades Gators (6-1, PR: 78.94, Rank: 11) vs. Cypress Bay Lightning (7-1, PR: 85.24, Rank: 3): Cypress Bay is undefeated this season in the state of Florida, only losing to Katy (TX). The District 11 title is on the line as these powerful teams clash on the gridiron. RB Jason Douglas leads an offense that averages about 35 points per game. Everglades' only loss came against Miramar, one of the top teams in the Sunshine State. A win here could force a three-way tie in District 11.


Pahokee Blue Devils (7-1, PR: 88.72, Rank: 1) vs. Vero Beach Indians (8-1, PR: 82.31, Rank: 6): Pahokee ends the season with two tough games: first 6A power Vero Beach and then a “Muck Bowl” battle vs. Glades Central. Although these two games won’t mean much for the payoff race, back-to-back wins can make a major statement throughout the state that the Blue Devils are as good as ever. 


Dwyer Panthers (7-1, PR: 85.40, Rank: 3) vs. Boca Raton Bobcats (7-1, PR: 81.43, Rank: 8): The Class 4A District 14 title is up for grabs this Friday night. Dwyer has a great offense that is headed by an explosive backfield with Donald Russell and Matt Elam running the ball. Boca Raton has reeled off seven straight wins after opening the season with a loss. Everyone in Class 4A will pay close attention to this game.








Look for Ryan's regional breakdown each Thursday right here at FootballPower. You can contact him at 



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By Brett Manney

SportsPower Correspondent


It's playoff time now for most states in the west and that means win or go home. Every game featured is a must-win scenario, aside from California matchups, which are still in the midst of the regular season. Indeed, these playoff games will be nailbiters but the three California regular season games will also have playoff implications. Highlighting this week's preview is a state championship game in South Dakota. While the weather is getting cooler, the high school football season is heating up.  










No. 9 Cherry Creek Bruins (8-2, State PR: 81.97, Rank 8) vs. No. 8 Bear Creek Bears (7-2, State PR: 79.49, Rank 10): The Battle of the Creeks pits two teams eager to wear gold around their necks in a few weeks. The Bears, who pounded Eaglecrest (4-6, State PR: 52.45, Rank 20) 62-39 in the first round, hope to return to the state semifinal but face a formidable foe in the Bruins. QB Zach Thenell has 33 touchdowns and averages 275 yards passing per game. His main weapon is RB Tommy Flanagan, who is the leading rusher and receiver out of the backfield. Cherry Creek handled Ponderosa (4-6, State PR: 50.33, Rank 23) 27-6 in the first round and will likely look for QB TJ Shantz to make plays. This second round game is one of the two must-watch games in 5A Colorado.


No. 7 Mullen Mustangs (8-2, State PR: 85.94, Rank 5) vs. No. 10 Chaparral Wolverines (7-2, State PR: 76.66, Rank 11): Two teams with identical records are hoping to avoid a third loss, which would signal the end to their season.  The Mustangs are coming off an impressive 41-6 win over Fort Collins (4-6, State PR: 48.97, Rank 25). The Mustangs rely on their team speed to rack up points against inferior opponents. The Wolverines typically starts each game strong, averaging almost 11 points in the first quarter alone. After scoring 49 points last week, The Wolverines look to start hot again in the playoffs.


No. 11 Monarch Coyotes (7-2, State PR: 76.51, Rank 11) vs. No. 6 Longmont Trojans (9-1, State PR: 80.03, Rank 4): This is the must-see game in 4A and features two teams that typically score in bunches. The Trojans' only loss was to Greeley West (9-1, State PR: 82.37, Rank 6) and they will look to advance in the state playoffs. Meanwhile, the Coyotes are a tough task as the defending state runner-ups and have scored more than 49 points in their last four games.


No. 7 Canon City Tigers (9-1, State PR: 78.66, Rank 10) vs. No. 10 Summit Tigers (8-1, State PR: 77.03, Rank 5): This is the best game in Colorado 3A this weekend without a question. Canon City has regained their mojo on defense after a midseason slump that saw them give up 80 points in three games. Summit looks for its tenth win and to keep their state championship hopes alive.









Eagle Mustangs (7-0, State PR: 94.54, Rank 2) vs. Vallivue Falcons (6-1, State PR: 84.55, Rank 4): This Class 5A game is the matchup of the week and a must-see for anyone in the state of Idaho. Vallivue is coming off a 49-0 win in which their defense forced three fumbles and two interceptions. Leading the way is star RB Chase Christoffersen, who currently is one of the league's leading rushers. Christoffersen had 178 yards and scored three touchdowns on only 21 carries last week. Meanwhile, the Mustangs are coming off a 26-20 double overtime victory against defending state champs Meridian. Eagle's balanced attack is led by QB Taylor Kelly, who has thrown for over 1,000 yards.







Saint Cloud Tech Tigers (8-1, State PR: 80.28, Rank 11) vs. Wayzata Trojans (9-0, State PR: 96.00, Rank 1): Both squads are looking to extend their long winning streaks for a chance to compete for a state championship.  Wayzata has been dominant the entire season,   giving up just 9.4 points a game while averaging over 44 points. The Trojans feature dynamic Div. I recruit WR Fritz Rock. Wayzata Alum include Marion Barber III and James Laurinaitis. Saint Cloud Tech is looking to break up Wayzata's dream season. The Tigers' spread offense is led by QB Adam Johnson and WR Alan Fruth, who broke the school single game receiving record with 178 yards and two touchdowns last week. The Class 5A quarterfinal will most likely be a shootout.


Orono Spartans (9-0, State PR: 91.62, Rank 1) vs. Duluth East Greyhounds (9-0, State PR: 87.22, Rank 2): A powerful offense against a shutdown defense makes this 4A playoff game worth your money. The Spartans only allow five points per game and in many cases have been shutouts. LB Brett Skoog has been causing havoc with 138 tackles, most in the area. The Greyhounds rely heavily on Skylar Murray and his ability to make plays everywhere on the field. This game most likely will go down to the wire.



New London Spicer Wildcats (5-2, State PR: 69.77, Rank 9) vs. Proctor Rails (7-2, State PR: 64.23, Rank 14): This is the Class 3A game of the week and pits two teams with identical records. Only one, however, will notch their tenth win. The Wildcats rely on their punishing running game with their two headed monster in Shawn Halliday and Taylor Dammerman, who have combined for 23 touchdowns. Proctor is flying high after starting the season with two straight losses. The Rails look to continue their masterful winning streak and advance with their consistency.






Helena Bengals (7-3, State PR: 63.71, Rank 3) vs. Great Falls Bison (2-3, State PR: 42.03, Rank 8): The first round of Class AA features two teams looking to run the ball for the majority of the game. The Bengals rely on their backfield duo of QB Matt Upham and RB Tyler Ishak to wear down defenses. The Bison, who have won four games away from home, look for QB Trylan Wassman (1419 yards passing) to hand the ball off to RB Maxx Galland  and favorite target WR Jake Olsen (32 receptions) to be a difference maker. This first round game will be played like a state championship in Big Sky country.


Frenchtown Broncs (7-1, State PR: 79.91, Rank 3) vs. Hardin Bulldogs (6-3, State PR: 63.93, Rank 7): This quarterfinal matchup features two teams striving for their eighth win, but only one will achieve it.  The Broncs RB Cody Kirk is a tireless worker and will try to wear down the Hardin defense with his punishing style of run. The Bulldogs rely on their running game as well with RB Drew Zelka, who has over 1,000 yards rushing and is a receiving threat as well. This small school match up with have big-time implications.






No. 2 Omaha Creighton Prep Junior Jays (9-0, State PR: 79.80, Rank 2) vs. No. 7 Grand Island Islanders (7-2, State PR: 68.84, Rank 5): Grand Island is thinking upset in the Nebraska state tournament against an undefeated Creighton Prep squad. The Junior Jays have only allowed 7.4 points per game and have been flying all over teams this season. They are battle-tested and lead by their massive OL Jon Lechner, a Div. I recruit. Meanwhile, the Islanders two losses were by a combined six points. The Islanders hope to return to glory when they won the state championship in ‘05 and should be a formidable foe despite their low seed.  





New Mexico


Capitan Tigers (5-5, State PR: 45.60, Rank 8) vs. Tucumcari Rattlers (3-7, State PR: 32.35, Rank 11): The winner of this first round game has a date with No. 2 Dexter (9-0, State PR: 76.64, Rank 2) in the next round as each team looks to continue their season. Capitan barely squeaked by Cloudcroft (3-6, State PR: 39.26, Rank 9) last week and will need to step up its game in order to advance. Last week, WR Alex Carter had 123 yards and will be counted on to be just as effective . Tucumcari has lost four in a row but hope to make a late run in the postseason. RB Lucas Benavidez averages nine yards a carry and is the playmaker for the Rattlers. Despite their records, this game will be very close as each team tries to make up for disappointment earlier in the year.








South Dakota


Washington School Warriors (8-1, State PR: 95.00, Rank 1) vs. O Gorman Knights (8-1, State PR: 92.96, Rank 3): The state championship is on the line and each team is prepared for their final game of the 2008 season. Washington will be looking for revenge as its sole loss came at the hands of O’ Gorman back in week two (22-14). QB Brett Grevlos has thrown 19 touchdowns with only five interceptions in a balanced offensive scheme featuring RB/WR Trevor Gebhart. Meanwhile, O’ Gorman has been red hot, winning their last 10 games. The Knights' offense has produced 41 points or more in their last five games while their tough defense is led by all-state DB Phil Wright. It doesn't get much better thant his for a state championship game as revenge and gold medals are on the line.







Homestead Highlanders (12-0, State PR: 90.45, Rank 3) vs. Racine Park Panthers (9-1, State PR: 85.85, Rank 9): This Division 1 playoff matchup features big-time schools with some big-time players. The Highlanders are led by DT Shelby Harris, who committed to Wisconsin and is a quarterback's worst nightmare. He leads a defense which had given up only 89 points all season and looks to stay undefeated. The Panthers have won their last five and have a playmaker in RB Deon McClain, who averages 199 yards a game with 17 touchdowns. This is the must-see game in the land of cheese. 






Sheldon Irish (5-4, State PR: 71.14, Rank 13) vs. Tigard Tigers (6-2, State PR: 76.73, Rank 11): The big school 6A matchup of Sheldon vs. Tigard features two teams coming into the state playoffs following a loss last week. Sheldon, who is the defending state champ, features athletic QB Jordan Johnson, who averages over 300 yards per game of total offense. The Tigers' defense has been suspect at times this season and will have to step up to the challenge against a dynamic offense like Sheldon. The squad's double-wing offense is led by QB Kyle Gustafson, who looks to lead his team to a victory over the defending state champs.


Silverton Foxes (6-4, State PR: 60.73, Rank 15) vs. Hillsboro Spartans (6-4, State PR: 63.16, Rank 11): The Class 5A game to see is between Silverton and Hillsboro for the right to advance in the Oregon state playoffs. The Foxes lean on RB Nelson Sinn, who has over 1,000 yards, averages 113 yards per game and leads the team in receptions with 39. The Spartans look to hit their stride late in the season behind their athletic DB Browde Hastings. This game will most likely be close as each team has their share of close wins.






Mater Dei Monarchs (6-2, State PR: 83.23, Rank 30) vs. St. John Bosco Braves (7-1, State PR: 87.25, Rank 13): If you like big-time quarterbacks, this is the game to see in California. Mater Dei is lead by the nations top-ranked QB and USC recruit Matt Barkley, who is regaining his accuracy after starting off the season slow. The Monarchs are the only team undefeated in league play and look to eliminate their defensive miscues. St. John Bosco features Keith Price, who is dangerous running (467 yards and 9 touchdowns) and throwing (71% completion rate with 21 touchdowns).  The Braves look to beat league power Mater Dei as powerful Servite looms next week.


Oaks Christian Lions (8-0, State PR: 98.16, Rank 2) vs. Santa Clara Saints (8-0, State PR: 82.36, Rank 34): Both squads have been equally as impressive this season, but only one team will come out of this matchup with a win. The Lions haven't scored fewer than 35 points and have posted shutouts in their last three games. QB Nick Montana spreads the wealth and usually has six or more receivers with a catch by the end of the day. The ground game is led by RB Malcolm Jones, who is an explosive runner averaging 139 yards a game. The Saints rely heavily on the ground game and their RB Notre Dame recruit Cierre Wood, who averages 190 yards per game. He will try his best to score against a Lions defense which only gives up five points a game. High scoring offenses and shutdown defenses are featured here -- what more can you ask for?


Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits (8-0, State PR: 98.09, Rank 3) vs. Compton Tartars (7-0, State PR: 91.33, Rank 7): This is surely a highly-anticipated contest featuring two undefeated teams. The Jackrabbits have proven to be one of the best teams in the country with a running game that's nearly unstoppable. RB Melvin Richardson (102 yards rushing per game) and RB Daveon Barner (104 yards rushing per game) spilt the carries and create a scary one-two punch. On the defensive side, DE Iuta Tepa is one of most feared lineman in California and heads into this contest already with 10 sacks. Meanwhile, the Tartars will be hard-pressed to falter behind USC recruit Chris Metcalf, who leads the team in tackles. Much like the Jackrabbits, the Tartars rely on their running game to wear down opposing defenses. Look for a lot of running in this game and Compton thinking upset.






Look for Brett's regional breakdowns every Thursday right here at FootballPower. You can contact him at




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