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By Adam C. Warner

SportsPower Editor



Champions will be crowned this weekend in Maryland and New Jersey as the football season finally comes to its pinnacle. In Maryland, Linganore and Sherwood meet in a battle of unbeatens, while in New Jersey, two of the region's most storied programs meet on the gridiron when Don Bosco battles Bergen Catholic. SportsPower editor Adam C. Warner breaks down all of the championship action. 








Class 3A

Westlake Wolverines (11-2) vs. Wilde Lake Wildecats (12-1), Dec. 4: Westlake stormed through the regular season and are now playing its best football of the year after quality wins over Friendly and 12-time state champ Seneca Valley. Expect Westlake to hand the ball off early and often to Devon Smith. If Wilde Lake can contain him, expect them to be victorious. Wilde Lake will counter with running back Jarrel Epps and quarterback Danny March, two standouts that can take over a game at any given moment.


Class 4A

Linganore Lancers (13-0) vs. Sherwood Warriors (13-0), Dec. 5: Sherwood can notch its third state title this weekend if they can get past a surging Linganore team. The Warriors are coming off two impressive wins, first a 31-10 victory against Quince Orchard on Nov. 21 and then a 45-8 defeat of Wise in the semifinals. However, Linganore could be Sherwood’s toughest opponent all season. The Lancers trounced Arundel last week, 59-34, behind a potent offense that racked up five rushing touchdowns. Running back Pat Balderson is the featured back for Linganore and can put up 200-300 yards on any given day.


Class 1 A

Fort Hill Sentinels (11-1) vs. Dunbar Poets (12-1), Dec. 6: It’s a showdown between one hot team and another seasoned squad in the Class 1A title game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Dunbar is looking for its third straight title after crushing Catoctin, 48-12, last week. Running back Tavon Austin is a playmaker. Last week, the standout rushed for 213 yards and scored four touchdowns. Expect to hear Austin’s name be called plenty of times on Saturday. Meanwhile, Fort Hill has pulled out several close games already this year and that could bode well for them in this pinnacle contest. The Sentinels beat Frederick Douglass, Mountain Ridge and Allegany this season by a combined nine points.


Class 2A

Eastern Tech Mavericks (14-0) vs. River Hill Hawks (13-0), Dec. 6: Both of these teams are evenly matched, so expect a sensational title game on Saturday. The Mavs will try to establish their running attack behind Luke Horner. The unit accounted for 201 yards on the ground last week in a 28-6 win over previously unbeaten Queen Anne’s. Meanwhile, River Hill is flying high after crushing Century, 48-14, in last week’s semifinal. The Hawks will go for back-to-back state titles in Baltimore this weekend. The Hawks have one of the state’s premier rushing attacks, as evidenced last week when Michael Campanaro and Malek Redd combined for 430 yards and five scores. If the duo can be even half as effective as they were last week, River Hill may have the advantage. Expect a hard-played game that comes down to defense in the second half.




New Jersey



Non-Public, Group IV

Bergen Catholic Crusaders (9-2) vs. Don Bosco Prep Ironmen (10-1), Dec. 6: Both of these teams are very familiar with each other as they squared off on Nov. 1. The matchup witnessed the Ironmen come away with a decisive 38-7 victory, but will Bergen Catholic be able to take it to another level at Giants Stadium on Saturday? Tailback Dillon Romain is the sparkplug for the Ironmen and will need to be effective on the ground for the Ironmen to come away victorious. Wideout Ryan Cobb and quarterback Brett Knief have also been standouts and will be called on often. Meanwhile, Bergen Catholic’s rush defense will need to be at its best. Last week, the Crusaders allowed nearly 300 yards on the ground and five different players score touchdowns. Offensively, signal-caller Rob Eckrote and wideout Anthony Marino need to hook up often for the Crusaders.


Non-Public, Group III

St. Joseph Montvale Green Knights (10-1) vs. Immaculata Spartans (10-0), Dec. 5: Expect the Green Knights to pound the ball early and often in their quest of capturing the Non-Public, Group III championship. St. Joseph features a dynamic lineup, which includes Kevin Adams, Kamal Hogan, Kwaun Williams and David Wood. Meanwhile, as the second seed, Immaculata enters the title game on the heels of two close wins over Holy Spirit (21-20) and Gloucester Catholic (14-7). Watch for running back Theo Riddick to receive plenty of carries while quarterback Adam Burke needs to be a passing threat in order for Immaculata to win the title.






To contact editor Adam C. Warner, send an e-mail to



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By Ryan Rohde

SportsPower Correspondent


Championships will be won this weekend in Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia. Meanwhile, semifinal play continues in Georgia, Kentucky and Florida. With some of the country's most elite squads going head-to-head, it certainly makes for one of the best exciting weekends of the season. SportsPower correspondent Ryan Rohde has highlighted the best of the best championship and semifinal matchups in each state. 




Class 6A Championship

Prattville Lions (12-1) vs. Hoover Bucs (13-1), Dec. 6: These two teams have combined to win seven of the last eight state titles, including the past six. Prattville is going for the three-peat and will face a familiar foe in Hoover. This is the third time the teams will meet in the title game since '04, with each team taking one title apiece. The Lions have dominant since the season commenced. The offense is led by QB Sam Gibson, who has over 1,500 total yards, and RB Jarodis Williams, who has rushed for 1,300 yards and 19 scores. The Lions' defense has been the backbone for Prattville. LB La’angel Albright leads the team with 122 tackles and DL Alex Page has added 16 sacks. Meanwhile, Hoover has been the dominant force in Northern Alabama for the past decade and this year is no different. QB Simon Probst has been steady all season and threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 28-7 win over Huntsville. Both teams play a similar style of ball and this matchup has the makings to be a classic.



South Carolina


Class 4A Division I Championship

Byrnes Rebels (13-1) vs. Sumter Gamecocks (12-2), Dec. 6: The Rebels are back in familiar territory playing in their sixth title game in the last seven years. Byrnes avenged its only regular season loss to Dorman last week, 24-13. RB Marcus Lattimore is one of the most talented backs in the country and it showed last week when he had 38 carries for 238 yards and two touchdowns against Dorman. QB Chas Dodd has thrown for 2,500 yards and 18 touchdowns, while his defense is playing its best ball of the year. Historically, Sumter is a successful program and is now making its eighth state title game appearance. RB Roderick McDowell is a Clemson commit and has rushed for 1,778 yards and 23 touchdowns so far, including 178 yards and a score last week. For the first time, the title game will not be played in the state capital of Columbia, as the showdown has been moved to Clemson.







5A Championship

South Panola Tigers (14-0) vs. Meridian Wildcats (13-1), Dec. 5: South Panola brings the nation's longest winning streak of 89 games into Friday night's contest. The Tigers will try and capture their sixth straight state title. The Tigers havn't been as dominant as in years gone by, as evidenced by a close call to Tupelo in the regular season and a three-point win against Madison Central last weekend, so Meridian is well aware about the opportunity this weekend. The road to the six-peat will not be any easier as star running back Nicolas Parker and standout LB David Connor were both injured in the semifinals, but do expect both to play. Meanwhile, Meridian was a semifinalst last season and they hope to take that final step. QB Tyler Russell is one of the best in the state. Russell has thrown for 3,041 yards and 39 scores to date. Wideouts Marcus McQuarley, JJ Harbin and Chris Smith are Russell’s top targets and complete the best passing attack in the state. This game is going to be an interesting contrast in styles as South Panola will look to its running game while Meridian should feature a potent air assault.







AAA Division 6 Championship

Oscar Smith Tigers (14-0) vs. Osbourn Eagles (9-4), Dec. 6: Oscar Smith has been one of the most consistent squads in Virginia all season. The Tigers averaged over 40 points a game during the regular season while the defense posted six shutouts. Junior QB Phillip Sims is touted as one of the best prospects of 2010 and UVA commit Tim Smith is a dangerous downfield threat. For all of the team's success, this is their first appearance in the state Div. 6 title game. On the other side, Osbourn is the absolute underdog. The Eagles are coming together at the right time and have won six straight games. At one point this season, the Eagles had a record of 3-4 with fears of not making the playoffs. However, Osbourn is a program with experience, as they took home the title in '06. The Eagles have beaten undefeated teams in three consecutive weeks to reach the title game, including last week's blowout against Varina. In that game, the Eagle defense held dynamic back Tre Johnson to 16 yards on 13 carries. Johnson is the leading rusher in the Richmond area with 1,950 yards and 21 TDs.   Osbourn is the hottest team in the state right now and will try to take down its fourth consecutive undefeated opponent. But, Oscar Smith is one of the most talented squads in the nation and Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium is going to be pandemonium on Saturday night.







4A Championship

Maryville Rebels (14-0) vs. Hillsboro Burros (12-2), Dec. 6: Maryville is one of the most formidable programs in Tennessee history. The Rebels have won 12 state titles, including the last four. The squad's quest for a fifth straight championship pits them against a familiar foe. Three of Byrnes' 12 state titles have came against Hillsboro, the most recent taking place in '06. In this year's battle, both teams feature great defenses. Maryville’s DE Justin Smith was recently named Tennessee’s Mr. Football for 4A lineman. The Rebels have not allowed more than 17 points in a game all season. Meanwhile, Burros DB Eric Gordon leads their stingy defense. Gordon has recently committed to Tennessee and is regarded as one of the best in the Southeast. Both teams know each other well and it should be a close one.







6A Semifinals

St. Xavier Tigers (12-0) vs. Trinity Shamrocks (12-1), Dec. 5: One of the best rivalries in the country now spills over into the playoffs. The two most dominant teams in the state have won a combined 29 state championships. The game routinely draws upwards of 30,000 in the regular season and the teams routinely meet in the state title game. While this year may be a little different, it certainly shapes up to be no less intense. Trinity has won three consecutive state titles and six out of the last seven, including of a victory over the Tigers in last year’s championship game. The streak was interrupted by St. X in ’04. The Tigers exacted some revenge earlier this year, crushing the Shamocks, 30-6, in the regular season. St. X has put up big numbers over the course of the season, averaging over 50 points a game. RB Rolandan Finch has averaged 10 yards a carry and has 28 touchdowns. The Shamrocks bring a potent offense as well. RB Tim Phillips put up 216 yards last week and QB Cameron Smyth threw three touchdowns in a 63-15 win over Eastern. Expect another huge crowd and add another chapter to this storied rivalry.





West Virginia


Class AAA Championship

South Charleston Black Eagles (13-0) vs. George Washington Patriots (12-1), Dec. 6: The first meeting between these two juggernauts came down to one point and you can expect more of the same this time around. George Washington opened eyes this year by making it to the state finals and only losing that one game to South Charleston in the regular season. QB Taylor Norman has stepped up as a first-year starter and has thrown for over 1,500 yards and 23 touchdowns. The running back duo of Greg Jones and Felix Mollett have each rushed for over a thousand yards and have combined for 19 scores. All the while, South Charleston comes in with a very balanced run game led by near thousand yard rusher Aaron Slusher. QB Marcell Brown and WR Aaron Dobson form one elite pass-catch duo. Both teams know each other all too well, so expect another low scoring battle that comes down to the fourth quarter. 







AAAAA Semifinals

Newnan Cougars (13-0) vs. Camden County Wildcats (13-0), Dec. 5: These two squads have been at the top of the pack all season. Defense is the name of the game for Newnan. The Cougars shut down North Gwinnett in last week’s quarterfinal, holding the Bulldogs to just three points. Newnan has a big chip on its shoulder as this team hasn’t reached the title game since '81. Camden County is a very experienced team with 15 starters back from last season's semifinal squad. The Wildcats have not had an easy to road to this point. They had to beat Northside (28-20) and then a rolling Woostock team (18-17). Camden’s offense has been explosive all season but might be without RB Greg Baker, who is nursing a sore ankle. It's going to be abnormally cold in Georgia this weekend, perfect weather for an excellent football game.


Peachtree Ridge Lions (11-2) vs. Grayson Rams (13-0), Dec. 5: Two of the youngest programs in the state play for the chance to win a title. Grayson is 60-30 overall since beginning its football program eight years ago, which is the best eight-year start to a program in Gwinnett County history. The Rams defeated mighty Lowndes last week, 17-7, and have been underestimated all season. Peachtree Ridge is also a young program, but they have been to this stage before. The Lions captured a share of the state title two years ago after going on a similar run. The Lions play their best ball when it matters most. They avenged a regular season loss to Harrison in round two and shutout Coffee last weekend.Look for both teams to control the ball in a low-scoring grudge match.







Class 4A Region Finals

Plant Panthers (11-1) vs. Armwood Hawks (12-0), Dec. 5: It's a rematch of the annual regular season game between two of Tampa's best. Armwood won the first showdown, 9-2, in week 1, and both teams haven’t lost since. Plant is without star QB Aaron Murray, who broke his leg midway through the season. Backup QB Phillip Ely has filled in beautifully for his teammate and has thrown for 1,600 yards and 19 scores. All the while, the defense has allowed just 14 points total in the playoffs. Armwood QB Mywan Jackson is a great dual threat. He has thrown for 1,500 yards while rushing for almost another grand. He leads an offense that has posted 80 combined points in the playoffs. These two teams always play each other tight and this one should be no different.


Class 2A State Semifinals

Madison County Cowboys (12-0) vs. Bolles Bulldogs (12-0), Dec. 5: The winner of this game will be the frontrunner to win the title game. Both schools have historically dominated Class 2A and are doing the same this season. The Bulldogs have won their games by an average score of 55-10, including the playoffs. Running backs Stephan Barnett and Jawan Jamison provide an explosive punch in the backfield. The Cowboys counter with their own duo of Cory Adkins and Chris Thompson. Look for a lot of points to be scored in what could be a shootout.


Class 5A Region Finals

Lakeland Dreadnaughts (12-0) vs. Chamberlain Chiefs (11-1), Dec. 5: Lakeland is historically one of the most successful programs in Florida. The Dreadnaughts have won six state titles and two national championships. This year's Lakeland squad is battle-tested and has won a number of close games, including last week's come-from-behind win against defending champ Osceola. RB Aaron Truedell led Lakeland last week with three touchdowns, while the defense shut out Osceola in the second half. On the other side, Chamberlain's only loss came to Tampa power Plant. The Chiefs have been strong throughout the season. QB Dontae Aycock is one of the best playmakers in the state and has accounted for over 2,700 total yards and 32 touchdowns. Lakeland’s strong defense will have to account for Aycock if they want to win. This could be a classic between two Tampa area schools.







To contact correspondent Ryan Rohde, send an e-mail to 



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By Brett Manney

SportsPower Correspondent


Aside from California and Arizona, teams in Hawaii, Washington, Nevada and Oregon will all be playing for state championships this weekend. Dreams can be crushed or they can come true on the West Coast as some of the most elite teams in the country do battle.




Punahou Buff n Blue (11-1) vs. Leilehua Mules (11-2), Dec. 5: The Division 1 state championship game in Hawaii will be packed with fireworks and plenty of scoring. The Buff ‘n Blue were sparked by WR Dalton Hillard last week, who had 13 receptions for 139 yards in a 35-28 win over Farrington. On the defensive side, Mantai Te’o is one of the most feared linebackers in the country. Meanwhile, the Mules are riding their emotions coming off a come from behind 17-10 overtime victory last week against Kahuku. Junior QB Andrew Manley threw for 291 yards with two touchdowns. As the final game is played in Hawaii, look for each team to leave it all out on the field with a state title up for grabs.









Class 4A

Issaquah Eagles (11-2) vs. Skyline Spartans (13-0), Dec. 5: Skyline has been the class of 4A all season and Issaquah looks to play the role of spoiler. The Spartans are coming off an emotional battle against Ferris last week and prevailed, 24-21. Skyline can become the first team ever in state history to win back-to-back state championships in different classifications (they were 3A last year). The Spartans feature four Seattle Times offensive selections, including the state’s best receiving duo in Gino Simone and Kasen Williams. Anthony DeMatteo, who was the league defensive player of the year as a junior, leads an unheralded defense. On the other side, Issaquah looks for senior leadership and toughness to win against Skyline in the Tacoma Dome. Lineman Christian Rennie is one of the best tackles in the state and opens massive holes for his team’s running game. The Eagles hope to avenge the 38-0 loss to the Spartans earlier in the season.


Class 3A

Bellevue Wolverines (13-0) vs. Union Titans (13-0), Dec. 6: Two undefeated teams clash for the Class 3A title game. Bellevue experienced some recent trauma when its team bus flipped over before last week’s game against Capital. Due to the incident, the squad had to play the semifinal on Monday, which still resulted in a 28-6 victory. The Wolverines have been dominant all season and look to continue their prowess against Union. The Wolverines do much of their damage in the first half as they have outscored opponents 336-33. All the while, Union looks to stop the Wolverines’ wing-t offense behind the play of its superior defense. The Titans only gave up seven points to a powerful Lakes team last week and will seek to take down a perennial power this weekend for the state title.







Class 4A

Palo Verde Panthers (13-0) vs. McQueen Lancers (13-0), Dec. 6: Both teams enter the Class 4A championship with undefeated records but only one will go home with the hardware and a perfect season. McQueen will have to find a way to contain the explosive running backs of Palo Verde, most especially Torin Harris. The USC recruit has lightning speed and scored three touchdowns in last week’s 42-21 win over Las Vegas. Meanwhile, the Lancers have been dominating opponents all season. Case in point, they have defeated Northern Nevada opponents by an average of 40 points. The Lancers’ trademark style of football entails their massive linemen opening holes for RB Tyler York (1,130 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns). A championship trophy will be on the mind for all of the players on Saturday as an amazing feat is just one win away.









Class 6A

Lake Oswego Lakers (12-0) vs. Southridge Skyhawks (11-2): The 6A title game in Oregon pits two of the best teams in the state fighting for one glorious prize. The Skyhawks are making their second trip to the state championship in the past three years. In ’06, Southridge fell to Jesuit. The team’s offense has been dominant since the return of 6-6 wideout Mitch Matthews, who had three touchdown catches last week and 132 yards receiving. The Skyhawks rely on a balanced offense to wear down opposing defenses. The top-seeded Lakers came from behind to beat Jesuit last week, 32-28. The passing game is the strength for the Lakers, led by Oregon State recruit Jack Lomax. Last week, Lomax threw for 323 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Tensions will be high in Oregon for the biggest game of the year on Saturday night.


Class 5A

Thurston Colts (12-0) vs. West Albany Bulldogs (13-0), Dec. 6: It comes down to the No. 1 seed versus the No. 2 team for reign of 5A football in Oregon. West Albany has not been tested this season and has dominated opposing squads, winning 40 of its last 41 games. The Bulldogs have scored more than 41 points in 11 consecutive games, while the defense has not allowed more than 22 points in three years. RB Anthony Lacoste is a workhouse for the Bulldogs and can break for long runs on every touch. Meanwhile, the Colts have one the state’s most dynamic players in QB Tym Pearson. The athletic QB has thrown 44 touchdowns this year in addition to rushing for 18 touchdowns on 865 yards. The Colts’ dangerous passing attack and the Bulldogs’ tough running game makes this highly anticipated matchup well worth watching.






Division II-5A

Marcos De Niza Padres (11-1) vs. Westview Knights (11-1), Dec. 5: The Division II Class 5A semifinal game features two teams determined to play in the state championship game next week. The Padres still remember when they were eliminated in last year’s state tournament to Westview, but a lot has changed since then. The Padres have outscored their opponents this season 404-117. The defense is led by outstanding linebackers. Arizona State recruit Anthony Rose leads the team in tackles and junior LB/RB Ramon Abreu is receiving PAC-10 interest and leads the team with six interceptions, returning five for touchdowns. The Knights’ only loss was to undefeated Centennial (14-0 overall). They rely heavily on their dominant running game and a strong and experienced defensive line. QB R.J. Robinson and RB Carlton Williams combine to make a dangerous running attack.


Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks (10-2) vs. Centennial Coyotes (12-0), Dec. 5: Ironwood Ridge hopes to knock the king off its throne in the other Division II 5A matchup.  The Nighthawks have lost their two games by a combined seven points and rely on some hard-nosed football. WR Scott Campbell is their biggest threat with 50 catches for 889 yard receiving and eight touchdowns. On the other side, the Coyotes have relied on their dominant rushing game, which features one of the state’s best backs in John Hughes. The explosive tailback averages 9 yards a carry, 124 yards a game and has scored 27 touchdowns. Centennial will be tested in this game, which figures to come down to the wire.


Division 1-5A

Hamilton Huskies (11-1) vs. Red Mountain Lions (7-5), Dec. 5: Hamilton has played very well all season long and now goes up against a surging Red Mountain team looking to keep its hot streak alive. Red Mountain will try to avenge an earlier season loss to Hamilton, 30-14. The Lions advanced to the state semifinal a year ago and will need RB Derek Molina to carry the load on offense. Molina had his worst game of the season against Hamilton when he had nine carries for just 19 yards. The Huskies rely on their talented defense, which hasn’t yielded any points in their last two games. Hamilton is well coached and eyes the state championship.


Mountain View Toros (12-0) vs. Brophy Prep Broncos (10-3), Dec. 5: The undefeated Toros will rely on experienced QB Blake Decker to get them into the title game. Decker has completed 64 % of his passes this year and runs an efficient offense. RB Jacom Brimhall has over 1,500 yards rushing this season with 15 touchdowns and is a threat to score every time he has the ball. The Broncos have won every game since Sept. 26 and have elevated their play in the postseason. The defending state champs have shut out their last two opponents. RB Max Leonesio has been the focal points of the offense and has tallied 1,496 yards rushing with 19 touchdowns. Brophy looks to return to the promised land while Mountain View tries to back up its No. 1 seed.







San Diego Section

Carlsbad Lancers (7-5) vs. La Costa Canyon Mavericks (9-2), Dec. 5: The Lancers barely squeaked by Chula Vista last week and now have a date with top-seeded La Costa Canyon. The Lancers converted on a crucial 4th and 5 in the third quarter last week before going on to score on that drive. That would open the floodgates towards a 34-21 win. RB Michael Taele had a superb game with 98 yards rushing on only 16 carries. Keep in mind, though, the Mavericks defeated the Lancers earlier in the season, 52-3. RB Seth Hanson, who has been making defenders miss frequently, heads the Maverick offense. Meanwhile, led by North Country Times defensive player of the year Jacob Driver, the defense is just plain tough. The Division 1 semifinal will be a showcase of two teams loaded with talented players.


Mission Hills Grizzlies (8-3-1) vs. Escondido Cougars (9-2), Dec. 5: This San Diego Section Division 1 semifinal game will be one of the top games to watch in the San Diego area. Cougars RB Ricky Seale leads the San Diego area in rushing and accumulated 280 yards on 36 carries last week against Fallbrook.  The Cougars’ strong running game has worn down opposing defenses all year. Meanwhile, Mission Hills is a team possessed after defeating defending San Diego Division 1 champs Poway last week, 20-14. Grizzlies QB D.J. Zapata threw for 224 yards despite leading rusher Eddy Shiavong being out of the lineup the past couple of weeks with an ankle injury. It’s win or go home time in San Diego.


Southern Section Semifinals

Orange Lutheran Lancers (10-2) vs. Tesoro Titans (12-0), Dec. 6: Orange Lutheran is playing great football lately and Tesoro has been unstoppable all season. The Lancers beat undefeated Sherman Oaks Notre Dame last week behind their ability to rush the quarterback. Led by an elite secondary, the Lancers’ defense is superb, as evidenced by the unit giving up just 14 points to Notre Dame. Tesoro looks to remain undefeated and QB Robbie Picazo has a plethora of weapons and has thrown only four interceptions all season. RB Preston King is an electrifying player who can torch defenses every time he has the ball. This potential classic will be the best game played in the Southern Section this weekend.




To contact correspondent Brett Manney, send an e-mail to



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