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By Jimmy Oliver

SportsPower Correspondent

 

http://www.fp.tv/teams/hs/6313

 

 

Katy (TX) wins back-to-back state titles:

 

 

Katy

 

 

 

 

The Tigers started the season 0-2, which included a 42-0 blowout loss to The Woodlands.  From there, it was back to business as head coach Gary Joseph led his team to a 12-1 record the rest of the way. 

 

 

 

 

This was the sixth overall title for the Tigers and the program's fifth in the last 11 years. Will Jeffery was a workhorse at running back for Katy and racked up 142 yards on 22 carries in the state title game. Meanwhile, linebacker Sebi Carbajal led one of the state's best defenses which only got stronger as the season continued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prosper (TX) graduates 17 players only to win Class 3A state crown:

 

 

 

 

Prosper experienced a solid year in '07 and finished at 8-4 overall. But heading into the '08 season, the Eagles lost 17 players to graduation. It was safe to say that expectations weren't calling for a championship. 

 

 

 

 

However, thanks to a dominating defense and a highly-touted rushing attack, the Eagles embarked on a 12-game winning streak en route to the Class 3A Div. I state title.  The streak included an impressive win over Wylie, 39-38, in double overtime in the state semifinals.

 

 

 

 

Quarterback Hunter Nix and running back Bryan Monroe combined to form one of the top offensive duos in the state and were a huge factor down the stretch for the Eagles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garrett Gilbert, Sr., QB, Lake Travis Cavaliers (TX):

 

 

 

As one of the nation's most heralded prospects, Gilbert capped his brilliant high school career in outstanding fashion.  Gilbert threw for 4,827 yards and 55 touchdowns in leading Lake Travis (16-0 overall) to the Class 4A Division I state title.  

 

 

 

Gilbert threw for five scores in the championship game vs. Longview and set a Texas passing record by finishing his high school career with 12,534 yards, surpassing current Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell by just two yards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The standout -- who will take his game to the University of Texas in the fall -- also broke his own single-season passing record with 4,852 yards this year.

 

 

There is little doubt that Gilbert will go down as one of the best football players from the Lone State State. 

 

 

 

Russell Shepherd, Sr., QB, Cypress Ridge Rams (TX):

 

 

 

As one of the most athletic, fast, competitive players in the region, Shepherd impressed from the very first week of the season. And based on his most recent performances, the standout has all the tools to make life difficult for defenders at the next level, too. 

 

 

 

The LSU prospect had a monster season for Cypress Ridge (7-3 overall) through the air and on the ground.  As the Texas Class 5A offensive player of the year, Shepherd threw for 1,843 yards and 20 touchdowns while running for another 1,946 yards and 28 touchdowns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To contact correspondent Jimmy Oliver, send an e-mail to jimmy.oliver@activenetwork.com.

 

 

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Northern Region

 

By Adam C. Warner

SportsPower Editor

 

 

1.) Jeremiah Young, RB, Steelton-Highspire Steamrollers (PA)

 

 

Led by the standout running back, the Steamrollers won the PIAA Class A title while averaging 35 points per game.

 

Thanks to another phenomenal season, Young is the Keystone State’s all-time leading rusher and this year racked up 2,930 yards and 32 touchdowns, making it the third straight year he has gone over the 2,000-yard rushing mark.

 

With 8,529 total rushing yards and 148 touchdowns for his career, Young will certainly go down as one of the greatest running backs to come out of the Keystone State.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.) Don Bosco travels cross-country and pulls off a 23-21 win over De La Salle (Calif.), Sept. 27

 

 

This game had been on everyone’s radar since it was announced on the schedule, and it surely did not disappoint as two of the nation’s premier teams battled to the very last seconds.

 

Despite traveling cross-country to face a daunting challenge in De La Salle, Don Bosco Prep put forth arguably its best performance of the season in week three. Remember, this is the same De La Salle program that went unbeaten for 151 straight games and was undefeated over 12 seasons (1992-2004).

 

Back in September, Patrick Murray booted a 19-yard field goal with just 10 ticks remaining to give the Ironmen a sensational 23-21 win over the Spartans at Owens Field in Concord in front of nearly 7,000 raucous fans.

 

Earlier in the half, Murray missed an extra point attempt after a Don Bosco score that left his team trailing 21-20 with just a few minutes remaining.

 

Talk about redemption.

 

 

 

 

 

3.) Joe McMurry, RB, Hudson Falls Tigers (NY)

 

 

McMurry concluded a sensational three-year varsity career by rushing for 2,563 yards and 34 touchdowns to send his squad to the state Class B Final Four.

 

McMurry, who averaged 7.28 yards per carry and amassed a total of 352 carries, accumulated eight games in which he rushed for 230 yards or more. The senior also had five games in which he accounted for four touchdowns or more. The only two games that McMurry didn’t get over the 100-yard mark were both Hudson Falls losses.

 

The tailback finished with career totals of more than 5,200 rush yards and 65 touchdowns, good for third in Section II history for both categories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.) Curtis Drake, QB, West Catholic Burrs (PA)

 

 

Drake proved to be the catalyst for one of the most impressive offensive units in the entire region in '08. The signal-caller became the first quarterback in Philadelphia history to rush for more than 1,000 yards and pass for more than 1,000 yards in the same season.

 

Drake rushed 115 times for 1,639 yards and 21 touchdowns, good for a whopping average of 14.3 yards per carry. Meanwhile, the standout passed for 1,354 yards and 15 touchdowns. Altogether, Drake was responsible for 36 total scores and led the Burrs to the PIAA Class AAAA championship game.

 

Altogether, Drake passed for 3,287 yards and 41 touchdowns while running 252 times for 2,500 yards and 36 scores.

 

Next up for the senior: Penn State University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tie-5.) Wayne Hills Patriots (NJ)

 

 

Despite no major players returning this season, the Patriots (12-0 overall) steamrolled through their competition en route to the North Bergen Interscholastic League Division 1 championship and the North Jersey Section 1 Group 3 title.

 

Impressive, sure, but even more astonishing is that Wayne Hills accomplished this feat for the fifth consecutive year.

 

All the while, the Patriots pushed its state-leading winning streak to 52 games.

 

Despite a tough schedule featuring Ramapo, Pascack Valley and Lakeland Regional, the Patriots racked up 474 total points, good for 40 points per game behind quarterback Mike Quinn and tailback Ronnie Driesse. The state champs allowed just 9 points per game as well.

 

 

 

 

Tie-5.) Brian Baldrige, RB, Thomas Jefferson Jaguars (PA)

 

 

Baldrige was named the PIAA Class AAA Player of the Year after rushing for 2,312 yards and 34 touchdowns for the state champs. The standout also had 120 yards in the state title game vs. Archbishop Wood, leading the Jaguars to a 34-7 victory.

 

Meanwhile, Baldrige missed all of the 2007 season due to injury, but two years ago ran for 1,400 yards and 19 touchdowns. As a sophomore, Baldrige rushed for 140 rushing yards and a score in the WPIAL finals vs. Blackhawk.

 

Baldrige has proven to be one of the most consistent and big-game players in the entire region.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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Southern Region

 

By Ryan Rohde

SportsPower Correspondent

 

 

1.) Washaun Ealey, Sr., RB, Emanuel County Institute Bulldogs (GA): Ealey led ECI to the Class A state title game this season with 41 touchdowns and 2,825 yards. The two-time Class A player of the year finished his high school career with a state-record 133 touchdowns. Ealey possesses an uncanny ability to see the field and has the speed to explode through the holes. He left his mark on the record books and will be a Georgia Bulldog next fall.

 

 

2.) Tim Simon, Sr., RB, Cordova Blue Devils (AL): The senior carried the Blue Devils all the way to the 3A finals in '08. The 6-2, 216-lbs. bruiser rushed for 2,958 yards and 42 touchdowns, good for fifth and third all-time for a single season in Alabama. He ended his career third all-time in touchdowns (129) and rushing yards (8,536), just 126 yards shy of a state record. He was named the Birmingham News player of the year. Simon also proved to be a veracious linebacker and will take his talents to Ole Miss next season.

 

 

3.) Tyler Caldwell, Sr., QB, Cullman Bearcats (AL): The signal-caller forever left his mark at Cullman and in the state of Alabama. The 6-2, 210-lbs. quarterback finished his senior campaign with a single-season state record of 4,132 yards passing and 37 touchdowns. Caldwell also set a new state record for completions and attempts when he went 42 for 61 in a game against Mountain Brook. The Auburn commit was named the Class 5A running back of the year and was named 5A first team all-state by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.

 

 

4.) South Panola Tigers and Meridian Wildcats (MS): Both of these teams deserve recognition for achievements of the year. The first goes to South Panola for extending the nation's longest active winning streak all the way to 89 games. It's simply an amazing stat that may not been seen again for a very long time. The feat stands as the third longest winning streak in the history of high school football and had been ongoing since '03 campaign. The second goes to the Meridian Wildcats for ending South Panola’s winning streak in the Class 5A state title game. It took the Wildcats overtime to upend the Tigers, 26-20, and end South Panola’s bid for a sixth straight state championship.

 

 

5.) Maryville Rebels and Hillsboro Burros (TN): The day after South Panola’s streak ended, so did the second longest active streak in the country as Maryville was grounded by Hillsboro in the Class 4A state title. The Rebels, winners of 74 straight, held the honor as nation’s longest active streak for less than 24 hours. Maryville’s win streak is good for fourth all-time. Meanwhile, Hillsboro started the season 2-2, before reeling off 11 straight wins. The Burros' defense carried the team in the title game. A field goal with 8:52 left to play gave the Burros a lead they would not relinquish. The defense closed the door, stopping the vaunted Maryville offense on 10 of 11 drives, leading to the 10-7 victory. The championship is the first in Hillsboro football history and ended the Rebels bid for a fifth straight crown.

 

 

 

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

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Western Region

 

By Brett Manney

SportsPower Correspondent

 

1. Jake Heaps, Jr., QB, Skyline Spartans (WA): Heaps was the catalyst for the two-time defending Class 4A state champions. The 6-2 195-pound junior signal-caller piled up the hardware this season, including Gatorade state player of the year and a commitment to the 2010 U.S. Army All-American game. In 2008, the strong-armed Heaps threw for 2,888 yards and 38 touchdowns with only four interceptions. Perhaps the most impressive stat on his resume is his 28-0 record and two state championships as quarterback. Regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in his class, Heaps will have a long list of colleges to choose from when he makes his decision sometime before the '09 season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.    Jesse Parker, Head Coach, Gilbert Tigers (AZ): Parker made history on Oct. 24 when Gilbert defeated Gilbert Highland 21-0. The game gave Parker his 309th overall win, which made him the winningest coach in Arizona state history. However, because the Tigers failed to win another game after that, Parker is now tied with current Tucson Amphitheater head coach Vern Friedli at 309 victories each. Parker resigned as football coach in early December and hopes to still coach but his future is still up in the air.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. James Boyd, Sr., QB/DE, Jordan Bulldogs (Calif.):

The ultra-athletic Boyd was a nightmare for opposing coaches all season long. The 6-5, 225-pound dual threat was virtually unstoppable at times. The USC recruit led the state with 4,266 yards passing and 44 touchdowns. Yet he is recruited to play defensive end where he had 104 tackles and eight sacks for Jordan. The Los Angeles City Section player of the year hopes to continue his success next year as a Trojan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Adam Hall, Sr., WR/RB, Tucson Palo Verde Titans (AZ): The Arizona Republic state player of the year was a jack of all trades this  season. The natural 6-5, 205-pound wide receiver converted tailback rushed for 25 touchdowns and caught five on offense. On defense -- where he played four different positions -- he returned three interceptions for touchdowns and one fumble for a touchdown. And on special teams, he returned three kickoffs for touchdowns and one punt for a touchdown. His 38 total touchdowns make his achievements even more special. Still undecided on college, the stud athlete should have his pick of the litter when he makes his mind up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Timpville Thunderbirds (Utah): They completed their second undefeated season and their third straight state championship in '08. The Thunderbirds' last two games were won by a combined eight points, but the squad still found a way to win the Class 4A championship. The dominant Thunderbirds scored fewer than 30 points just once back in week one and continued their reign in Utah while establishing a dynasty. With a 36-game winning streak, the Thunderbirds head into '09 with a target on their backs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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