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By Ryan Rohde

SportsPower Correspondent



1.) Seminole Seminoles (Sanford, Florida)




Led by the “Big Three”, the ‘Noles made an improbable run that ended with the Class 6A state championship. Ray Ray Armstrong, Andre Dubose and Dyron Dye used their versatility on both offense and defense to upset Miami Northwestern in the title game, 28-21. The ‘Noles amassed a 13-2 record after going 4-5 in ’07 and failing to make the playoffs. Dye and Armstrong will play at Miami together while Dubose will be a Florida Gator.








2.) Osbourn Eagles (Manassas, Virginia)




They weren’t expected to win their first playoff game, or the second, or the third for that matter, but that is exactly what the Eagles did on their way to the Class AAA Div. 6 title game. After a 3-4 start, the Eagles won their final three games and rode that momentum into the playoffs. The 6-4 regular season gave the Eagles the fourth and final playoff berth in the Northwestern regional playoffs. When the dust settled, Osbourn found themselves in the title game, posting playoff wins over three undefeated teams before falling in the finals to national power Oscar Smith, 54-24.








3.) Phillip Ely, QB, Plant Panthers (Tampa, Florida)




The Plant faithful might have believed that their season was about to go down the tubes when star quarterback Aaron Murray went down with a broken leg at midseason. But that is where backup Phillip Ely stepped in.




The sophomore stands only 5-10 and 150 lbs. and had big shoes to fill, but the emerging star came through for his team. Ely led Plant to a 7-0 record and a playoff berth. Perhaps Ely’s shining moment was the victory over local rival and national power Armwood for the region title, something Murray was never able to accomplish in his career. Ely threw for 143 yards and two scores in the 17-14 win. Murray returned to action the following week and led Plant to the Class 4A state title. Ely finished his short stint at quarterback completing 60% of his passes and throwing for 1,726 yards and 19 touchdowns.








4.) Woodstock Wolverines (Woodstock, Georgia)




After starting the season 2-4, no one gave the Wolverines much of a shot at the playoffs, let alone a playoff run. But Woodstock made history by posting the program's first playoff win in only its second playoff appearance. Woodstock handed Walton its first home loss since the '06 season and knocked out a talented Norcross team. The dream ended as the Wolverines almost upset eventual state champion Camden County in the region championship, falling 18-17.





5.) Buford Wolves (Buford, Georgia)




It's tough to say that a Buford team could be a surprise, but the Wolves won their second straight Class AA state title in impressive fashion. Buford is a title contender year in and year out, but the ’08 team was not expected to steamroll to the championship like they did. The Wolves graduated five all-state players from the 15-0 squad of last year and returned just four starters in ’08.




But Buford doesn’t rebuild, they reload. Boosted by a dominating offensive and defensive lines, the team's average margin of victory this year was 31 points, and the defense posted five shutouts, all in consecutive games. The closest Buford came to defeat was against Blessed Trinity, a solid league rival who took Buford to the wire, 14-10. The Wolves defeated Calhoun, 45-21, for the state crown and extended their win streak to 30 games.








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



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By Brett Manney

SportsPower Correspondent



1.) Kasen Williams, Soph., WR, Skyline Spartans




The Skyline Spartans finished the season undefeated at 14-0 and were crowned Class 4A State champions in the state of Washington. And on a team filled with stars, Kasen Williams emerged this season and proved he was worthy to start on the Spartans squad. The 6-2, 190-lbs. sophomore led the team in receptions (56) and receiving yards (936) after playing sparingly last season. The highly touted sophomore earned all-conference and All-Seattle Times accolades in helping the Spartans to their second straight state championship.




2.) Grant Union High School, Sacramento, California




Grant Union flew under the radar all season despite its unblemished record (14-0), mostly because the team's name isn’t De La Salle and that they don't play in the very talented Southern Section. The Pacers defeated heavily favored Long Beach Poly, 25-20, in the California Interscholastic Federation Open Division Bowl game. With the win, the Pacers became the first team from the Sacramento area to win a state football championship and put the school on the football map. Under head coach Mike Alberghini, the Pacers have 18 consecutive playoff berths, 15 league titles and six Sac-Joaquin section championships.




3.) Southridge Skyhawks, Beaverton, Oregon




After a 6-4 campaign last year, the No. 7 seed entering the state tournament went 12-2 and captured the Clas 6A state championship in Oregon. The Skyhawks upset Lake Oswego, 35-21, and shut down the squad's Oregon State bound QB Jack Lomax in the title game. With a powerful offense that scored under 20 points just twice (their only losses), the Skyhawks finished third in their league. Led by state defensive player of the year Paul Tuma, the Skyhawks held opponents to just 12.4 points per game and their two losses were by a combined six points.




4.) John Hughes, RB, Centennial Coyotes, Peoria, Arizona




After losing his brother and leading rusher (1,338 yards) Jeff Hughes to graduation, John Hughes came back as the third-leading rusher on the team behind his brother Anthony. Yet, John emerged from both of his brothers’ shadows to help the Coyotes repeat as Arizona 5A state champions. The Coyotes finished the season 14-0 largely due to John Hughes’s 1,600 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns. Despite being just 5-6, Hughes played a big part in the Coyotes repeating as state champions.




5.) Mullen Mustangs, Denver, Colorado




The Mullen Mustangs overcame all odds to win the Colorado Class 5A state championship. The Mustangs entered the tournament as the No. 7 seed and left as the state champions of Colorado. After losing four Div. I players and five all-state selections last year, the Mustangs appeared to be in a rebuilding phase. Instead, the Mustangs reloaded rather than rebuilt and continued their storied success in football. The program was headed by all-state and Stanford recruit TE Ryan Hewitt, who proved to be an outstanding blocker and led the team with 476 yards receiving.








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



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