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Who's Got the Power?

51 Posts authored by: adam_sp

 

  

 

 

By Omar Muhammad

SportsPower Correspondent

 

 

 

Postseason play in the Lone Star State gets underway this weekend with some of the region's most formidable teams looking to making their presence felt in the first step towards a state title. Trinity, Southlake Carroll and Denison are just a few of the stellar teams in action this weekend. 

 

 

*Rankings are based on state tournament seeds, not based on the FootballPower Power Rankings Engine.

 

 

Texas

 

No. 17 Heritage Panthers (9-1) vs. No. 18 Southlake Carroll Dragons (7-2): This first round marquee matchup pits two of the best squads in the class 5A Division 2 playoff bracket.  The Panthers hand no problem knocking off Grapevine last week (41-10) in District 5-5A play.  Heritage finished the season at 9-1 and second in the district standings.  For the first time in years, Southlake Carroll enters the playoffs as underdogs.  The Dragons have posted a 7-2 regular season record but failed to capture the district 6-5A crown by posting just a 3-2 conference record.

 

No. 4 Gilmer Buckeyes (9-1) vs. No. 20 Diboll Lumberjacks (8-2): The Buckeyes are on top of the district 17-3A standings at 5-0 and are favored for the 3A state title. Gilmer is lead by QB Darian Godfrey, who has led his squad to a six-game winning streak while averaging more than 40 points.  Meanwhile, the Lumberjacks have found a way to get into the 3A playoffs by collecting a 4-1 District 18-3A conference record.  The strength of the defense will be team's elite linebackers along with Antonio Johnson as the big run stopper at defensive end. If the team can weather the storm against a strong Buckeye team, the Lumberjacks could be very tough down the stretch.

 

No. 17 Sweeny Bulldogs (7-2) vs. No. 14 Giddings Buffaloes (7-3): Sweeny finished off the regular season with a 24-19 win against District 26-3A rival Wharton and were named district champs with a perfect 5-0 record. Bulldogs coach Tommy Zajicek has been relying on his squads powerful running game behind Edward Wright and Tyrell Griffin, who look to chunk up another 1,000-yard season and keep their six-game winning streak alive.  These Buffaloes have finished with a 7-3 regular season record and placed second in the District 25-3A standings.  This Buffaloes team will have a lot to prove in the 3A playoffs, but standout running backs Quinn Taylor and David Bradshaw will likely keep them in the game. 

 

No. 25 Bushland Falcons (10-0) vs. No. 4 Muleshoe Mules (10-0): This is going to be your classic clash of the titans with two undefeated teams battling it out in 2A-Division 1 play.  The Falcons have been nothing short of sensational this season by compiling a 10-0 regular season record.  Coach David Flowers has been on a roll with his experienced offense led by QB Caleb McGuire, who has been the go-to guy on the team.  The Mules' defense has been trampling over offenses all year by allowing only 13 points  per game in their 10 game regular season.  The defensive unit is led by all-state candidate Lane Wood, who will likely give the Falcons' offense some problems.

 

No. 16 Mount Enterprise Wildcats (9-1) vs. No. 24 Grapeland Sandies (8-2): The Wildcats are coming off a 52-6 blowout win against Beckville, which gave them the top spot of the District 19-1A standings.  A talented Shelbyville team was the only squad to find a way to beat Mt. Enterprise, and very well could be the only loss the Wildcats see all year as the squad is hitting its stride.  Don’t let Grapeland's record fool you because the Sandies' defense has posted five shutouts in the regular season. This team looks to be a sleeper candidate.

 

 

1A-II, Region III

 

 

No. 15 Cayuga Wildcats (8-2) vs. No. 23 Tenaha Tigers (8-2): The Wildcats are coming off a tough loss to Grapeland in District 20-1A play. With the loss to Grapeland, the Cats have fallen to the No. 15 seed for the state playoffs.  But with an explosive offense, the Wildcats will likely make a big push in the 1A playoffs.  Tenaha is also coming off a big 42-29 loss to Mt. Enterprise, which put them in second in the District 19-1A standings.  The Tigers look to make a big roar in the class 1A playoffs behind an impressive offense that has been averaging over 45 points a game and a defense that has collected two shutouts. 

 

No. 1 Euless Trinity Trojans (10-0) vs. Coppell Cowboys (6-4): The No. 1 team in the nation ended the season strong with a 30-20 win against Bell High, which was a key District 5-5A win and notched them a perfect 5-0 record in conference competition.  On both sides of the ball, Trinity has been dominating teams the entire season. LB and Kansas commit Earnest Norman commands a formidable Trojans defense.  The offense is just as explosive, led by playmaking QB Denarius McGhee. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are coming off a key 51-28 win against fellow conference foe Flower Mound. With this conference win, the Cowboys put themselves in a three-way tie for second place in the District 6-5A standings and earned a berth into the 5A playoffs. All-district DE’s Robert Kleid and James Roh will need to find a counter attack for this talented Trinity team. 

 

Aledo Bearcats (10-0) vs. Lake Dallas Falcons (7-3): This Aledo squad has been flawless all season, and don’t look for them to fall off that winning track anytime soon.  The Bearcats are coming off a blowout win against Birdville that locked up the District 6-4A crown.  The defense for the Bearcats has compiled two shutouts and has only given up a game-high of two touchdowns all season.  Aledo’s offense has been on a roll and has outscored opponents by more than three touchdowns a game.  The Falcons are coming of a one-point loss to Colony High in District 5-4A play, which put them into a tie with Guyer High at 5-2 in the conference standings. The Lake Dallas defense has been shaky at times this season and has its biggest test coming up.  The defense will look to all-district LB David Stockard to slow down a gifted Bearcats offense.

 

Denison Yellowjackets (10-0) vs. Royse City Bulldogs (7-3): The Yellowjackets were crowned champs of District 9-4A by defeating Sherman High, 34-17, last week, and stayed perfect in the conference and overall.  Denison’s impressive offense is led by QB Jordan Taylor, RB D.J. Jones and top WR Cody Reeves. The trio has been integral in the team averaging 48 points a game.  The defense is led by LB’s Stacey Golston and Brandon Jeffrey and will help Denison compete in the chase for the 4A state title.  Royse City is still excited after collecting a 48-0 win against Turner High last week to put them into the 4A playoffs.  The Bulldogs will need to put up another stellar effort against Denison if they want to stay in this game. 

 

El Paso Franklin Cougars (7-3) vs. Odessa Bronchos (8-2): The Cougars' 27-20 loss to Coronado luckily didn’t hurt the team. The Cougars will need to keep scratching and fighting to stay in this 5A bi-district playoff game.  The Bronchos also ended the season on a sour note by losing to District 2-5A rival Lee. Look for this experienced offense to regroup and get ready to make a real push in the 5A playoffs as they have outscored their opponents by more than three touchdowns a game.

 

 

 

Michigan

Regional Playoffs

 

 

Region 3: Lake Orion Dragons (10-1) vs. Sterling Heights Stevenson Titans (10-1): The Dragons are coming off a 24-23 win against Romeo High last week for the district championship.  The Dragons will look to their defense for another strong effort as they have already posted four shutouts this year.  The Titans are also coming off a tight 31-28 win against a talented Macomb Dakota team.

 

 

Region 4: Wynadotte Roosevelt Bears (10-1) vs. Southfield Bluejays(10-1): The Bears are coming off an impressive 20-17 comeback win to knock off Southgate Anderson in District play and advance to Regionals. Wynadotte has proven to be the team to beat by taking the top spot in the Michigan Mega Conference.  Southfield is coming off an amazing 20-17 win in overtime last week against favored Dearborn. The Bluejays will look to extend their six-game winning streak and battle it out for a chance at the Division 2 state title.

 

Region 1: Bangor John Glenn Bobcats (9-2) vs. East Grand Rapids Pioneers (10-1): Last week, the Bobcats posted an impressive 27-3 victory over Petoskey.  The Bobcats appear back on track after suffering a tough 44-7 loss to Nouvel Catholic Central in week seven. The Pioneers blew out Mt. Pleasant last week, 61-19, in the district final and made a major statement in the Division 3 playoffs.

 

 

 

 

Check for Omar's regional previews every Thursday right here at FootballPower.tv. You can reach him at omar.muhammad@activenetwork.com.

 

 

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By Ryan Rohde

SportsPower Correspondent

 

Playoffs get underway in Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi and Kentucky while Alabama heads into round two. This is a big weekend down on the bayou in Mobile, Ala. as local rivals battle for their playoff lives.  Georgia and Mississippi feature some highly talented teams facing off in round one of the playoffs. Quite simply, this is big weekend in the south as another electric postseason commences.

 

Georgia

 

 

 

GHSAA AAAAA Playoffs Round 1

 

 

 

Milton Eagles (8-2, Region 6, No. 2 Seed) vs. East Paulding Raiders (8-2, Region 5, No. 3 seed): This is a tough first round draw for two top twenty teams. Milton lost an early season game to a subpar Campbell team, but has gone 7-1 since. East Paulding suffered a midseason loss to a very strong Harrison team and then fell to Woodstock last week. The winner of this game has a chance to do some real damage in the playoffs.

 

Harrison Hoyas (8-2, Region 5, No. 2) vs. Kell Longhorns (8-2, Region 6, No. 3): Harrison started the season strong with big wins over Peachtree Ridge and North Cobb, but struggled to finish strong with two losses in the last three weeks of the season. The Hoyas have a strong rushing attack led by Robbie Godhigh. Meanwhile, Kell has been tough all year. The Longhorns suffered losses to Walton and Milton, two very strong teams. Look for this to be a close battle that's decided in the fourth quarter.

 

Northside Warner Robins Eagles (9-1, Region 1, No. 2) vs. Union Grove Wolverines (8-2, Region 2, No. 3): Northside is one of the most talented teams in the state. The Eagles' resume includes victories over formidable squads Carver, Washington (FL) and Coffee. The Eagle defense is second to none. LB Eric Fields and DE Avery Jones headline this vaunted group that has allowed just 10 points per contest. Union Grove has made giant leaps this season, erasing any memories of its 3-7 campaign last season. The Wolverines will be riding high on emotion and will need all the help they can get to bring down Northside.

 

Etowah Eagles (9-1, Region 5, No. 1) vs. Lassiter Trojans (8-2, Region 6, No. 4): This is another interesting matchup in the class AAAAA playoffs. Lassiter has made waves this year after posting a 3-7 record in ’07. Etowah is coming off four straight wins and a region title out of the very tough Region 5. East Paulding was the only road block this season for the Eagles. This could be a high scoring affair with both offenses possessing big play capabilities. 

 

Parkview Panthers (7-3, Region 8, No. 2)  vs. Norcross Blue Devils (7-3, Region 7, No. 3): Parkview has been one of Georgia's best programs over the last 10 years, winning four state titles, including three straight from ’00-’02. The Panthers' offense is lead by QB Clayton Wilkins and RB Brandon Jacobs.  Meanwhile, Norcross looks to make a deeper push into the playoffs after exiting in round two last season. The Blue Devils have a high-powered offense led by RB D.J. Adams and WR Price Kent. Both teams have a number of Div. I caliber players, which should make this one very exciting.

 

 

 

 

Kentucky

 

 

 

KHSAA 6A Playoffs Round 1

 

 

 

Bullitt Central Cougars (8-2) vs. Madison Central Indians (8-2): This matchup has the makings to be the best game of the first round. It shapes up to be more like a quarterfinal game rather than a first rounder. Neither coach could be happy with this draw. Both squads feature high-powered offenses, with the Indians averaging 33 points per game and the Cougars 32 per contest. Kentucky high school football fans will likely see some fireworks this weekend as this games poses to be a high-scoring affair.

 

Eastern Eagles (8-1) vs. North Hopkins Maroons (7-3): Eastern has reeled off six-straight wins since its shutout loss against Trinity. The Eagles are battle-tested, which is very important heading into the playoffs. The squad has won their last three games by a combined 15 points. North Hopkins has a big opportunity to really shake things up in the Kentucky playoffs.

 

 

 

 

 

North Carolina

 

 

 

NCHSAA Class 4 AA Playoffs Round 1

 

 

 

East Mecklenburg Eagles (9-2, West No. 8) vs. West Forsyth Titans (9-3, West No. 9): East Mecklenburg has been one of the stronger AA teams in the state all season long. The team's only two losses came to Butler and Independence, two North Carolina powers. QB Olen Little leads the Eagles offense by putting up nearly 2,000 yards in the air, while RB Ronald Howard has nearly 1,500 yards on the ground. The Titans closed out the season with back-to-back losses. West Forsyth is led by a great group of seniors who should be able to regroup the squad for a nice playoff push.

 

Butler Bulldogs (10-1, West No. 5) vs. Davie County War Eagles (7-4, West No. 12): Butler might be the second-best team in the state, but they received the No. 5 seed in the western bracket of the playoffs. They have the talent to win states, but face a tough opening round opponent. Butler’s Hawatha Bell is one of the states best and is a force at linebacker and running back. Davie County overcame a midseason three-game losing streak and finished the year with back-to-back wins. QB Zach Illing has thrown for 2,200 yards and the team's rushing attack, led by James Mayfair, has combined for over 1,400 yards on the ground. If Butler is not careful, they could take an early bow from the playoffs.

 

 

 

 

Alabama

 

 

 

AHSAA 6A Playoffs -- Round 2

 

 

 

Mountain Brook Spartans (10-1) vs. Tuscaloosa County Wildcats (11-0): Revenge will be on the minds of Tuscaloosa County Friday night. Mountain Brook gave the Wildcats an early exit in this round last season. The circumstances are very similar with Tuscaloosa County coming into to the playoffs undefeated for the second-straight year. The Wildcats have made easy work out of their schedule, including last week's 35-8 win over Pelham to kickstart the postseason. Mountain Brook beat up a strong Hillcrest team last week in round one, and now has its eyes focused on this undefeated Wildcats squad.

 

Mobile, Alabama Two Game Special:

 

 

 

McGill-Toolin Yellow Jackets (8-2) vs. Davidson Warriors (9-2): Davidson won round one of this battle back on Sept. 26, 14-13. The Warriors missed out on the playoffs last season and look to make some real noise this time around. The Yellow Jackets, on the other hand, were bounced out last season by eventual champ Prattville. McGill-Toolin has an explosive offense lead by the QB-WR tandem of Cullen Whacker and Jerome Jones. This is going to be another hard-fought game in Mobile.

 

Theodore Bobcats (8-3) vs. Murphy Panthers (9-1): Theodore and Murphy know each other all to well. The Bobcats struck first on Oct. 10, 28-13. Theordore also comes in off an emotional 7-6 opening round win over rival Daphne last week. Matt Rowser is having a big season for Murphy at QB and has thrown for more that 2,000 yards while rushing for 800. Throw the records out the window in this Mobile Bayou clash.

 

Minor Tigers (9-2) vs. Hoover Buccaneers (10-1): Minor showed its mettle in last week's 20-14 playoff win over an excellent Vestavia Hills team. Minor Head coach Randy Cook will have a homecoming of sorts seeing that he played and coached at Hoover prior to coming to Minor. Tigers running back Dezman Ivory is one of the most versatile players in the state. This season, the standout has rushed for 1,049 yards and has 563 yards receiving with 21 total touchdowns. He rushed for 247 yards and a score in last week's game. Hoover is a perennial power and this year is no different. The Bucs are 9-1 and crushed a solid Hueytown team, 45-13, in last week's first round contest. This game has the makings to be an instant classic.

 

 

 

 

Mississippi

 

 

 

MHSAA 5A Playoffs Round 1

 

 

 

Olive Branch Conquistadors (8-2, Region 1, No. 2) vs. Clinton Arrows (8-3, Region 2, No. 3): Olive Branch comes into Friday night's contest on an emotional high after defeating Tupelo in the regular season finale. Led by QB Clint Wilson, the squad's offense averages 39 points a game. Clinton QB Brent Chappell has some dual threat ability and RB Akiko Thompson can break a long run at a moment's notice. Keep your eye on this game because it could be the weekend's best.

 

Tupelo Golden Wave (8-3, Region 1, No. 3) vs. Northwest Rankin (9-2, Region 2, No. 2): Tupelo features arguably the best QB-WR tandem in the state. Chris Garrett is an LSU commit and could be the state's best quarterback. Wide receiver Chad Bumphis has offers from Florida, Alabama and Auburn. NW Rankin has a strong team this year and fell to a tough Pearl team in the second week and to Madison Central for the Region 2 title. Tupelo needs to be careful to not have a letdown game. The winner of this game faces a possible matchup against No. 1 South Panola. The Golden Wave almost ended South Panola’s 83 game win streak on Oct. 17, falling 14-13. The Golden Wave failed on a two-point conversion attempt on the last play, so you know they have revenge on their minds. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catch Ryan's regional breakdowns every Thursday right here at FootballPower. You can e-mail him at ryan.rohde@activenetwork.com. 

 

 

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By Brett Manney

SportsPower Correspondent

 

Aside from California, this week’s western region preview features highly contested playoff games as some teams are now meeting for the second time this season. November is playoff football season and throughout the west coast, teams are fighting to live another week. Highlighting the action will be North and South Dakota in addition to Wyoming crowning state champions this weekend.

 

 

 

 

Colorado

 

 

 

No. 4 Pomona Panthers (10-1) vs. No. 5 Columbine Rebels (9-1): Revenge will be on the mind of the Rebels as they try to end the Panthers' season. The Rebels suffered their only loss in league play a couple of weeks ago when the Panthers defeated them 21-6. Both squads rely on the run and Panthers RB Donovan Bowen hopes to repeat his success from the last game as he had 81 yards rushing. The Rebels rely on their two running threats QB Danny Spond and RB Kevin Richards, who each have over 600 yards rushing. There is nothing like a matchup of league rivals with the loser going home.

 

No. 14 Douglas County Huskies (8-3) vs. No. 11 Poudre Impalas (9-2): This quarterfinal matchup has two underdogs fighting for survival. Poudre is coming off an emotional 3-0 double overtime win against Legacy in the second round. Poudre RB Josh Morton rushed for 134 yards and the defensive line was phenomenal against the run. The Huskies have won their last six games and look to return to the state title game from a year ago. Jose Astorga has rushed for over 1,400 yards and averages eight yards a carry. This is a battle of two teams trying to gain respect and keep their season alive.

 

No. 7 Fountain Ft. Carson Trojans (10-1) vs. No. 2 Wheat Ridge Farmers (11-0): The stakes are high for each team as they are trying to earn the elusive title of state champion. The Trojans have won their last six games but gave up 21 points last week against Ralston Valley, the most they have surrendered all season.  Farmers RB Parker Orms, a Wyoming recruit, averages over 12 yards a carry and has over 2,100 yards rushing with 23 touchdowns. The Farmers look to stay grounded against a formidable Trojan team, which has been on their high horse as of late.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Montana

 

Russell Rustlers (9-2) vs. Billings West Golden Bears (9-1): This AA state semifinal game will be a battle of two teams meeting for the second time this season, but with much more at stake. The Golden Bears have been lead all season by RB Eli Swain, who has 11 touchdowns and averages 105 yards rushing a game. The Golden Bears handed the Rustlers their first loss of the season way back on Sept. 5,  28-7. Meanwhile, the Rustlers look to reverse the outcome from last time by throwing the ball early and often to WR Spencer Thomson, who has seven touchdowns and averages more than 91 yards per game receiving. It is state playoff time and a big time rematch in Big Sky Country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nebraska

 

 

 

No. 4 Omaha North Vikings (8-1) vs. No. 1 Millard West Wildcats (9-0): This state semifinal game means that only one team will be a step closer to wearing a gold medal. The Vikings rely on a ground attack and pound mentality supported by their superior offensive line which opens holes for RB Bryant Giles, who has 16 touchdowns and 1,243 yards rushing this season.  The Wildcats have been outscoring teams in addition to playing solid defense all year. Their perfect season is not a fluke because their stingy defense only allows 9.8 points per game. Darius Evans is their featured back who can score on any possession.

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Dakota

 

Bismarck Demons (9-1) vs. Fargo South Bruins (9-1): This battle is one highly anticipated state championship between the two best teams in the state is this weekend. The Demons' defense can be suspect at times often with their high-powered offense bailing them out. The Bruins have been red hot and have not lost since their season opener. They have played exceptionally well their last four games while only giving up 23 points total and averaging almost 30 a game. Look for the state title game to be a shootout in North Dakota.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon

 

 

 

David Douglas Scots (8-3) vs. South Medford Panthers (9-1): The must-watch game in 6A action pits two squads looking to pave their way to the state championship. South Medford’s only loss was to Foothill (CA) and the squad has some true playmakers. E.J. Singler is a huge target at TE and has committed to the University of Oregon for basketball. Douglas has been up and down this year winning some close games and many times giving up a few touchdowns per contest. Yet, they will have upset on their mind against a powerful South Medford team.

 

South Albany Rebels (8-3) vs. Sherwood Bowmen (9-1): South Albany will have upset on its mind in this 5A state playoff game against Sherwood. The Rebels arguably have the best one-two RB combination in the state with Jesse Duke and Greg Hoover. Combined, the two standouts have rushed for over 2,100 yards and hope to see their success continue against a powerful Sherwood team.  The Bowmen’s only loss was to 5A king West Albany by one touchdown in the season opener. The Northwest Oregon conference champions are hoping Ben Butterfield can repeat his last week’s performance of four receptions for 121 yards.  Sherwood has been dominant, but they cannot overlook South Albany in the first round matchup.

 

 

 

 

Washington

 

 

 

Bothell Cougars (7-3) vs. Curtis Vikings (8-1): Bothell has struggled against top tier opponents as its three losses have a combined record of 28-2.  The Cougars held one of the nation’s best teams in Skyline to only 16 points and saw their lead diminish late in the fourth quarter. With five different players scoring touchdowns in their last contest, the Cougars hope to spread out their dangerous weapons. Coach Bob Lucey’s Vikings are one of the hottest teams in the state. Furthermore, they have not lost since their first game of the season and have averaged 41. 4 points a game behind their dangerous offense. Even though it's a first round game, this shapes up to be a close one as the teams are very evenly matched. 

 

 

 

No. 8 O Dea Fighting Irish (5-2) vs. No. 3 Lakes Lancers (9-0): A quality matchup of two 3A teams fighting for their season to continue  one more week. O’ Dea is making its 15th consecutive appearance in the state tournament. The Irish are led by Washington recruit RB Zach Fogerson, who last week ran for 104 yards on only 13 carries. The Lancers defense is spearheaded by tackle Darius Waters, who leads the team in tackles. On the offensive side of the ball, the Lancers look to run behind their two great backs Teddy Cotton and Willis Wilson, who each average over seven yards a carry. These teams are closer to each other than their seeds indicate, so be prepared for a battle in the Evergreen state.

 

 

 

 

 

Wisconsin

 

No. 3 Stevens Point Panthers (10-2) vs. No.1 Arrowhead Warhawks (11-0): State semifinal action in Division One looks to be a battle in Wisconsin. Stevens Point has reestablished its offense and look to dominate on the ground and through the air. QB Ethan Winker will look for his favorite target, TE Nick Peplinski, to create matchup problems in the secondary. The perennial power Warhawks have scored fewer than 30 points only once this season and look to repeat as state champions. The Panthers look to knock the Warhawks off their throne this weekend.

 

No. 1 Homestead Highlanders (13-0) vs. No. 2 Middleton Cardinals (11-1): A hot contest between two top teams with the winner advancing to the state final. The Highlanders have advanced to the state semifinal for the seventh time this decade and look to move on in state tournament play. Highlanders TE Joshua Wickman had a career day last week, catching four balls with 123 yards receiving and two touchdowns. On the defensive side, Middleton's offensive coordinator must work his game plan around highly-touted DL Shelby Harris. The Cardinals rely on Brooks Braga to carry the load offensively. The tailback averages 175 yards rushing a game and has scored 17 touchdowns this season. The Cardinals hope to slow down the Highlanders in this barnburner matchup.

 

 

 

 

Wyoming

 

 

 

Green River Wolves (8-2) vs. Campbell County Camels (9-2): With the 5A state championship on the line, expect tempers to flare and a lot of intensity in Wyoming this weekend. Green River has done a phenomenal job of rebounding after losing versatile star Mike James to a dislocated shoulder two weeks ago. The offensive line has been huge for the Wolves all season. The Camels have been relying on their stiff defense which has only allowed 13 points their last five games and a major reason is DL Derek Thrall. Offensively, look for the Camels to get the ball to their big-time playmaker WR Spencer Bruce. Missing this game is not an option for any football enthusiast in Wyoming.

 

Buffalo Bison (8-2) vs. Douglas Bearcats (8-2): Buffalo looks for redemption after losing in last year’s title game and in an earlier matchup to the Bearcats on Oct. 17,  21-14. QB Tyler Gibbs is very accurate and hands the ball off to RB Dan Long, who had 146 yards rushing last week. Douglas is coming off a one-point win, but the previous two games they put up 91 total points and gave up zero. Bearcats head coach Jay Rhoades hopes the team from two weeks ago comes to play because a loss will signal the end of his team's season.

 

 

 

 

California

 

Bishop Amat Lancers (7-2, State PR: 77.43, Rank 41) vs. Notre Dame Knights (9-0, State PR: 99.41, Rank 2): Bishop Amat hopes they can do what no team has done to the Knights this year and that is win. The Knights are one of the best teams in the country as ranked by FootballPower. QB Ryan Kasdorf is one of the most decorated quarterbacks in the state and averages 297 yards passing, along with 30 touchdowns and only four interceptions. His favorite target is stud WR James Flynn, who averages 105 yards receiving a game with 16 touchdowns.  The Lancers are looking for a share of the league title with a win against Notre Dame. QB Jeremy McCalanahan had a key two-point conversion run in last week's win and looks to upset the highly-touted Knights. This must-see league game in California could result in the Lancers missing the playoffs or the Knights being dethroned.

 

Serra Cavaliers (9-0, State PR: 93.67, Rank 5) vs. Cathedral Phantoms (7-1, State PR: 75.83, Rank 47): These two teams are battling for bragging rights and will be looking to end their regular seasons with a win this Friday night. The Cavaliers have Div. I talent on both sides of the ball and have not been contested since a 21-19 win against Carson back on Sept. 12. QB Ted Landers has completed 67 % of his passes and most of them to electrifying WR Robert Woods, who has 766 yards receiving with 11 touchdowns.  The Phantoms will try to get back on the winning track after losing last week to Harvard-Westlake, 19-6. WR Randall Carroll is a USC recruit and will run, catch and occasionally pass in the Phantoms offense.  A great football matchup with Pac 10 recruits covering the field.

 

 

 

 

Arizona

 

 

 

No. 10 Willow Canyon Wildcats (7-3) vs. No. 7 Boulder Creek Jaguars (7-2): This 5A Division II playoff game is a rematch as both teams squared off on Oct. 10, with Boulder Creek pulling out a 35-7 victory. The Wildcats have not lost since that game and rely on the run. RB Garrick Shelton averages 133 yards a game with 10 touchdowns to pace the offense. Boulder Creek has won eight in a row since starting the season 0-2. QB Taylor Davis has thrown for 23 touchdowns and is improving every game. WR Dashawn Briggs uses his speed for separation and as a result, has 12 touchdowns and 987 yards receiving. Expect this matchup to be nothing like the regular season as Willow Creek is vastly improved and looking for payback.

 

No. 7 Chandler Wolves (7-3) vs. No. 10 Gilbert Tigers (7-3): Another matchup in Arizona of two teams that met earlier in the year, but now, there are different circumstances. Tigers head coach Jesse Parker is the state's all-time leader for wins in Arizona and looks to get revenge. The Wolves' balanced passing and running attack makes it hard to stop just one aspect. QB Kyle Youn, has thrown for over 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns. His WR combo of Markus Wheaton and Caleve Deboskie form one of the best units in the state.  The 5A Division 1 game of the week will be played with enormous amounts of pride considering the bitter taste left lingering in the Tigers' mouths from a few weeks ago.

 

 

 

 

Utah

 

 

 

Syracuse Titans (9-1) vs. Alta Hawks (9-1): This 5A state semifinal matchup features two of the best teams in the state this weekend. The Hawks are looking to repeat as state champions and have a good shot behind the arm and legs of QB Ammon Olsen. The athletic QB has thrown for over 2,400 yards and rushed for over 500, making him the most dangerous player on the field. WR Parker Webster has superior hands and his 929 yards receiving has proven that. The Titans' only two losses were in league play. They are looking to make thei first state championship appearance in just two years of existence. QB Braden Hamblin looks to lead his troops to the promised land.

 

Cottonwood Colts (10-0) vs. Pine View Panthers (8-1): The Colts have plenty of talented players and look to keep their undefeated season alive with a win. The Colts' offense -- which hasn't scored fewer than 31 points -- is headed by RB Isis Sofele, who has been one of the best backs in the state over the past two seasons. This year, the small, agile back has rushed for 1,034 yards with 13 touchdowns. The Panthers, who are the 2008 region nine champs, have a great linebacking core which will try to shut down Sofele and the Colts running attack. Offensively, WR Robert Evans is a big-time receiver who makes plays in multiple of ways for the Panthers.

 

 

 

 

South Dakota

 

Sioux Falls Washington Warriors (8-1) vs. Sioux Falls Lincoln Patriots (8-2): This state championship matchup will feature a dangerous Warriors team and an underdog Patriots squad, which makes their first trip ever to a state championship game. The Warriors defeated the Patriots on Sept. 13, 41-22. QB Brett Grevlos has thrown 19 touchdown passes with only five interceptions and RB Sam Hoskins provides quality running. The Patriots running attack is lead by RB Gannon Moore, who averages 148 yards a game with 27 touchdowns. The defense has some stars and the leading tackler is Lee Washington, who averages 9.4 tackles a game. When two rivals face off, the game will surely have some fireworks, but only one goes home with a state championship trophy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look for Brett's regional breakdowns every Thursday right here at FootballPower. You can reach him at brett.manney@activenetwork.com. 

 

 

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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.

 

Texas

 

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..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oklahoma

 

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louisiana

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arkansas

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illinois

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kansas

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indiana

 

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 omar.muhammad@activenetwork.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alabama

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mississippi

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Tennessee

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Florida

 

 

 

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 ryan.rohde@activenetwork.com. 

 

 

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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.  

 

 

 

 

Colorado

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idaho

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Minnesota

 

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.

 

 

 

Montana

 

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.

 

 

 

Nebraska

 

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.

 

 

 

Wisconsin

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

Oregon

 

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.

 

 

 

California

 

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 brett.manney@activenetwork.com.

 

 

 

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By Jimmy Oliver

SportsPower Correspondent

 

1.) Remember the Titans (2000): You couldn't pick a better set of coaches for the time at T.C. Williams High.  Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) and Bill Yoast (Will Patton) set the tone during a racially charged time and gelled their team into a true community of one. This is simply the greatest high school football movie for both it’s message and it’s lifelike football action depicted on screen. You will be hard-pressed to find a more inspirational film than this one. And from Petey to Sunshine and to Gerry and Julius, the characters come to life and stick with you forever.

 

 

 

 

2.) All the Right Moves (1983): There was the steel mill and football; that was life for the residents of this dying small Pennsylvania town, but there had to be a way out to doing something bigger and better. This was one of those movies from my childhood that I simply loved and still do to this day. The message struck me to the core concerning the struggle to become something more.

 

 

 

 

3.) Friday Night Lights (2004): I remember reading this book when it was first released and absolutely enjoyed it. I had high hopes for the movie version and it even exceeded my expectations. For those who haven't had the opportunity to see it, Friday Night Lights offers a realistic look at high school football in Texas and just how significant the sport has an impact on not just the players and coaches, but families as well.  After seeing the movie and then visiting some schools in Texas last year in our nationwide tour, I understood exactly just how important football really is.  If you are not from Texas and have never been to a top-notch matchups between two Longhorn State powerhouses, definitely see the movie. 

 

 

 

 

4.) Radio (2003): To me, this one was less of a football movie and more of a story about how the kindness of one man could make such a giant difference in someone’s life, and I loved how it  was based on a true story.  Cuba Gooding Jr. was brilliant in the role of Radio and Ed Harris (Coach Jones) was the man who cared.  Radio brought out the best in everyone associated with him.  The best line in the movie had to have been: “It’s never a mistake to care for someone”.

 

 

 

 

5.)  Wildcats (1986): This was an enjoyable comedy about a woman who coached an inner city high school football program that was in need of a lot of help.  There were so many great moments in this movie, but Nipsy Russell as the principal was brilliant when she was trying to sell the last of the peanut brittle. That was truly priceless. Goldie Hawn was cast perfectly for this role and made the movie a joy to watch. I especially loved the rap (early rap) at the end of the movie.

 

 

 

 

6.) Varsity Blues (1999): While this was certainly an entertaining movie, it also took high school football to the extreme. Case in point, when was the last time any of us in high school spent time at a strip joint?  Pleeeeeeease. Perhaps many wished they did, but come on. Make no mistake though, this was very entertaining movie.  From Tweeder’s questionable infection to Billy Bob drinking maple syrup from the bottle, there are dozens of memorable scenes. 

 

 

 

 

7.) The Best of Times (1986): Another 80s classic makes the list.  Starring Robin Williams and Kurt Russell, both of their characters attempt to relive their failed high school football rivalry game 25 years later.  Williams is superb in the role of the clumsy wide receiver trying to convince a town that they should replay the big game. This was a fun movie that looks at how lives have changed, or perhaps haven't, since the glory days of high school.

 

 

 

 

8.) School Ties (1992): Not that Brendan Fraser is one of my favorite actors, but this movie exemplified how discrimination played a factor in the lives of young men at an elite private school in New England.  Fraser, as David Green, struggles to keep his religion secret and then later be accepted.  Matt Damon can also be found here in one of his earlier roles, offering a glimpse of his potential in the years to come. Regardless of Fraser's role as the star quarterback of the football team, he still finds jealous and manipulative students that attempt to get in his way.

 

 

 

 

9.) Gridiron Gang (2006): This was truly an inspirational story about some tough kids that eventually learn life lessons through football.  The story concerned a coach with a heart of gold and how he was able to use high school athletics to prepare young men for life, especially in a rough neighborhood plagued by drugs and shootings. Gridiron Gang was based on a true story and I would surely be interested in meeting some of these young men today.

 

 

 

 

10.) Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982): Okay, if we were just talking about the all-time great movies, this one would be in my top three. However, because there was so little football featured here, it slides to No. 10 in the poll.  The number of one-liners in this one is countless. Charles Jefferson was a monster in this movie as well, even though he was a fan of Earth, Wind and Fire. It’s truly a classic, even in terms of high school football.

 

 



 

 

 

 

Got any ideas for future Top 10 features? E-mail editor Adam C. Warner at adam.warner@activenetwork.com.

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By Omar Muhammad

SportsPower Correspondent

 

As the regular season comes to a conclusion for many teams across the Midwest, there will be some terrific league championships games, in addition to great playoff matchups occurring all over the region.  The top game to keep an eye on will be No. 1 The Woodlands against a talented Lufkin team and its top-notch defense.  The playoff game to watch may be in Illinois, where two high-powered offenses go head-to-head when No. 7 Loyola Academy takes on No. 10 Glenbard North in an 8A showdown. Should be a thrilling weekend.

 

Texas

 

Lufkin Panthers (3-4, State PR: 58.64, Rank: 29) vs. The Woodlands Highlanders (7-0, State PR: 97.08, Rank: 4): Lufkin is coming off a big conference win against College Park last week, and looks to knock off a Highlanders team that is at the top of the district standings.  The athleticism of DT Jamarkus McFarland, who is the top five recruit in the country, and all-district DB Carrington Byndom, will certainly challenge the high-powered offense of the Highlanders. Woodlands has been on a roll thanks in part to an offense averaging 40 points a game.

 

Hebron Parkway Christian Hawks (5-3, State PR: 64.92, Rank: 69) vs. Southlake Carroll Dragons (6-1, State PR: 88.29, Rank: 16): The Hawks are at the #1 spot in District 6-5A play despite starting the season at 0-3. The squad hasn't looked back since, reeling off five-straight wins. Hebron's defense will have its hands full against Carroll’s well-coached offense, but top returners DB Phillip Mitchell, DE Stansly Maponga, NG Michael Odiari, and LB Michael Putman will make sure past mistakes don’t surface again. Meanwhile, the Dragons will contend for the top spot in the district 6-5A standings behind the force of Texas Tech recruit DE Jackson Richards and SMU recruit QB Kyle Padron.

 

Alamo Heights Mules (6-2, State PR: 81.61, Rank: 8) vs. Tivy Antlers (7-1, State PR: 84.30, Rank: 6): The Mules were shocked by two  early losses to Stoney Point and Clark High, but have been rolling as of late behind an explosive backfield headed by QB Drew Allen and RB Sergio Acosta. Tivy has a 7-1 overall record, and will also counter with an explosive offense of its own in order to break this District 27-4A conference tie.  The Alamo Heights defense could have trouble containing running backs Alex Jackson and Quincy Kibbet, who are looking to combine for another 1,000-yard season.

 

Louisiana

 

Neville Tigers (6-2, State PR: 74.42, Rank: 11) vs. Byrd Yellowjackets (7-1, State PR: 82.39, Rank: 9): Neville will look to rebound from its 22-10 defeat to national power Bastrop last week. The Tigers can’t afford another loss in district two, which could lead to a non-showing in the playoffs. But Neville will be a hard contender considering they have a 3-0 record on the road. After a loss to West Monroe in the beginning of the season, the Jackets have embarked on a five-game winning streak. Look out for the Yellowjacket defense headed by Div. I recruit at linebacker Jonathan Stewart.

 

 

 

*PLAYOFFS*

 

Illinois

 

Bartlett Hawks (9-0, PR: 92.38 Rank: 4) vs. Notre Dame for Boy (Niles) (5-4, PR: 60.54 Rank: 32): No. 1 Bartlett battles against No. 16 Niles in what should be an interesting opening round game. The Hawks went 9-0 in regular season play and was crowned champs in the Upstate Eight standings. The Hawks' offense will look to experienced WRs Alex Van Ness and Cory Brown to come up with big points when needed.  Meanwhile, Niles will have newcomer QB Eric Hennessey to find a way to come out with a win, but a lack of experience on defense will have them clawing for a win.  

 

Loyola Academy Ramblers (7-2, PR: 81.33 Rank: 11) vs. Glenbard North Panthers (6-3, PR: 74.57 Rank: 21): The No. 7 Ramblers had no problem getting into the playoffs with a 7-2 record and hope to expand on their two-game winning streak here in the first round.  QB Lucas Ruske has had plenty of time to throw for scores as every time the signal-caller throws for two touchdowns or more, the Ramblers come out with a win.  But the Panthers are also riding high, coming in on a four-game run. All-state QB and Northwestern commit Evan Watkins will have to make plays with his arm and legs for the Panthers to have a chance in this one.

 

 

 

Indiana

 

Merrillville Pirates (6-4, PR: 64.67 Rank: 3) vs. Munster Mustangs (7-3, PR: 68.68, Rank: 3): The Pirates crept into the playoffs by posting their last three wins in conference play at the end of the regular season. Merrillville have experienced players in QB Dolapo Macarthy, LB Dionte Day, all-state K Ryan Stokes, and Central Michigan commit DE Aaron Kaczmarksi to help on both sides of the ball for this sectional showdown.  Even though Munster has the better record in this contest, look for turnovers to be the difference in the game.

 

Center Grove Trojans (9-1, PR: 92.49, Rank: 1) vs. Bloomington South Panthers (8-2, PR: 78.97, Rank: 2): The Trojans aim to advance in the playoffs this year after a second round knock out in the 5A postseason in '07.  With all-state QB Jordan Luallen and 16 returning players, the Trojans should be considered favorites.  But don’t look for these Panthers to lay down easily. Bloomington South has proven by its 8-2 mark in a tough conference that they can compete with the best.

 

 

 

Michigan

 

Oakridge Eagles (9-0, State PR: 87.29, Rank: 3) vs. Kelloggsville Rockets (6-3, State PR: 63.72, Rank: 54): The Eagles are coming off a close one-point OT win against a formidable Orchard View squad.  These Eagles are ready to track down a fourth-straight West Michigan Conference championship behind standouts Matt Eacker and Michael Shoop at running back, and wideouts Austin Stordahl and Kyle Pascavis.  The Rockets will look to rely on their potent offense which is averaging more than 40 points per game.

 

Everett Vikings (7-2, State PR: 76.25, Rank: 23) vs. Lowell Red Arrows (9-0, State PR: 98.00, Rank: 1): The Vikings have two losses in conference play but both have been by just three points combined. The Viking offense will be lead by QB Reggie Williams and RB Devon Beuford, who are two of the most dynamic players in the state at their positions. Meanwhile, the Red Arrows haven’t looked back since last year when they made it to the semifinals of the state playoffs.  Lowell has the advantage heading in, but the Vikings possess the potential to notch an upset.

 

 

 

 

Check for Omar's regional previews each Friday right here at FootballPower.tv. 

 

 

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By Andre Coles

SportsPower Correspondent

 

The postseason kicks off this weekend for some teams while others are still jockeying for playoff position and conference championships while still striving for the ultimate goal -- a state title.  This week’s regional preview focuses in on District's 12 and 7 in Pennsylvania, in addition to some of the bigger matchups in Ohio Division 1.

 

Pennsylvania

 

Game of the Week

Ridley Raiders (8-1, State PR: 84.00, Rank: 17) vs. Garnet Valley Jaguars (9-0, State PR: 93.69, Rank: 7): This matchup will determine the champion of highly-competitive Central League. If Garnet Valley wins, they will outright win the league championship, but if Ridley pulls out a victory, the championship will be shared by both teams and possibly a third depending on the outcome of other games.  The undefeated Jaguars -- led by head coach Mike Ricci -- have been consistent on defense all year and have allowed more than 14 points just once. Meanwhile, Ridley looks to win its third-straight league title and will continue to ride the back of standout receiver Troy Foster.  Will the air attack of the Raiders be enough to counter the ground game of the Jags?

 

Liberty Hurricanes (8-1, State PR: 89.99, Rank: 10) vs. Freedom Patriots (8-1, State PR: 87.59, Rank: 12): This is a rivalry game on three different levels. Not only do these teams share a city (Bethlehem), but they also compete in the same district and playoff class.  Liberty brings more history into this matchup but Freedom is already creating its own.  Liberty has run off seven-straight wins after dropping its first contest with the help of a very potent offense that is accustomed to putting points on the board fast.  Meanwhile, Freedom hopes to make its mark in District 11 with a win this weekend, which would be considered an upset over a dominant Hurricanes team.

 

Hazleton Cougars (8-1, State PR: 80.60, Rank: 22) vs. Berwick Bulldogs (8-1, State PR: 81.28, Rank: 10): The Cougars enter the Dawg Pound in hopes of exiting with a win.  Berwick sits atop the Wyoming Valley 3A standings and are closing in on another league title.  The Bulldogs' only loss came to a very good Selinsgrove team in late September.  Since that defeat, Berwick has reeled off four straight and look to stay hot.  The Cougars have been equally impressive this season with their only loss coming against Wyoming Valley West.  The Cougars barely escaped last week's contest against East Stroudsburg South and look to upset Berwick in order to roll into playoffs on a high note.

 

Kane Area Wolves (7-2, State PR: 72.28, Rank: 18) vs. Cameron County Raiders ( 9-0, 87.82, Rank: 6): This game decides the champion of the Allegheny Mountain League, as the Raiders represent the north champs and The Wolves represent the south.  This game is going to feature two of the top offenses in District 9 this year.   The Raiders have scored over 40 points in three of their last four outings, most recently blowing out Smethport, 40-0.  The Wolves look to avenge an opening season loss to these same Raiders and bump its winning streak to five. They are also coming off a shutout win last week against Curwensville for the right to play in this week’s game.

 

Pennsbury Falcons (8-1, State PR: 81.42, Rank: 19) vs. Neshaminy Redskins (8-1, State PR: 84.18, Rank: 15):  The Redskins could have easily entered into this contest undefeated as their only loss was by one point vs. Souderton on opening day.  Since that defeat, the Redskins have swept through the schedule and look forward to this weekend's Suburban One matchup against Pennsbury.  Neshaminy hopes to make it nine wins in a row and gather more power points in the process.  The Falcons have been equally impressive this season, dropping their lone contest against a very tough Glen Mills team.  Since then, the Falcons' offense has risen to new heights by averaging over 30 points a game while not allowing more than 21 a game.

 

Karns City Gremlins (8-1, State PR: 70.95, Rank: 35) vs. Wilmington Greyhounds (9-0, State PR: 91.18, Rank: 4): This is just a classic battle between two AA teams gearing up for the playoffs.  The Greyhounds look to finish the regular season with an unblemished record, as they have yet to be challenged by any team on their schedule.  The Greyhounds have scored over forty points in all but one contest this year while not allowing more than 13 points.  Karns City reeled off seven-straight wins before dropping a one-point contest to Moniteau a few weeks back. The Gremlins are no strangers to putting up points either, but it will be interesting to see if they can score enough to slow down a formidable Wilmington squad. 

 

Dunmore Bucks (9-0, State PR: 89.10, Rank: 7) vs. Riverside Vikings ( 9-0, State PR: 91.38, Rank: 1):  The Vikings, who are ranked No. 1 in the Sports Power Ratings for District 7 and Class A, look to knock off last season's AA representative in the state title game.  The Vikings have been dominant all year long, clobbering opponents by a margin of 402-105.  On the other hand, if one takes a look at Riverside’s schedule, they will find that this week's game will be the squad's first real test.  As I stated before Dunmore made it to Hersey last year only to run into a tough Jeannette team, but the Bucks are right back to business and are determined to finish where they left off last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pennsylvania Playoffs Matchups

 

Public League AA Final

 

Ben Franklin Electrons (6-2) vs. Bok Wildcats (9-0): Bok looks to repeat as the champion of AA in District 12 even though they previously turned down an invitation to compete in the state tournament to win the Public League title.  Bok has been fearless and unbeatable all year, but its toughest game of the year came against this week’s opponent.   Bok barely escaped the Electrons, 16-14, a few weeks back.  That contest was Bok’s closest game of the year and this weekend's clash should be just as exciting. The Wildcats will be led by RB Ray Tucker, who has 830 yards rushing on the season.  Ben Franklin could very well be undefeated this season, with the team's two losses coming by a combined four points.  Bok will have its hands full with RB Marquis White, who at any moment can break for a big gain. 

 

Public AAA semifinals

 

Mastbaum Panthers (5-3) vs. Roxborough Indians (6-2): The Panthers are led by their ground game, which is spearheaded by standout running back Rasheen Tookes, who has amassed 988 yards on 154 carries this season in only seven games.  The Panthers look to avenge an earlier season loss to the Indians, 24-6.  Roxborough has been steady since two early season losses against Franklin and Lincoln.  The Indians also have a standout running back in Akmed Greene, who has already rushed for 1,085 yards on the season.  The winner of this game will win the right to face the winner of the second semifinal matchup between Dobbins/William Penn.

 

Dobbins Mustangs (5-3) vs. William Penn Lions (3-4): Dobbins heads into this game on the coattails of its elite rushing attack, which is manned by Ralston Thomas and Karon James, both of which have put up equally similar numbers on the season.  Thomas has accounted for 590 yards on 85 carries, while James has 596 yards on 82 carries.  Dobbins looks to avenge an earlier season loss to these same Lions, 20-14 in overtime.  The Lions hope to bring some prominence to a fairly new program with a win this weekend.  Can the Lions top offensive threats -- RB Kenny White, QB Braheim Dixon and WR Emmanuel Pittman -- once again hold off Dobbins?

 

Public AAAA Semifinals

 

Overbrook Panthers (3-5) vs. Washington Eagles (7-1): Public League power Washington looks to attain to this season's title game on the wings of its potent offense.  The ground game is led by the two-man attack of Omar Hunter and Kesson Christopher, who have combined to rush for 835 yards. The passing game is led by Aaron Wilmer, who has passed for 781 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. His favorite target has been James Fowler, who has hauled in 16 catches for 235 yards.  Washington’s only loss came against a tough Central Bucks East squad. Meanwhile, Overbrook is riding high after last week's quarterfinal win against Central and look to ride that wave into this matchup. Overbrook will turn its playoff fortune over to its passing game, which has come alive compared with past seasons.  QB Rasheed Oberton has passed for 639 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season.  Let’s see if the upstart Panthers can challenge the mighty Eagles.

 

Northeast Vikings (4-4) vs. Frankford Pioneers (6-2): The Vikings look to knock off regional power Frankford by way of the Stokes Brothers Je’Ron and Malik.  Je’Ron has already committed to the University of Tennessee to play at wideout next fall.  His brother Malik has quickly become one of the top quarterbacks in the city of Philadelphia and is gaining plenty of interest from schools himself.  The two have hooked up 28 times this season for 376 yards.  Northeast will have to play a perfect game and make very few mistakes against this tougher Pioneer squad.  The Pioneers are the definition of a team.  The ground attack has seen four players receive more than fifty carries.  The two premier backs out of the group are Kalif Walker and Hakeem Watson.  Frankford wants this game badly for the chance to avenge its earlier season loss against Washington.  Let’s see if the Vikings can catch the Pioneers looking ahead.

 

WPIAL AA First round Playoffs

 

Beaver Area Bobcats (7-2, State PR: 72.72, Rank: 31) vs. Sto-Rox Vikings (8-1, State PR: 77.79, Rank :23):  This is going to be an epic battle between two excellent teams who have hit some bumps throughout the season.  Sto-Rox looks to be back on track after last week's 39-8 win against Northgate while Beaver looks to get a playoff win after losing last week to Center Area.

 

Center Area Trojans (7-2, State PR: 73.60, Rank: 29) vs. Seton LaSalle Rebels (8-1, State PR: 78.14, Rank: 21):  The Rebels fended off a really tough Keystone Oaks squad last week by a score of 20-0.  The Rebels' stingy defense looks to keep up its good play versus a shaky Trojan squad that has split their last four contests.  This game will likely come down to which Trojan squad shows up this weekend.

 

Keystone Oaks Eagles (8-1, State PR: 80.16, Rank 16) vs. Ford City Sabers (7-2, State PR: 71.59, Rank 33):  Keystone comes into this matchup fresh off of its first loss of the season and looks to get back into form this weekend against the Sabers. The Eagles will try to use last weekend's game as motivation to perform up to par, while Ford City is riding high off of last week's 42-7 win against Kittanning.  The Sabers have been shutout twice all season, but in almost all other games, have sported a very effective offense.  It will be interesting to see if the Eagles get back into midseason form.

 

 

 

 

Ohio

 

Division I Playoffs -- First Round

 

Mentor Cardinals (8-2, State PR: 82.35, Rank: 13) vs. South Rebels (7-2, State PR 75.31, Rank: 23):  Plain and simple, if Mentor wants to return to the title game for the third straight year, they  will have to first go through a tough Rebels team that has won seven straight.  The Rebels posses a high-octane offense and could very well keep up with a battle-tested Mentor team.  Mentor is currently in the midst of a winning streak having won its last six contests. This game is sure to have a lot of fireworks as both of these offenses can put up big points.

 

Strongsville Mustangs (9-1, State PR: 88.37, Rank: 7) vs. Euclid Panthers (7-3, State PR: 69.68, Rank: 24):  The Mustangs have arguably been one of Ohio’s hottest teams this season after reeling off nine-straight wins since their opening loss, 37-36, to St. Edward.  Can the Panthers muster enough offense to outscore the Mustangs? Only time will tell.  The Panthers are looking for the upset this week and need to get back on track if they want any shot at beating the Mustangs after last week’s loss to Shaw.

 

Upper Arlington Golden Bears (9-1, State PR: 87.54, Rank 10) vs. Marysville Monarchs (7-3, State PR: 68.54, Rank: 26):  The Golden Bears haven't lost since August and are looking to keep it that way this weekend against a Marysville team that can be dangerous.  The Golden Bears barely squeaked by Dublin Coffman last week with a 7-6 win.  Can they bounce back to form against the Monarchs, who have won four of their last five?

 

Hilliard Davidson Wildcats (9-1, State PR: 87.56, Rank: 9) vs. Grove City Greyhounds (6-4, State PR: 60.99, Rank: 42):  The Wildcats look to use their No. 1 seed to their advantage this weekend in their matchup versus Grove City.  Davidson has been consistent all year while Grove City is continually recovering after opening the season with three-straight losses.  The Greyhounds are lucky to be in the playoffs, but let’s see if they take advantage of it.

 

Colerain Cardinals (9-1, State PR: 90.11, Rank: 5) vs. Archbishop Moeller Fighting Crusaders (6-4, State PR: 66.87, Rank: 30):   Colerain started the season 6-0 before a slight hiccup against Middletown in the first week of October.  Since that loss, the Cardinals have gotten right back on track with three-straight wins and are looking forward to this week's tough opponent.  Archbishop Moeller is representing the Greater Catholic League and might be a better team than its record would lead one to believe.  All four of Moeller’s losses have come against one or two-loss teams. The Crusaders also play one of the toughest schedules each season, so let’s see if the in-season battles have prepared them for this first round matchup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check for Andre's regional breakdowns every Thursday right here at FootballPower.

 

 

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By Brett Manney

SportsPower Correspondent

 

As the season winds down, there are numerous teams still fighting for playoff spots, while others are fighting for bragging rights. Meanwhile, there are some crucial games which will decide playoff seeds in a few weeks and also some huge rivalry games in California and Nevada. Once again, the West Coast will be filled with must-see games this weekend. 

 

 

 

 

Arizona

 

Cactus Cobras (7-1, State PR: 84.39, Rank: 7) vs. Millennium Tigers (6-2, State PR: 76.24, Rank: 12): This is a nonleague game that both teams want to win as the playoffs are right around the corner. Offensively, the Cobras will be led by RB workhorse Mike Brown, who has over 1,500 yards rushing with 21 touchdowns. Defensively, they have three major playmakers:  LB Philip Pollock leads the team in tackles, DE Zack Minter has 11 sacks and ball hawk CB Kandon Thomas has six interceptions. On the other side, QB Mike Massey is a proven leader for the Tigers and averages almost 200 yards passing per game.  Phenomenal athlete RB Marquis Flowers plays both ways and is his team's leading rusher, is first in interceptions and is also one of the team's top tacklers.

 

Chaparral Firebirds (7-1, State PR: 87.63, Rank: 5) vs. Paradise Valley Trojans (7-1, State PR: 86.42, Rank: 1): This is a redemption game for Paradise Valley as its season was crushed by Chaparral in last year's 4A state quarterfinals. Some consider the Trojans the second best team in 4A-Div. 1 and are lead by RB Tyree Parker's 774 yards rushing this season. The Firebirds are spearheaded by QB Spencer Stone, who has a soft touch as he hands the ball off to dynamic RB Dwayne Garrett, who averages 121 yards a game on the ground.

 

Santa Rita Eagles (8-0, State PR: 90.05, Rank: 3) vs. Palo Verde Magnet Titans (8-1, State PR: 80.96, Rank: 9): Both teams are looking for that elusive ninth win, but Palo Verde has plans to foil Santa Rita’s perfect season. The Eagles have scored more than 338 points and have only given up 61 through eight games. Meanwhile, since their last loss on September 19, 14-7 to Sunnyslope, the Titans will look to continue their excellent play as of late. This game will be for all the marbles as each team is undefeated in region play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California

 

Monte Vista Mustangs (7-0, State PR: 96.06, Rank: 1) vs. De La Salle Spartans (6-1, State PR: 88.92, Rank: 6): De La Salle goes for its seventh win of the season against Monte Vista, where Spartans head coach Bob Ladouceur started as an assistant coach in 1979. The Spartans' spread offense is led by option QB Blake Wayne and Arizona recruit RB Kylan Butler and is an absolute force. Meanwhile, Mustangs QB Brett Nottingham has 26 TDs with only four touchdowns. Plus, the Mustangs have arguably the best wide receiver combo in the Valley with Tom Hemmingsen and Matt Tuckness, as each have over 600 yards receiving.

 

 

 

North Saxons (5-0, State PR: 89.15, Rank: 21) State PR:  vs. El Segundo Eagles (6-1, State PR: 78.53, Rank: 57): El Segundo hopes to break up North’s perfect season by handing them their first loss. Saxons head coach Todd Croce will have to come up with another great gameplan to counter the dangerous Eagles. El Segundo will be led by sure-handed receiver Kevin Post, who had eight receptions and 123 receiving yards last week, in addition to leading tackler Gage Mortesen.

 

Notre Dame Knights(7-0, State PR: 98.22, Rank: 3) vs. Crespi Carmelite Celts (6-1, State PR: 87.49, Rank: 26): This neighborhood rivalry game will surely have everyone in the San Fernando Valley ready for an exciting matchup as 7,000 people are expected to watch. Both teams are coming off impressive shutouts and will look to continue the trend. A win against Notre Dame could really spark a late season surge for Crespi Carmelite. Knights QB Ryan Kasdrof has really matured this season, throwing 22 TDs and averaging over 350 yards of total offense per game. He is not alone as WR James Flynn is his favorite target and has over 750 yards receiving. The only loss for the Celts was to powerful St. Bonaventure. QB Bryan Bennett will have a lot of weight on his shoulders to lead his team to a crucial victory.

 

Redlands East Valley Redlands (7-0, State PR: 91.19, Rank: 14) vs. Miller Rebels ( 7-0, State PR: 92.56, Rank: 12): Two teams look to continue their winning ways this weekend in this much-anticipated game. Redlands will be led by junior QB Tyler Shreve, who has thrown for 996 yards and is the team's leading rusher despite playing hurt all season. The Rebels defense has been suffocating opponents all season behind Jacob Guzman and Tryavon Ralph, who has seven interceptions.

 

San Clemente Tritons (6-1, State PR: 83.98, Rank: 36) vs. Mission Viejo Diablos (6-1, State PR: 88.34, Rank: 23): There is only one commonality between these teams when they meet up this weekend as both teams suffered their sole losses to an undefeated Tesoro squad. The Diablos' balanced running and passing attack makes them very lethal and was in fully display during their 59-7 win last week against Aliso Niguel. The Tritons will try to slow down Diablo QB Alan Bridgford with their defensive stars Dylan Reda and Jack Straw.

 

Crenshaw Cougars (3-3, State PR: 57.33, Rank: 14) vs. Dorsey (Susan Miller) Dons (6-1, State PR: 73.07, Rank: 6): Although these teams are not sporting undefeated records, their intense rivalry makes this a must-see game in California. The two Los Angeles rivals square off for bragging rights and both are 2-0 in California Coliseum league standings. Head coach Robert Garrett’s Cougars have won their last three games and have momentum heading into the game. Meanwhile, the Dons look for their seventh win and have the upper hand in the battle for the league championship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colorado

 

Erie Tigers (8-0, State PR: 93.38, Rank: 1) vs. Faith Christian Eagles (8-0, State PR: 92.41, Rank: 3): Erie looks to avenge last year’s 14-0 loss to Faith Christian in which they only had 76 yards rushing. Right now, the Tigers are the class of 2A with the Eagles right behind them. The Tigers have not been tested this season and last week piled up 70 points against Pinnacle Charter led by 5-9 sparkplug RB Alex Ortega, who averages 203 yards rushing per game. The Eagles' win margin is over three touchdowns and their stellar defense allows less than six points a game. This game will be deciding factor towards who will be ranked No. 1 in 2A for the state tournament.

 

Pueblo South Colts (9-0, State PR: 91.19, Rank 3) vs. Sierra Stallions (8-1, State PR: 80.30, Rank 8): This Foothills League matchup will be heated as both teams battle for the title of best team in southern Colorado. The Colts have been dominant ever since their 21-15 win over Pueblo West in week one. The Stallions will be ready as head coach Joe Roskam prepares for his toughest match of the season and hopes to dethrone the Colts.

 

Olathe Pirates (8-0, State PR: 91.08, Rank: 4) vs. Grand Valley Cardinals (8-1, State PR: 84.16, Rank: 5): Two of the top teams in the state battle to get their ninth win of the season. The Pirates come in undefeated and look to continue their success as they have scored 50 or more points in each of their last five games. The Cardinals also have a high-powered offense as they scored below 30 points just once in a 28-7 loss to Hayden on September 12.  Look for this game to be a shootout.

 

 

 

 

New Mexico

 

Eldorado Eagles (8-0, State PR: 94.49, Rank: 2) vs. Manzano Monarchs (7-1, State PR: 82.84, Rank: 6): This is a huge 5A-Five conference game as both teams come in with undefeated records in conference play. The Eagles' defense has been up and down all season and will have to contain Monarch RB Jordan Llamas.  This game will be a war between two big-time schools competing for a league championship and New Mexico supremacy.

 

La Cueva Bears (5-2, State PR: 73.64, Rank: 7) vs. Sandia Matadors (7-1, State PR: 83.03, Rank: 5): Both teams are looking to climb in the rankings but cannot avoid another loss late in the season. WR Tanner Ireland is a playmaker for the Matadors. Meanwhile, the Bears have won three games in a row behind punishing runner RB Ronnie Daniels, who was an all-state selection last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nevada

 

Reed Raiders (4-4, State PR: 53.86, Rank: 17) vs. Spanish Spring Cougars (6-2, State PR: 68.03 Rank: 12): The big rivalry game in Nevada will occur at Spanish Spring this weekend. The Raiders rely on QB Tyler Pine to distribute the ball and heads a balanced running and passing game. The Cougars look for a big win as they play Nevada’s finest McQueen next week. RB Dominic Smith leads all players with eight TDs.   

 

 

 

 

Washington

 

Mountain View Thunder (4-4, State PR: 52.81, Rank: 42) vs. Evergreen Plainsmen (5-2, State PR: 71.76, Rank: 19): A must-win game for both teams as the loser will most likely miss the playoffs. The Thunder look to avenge last year’s 28-27 loss to their rival Plainsmen.  The Thunder will rely on RB Tyler Burton and QB Cameron Pape have big games to keep their postseason dream alive. Head coach Tony Smyth hopes the Plainsmen can keep their season alive with a win and as they lean on D-1 recruit WR/DB Kyrell Hudson to make plays.

 

 

 

 

Pullman Greyhounds (6-1, State PR: 84.40, Rank: 6) vs. Deer Park Stags (7-1, State PR: 78.74, Rank: 8): Each team is trying to avoid two losses and needs to finish the season strong beford embarking into the 2A playoffs. The winner might have a huge advantage when the playoff seedings come out in the next few weeks. The Greyhounds offense has been dominant at times and averages over 38 points a game. The Stags defense, which was simply outstanding in middle of the season, has given up 39 points in last three games, which could be a cause for concern. Folks will get their money's worth for the must-see game in class 2A.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon

 

Mountain View Cougars (7-1, State PR: 83.79, Rank: 4) vs. Century Jaguars (8-1, State PR: 83.21, Rank: 5): The battle of the cats carries a lot of implications for 5A football in Oregon. The Jaguars are on a four-game winning streak and have only given up 21 points during that streak. WR Josh Garlington looks to follow last week's performance in which he had five catches for 92 yards. The Cougars look to win this game behind DB Pat Cashman, who is an all-around playmaker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wyoming

 

Natrona County Mustangs (6-2, State PR: 78.63, Rank: 3) vs. Green River Wolves (6-2, State PR: 76.71, Rank: 4): This is the one game to see in Wyoming this week and has two teams battling for their seventh win. The Wolves have been able to put up points on the scoreboard all season, but their defense has given up 57 points their last two games. The Mustangs have had their problems on defense as they have given up 36 points in the last two games. Look for a shootout in Wyoming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check for Brett's regional breakdowns each week right here at FootballPower.tv.

 

 

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By Ryan Rohde

SportsPower Correspondent

 

A plethora of big-time matchups are on the docket this weekend in the Southeast. Many teams have already clinched their league titles and now look for that elusive perfect season. Meanwhile, many other teams will try to capture their conference championships in order to solidify a playoff berth. This weekend should be full of surprises and thrills.

 

 

 

 

 

Alabama

 

 

 

Game of the Week

Sweet Water (9-0, PR: 92.33, Rank: 1) vs. Leroy (9-0, PR: 94.38, Rank: 1): Sweet Water looks to extend its three-game win streak against Leroy this Friday. Both teams -- defending state champs in each of their respective classes -- also look to cap off undefeated regular seasons.  Sweet Water’s defense -- led by DL Tyrice Lockett, LB Delano Brewer and DB Antonio Landrum -- has been stifling all year. The Bulldogs have shutout four opponents while the offense has been just as dynamic in averaging 55 points per game. Leroy will likely lean on Clint Moseley the team's all-state QB who has a big arm and is a threat to take off with his legs. With both teams already clinching a postseason berth, this game does not have playoff implications, but it should be fun to see two state champions go after it.

 

Prattville (7-1, PR: 92.31, Rank: 5) vs. Central-Tuscaloosa (8-0, PR: 92.95, Rank: 1): Central has a big opportunity to show just how formidable they are against one of the most talented teams in the state. Prattville has been crushing in-state opponents all season long, which includes five shutouts. Central -- the defending 4A state champs -- has been playing 5A football this season and the move has led to eight straight wins. A victory here could give them some great momentum heading into to their playoff run.

 

Lincoln (9-0, PR: 94.46, Rank: 2) vs. Clay County (9-0, 93.36, Rank: 5): This matchup pits two more undefeated teams. Both squads recently wrapped up district titles and will try to finish with perfect records. Consider this a great chance for one of these teams to have an upper-hand in the playoffs with a win here.

 

Tuscaloosa County (9-0, PR: 97.76, Rank: 2) vs. Oxford (8-1, PR: 88.39, Rank: 8): Tuscaloosa County has a chance to grab the top spot in the polls going into the playoffs with a win on Friday. The Wildcats have rolled through their schedule so far, but their toughest test awaits this weekend. Oxford's only loss came by one point to a tough Hewitt team. Oxford has bounced back extremely well this season after having to forfeit seven games last year due to an ineligible player.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida  

 

Game of the Week

Madison County (7-0, PR: 96.79, Rank: 1) vs. Godby (7-0, PR: 96.00, Rank: 1): This game won’t have much impact on playoff positions, but it does feature two of the Sunshine State's best on Friday night. The name of the game in this one will be speed as both squads feature dynamic, athletic players.  Madison County showcases an explosive offense led by the running back duo Chris Thompson and Cory Akins. Meanwhile, Godby has a strong defense that has posted two straight shut outs and will have their hands full with an explosive Cowboys offense. Godby’s offense will be lead by Florida State commit wideout Willie Downs. Mark my words, this will be one of the best games of the year in Florida.

 

Ridge (7-0, PR: 90.71, Rank: 6) vs. Lakeland (7-0, PR: 93.47, Rank: 6): It's hard to believe that Lakeland has quietly marched to a 7-0 record, but this squad just keeps on winning. The Dreadnaughts have encountered their fair share of close games this year but continue to climb up the polls and will likely face their toughest opponent all season. However, Ridge comes into Friday's clash very confident after a giant win over Lake Wales last weekend.

 

Indian Rocks Christian (8-0, PR: 85.57, Rank: 3) vs. Fort Meade (8-0, PR: 91.38, Rank: 1): The top spot in 1A is on the line this Friday. The Indian Rocks offense is anchored by the running back trio of Johnny Sitton, Lou Mason, and Ethan Englebert. Meanwhile, Fort Meade’s defense has been outstanding this season, allowing just four points a game. This will likely be a showcase of a great offense against a great defense.

 

Plant (6-1, PR: 88.69, Rank: 2) vs. Chamberlain (8-0, PR: 95.23, Rank: 4): This is a huge Tampa Area battle. So far this season, the only loss for Plant came against national power Armwood, while Chamberlain has been cruising to easy wins from the start. The quest for a championship has become a lot more difficult for Plant since last week with the loss of QB Aaron Murray, who is out for the season with a broken fibula. Still, a win here for either team gives them a big boost for the playoffs.

 

 

 

 

 

Georgia

 

Coffee County (7-1, PR: 81.55, Rank: 5) vs. Lowndes (8-0, PR: 90.94, Rank: 2): Lowndes has likely come to its final hurdle on the way to a district title and an undefeated regular season. Lowndes RB Greg Reid -- a Florida recruit -- has been shredding defenses all year long and is a contender for Player of the Year. Meanwhile, Coffee’s lone loss came to Northside team, one of the state's best teams, by just three points. The Trojans have a big chance to shake things up in the district and in AAAAA.

 

Westside (8-0, PR: 90.42, Rank: 1) vs. Thomas County Central (7-1, PR: 79.06, Rank: 8): Westside can solidify itself as the best team in AAAA and win the district title with a victory on Friday. Westside has been very impressive this year on both sides of the ball behind an offense averaging 44 points per game and a defense giving up fewer than four per game. Thomas County lost earlier in the year to an excellent Cairo team, but has reeled off six straight wins since. This game could be a possible playoff preview.

 

Turner County (7-1, PR: 75.51, Rank: 6) vs. Wilcox County (8-0, PR: 84.75, Rank: 1): The Region 2-A title is up for grabs this Friday. Turner County can grab at least a share of the title and can boost its ranking with a win. The Rebels have won seven straight since an opening season loss against Worth County.  Wilcox County has gone through its schedule with relative ease, averaging 43 points per game, and should have its hands full this weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tennessee

 

Game of the Week

Ooltewah (7-1, PR: 88.29, Rank: 5) vs. Soddy Daisy (7-2, PR: 75.65, Rank: 17): Ooltewah features good size and speed on both sides of the ball, but especially on defense led by DT Que Jackson and DE Jaques Smith. Most of Ooltewah’s seven victories have come in dominant fashion with the team's sole loss coming against a tough Maplewood team. On the other side, Soddy Daisy looks to regroup after falling hard to Farragut, 42-12, last weekend. This is a great opportunity for the Trojans to bounce back from last Friday defeat.

 

Greenback (9-0, PR: 87.97, Rank: 5) vs. Oneida (9-0, PR: 88.42, Rank: 4): This has the potential to be the game of the year in 1A. These two squads will vie for the district title and most likely  the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. While these teams are playoff bound, this game remains important in determining the path each will take in the playoffs.

 

Howard Tech (8-1, PR: 80.63, Rank: 7) vs. McMinn Central (9-0, PR: 91.13, Rank: 3): McMinn Central has had one close game all season, a 17-16 win over East Ridge on Oct. 3. Jordan Jackson has anchored the Chargers offense at QB this season, while the defense has put up three shutouts. Meanwhile, Howard Tech is battle-tested this season and is hungry for a peace of the district title. All indications point towards a down-to-the-wire finish in this gridiron battle.

 

Cordova (8-1, PR: 82.79, Rank: 11) vs. Millington Central (9-0, PR: 94.15, Rank: 1): Millington Central comes in with an average margin of victory of 28 points. The Trojans can win region seven and solidify the top spot in the polls this Friday. Cordova has pulled off eight straight wins after opening the season with a loss to Evangelical Christian and want a piece of that league title.

 

Battle Ground Academy (7-1, PR: 83.05, Rank: 3) vs. Ensworth (9-0, PR: 95.37, Rank: 1): This is a huge Division II matchup in Tennessee. Battle Ground is led by its Miami-OH recruit QB Jamal Ramsey. The Wildcats' only loss came to a strong Brentwood Academy team earlier in the year. All the while, Ensworth comes in at No. 1  in the polls and hopes to stay that way.  All-state DB Taveras Jefferson leads a vaunted Ensworth defense. This game is going to be tight with the East/Middle division title going to the victor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Virginia

 

Morgantown (8-1, PR: 84.94, Rank: 5) vs. University (9-0, PR: 89.67, Rank: 2): The North Central League title is on the line this Friday and both of these crosstown rivals march into this contest on a roll. Morgantown has an experienced squad led by QB Ben Miller and the offense has been racking up the points this year. Meanwhile, University has a very formidable defense led by DB Brandon Tucker. Both teams know each other very well, so expect this one is going to be a knock-down-drag-out battle.  

 

 

 

 

Look for Ryan's regional breakdown each week right here at FootballPower.tv.

 

 

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By Adam C. Warner

SportsPower Editor

 

Postseason play really heats up this weekend across much of the nation as at least ten new states initiate their playoff brackets.

 

Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin are just a few of the states kicking off.

 

Below is an exclusive look at the tournament schedule for numerous states and a breakdown of some of the favorites heading into action this weekend. Throughout the postseason, follow along with FootballPower as we bring you updated scores, schedules, ratings, rankings and preview information for every team and every state.

 

 

 

Colorado: In the Rocky Mountain State, first round action commences in Class A and 5A on both Friday and Saturday as teams begin their quest for a state championship. The title games will be held on Nov. 29 at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver.

 

In Class A, Akron leads the bracket as the No. 1 seed and will enter the tournament on the heels of a 35-game winning streak. Other top teams to keep an eye on include Rye and Limon, two squads very capable of making a run. Highlighting Class 5A action, No. 1 Grandview enters as the favorite since winning the championship last year. As the top seed and highest-rated team in Colorado, the Wolves will once again be hard-pressed to fall early, despite a bracket filled with tough opponents in Rocky Mountain (2), Thunderridge (3) and Columbine (5).

 

 

 

Illinois: In the Land of Lincoln, the first round of postseason football will initiate on either Friday or Saturday. In Class 1A, Milledgeville and Concord have earned the top seeds, while in 2A it’s Momence and Auburn. In 3A action, Carthage and Greenville take the No. 1 spots as Aurora and Quincy do the same in 4A. 5A has Lombard and Metamora as the favorites, 6A with Lemont and Rock Island, 7A with Geneva and Glen Ellyn, and then 8A with Bartlett and Bolingbrook.

 

In 8A action, expect Naperville North, Mt. Carmel and Maine South to make this the most competitive bracket in all of Illinois.

 

Championship weekend is scheduled for November 28 and 29, as Classes 1A-4A will have their title bouts on the 28th, and Classes 5A-8A will have theirs on the 29th at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michigan: In the Great Lake State, the race towards Ford Field will certainly be exciting to witness. First round action gets underway this weekend, while District Finals will take place Nov. 7-8. Regional quarters then commence Nov. 14-15 before the MHSAA Semifinals on Nov. 22, followed by the state finals Nov. 28-29 in Detroit.

 

In Division 1, Macomb Dakota and Dearborn Fordson enter as favorites while Muskegon and Lowell are marked targets in Div. 2. In Div. 3, East Grand Rapids and St. Joseph will be major contenders for a title, while Marine City and Holland Christian are heavyweights in Div. 4.

 

Rounding out the action, Muskegon Oakridge and Standish-Sterling are favorites in Div. 5, Saginaw Nouvel, Iron Mountain and Kalamazoo Christian for Div. 6, Traverse City St. Francis and Ubly for Div. 7, and then Cedarville and Mendon in Div. 8.

 

 

 

Nebraska: In the Cornhusker State, first round action heats up on the way to championship weekend Nov. 21-22 at Memorial Stadium at the Universty of Nebraska – Lincoln.

 

In Class A, Millard West comes in as the No. 1 seed, while nine-time champions Creighton Prep (No. 2 seed) faces Fremont. In Class B, Pius X – state champs in ’04 -- enters as the top seed while rivals Crete, Waverly and McCook make this bracket nearly a toss-up.

 

In Class C1 action, set to commence on Thursday, Bishop Neumann (No. 4 seed) and Norfolk Catholic (No. 3) will be expected favorites despite Chadron’s top billing. Neumann and Norfolk have both won two championships since ’01. And in Class C2, Stanton is the No. 1 seed. Expect No. 13 Wakefield to be a darkhorse having won the last two titles.

 

 

 

Ohio: In the Buckeye State, fans will witness some powerhouse teams go head-to-head as the Regional Quarterfinals get underway on Saturday in Division I. St. Ignatius and Hilliard Davidson enter as No. 1 seeds, but Strongsville, Colerain, Elder, Glenville and Pickerington Central all make this one of the strongest playoff brackets in the nation.

 

Playoff action in Div. II is slated to begin on Friday as Mayfield, Columbus St. Francis De Sales, Toledo Central Catholic, Cincinnati Anderson and Louisville make up a formidable group. Div. III is set to start on Saturday and will see Avon and Dover competing for a title.

 

In Div. IV, Coldwater and Steubenville head the list, while in Div. V, Ursuline and Cincinnati Hills Christian pose as heavyweights. Div. VI also offers a strong slate, with Bascom Hopewell-Loudon, St. Paul and Malvern as state title contenders.

 

The state championship games will be held on Nov. 28-29 at either Massillon Paul Brown Stadium or Canton Fawcett Stadium. Division’s VI, IV and II will all play on Friday the 28th, while Division’s III, V and I will compete on Saturday the 29th. Div. VI will be held at 11 AM in Massillon, Div. IV at 3PM in Canton and Div. II at 7 PM in Massillon. And finally, the Div. III championship will be at 11 AM in Canton, the Div. V title game at 3 PM in Massillon and the Div. I contest at 7 PM in Canton.

 

 

 

Wisconsin: First round action kicked off on Tuesday for the state with second round games to follow on Saturday. Level 3 games will be held the weekend of Nov. 7-8, Level 4 on Nov. 14-15 and then the state title matchups on the weekend of Nov. 20-21.

 

Chippewa Falls, Arrowhead and Milwaukee South are all favorites in Div. 1, while La Crosse Logan, Milton and Kimberly all expect to compete for a championship in Div. 2.

 

 

 

Other states in action: Vermont, Wyoming, Utah. Vermont’s state semifinals are a go this weekend, with the state championships to be played on either Nov. 7th or 8th.  Quarterfinal play commences in Wyoming in each five classes this weekend, with the titles games to be scheduled for Nov. 15.

 

 

 

Stay posted on the latest schedules, scores and results throughout the postseason right here at FP.tv.

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By Adam C. Warner

SportsPower Editor

 

It’s hard to believe that the time has come already, but it's playoff season for several states across the country this weekend.

 

After Alaska wrapped up its football season last weekend with state titles earned by Service (Large School) and Soldotna (Small School), the states of Arizona, Indiana, and North Dakota will begin postseason action starting Friday night.

 

Indiana

 

In the Hoosier State, the 36th annual State Tournament Series commences with sectional playoffs on Friday, featuring first round action in all five classes (A-5A) – which includes 40 sections and 317 total teams.

 

Semifinal action gets underway on October 31 and then sectional championships will be played on November 7 for every class. The regional playoffs will follow on Nov. 14, followed by Semi-States on Nov. 21 and then the State Championships on Nov. 28 and 29 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

 

This season, Warren Central will be looking to get back to the Class 5A title game for the fifth time in six years, while Carmel hopes to make it two in a row in the big dance.

 

In 4A, Roncalli has been to the title match four of the last six years and will once again be a tough matchup for anyone despite a 5-4 overall record. In 3A, Indianapolis Bishop Chatard has won the last two titles behind coach Vince Lorenzano. At 8-1 overall this season, the Trojans will be strong candidates to make it back to the big dance.

 

In 2A, Fort Wayne Bishop Luers hopes to win back-to-back titles since Tri-West Hendricks did it in ’03 and ’04. And in Class A, Sheridan has won the last three championships and will likely be favorites to make it four this time around.

 

Arizona

 

Moving to playoff action in Arizona this weekend, only Class 1A football will get underway, with every game being played at the higher seed starting at 7 PM. Quarterfinal games commence next Friday, Oct. 31, with the semifinals set for Nov. 8 and then the championship on Nov. 15 at Apache Junction High School.

 

Opening round matchups this weekend include Mayer vs. Duncan, Tempe Prep vs. Salt River, Joseph City against Patagonia and St. David vs. Williams.

 

Meanwhile, the State Championships for 4A and 5A football will be held on Dec. 12 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The semifinals will be held on Dec. 5, quarterfinals on Nov. 21, and then first round action set to go on Nov. 14.

 

North Dakota

 

And finally in North Dakota play this weekend, 9-man football continues with second round action, while Division A (11-man) competition kicks off around the state on Saturday.

 

The first round of the Div. AA and AAA playoffs commence next week, leading up to the Dakota Bowl (Finals) in Grand Forks on November 14 and 15.

 

So while it still may be early for most, future champions across the country will begin their march towards a lifelong dream this weekend.

 

Let the games begin.

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By Adam C. Warner

SportsPower Editor

 

OCTOBER 9, 2008 -- In this week's edition of Inside the Ratings and Rankings, let's take a look at some trends in our Mega and Large classifications. We'll highlight two teams within the top 150 of both classes and then reveal the reasons for movement within the rankings, whether it's because of strength of schedule, opponents played, margin of victory or the results of other teams around them.

 

This trend analysis can be a good way to compare with your favorite teams in order to see how various scenarios have a direct effect on week-to-week variations for teams within the ratings and rankings.

 

Mega Division

 

Permian (TX)

 

Trend: Up

Last week's ranking (10/2): 21

This week's ranking (10/9): 6

Last week's National Power Rating: 95.91

This week's NPR: 97.82

 

Reasons for movement: The Panthers made a giant leap this week thanks to a huge victory over fellow Texas power Odessa, 54-20. Odessa entered the matchup at 4-0 and currently owns a formidable state power rating of 75.83. The 34-point margin of victory against another top opponent certainly boosted Permian in the rankings this week.

 

Colerain (OH)

 

Trend: Down

Last week's ranking: 8

This week's ranking: 138

 

Last week's NPR: 97.49

This week's NPR: 88.41

 

Reasons for movement: The Cardinals took a nosedive in the rankings this week after falling to Middletown, 42-39. Although Middletown entered the matchup at 4-2 and currently owns a respectable national power rating of 70.93, this example proves that one regular season blemish can have a significant impact on a team's national position. Statewide, Colerain is still near the top of the pack, and sits eighth at the present time. The Cards can certainly make their way back up the rankings, however, should they prove victorious in upcoming matchups with Lakota West and Oak Hills. 

 

Large Division

 

Reidsville (NC)

 

Trend: Up

Last week's ranking: 48

This week's ranking: 9

 

Last week's NPR: 90.56

This week's NPR: 97.08

 

Reason's for movement: The Rams made a surge into the Top 10 this week thanks to a victory over respectable High Point Andrews (2-2 overall, NPR: 51.37) with a high margin of victory. Reidsville came out on top 47-6 in that battle. Meanwhile, the Rams continue to pile up their average margin of victory this season, which currently stands at 41.5 points per game -- good enough to send this squad soaring into the Top 10. If the Rams had a higher strength of schedule (now 32.05), they would be looking at a Top 5 placement for sure.

 

Oxford (AL)

 

Trend: Down

Last week's ranking: 25

This week's ranking: 396

 

Last week's NPR: 92.94

This week's NPR: 78.11

 

Reason for movement: The Yellowjackets (5-1) stumbled this week after falling to Hewitt-Trussville, 19-18, in Alabama 6A action. Hewitt-Trussville entered with just a 3-2 record and currently owns a NPR of 65.34 -- all of which influenced Oxford's drop this week. The Jackets have a tough road ahead, with remaining opponents all .500 or better. If Oxford can run the table and finish the regular season at 9-1, expect this squad to crack the top 50 once again after proving themselves against quality competition with NPR's 55 and higher. 

 

To view this week's ratings and rankings, whether regionally, nationally or statewide, head to our R & R homepage.  Now, users can join the discussion on our R & R message boards, now located directly on every rating and ranking page. Plus, fans can now embed the ratings and rankings on their favorite websites as well.

 

Look for Adam's breakdown of the Ratings and Rankings every Thursday!

 

 

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What's in a Nickname?

Posted by adam_sp Oct 7, 2008

  

 

By Adam C. Warner

SportsPower Editor

 

For millions of us across the nation, school nicknames and mascots come to define who we are as a group, no matter if it’s a Crusader, Patriot, Yellowjacket, Cheesemaker or Flaming Heart.

 

They represent entire communities with a common public identity and provide a distinction between one group and another.

 

We embrace that identity, as it becomes part of us for the rest of their lives. We honor that identity, protect it and go to battle for it every day.

 

And we take pride in our distinctiveness as it galvanizes us.

 

Often times, our school nicknames can be in the form of symbols, objects, or animals that are commonplace in society. And most of the time, we prefer these to be intimidating and fierce – all while conjuring up images of strength, power and superiority.

 

When it’s time to go to battle, we want that competitive edge. Just look at some of the most common school nicknames in the country right now and it makes perfect sense.

 

The Tigers lead the pack as the most commonly used high school nickname at 678, while Eagles, Bulldogs, Panthers, Wildcats and Warriors are not far behind them. Also included at the top of the list are Trojans, Raiders, Pirates, Bears and Cougars.

 

Talk about intimidating.

 

Altogether, most of these nicknames bring to mind a sense of viciousness, quickness, agility, strength and a daunting challenge to conquer, and we as communities aspire to live up to our “makeup” when engaging in athletic competition.

 

We want to resemble the exact characteristics of our school identity.

 

Meanwhile, our mascots and nicknames can also be a representation of an entire town or community and its history.

 

We often choose symbols of our past in order to properly honor those who have served before us and those who have provided the foundation for our community and what it is today.

 

For instance, a selection of various school nicknames which paint the history of its people include Boilermakers, Engineers, Texans, Hillbillies, Papermakers and Huguenots.

 

However, there are many instances where our school identities are especially unique, when a nickname might be a common symbol for a particular community, but is actually quite peculiar for the rest of society.

 

Case in point, mascots representing different food varieties.

 

In the heart of Illinois, one will find the New Berlin Pretzels. One would deduce that a local pretzel factory paved the way for the high school nickname, but actually that’s not the case.

 

 

New Berlin came up with its name following a lopsided basketball game in the 1930s, when the players had pretzels for a halftime snack and then began tossing them at each other. The local newspaper picked up on this and appropriately called them, “pretzel-throwers.” And the name has forever stuck.

 

And one cannot also forget the Frankfort Hot Dogs, Moorehead Spuds, Hoopeston Cornjerkers, Cairo Syrupmakers, Chinook Sugarbeeters, and Aqawam Brownies, either.

 

Believe it or not, sometimes our school mascots even resemble inanimate objects.

 

This season, be on the lookout for the Stuyvesant Peglegs, Lutheran Lights, Teutopolis Wooden Shoes and the Poca Dots.

 

And there are even some schools that have instilled an aggressive and intimidating mascot, just not everyday characters in the average person’s lexicon.

 

Take for instance the Glenville Tarblooders.

 

 

This Ohio-based squad received its name from the men that worked the railroads in the early 20th century. It’s believed that Tarblooders were half-man, half-robots and were a symbol of fearlessness and ethics.

Apparently, these men would drive stakes into the railroad tracks to secure them in the ground, and as they would, hot tar would splatter onto their arms and faces while causing them to bleed as if sweating blood.

 

Think that’s a tad unique? Try the Grants Pass Cavemen, Roscoe Plowboys, Vintage Crushers, Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms, Mt. Clemens Battling Bathers, Hurley Midgets and the Yuma City Criminals.

 

And, of course, the Mars Area Fighting Planets, Watersmeet Nimrods, Maryville Spoofhounds, Yuba City Honkers, Danville Little Johns, Chattanooga Purple Pounders, Centralia Orphans, Effingham Flaming Hearts, Cary Imps and the Johnson Atomsmashers.

 

One would assume that the history behind these schools is unparalleled. Clearly they are communities with their own, singular identity.

 

However, whether one is a Syrupmaker, Awesome Blossom, Battling Bather, Tiger or Hornet, there is a common thread that unites us all.

 

We are all part of something, and that, we can be proud

 

 

 

 

Adam C. Warner is the senior editor for SportsPower. You can read more of his work in our "Who’s Got the Power?" blog, including Inside the Ratings and Rankings every Thursday.

 

 

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