Thursday, September 18, 2008

Across the PrepNation: Weekend Warmup 9-18-2008

No. 5 South Panola (Batesville, Miss.) has put together the third longest winning streak in high school football history.

The Tigers have prevailed in 78 straight games, trailing only Concord (Calif.) De La Salle (151) and Charlotte (N.C.) Independence (109) for the the national record.

But on Friday night, with a national ESPNU television audience watching and No. 18 Apopka (Fla.) the opponent, the Tigers could put a huge exclamation point at the end of consecutive win No. 79.

Apopka is the first Top 25 team South Panola has faced during the streak. By comparison, De La Salle defeated eight nationally ranked foes during its run. Independence did not face or defeat any nationally ranked teams.

Playing at home is definitely a plus for the Tigers. Traveling by airplane to Mississippi is one of many concerns for Apopka.

Outside of intangibles, South Panola's biggest task will be slowing down Apopka's fleet-footed "slash" QB/RB/WR/RS Jeremy Gallon. The future Michigan Wolverine has already scored a touchdown rushing, passing, receiving and on a 97-yard kickoff return through two games this season.

Could it be a huger weekend in Louisville?

Defending Prep Poll champion Cincinnati St. Xavier travels to town Friday to play reigning Kentucky 6A champ and 14th-ranked Trinity.

That's on top of Wednesday night's ESPN2-televised win for Louisville against Kansas St., and this weekend's Ryder Cup matches being held at Valhalla.

Trinity has revenge on its mind after losing to the Bombers last season in Cincinnati, 47-31. The Shamrocks led the game 24-13 in the third quarter before St. X scored 34 of the game's final 41 points.

Trinity was the only foe to score more than 14 points against St. Xavier last season.

So far in 2008, no opponent has put more than 13 on the board against the Bombers.

The game was moved from Trinity's home field to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium because last week's remnants of Hurricane Ike still have many parts of town without electricity.

St. Xavier will be the first out-of-state high school team to play a game at Cardinal Stadium.

Trinity has played there 15 times since 1998, winning nine of those games including seven against archrival St. Xavier of Louisville. Over 38,000 fans attended that matchup in 2005.

Only a limited schedule of high school football games will be played this weekend in and around Houston following last week's devastating landfall of Hurricane Ike.

No. 10 Houston North Shore's attempt to set a state record with 73 consecutive regular season wins is on hold for at least another week.

If the Mustangs are able to make their scheduled trip to play regionally ranked Southlake Carroll next weekend, they will have a chance to establish the new record against the program with whom they currently share the record.

Two win streaks are on the line and something's got to give when defending Florida 6A champion Miami Northwestern meets defending 4A titlist Booker T. Washington Friday night.

Northwestern (2-1) carries into the game a 32-game winning streak against in-state opponents.

Booker T. Washington (1-2) has not lost to a fellow Dade County team since the 2003 season.

The game will shown to a national audience on CBS College Sports.

It's just a shame these two did not meet last season, when both were ranked in the Top 10 of the National Prep Poll.

On UPSET ALERT this weekend: No. 1 Euless Trinity, No. 3 Byrnes, No. 5 South Panola (see above), No. 8 De La Salle, No. 9 Centennial, No. 14 Trinity (see above) and No. 20 Colerain.

Obviously, the top-ranked Trojans have their work cut out for them when they travel to No. 21 Allen on Friday night. The Eagles have a lot of speed and experience to throw at Trinity -- especially on defense -- plus a good enough home-field advantage to make this one very interesting down to the end.

No. 3 Byrnes' matchup with Tallahassee Lincoln is the first of two games for the Rebels against Florida opponents and it's the second of three out-of-state games this season overall. Lincoln was a regular state-title contender earlier this decade and is always chocked-full of Division I-caliber players. This could end up being an equal or even tougher test for Byrnes than what it will get from defending Florida 2B champ Pahokee next month.

No. 8 De La Salle had better take its game up a notch when it travels to face traditional Los Angeles power Loyola on Saturday. The Spartans needed a late touchdown and two-point conversion to knock off Serra of San Mateo in Week One. Loyola, which is 2-0 and ranked 17th in the Los Angeles Times Southland Top 25, will be looking to avenge a 55-14 loss to the Spartans last season.

Elsewhere in SoCal this weekend, No. 9 Centennial will be hoping to stop -- or at least slow down -- regionally ranked Mater Dei. It's a tall order for the Huskies, who allowed 623 yards and were beaten by the Monarchs 51-37 last season. Of course, Centennial also had over 600 yards in the game, but the Huskies have new starters at QB and RB: Taylor Martinez (Nebraska) and Arthur Burns (a Division I prospect). FYI for anyone who has been living under a rock, Mater Dei returns four-year starting QB Matt Barkley (USC) and last year's leading rusher Jaron Hytche.

No. 20 Colerain has thus far exceeded nearly everyone's expectations this season. In order for that to continue, the youthful Cardinals will need to contend with a more veteran and equally dangerous rushing attack posed by Sycamore. The Aves enter this week's game following a 21-14 upset loss to Hamilton. Inexplicably, Hamilton held Sycamore's star RB Bud Golden to only 12 yards on 14 carries (a -1 yard average). Golden, an Illinois recruit, had run for 352 and 239 yards and six total touchdowns in Sycamore's two previous games. The blue print for stopping Golden exists on tape from the Hamilton game. If Colerain is able to follow it, they should continue to roll.

The End Game

  • Am I the only one who could not care less that Ashton Kuchar is supposedly assistant coaching the freshman football team at Harvard-Westlake HS?

  • I wonder how long it will be until St. Anthony (N.J.) becomes a national power in high school football. The defending Prep Poll basketball champion played its football game EVER last weekend and won 45-0.

(More notes to come in this space as they come to me over the weekend.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

don't be concerned about the Byrnes Rebels!! 2-0 vs fla and add 2 more to the win column after the Pahokee Fla game Oct. 3rd. Predition for friday noght 35-12 Byrnes.