Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Weekend Rewind: 9-2-08

I think it is safe to say that the 2008 high school football season is now officially out of the starting blocks.

Well over half of the teams in the preseason PrepNation 101 rankings now have at least one regular season game in the scorebook.

If you count the preseason kickoff games in Florida -- which apparently don't count when two Florida teams are playing but do count when it's a Florida team against a team from another state -- the 101 teams have won a collective 81 percent of their games so far. Six of the 15 losses suffered by the group came to fellow PrepNation 101 teams.

With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, it's time to break down some of the top team and individual performances from this past weekend.

The "rebuilding project" at Lakeland (Fla.) might already be over. The Dreadnaughts, Prep Poll champion in 2006 and No. 56 in the Preseason PrepNation 101, still are young with only six veteran starters entering this season. But Monday's emphatic 35-0 rout of defending Pennsylvania 4A champion Pittsburgh Central Catholic was a statement game. A major one.

Lakeland outgained PCC 398-64 and had 322 rushing yards in the game, which was played in Wheeling, W.Va.

In the preseason, I wrote: "Lakeland could seriously challenge for its fourth state title since 2004 if a reliable running back emerges to complement Haggins in the veer option attack."

On Monday, not one but four Lakeland running backs emerged to score touchdowns.

Another classic showdown between Lakeland and St. Thomas Aquinas for the Class 5A champioinship is looking more and more likely.

No. 1 Euless (Texas) Trinity started slow against preseason No. 66 River Ridge (La.) John Curtis, but finished strong. The weight of starting the season ranked No. 1 in the National Prep Poll might have been apparent when the Trojans trailed 6-0 after allowing a 20-play, 87-yard scoring drive to the Patriots in the second quarter.

But Trinity's defense allowed barely more than 100 yards total the rest of the way and outscored Curtis, 28-6, in the final 25-plus minutes of the game.

On a side note, Curtis players, staff and fans were expected to travel back to the New Orleans area today. Let's hope their trip is safe and the cleanup project awaiting them at home is minimal.

Week 2 National Prep Poll Top 25 Reax:

1. Euless, Texas, Trinity 28, John Curtis (La.) 12: Quality win over quality foe to start the season.
2. Duncan, S.C., Byrnes 36, North Gwinnett (Ga.) 21: Rebels start slow but explode late.
3. Valdosta, Ga., Lowndes 63, Woodland 0: Most dominant performance of any Top 25 team so far.
4. Batesville, Miss., South Panola 27, Vicksburg 6: Running game slowed by loss of Barksdale.
5. Fort Lauderdale, Fla., St. Thomas Aquinas 35, Cincinnati Elder 24: Raiders dominate after falling behind 10-0
6. Concord, Calif., De La Salle was idle: Two tough tuneups on deck before Don Bosco comes to town.
7. Monroeville, Pa., Gateway 45, Penn Hills 17: Huge statement by Gators to start season.
8. Seffner, Fla., Armwood 31, Lake Gibson 14: Does not count in standings but still an impressive showing against quality foe.
9. Corona, Calif., Centennial was idle: Already looking forward to that Sept. 19 rematch with Mater Dei.
10. Houston, Texas, North Shore 10, Katy 6: Huge, huge statement win for Mustangs against defending 5A/II champ.
11. Jenks, Okla. was idle: 5A power Bixby awaits this week.
12. Cleveland, Ohio, Glenville 34, Pittsburgh Jefferson 13: Tarblooders looking to bring Division I title back to NEO.
13. Bastrop, La. was idle: This week's opener cancelled due to Hurricane; West Monroe coach offering to fill in.
14. Chesapeake, Va., Oscar Smith 43, Booker T. Washington 0: Tigers play inspired for fallen ex-teammate.
15. Louisville, Ky., Trinity was idle: Kentucky's most dominant program conspicuously absent from most other national polls.
16. Orange, Calif., Lutheran was idle: Orange County's most blue collar squad opens Saturday.
17. Sammamish, Wash., Skyline was idle. Opens Saturday against defending Oregon 6A champ Sheldon in its own back yard.
18. Prattville, Ala. 10, Cincinnati St. Xavier 15: Lions, predictably, struggled on offense against the Bombers.
19. Ramsey, N.J., Don Bosco Prep was idle. Ironmen still have two weeks to prepare for St. Xavier.
20. Chicago, Ill., Mount Carmel 49, Curie 7: Caravan dominates at Solider Field; might be only Chicago team to do so this year.
21. Kansas City, Mo., Rockhurst 42, ML No. 6 Blue Springs South 14: After big ESPN win, Rock now on upset alert with Kansas power Hutchinson coming to town Friday.
22. Plano, Texas 33, Irving MacArthur 7: Wildcats roll after trailing 7-5 early on.
23. Apopka, Fla. 39, Seabreeze 0: Michigan recruit Jeremy Gallon runs for over 300 yards with 3 TDs.
24. Phoenix, Ariz., Desert Vista was idle: DE Devon Kennard was most impressive player I saw on tape last year.
25. Greenwood, Ind., Center Grove 55, Perry Meridian 14: Win against Carmel on Friday could shake up other national polls.

PrepNation Player of the Week (Aug. 28-Sept. 1):
Toney Williams, RB, Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton. The University of Tennessee recruit ran 40 times for 350 yards and six touchdowns to lift his team to a thrilling 51-49 defeat of Chattahoochee. The 6-3, 230-pound bruiser also had a 27-yard touchdown reception.

PrepNation Team of the Week (Aug. 28-Sept. 1):
Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. The Jackrabbits, who started the season regionally ranked but outside the National Prep Poll preseason Top 25 for only the third time this decade, ended Miami Northwestern's 30-game win streak at the Miami Sports Kickoff Classic. Poly entered the national rankings at No. 12 in the Week 3 poll released on Monday.

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