Thursday, October 09, 2008

Across the PrepNation: Weekend Warmup 10-10-2008

The vice-presidential candidacy of Gov. Sarah Palin is giving Alaska more national media attention than the state previously received in its almost 50 years of existence combined.

The Last Frontier State is on a roll, man.

And never one to be left behind by today's trends (yeah, right), I'm going to lead off this edition of Weekend Warmup with an update on the Alaska prep football playoffs.

There's a chance of rain and temperatures are expected to be in the low 40s in Anchorage Friday afternoon when the state small-school semifinal between Barrow and Kodiak kicks off.

Barrow (8-1), which made the playoffs for the first time this season, is led by QB Albert Gerke. According to the Anchorage Daily News, Gerke needs only 125 passing yards to break the single-season state record for small-school passers. A pretty impressive feat for a guy dealing with the weather conditions that come with playing for only the high school football team in the world located north of the Arctic Circle.

On the other side of the small-school bracket sits two-time defending champ Soldotna. The Stars (8-0), who have won 27 consecutive games, play Eielson (6-3).

The large-school division favorite appears to be North Pole (9-0), which seeks its first state championship since 2004. The Patriots play Service (6-3) in one semifinal while defending champ Juneau-Douglas (5-4) takes on Anchorage South in the other.

This weekend's TV slate
No. 4 Lowndes gets its second consecutive national television exposure Friday night. The Vikings take on crosstown rival Valdosta -- the winningest prep football program in history -- at 8:00 PM EDT on ESPNU.

On Thursday night, viewers of FOX Sports Net North and FSN Midwest will see regionally ranked Rockhurst (Mo.) hosting Minnetonka (Minn.) at 7:00 CDT. Minnetonka brings a 4-2 record into the game, with both losses coming to regionally ranked Minnesota powers Eden Prairie and Wayzata.

Speaking of Eden Prairie, the Eagles have a CBS College Sports TV date Friday night at 7:00 PM CDT with their 34-game winning streak on the line against Bloomington Kennedy.

Altitude has a Friday night game that promises to very entertaining between traditional Denver-area powers Cherry Creek and Mullen Prep. Cherry Creek is unbeaten while Mullen's only loss came to regionally ranked Rockhurst (Mo.). Kickoff is 7:00 PM MDT.

This weekend's Top 3 list
The Top 3 online newspaper high school sports sections in the country:
1) Dallas Morning News
2) Cincinnati Enqurier
3) Orange County Register

This weekend's UPSET ALERT

No. 3 Euless Trinity vs. Colleyville Heritage: The Trojans, who have been offensively challenged at times this season, must either slow down or keep up with a Heritage offense that is averaging over 400 yards and 40 points per game this season.

No. 4 Lowndes vs. Valdosta: Valdosta enters the game against their rival at 4-2 and hoping for a Lowndes hangover following the Vikings' nationally televised 24-7 win over Warner Robins Northside last week. On paper, Lowndes has a chance to blow out the Wildcats. But pride and emotion for the black and gold should keep this one close -- at least for awhile.

No. 8 Gateway at Erie McDowell: The Gators are beating opponents by an average score of 46-6, but McDowell is the first foe they will face with a record north of the .500 mark. The Trojans are led by Wisconsin-bound bruising tailback A.J. Fenton.

No. 10 Long Beach Poly vs. No. 18 St. Bonaventure: This one would not even be an upset, in my opinion, should the Seraphs pull out the victory. Poly has a dominant defense and a strong rushing attack but St. Bonaventure has the playmakers to put points on the board against any defense. Look for Bonnie to pull off one of the biggest wins in the history of its program. Something like 31-20.

No. 25 Maine South at Glenbrook South: The Titans, led by scrappy senior QB Ryan Hopkins, enter the game with a 6-0 record and smelling the upset. The game has special meaning for Hopkins, who grew up around the Maine South program when his father, Phil, led the Hawks to a state championship in 1995.

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