The high school football season is headed down the homestretch towards the playoffs and teams are seperating themselves each week. This week brings some high profile measuring stick game for the eight week of Weekend Watch 2009.
In Ohio two teams battling for RivalsHigh 100 ranking will go toe-to-toe as the current No. 85 Dublin Coffman will have to go into battle against Hilliard Davidson without their star quarterback Cole Stoudt. Coffman, No. 5 team in Ohio will have to battle against the current No. 7 team that is hungry and has several members on a Division I defense.
WHEN: Friday 10/16, 7:00 PM LAST MEETING: 10/10/08, Hilliard Davidson won 14-10.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Colton Caldwell. The backup quarterback for Dublin Coffman has some big shoes to fill Friday night, as star signal caller Cole Stoudt was lost for the season last week with a leg injury. Caldwell will immediately be thrust into the limelight in what should be the biggest game of the season in the Columbus area. He'll be facing a stiff test by a talented Hilliard Davidson defense that has shut down Coffman's high-octane offense in previous matchups. Caldwell got his feet wet last week in the Shamrocks' easy 30-7 win over Darby, competing 6-of-12 passes for 96 yards and adding 21 rushing yards. But he'll have to do better than that against Davidson.
STAR POWER: Stoudt is the marquee name on either roster as one of the top quarterback prospects in the country in the class of 2011. But since he will be out of action, a variety of players on either team could emerge as key playmakers. Expect a heavy dose of Coffman tailback Shaun Jones, an experienced senior coming off a 122-yard performance last week. He'll be called upon to shoulder much of the offensive load. But he'll likely be meeting Davidson linebacker Kenny Klatt early and often. Klatt is a tackling machine who recorded a whopping 149 tackles last season. In addition, Davidson features the 20th-ranked safety in the state in Spencer Delande.
BEST MATCHUP: The Davidson offense vs. the Coffman defense. Davidson isn't known to have an explosive offense, but they didn't even light the fuse last weekend in an uninspiring 17-14 overtime win over middling Worthington Kilbourne. The Wildcats committed six turnovers in the contest and needed a miraculous 55-yard touchdown off a halfback pass with 15 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Needless to say, they must find a way to flip the switch this weekend against a Dublin Coffman defense that has been lights-out through seven weeks. Coffman has allowed a paltry 30 points all season and only one opponent has scored in double-digits (13).
PREDICTION: Coffman is averaging 44 points per game on the year but don't expect them to come near that number due to a variety of factors. The loss of Stoudt, facing a tough Davidson D, playing on what should be a muddy field, and the history of low-scoring affairs between these two Division I powers likely means the Shamrocks will have to win a low-scoring affair. Coffman, however, certainly has the talent on the defensive side of the ball to do so. Anticipate Coffman to rely on the running game, field position, and for the defense to create some enough momentum shifting plays. Hilliard Davidson has flirted with danger a couple times already this season yet escaped, but Coffman is good enough to take advantage. Coffman 16, Hilliard Davidson 13
WHEN: Saturday 10/10, 1:30 pm
LAST MEETING: 11/29/08, Mullen beat Cherry Creek, 20-16, in the 5A state championship game.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Mullen's defense. The Mustangs have allowed just 21 points through the first six games of the season, and they have shutout their last two opponents. Nearly every starter on Mullen's defense is drawing recruiting interest and will play at the college level. The Mustangs feature the state's top passer rusher in Nduka Onyeali and their starting linebackers - Connor Healy, Leilon Willingham and Brady Daigh - are all tough against the run.
PLAYER'S TO WATCH: Stanford bound quarterback Kain Colter suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder during Cherry Creek's season opener against Smoky Hill. He met with three different doctors and decided to put surgery on hold until after the season. The injury has limited Colter's effectiveness as a passer, but his supreme athleticism has allowed him to excel in other roles offensively ... Junior Rayshon Williams has caught twice as many passes as any other Mullen receiver. He lives with his uncle Brandon Marshall, the Denver Broncos' standout pass catcher.
BEST MATCHUP: Mullen's rushing attack versus Cherry Creek's front seven on defense. After giving up five rushing touchdowns in their week three game against Monarch, the Bruins' run defense has improved. In their last three games, Cherry Creek has allowed just two scores on the ground. They will face a difficult challenge this week. Mullen features a talented power back in Adonis Ameen Moore and a speedy back in John Greer.
PREDICTION: This Centennial League rivalry game usually brings the best out of the Bruins, who will be battling to stay above the .500 mark. But Cherry Creek is simply overmatched. Mullen should cruise to their seventh victory of the season. Mullen 28, Cherry Creek 10.
WHEN: Friday 10/16, 7:00 pm LAST SEASON: 10/24/08, Lowell won 35-12.
KEEP AN EYE ON: One of the most heated rivalries in all of Michigan High School Football history is between Lowell and East Grand Rapids. Only 17 miles separate the two schools. Overall, these are two of the Top 10 programs in the entire state. East Grand Rapids has won 3 consecutive State Championships and 5 in the last 7 years. They have an amazing 105-7 record since 2001. Out of these 7 losses 4 of them have come to Lowell. Lowell has been the one team that has had success against the Pioneers. Lowell has won 2 State Championships this decade. EGR is the #1 ranked team in the AP Poll for Division 2 and Lowell is the #1 team for Division 3.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: b>Lowell: RB Austin Graham has close to 1,200 yards rushing on the year averaging 7 yards per carry. He has crossed the goal line 21 times in 7 games. Sophomore QB Gabe Dean has stepped up huge for the Red Arrows this season. He is a quarterback to look out for in the Class of 2012. East Grand Rapids: RB/DB Kirk Spencer has been the workhorse on offense for the Pioneers and he is a key part to the success of the defense the last 2 seasons. Spencer was rated a Top 50 player overall by Michigan Preps and is one of the top sleepers in the Class of 2010 here in Michigan. 6-foot-7 TE/DE Colin Voss. Voss is a 2 sport superstar and just committed to Central Michigan University this past week to play basketball. Voss is a beast off the edge and is a huge threat in the Pioneer passing game. He uses his size and athleticism to dominate opposing teams
BEST MATCH-UP: EGR Head Coach Peter Stuursma vs Lowell's Head Coach Noel Dean. Both teams are evenly matched so it will come down to a battle of X's and O's. Stuursma has built a dynasty and he usually delivers when there is a big game on the line. Dean has been the only coach that has had Stuursma's number in his coaching career. This game will definitely be a close one and will be decided in the 4th quarter.
PREDICTION Lowell gave EGR their only loss last season and in 2006. The Red Arrows are averaging close to 48 points per game and the defense is just as dominant giving up only 7 points per contest. East Grand Rapids will be at home in their new stadium with 10,000 screaming fans and have revenge on their minds. This is going to be long drawn out street fight with East Grand Rapids winning in the end. East Grand Rapids 27, Lowell 24