Sunshine State Playoffs: Finals Preview
By Kynon Codrington (email@example.com)
The 6A state title will be decided on Saturday between FAB 50 No. 1 and state No. 1 Miami Northwestern and state No. 10 Orlando Boone. Northwestern is looking to claim the Rivals FAB 50 mythical national championship with a win over the Braves. Northwestern senior QB Jacory Harris will be playing his final game before taking his talents to Coral Gables and the University of Miami. Harris is a candidate for EA SPORTS Player of the Year honors and if he directs the Bulls to back-to-back state titles, it's his trophy to lose. Boone WR Jeremy Brown, a Florida commit, is an explosive threat in space, last week he scored on an 80-yard touchdown reception.
In 5A, FAB 50 No. 24 and state No. 5 Osceola paced by RB Bubba Brown meets No. 7 St. Thomas Aquinas on Friday night. Osceola is coming off an exciting 27-21 overtime win over Bartram Trail in the semifinals. Brown led the way with 134 yards on 23 carries and three touchdowns including the game-winner in OT. Aquinas has lost three straight state finals to Lakeland. The Raiders will look to get over the hump behind the strong running of senior RB Jeremiah Harden.
Over in 4A, FAB 50 No. 10 and state No. 3 Booker T. Washington is looking for its first state title against No. 9 Nease of Ponte Vedra Beach. On offense Washington has playmaking WR's Thearon Collier and Davon Johnson who can stretch the field vertically. Washington DB/WR Brandon Harris has ability to shut down one side of the field on defense and on offense he can be dangerous in the open field. Nease QB Ted Stachitas, a Wake Forest commit, is a dual-threat and has talented players around him like RB Graham Bates. This is the third straight state title game for the Panthers who won the 2005 championship, led by Heisman Trophy winner QB Tim Tebow of Florida, and lost last season to Tampa Plant.
Rounding the state finals action in 3A is No. 6 Naples against No. 8 St. Augustine. The Naples secondary features a pair of big-time prospects Antwain Harvey and Jack Swanson, an Iowa commit. St. Augustine DB Carlton Lewis will anchor the Yellow Jackets' defense.
***Editor's Note: Florida's lower classifications 1A, 1B, 2A, and 2B decided state champions last week.
Peach State Playoffs: Finals Preview
By Kynon Codrington (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The 5A final pits FAB 50 No. 32 North Gwinnett led by junior QB Michael Tamburo against Lowndes at Billy Martin Stadium. North Gwinnett is looking for their first state championship. Last week Tamburo threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-7 rout over Walton. The Bulldogs use the spread offense and will try to find some holes in the Lowndes defense that pitched a shut out a week ago in a 10-0 win over Camden County. The Viking offense is led by senior RB Darriet Perry and fellow senior backfield mate RB Greg Reid. Lowndes is 4-0 all-time in state final games.
In 4A, FAB 50 No. 9 Northside travels south to Waycross to take on Ware County. Last week Northside senior QB Marques Ivory came off the bench in the second half to throw three touchdowns and lead the Eagles down the field on the game-winning field drive to cap an impressive rally from a 21-point deficit to stun Tucker, 31-28. Northside is looking for back-to-back state championships for head coach, Conrad Nix. Ware County led by RB/DB Victor Daniels has never faced Northside. The Gators are playing in their first title game since 1961.
Over in 3A, Carver-Columbus tackles Cairo. Carver returns to the state championship for the first time in over thirty years. The Tigers scored 20 points with six minutes left in the game to upset Chamblee, 26-24. Carver WR Jarmon Fortson, an Auburn commit, caught eight receptions for 223 yards, a semi-final Georgia Dome record. The Syrupmakers of Cairo are looking to win their second state title and first since 1990.
The 2A match-up features Buford against Lovett. Buford topped Lovett, 21-0 in a regular season match-up. The Wolves rolled over defending champion Dublin last week, 48-0. Buford is on the verge of setting a new single season scoring record if they score 51 points. Lovett comes into the game with a 29-16 romp over Cook of Adel. Lovett RB Andre Hicks is speed back and has returned a kick-off 71 yards for a game-winning touchdown this post-season against Thomasville in the quarterfinals.
Finally in 1A, Emmanuel County Institute battles Wilcox County at Crisp County High in Cordele. ECI junior RB Washaun Ealey has set a new single season touchdown record with 55 this season. Last week Ealey rushed for 280 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-14 win over Clinch County. Wilcox County boasts twins QB Lorenzo Dennard and WR Alfonzo Dennard. The Dennard's are exciting and caused match-up problems against Athens Academy in a 32-14 win. The game was moved to Crisp County High School because Wilcox County sold 5,000 tickets and their stadium capacity was only 2,500.
Lone Star State Shootouts: DI Finals
By Randy Rodgers
All Division I tournaments except Class 5A will crown champions this weekend as the Texas High School season moves into its final weeks. Both 5A championship games will be held next weekend in San Antonio's Alamodome.
Copperas Cove and Lamar Consolidated will meet for the 4A Division I title this Saturday night in Round Rock. Cove returns to the championship game for the second year in a row, while Lamar Consolidated brings Mr. Touchdown, Jacquizz Rodgers, to the big show. Interestingly, both teams were eliminated last season by state champion Alamo Heights, Cove in the championship game and LC in the semi-finals.
Defending champion Liberty Hill meets unbeaten Gilmer in the 3A title game Saturday night at Baylor. Liberty Hill is one of three teams seeking to defend titles this weekend. Defending 2A champion Tatum plays Farmersville in Corsicana and returning 1A champion Alto plays Seymour at Midlothian. Both games are Saturday.
Both Six-Man brackets also wind up this weekend as Richland Springs and Rule, two undefeated teams, battle for the Division I championship, while Woodson and Matador Motley play for the Division II title.
The Division II tournaments move into the semi-final round this weekend. In Class 4A, unbeatens Everman and Highland Park battle at Mesquite Memorial on Saturday afternoon, while Dayton and Lake Travis hold their expected shootout Friday night at Kyle Field on the Texas A&M campus. In Class 3A, Snyder faces unbeaten Celina Saturday afternoon in Abilene, while China Spring and Cuero face off in Austin on Saturday night. Class 2A has a nice QB showdown in Waco Friday night. Miami-bound Taylor Cook leads Rice Consolidated against UTEP-bound Tim Curry and Elysian Fields. On Saturday it's Canadian vs. Cisco in Lubbock. Class 1A games are both Saturday with Sundown playing Munday in Sweetwater and Maud taking on Bremond in Nacogdoches.
Class 5A holds semifinals in both Divisions this weekend, leading to Championship Saturday the following weekend in San Antonio. In Division I, North Shore (14-0) remains the only unbeaten team and will play on-rushing Converse Judson (10-4) at Rice Stadium Saturday afternoon. Euless Trinity and Plano, two 13-1 teams, square off at Texas Stadium Saturday night. Abilene (13-1) plays Pflugerville (11-3) in the afternoon contest at Texas Stadium in the Division II tournament, while top-ranked Katy (14-0) faces banged up San Antonio Madison (13-1) in the Alamodome on Saturday afternoon.