Grayson, Carroll emerge in playoffs
With 13 of the Top 25 teams inactive over the weekend, including five of the Top 10, today's Power Rankings take on a bit of a different feel. Instead of using this space to endlessly analyze Trinity (Ky.) and Don Bosco Prep's (N.J.) dominance -- something I've covered in exhausting detail -- I'm recapping the latest in the high school playoff circuit. Though only a number of contenders took the field, there was no shortage of intrigue. In fact, with Carroll and Grayson making championship cases, it may have been the most compelling weekend to date.
The updated Top 25 is included at bottom, and the final Rankings will be released on Dec. 19. For now, here are this week's storylines, beginning with a thriller in Texas.
Here's the stunning sequence: Juan Ramos converted a 34-yard field goal with 2:26 remaining, giving Skyline a commanding 24-14 lead. Junior quarterback Kenny Hill pioneered an 80-yard touchdown drive to cut the margin to three, and wideout Ray Crockett -- the son of the former Lions, Broncos and Chiefs' cornerback -- recovered a perfectly executed onside kick with 1:07 to go. Then the incredible happened. Following a 15-yard run by sophomore A.J. Ezzard, Hill exploded down the right sideline, shedding multiple tacklers -- and outpacing a fox -- on his way to the end zone. A photo of the scene is pictured above.
The moment was euphoric. It also served as a potent reminder of why Carroll can't be overlooked.
Since quarterback Riley Dodge's graduation in '07, the Dragons have had few high-profile Division-I recruits. Only four seniors on this year's team hold scholarships to the next level, in stark contrast with Skyline, which has BCS-caliber talent at seemingly every position. But Carroll's success speak volumes about its resiliency: It's 103-11 since 2004, boasting three Texas 5A Division I titles.
Saturday's stunning finish -- though baffling in many ways -- made this much clear: 2011 is no different. Despite being shut down for the majority of the game, the Dragons found a way to win. If coach Hal Wasson and Co. can beat Fort Bend Hightower at Cowboys Stadium next week, they'll secure a Top 10 -- and potentially a top five -- national finish.
Their 24-0 blanking of Walton was a microcosm of the season. Grayson held the Raiders to 95 total yards, including
The message was evident: Grayson deserves mention in the national championship discussion. It was a fitting, and memorable, 100th career victory for head coach Mickey Conn.
They bounced back beautifully. Westlake rattled off 28 unanswered points and thwarted a late Oaks Christian comeback to earn a 49-42 victory and clinch its second state title since 2009.
UCLA commit Dashon Hunt was the difference-maker. He collected 125 rushing yards and five total touchdowns (four rushing, one pick-six), including a 26-yard scamper that gave the team a lead it wouldn't relinquish. And coming off their most satisfying victory to date, the Warriors have another chance to prove their merit: They play De La Salle in the CIF Open Division Bowl game on Saturday. The winner, quite simply, earns bragging rights as the top team in California.
He silenced any such doubts against Dawson (Texas). Mayfield's numbers from Saturday's 45-14 rout: 15-for-26, 285 yards and four scores.
Even more encouraging for Lake Travis, senior Colin Lagasse re-emerged as a potent receiving threat. After tallying just 38 receiving yards in his last three games, he made six catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns, including a 72-yarder that sealed the game in the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers take on Midway (12-2) with a shot at an unprecedented fifth consecutive Texas 4A Division I crown.
After averaging 46.4 points over five playoff games, the Lakers proved they can contend with anyone. That's reflected in the rankings below: Oswego (No. 24) cracked the Top 25 for the first time all season.
Following several crucial outcomes, a trio of tantalizing matchups have emerged in the Florida Class 6A, 7A and 8A finals.
Here is the updated Top 25, with Grayson, Westlake Carroll and Miami Norland on the rise. All 25 finish their seasons following next week's slate of games.