The playoffs are several rounds deep and upsets were everywhere. Week 13 was memorable and only set up higher drama for the last few in high school football season.
Mentor does it again: Last week, we discussed Mentor's (Ohio) stunning 63-56 win over top-ranked St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio). The Cleveland Plain-Dealer ran a Monday column titled "Reliving the Mentor-St. Edward Classic"; The Cleveland Examiner led its postgame article with "They don't get much better than this..." (and included the indelible line "BOTH defensive coordinators will want to burn the tape after this one).
The newspapers apparently thought that the regional semifinal was the game of the year. Then the final delivered 113 points, three overtimes and a crowd of 9,500.
Led by Ohio Mr. Football frontrunner Mitch Trubisky, Mentor continued its incredible run through the OHSAA Division 1 Playoffs with a 57-56 triple-overtime win over St. Ignatius (Cleveland), which won 56-0 win in its semifinal game and defeated Mentor 48-21 earlier this season.
The game featured five ties, six lead changes and concluded with Mentor converting two-point attempt on the game's final play. The two teams matched touchdowns in each of the three overtimes before Cardinals' coach Steve Trivisonno opted to go for the win.
The loss is a crushing blow for St. Ignatius, and means that there will be a new Ohio state champion. The Wildcats were considered the state's top team for most of the year, but their vaunted could not slow Mentor's quick strike offense.
The Cardinals will take on Whitmer (Toledo) in the state semifinal on Saturday. The Panthers trounced Washington (Massillon, Ohio) 49-16 to advance to the state semifinal.
Ruling awaits top South Carolina team: Goose Creek (S.C.) is 13-0 and widely considered one of the top teams in the Palmetto State. Even after a dominant victory in its most recent playoff game, the Gators may face the wrath of the Ninth Circuit Court in Columbia before their semifinal game against Northwestern (Rock Hill, S.C.).
The South Carolina High School League ruled a Goose Creek player ineligible last week, but Ninth Circuit Judge Roger Young issued a temporary restraining order, allowing Goose Creek to play its Friday night game against Bluffton (S.C.). The sides meet again on Monday to determine the eligibility of the player identified only as "John Doe." If the player is determined ineligible, then the Gators will have to forfeit their playoff game and bow out of the SCHSL Class AAAA II playoffs.
Jordan clinches Utah 5A Title: Sophomore quarterback Austin Kafentzis has already received an offer from Florida State according to Rivals.com. Several more will follow now that the Jordan (Sandy, Utah) signal caller can add a state championship to his resume.
Even with future Alabama quarterback Cooper Bateman playing only a few miles away at Cottonwood Senior High (a team that finished 3-8), Kafentzis has established himself as the talk of Salt Lake City football. The sophomore led his Beetdiggers to a 58-2 annihilation of Syracuse (Utah) in the UHSAA 5A Championship. Jordan obliterated every team in its path, beating its opponents by a combined score of 149-23 in three playoff games. Jordan won every in-state game that it played this season; its only loss came to the powerful St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.).
Quick Hits: We've extensively documented the dominance of Yulee's (Fla.) Derrick Henry this season. Last Friday, the Alabama commit broke the 59-year old national all-time rushing record, cementing him as one of the greatest prep players of all-time. Henry surged for a 52-yard touchdown run to break the record set by Ken Hall of Sugarland, Texas in 1953. ... Kendall Fuller and Our Lady of Good Counsel have been tremendous all season and knocked off rival DeMatha, 26-14, in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship for the fourth year in a row. This was the second time the Falcons beat DeMatha in 2012. ... Ray Lewis III (son of Baltimore Ravens' star Ray Lewis) broke the Seminole County touchdown record with two touchdown runs and one touchdown pass in Lake Mary Prep's (Lake Mary, Fla.) 38-12 win over Deltona Trinity Christian (Deltona, Fla.). Lewis has now scored 89 touchdowns in his career. The Orlando Sentinel noted Lewis broke the record formerly held by Lake Howell (Fla.) running back Marquette Smith.
Fort Bend Travis (Richmond, Texas) pulled off a Texas playoff miracle on Saturday, coming up with this catch in the final seconds to knock off Clear Springs (League City, Texas). ... Southern California offered several dramatic quarterfinal finishes, all summarized nicely by Eric Sondheimer at the Los Angeles Times: Powerhouse Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) managed a huge win in a down year for the program, shocking second-seeded Mission Viejo (Calif.), 21-16. Former no. 1 Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), whose star quarterback Johnny Stanton suffered a torn ACL earlier in the season, had its season ended by St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.) in overtime, 27-21. Lastly, the night's wildest California game was Mater Dei's (Santa Ana, Calif.) 53-42 victory over Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills, Calif.). ... Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati), a great team with a brutal schedule, earned a top-flight win on Saturday, beating eighth-ranked Colerain (Cincinnati) and quarterback Alfred Ramsby 24-21 in its OHSAA Division I regional final.
And onto the rankings:
Previous rank: 1
Last week: Defeated Northeast (St. Petersburg, Fla.) 65-12
Next week: vs. Venice (Fla.) in FHSAA Class 7A Regional semifinals
The Hurricanes dispatched of Venice rather easily in October, but they did surrender 27 points in their 56-27 win.
Previous rank: 2
Last week: Defeated Peninsula (Gig Harbor, Wash.) 40-3
Next week: vs. Mount Si (Snoqualmie, Wash.) in the WIAA 3A semifinals
The Wolverines have allowed three points since Oct. 19. Their first meeting against Mount Si was supposed to be the state's best game of the year, but Bellevue was resting its starters by halftime. The semifinal may not end 49-10, but it will take a Herculean effort from the Wildcats.
Previous rank: 3
Last week: Defeated North Webster (Springhill, La.) 50-6
Next week: vs. Riverside (La.) in the Class 3A quarterfinals
Despite having to travel six hours upstate just to play a playoff game, Curtis obliterated the opposition once again. The Patriots should have even less trouble with a 6-7 Riverside squad in the quarterfinals.
Previous rank: 4
Last week: Defeated Westbury (Houston) 77-7
Next week: vs. Langham Creek (Houston) in the Conference 5A Divison 2 Area sectionals
Ouch. Next week's opponent is 9-2 on the season, but Katy's high-powered offense will likely steamroll a Langam Creek defense that has given up 35-plus points to three teams this season.
Previous rank: 5
Last week: Defeated Pittsburg (Calif.) 35-13
Next week: vs. Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.) in the CIF North Coast Section Division I quarterfinals
The Spartans have a pretty clear road to their section final. They already defeated Amador Valley 52-24 earlier this season, and had little trouble in potential final opponent California (San Ramon, Calif.) The wildcard will be James Logan (Union City, Calif.), which plays California in the semifinals and is 11-1 on the season.
Previous rank: 6
Last week: Defeated East Forsyth (Kernersville, N.C.), 25-15
Next week: vs. Mallard Creek (Charlotte, N.C.) in the NCHSAA 4AA semifinals
The Bulldogs survived a tough test from East Forsyth and now move onto a team it played way back in August. Butler beat Mallard Creek 27-6 this season, but that game was on August 17.
Previous rank: 7
Last week: Defeated Norco (Calif.) 31-16
Next week: vs. Rancho Cucamonga in the CIF Southern Section Inland semifinals
Su'a Cravens and company rolled to yet another victory, but will face a stiff test in Rancho Cucamonga. The Broncos will have to control two of Southern California's finest players in Chris Hawkins (like Cravens, a USC commit) and Tahaan Goodman.
Previous rank: 9
Last week: Defeated Harker Heights (Texas) 62-15
Next week: vs. Coppell (Texas) in Area Class 5A Playoffs
It was an easy win for the Eagles last week. This week will be an entirely different scenario. The area's two top teams (Coppell is 11-0) will square off at the brand new stadium at Allen High School (remember the one that cost $60 million?) in the most anticipated Texas playoff game of the week.
Previous rank: 10
Last week: Defeated Montgomery Bell Academy (Nashville) 35-7
Next week: vs. Memphis University in the Tennessee Boys State Football II-AA Championship
The Tigers recorded an easy win over a local rival and have only one more before crowning themselves state champions.
Previous rank: NR
Last week: Defeated Cardinal Newman (West Palm Beach, Fla.) 27-0
Next week: vs. American Heritage in the Florida Class 3A Regional Finals
Star wide receiver Jordan Cunningham and company have won every game by at least three scores this season, but play a star-studded regional final against American Heritage next week.
Next five: Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) Mentor (Ohio), Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.), Trinity (Louisville), Coppell (Texas)