Every so often, unpredictability reigns. In a high school football landscape dominated by perennial powers, by five-star recruits and D-I caliber talents, the underdogs occasionally break through. That happened this weekend. Then again. And again.
In the first week of November, upsets abound. Here are a few of the stunning results.
• Warren Central (Ind.) fell to Carmel (Ind.)
• St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) lost to Cooper City (Fla.)
• DeSoto (Texas) lost to Longview (Texas)
• Harrison's (Mich.) 24-game winning streak came to an end, with the unbeaten Hawks losing to Brother Rice (Mich.)
• Maine South (Ill.) suffered its first postseason loss in 16 tries, losing to Stevenson (Ill.)
They weren't the only notable happenings. Others: The Top 10 all won, outscoring the competition 474-83. Trinity's Bob Beatty reached a coaching milestone, and Kenton (Ohio) quarterback Maty Mauk reached a passing one. Gaffney's defense dominated, Allen's offense exploded and Miami Central escaped in four overtimes.
From coast to coast, the prep scene captivated. Now onto this week's rankings...
Notoriously slow starters, Don Bosco limped to another unremarkable opening against Clifton, leading 7-0 after the first quarter. Then, it proceeded to dominate. Jabrill Peppers (twice), Elijah Shumate and Yuri Wright all notched second quarter scores, giving the Ironmen a 35-0 halftime lead. It continued a larger trend: Over the past three weeks, they've outscored opponents 122-7 in the second and third quarters.
Bosco remains in a holding pattern, beating up inferior competition since stomping St. Edward on Oct. 8. Their next foe should be tougher. After consecutive byes, it'll resume play against St. Joseph, 7-1, a team that hasn't allowed more than 18 points all season. It should provide a better measuring stick of whether the Ironmen truly deserve their spot atop the rankings.
If anyone has an argument to supplant top-ranked Bosco, it's Trinity. Following a 72-0 smackdown of Kenton, it has won 21 straight games dating back to 2010. Its accomplishments are striking.
• The Shamrocks have gained more than 500 all-purpose yards in eight games this season, including each of their last four.
• In ten games, they've scored 35 rushing touchdowns. Their opponents have scored five.
• With Friday's win, Bob Beatty captured his 150th victory as head coach. He's 50-3 all-time in the playoffs.
Trinity won't play the Ironmen, an obvious pitfall of the high school system. But that doesn't mean it won't pass them its quest for a national title. If the 'Rocks continue their steadfast dominance and Bosco continues its early game struggles, the two could soon trade places at the top.
If St. Thomas Aquinas is the most renowned Florida football powerhouse, Armwood is gaining as a close second. After crushing King on the road, it's 49-1 in regular season games over the past five years, its only defeat coming to rival Plant in Oct. 2009.
The formula is simple: running and defense. And so far, it's worked beautifully. Eight Hawks have rushed for touchdowns in '11, and seven have tallied multiple sacks.
Mentioned in last week's column, Gaffney's Joey Copeland and Quinshad Davis form the nation's top quarterback-to-receiver tandem. They proved that again this week against Spartanburg. The duo connected 10 times for 167 yards and a touchdown, bettering their season totals to 1,545 yards and 20 scores.
"I'm not trying to be cocky or anything, but we're always confident in what we can do," Davis told
It's not cocky if you back it up.
Katy ran rampant over Cinco Ranch, compiling 393 rushing yards en route to the District 19-5A championship. Here's how it has fared on the ground this season.
That adds up to 2,584 yards (258.4 per game) and 32 touchdowns, most of it without injured tailback Adam Taylor. Give credit to the offensive line: Aaron Sowell, Cole Gessler and Cameron Glover.
Alabama fans, Bishop Gorman feels your pain. Despite losing to a championship contender (20-17 to Armwood on Aug. 26), the Gaels can make a case as the nation's most complete team. They furthered that notion against Cheyenne: Gorman cruised 49-6, spearheaded by three touchdowns from do-everything back Shaquille Powell (two rushing, one receiving).
The victory sets up a No. 1-No. 2 contest of its own, a clash with Arbor View in the Sunset Regional final. This rematch isn't as compelling. When the two played on Oct. 21, the Gaels rolled 56-7.
How overpowering is Good Counsel's running game? Consider: Over the past three weeks, the Falcons have scored 117 points. They've completed a mere 10 passes.
That's thanks to the two-pronged backfield attack of Wes Brown and Dorial O'Daniel, a tandem that rushed for 296 yards and three touchdowns against Carroll, and 1,743 and 29 scores, respectively, in 2011. Expect more in the WCAC semifinals: When the Falcons faced the Cadets on Oct. 21, Brown and O'Daniel combined for 277 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-14 win.
Buford's slow and steady rankings' ascent continues, with the Wolves inching to No. 8. They turned in another trademark performance in the Region 6-AA final: 293 rushing yards, 93 passing yards and defensive and special teams' touchdowns in a 49-10 rout of Blessed Trinity.
Here's the problem -- Buford still hasn't played anyone of note. Its closest game was a 28-0 shutout of Greater Atlanta Christian, and it has beaten opponents by an average of 42.2 points. The lack of worthy challengers isn't the Wolves' fault (Camden County, Colquitt County and Grayson are in Class 5A, not 2A), but certainly hinders their opportunities to move up.
There are offensive explosions, and then there was Allen's remarkable output in its regular season finale. The Eagles racked up 657 yards of total offense, pounding Flower Mound behind a bevy of sparkling performances. Alec Morris threw for 384 yards, Jonathan Williams ran for 144 and Andrew Rodriguez and Oliver Pierce had 134 and 116 receiving yards, respectively.
Allen poses a formidable offensive threat, scoring at least 40 points in seven of 10 games. But the defense needs to improve. It's allowed 208 points to date, 107 more than any other member of the Top 10.
Miramar completed its first perfect regular season in school history, but just barely. Clinging to a 20-16 lead with less than three minutes remaining, five-star corner Tracy Howard intercepted a Flanagan pass at the Pats' 30-yard line, saving the game and salvaging their outside national title hopes.
More importantly, it continued Miramar's mission to honor fallen lineman
"It was pressure, with the retiring of Isaiah's jersey and all," coach Damon Cogdell told the