High school football aficionados were treated to two real high-profile games this week, and both significantly altered the national landscape. While there was not much change at the top, the middle of the rankings received a decent shuffle. And we'll even treat you to a heart-warming story to top it all off.
After struggling in a 35-3 loss against Grayson last week, Central had to rebound and prepare for a high-profile tilt against Washington at Sun Life Stadium. Washington demolished Central's league rival, Carol City, one week earlier while Central was bowled over by Robert Nkemdiche and the Rams.
The Rockets must not merely be athletic, but a resilient bunch as well.
Despite struggling in the first half, Central began lining up its star running back, Joseph Yearby, at quarterback, and the Rockets zipped to a 37-26 win over Washington. Running back Dalvin Cook summarized his team and himself quite succinctly.
"I'm fast," Cook told reporters after the game. "I don't know why, but I am just fast."
He is. So are the aptly named Rockets, but they'll need more than just speed when they take on the No. 1 team in the nation, Manatee, next week.
This year is no different.
Curtis demolished Plant (Tampa, Fla.) 33-3 in the All-State Sugar Bowl Prep Classic in a big matchup between two of the nation's top teams -- though only one of them looked the part by the time the game was over. Curtis executed its signature veer offense to near perfection while suffocating the Panther offense. Plant was held to 194 total yards of offense and 45 yards rushing on 31 carries. Curtis, meanwhile, rolled up 220 rushing yards and enjoyed a 27-3 lead at halftime.
Unsettled by a series of vitriolic posts on Twitter, Curwick started a campaign labeled "Osseo Nice Things" intended to combat cyberbullying. Curwick stated that he wanted all new students to feel welcome at Osseo and that he noticed a series of increasingly negative barbs circulating on Twitter. So Curwick launched his campaign, one that he initially planned to keep quiet. In doing so, Curwick may have (at least temporarily) curtailed the perception of the towel-snapping, icy-hot-in-the-freshman's-jock-strap meathead football captain.
Curwick and the Orioles may not be as nice on the field; the Orioles are 2-0.
And now to the rankings:
We've already expounded about the quality of Manatee's offense, and at this point you should expect that the Hurricanes will take one quarter to put the game away. Manatee has had one quarter in each of its first three games (including the preseason matchup with Osceola) where it has logged at least 21 points. Now, the Hurricanes get Miami Central, who is fresh off of the aforementioned victory over Washington. There's your game of the week if you couldn't already tell.
Robert Nkemdiche and the rest of the Rams didn't have an opponent to batter this week. They return to action next weekend against a Parkview side that has scored three points all season.
Star quarterback Johnny Stanton was at it again, throwing for three touchdowns and running for two more in a 55-0 annihilation of a Trabuco Hills side that came into the game with a 2-0 record. The Eagles should be able to pad the stats next week against winless Carson side, but a major non-league game against St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.,) awaits on Sept. 21.
The Patriots get the big bump for such a dominating performance against another one of the nation's top teams. Rolling up yards in the running game and playing positively staunch defense means Curtis moves up as it enters league play.
After its big win over Trinity (Euless, Texas), Bellevue took a 35-0 halftime lead and coasted to an easy win over Bothell. The Wolverines should have another easy victory this coming weekend against city rival Sammamish; the Totems lost 55-0 to Pierce (Tacoma, Wash.), on Friday.
The Raiders put on another offensive show, but the questions on defense persist after another weak performance. Skyline has now allowed 62 points in its first two games of the season, and it gets a high-flying Bowie side next week. The Volunteers are coming off of a loss, but they have scored 126 points in their first three games.
Even with a difficult challenge from the 14-time Colorado state champion, the Spartans performed with their typical style and grace and eased to a big victory at home. It's rare that De La Salle even appears to struggle, so they get a bump for the second straight week for dominating on both sides of the football.
First the Gaels hosted a team from Maryland, then they traveled to Hawaii; they probably deserved the week off. They'll need it; Gorman awaits the arrival of Bergen Catholic, the top team in New Jersey, this weekend.
In what may have been the biggest game in South Carolina all season, Byrnes fended off fellow Palmetto State powerhouse Northwestern, 32-28, in a high-scoring affair. While quarterback Shuler Bentley and receiver Akia Booker have provided most of the Byrnes offense this season, the Rebels got a sizable contribution from wideout Greg McHam, who went whole hog on Friday with four touchdown catches.
It may seem a tad ridiculous to bring the Rockets back into the rankings after dropping them all the way out last week, but it's important to recognize the impressive second half comeback and defeat of last week's sixth-ranked side. Don't look now, however; Central must pull off a major coup and beat top-ranked Manatee this week to save their spot in the top ten.