Without upsets there would be no underdogs, and without underdogs we wouldn't have Rudy or Remember the Titans, and then football fans would have fewer reasons to cry among their friends. Don't lie to me and say you didn't cry when Rudy sacks the Georgia Tech quarterback; I'll even let you get away with saying that you cried because you found yourself cheering for Notre Dame.
And we wouldn't even have those totally saccharine underdog flicks like Radio, which remind us that underdog movies can in fact be unwatchable, thus increasing our appreciation for the aforementioned films and anything titled Friday Night Lights.
History, not just Hollywood, loves underdogs, too. Every powerhouse has met their Waterloo and now every team named the Spartans seems to pay some homage to the Battle at Thermopylae (even if players are referencing Zack Snyder's overdone, greasy six-pack man film, 300).
Tangential underdog rants aside, the high school football scene had a whole host of shockers this past weekend.
Grayson shocked: The Robert Nkemdiche commitment saga continues. His mother most recently weighed in by claiming her son's decision is not final, but that stopped mattering last Friday night. Nkemdiche and Grayson lost to a team that had scored three points all season, dropping a stunner to Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.), 22-7. The Panthers were just a week removed from a 20-0 defeat to Norcross (Ga.) while Grayson had last week off. Parkview's offense had not scored a touchdown all season (it won its first game 3-0 before being shut out), but was able to take a lead it would never surrender against Grayson's lauded unit.
Grayson now tumbles out of the rankings, but it was not the only nationally ranked team to lose a shocker this past weekend.
The Sky(line) is falling: Despite its prolific offense, the Skyline (Dallas) defense has been unable to stop any opponents this season, and Bowie (Arlington, Texas) got the best of them in a 38-36 win. The Raiders have given up at least 28 points in each of their three games this season, and last Friday they had given up 38 points by the end of the third quarter. The Volunteers almost blew a 38-16 lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but not even stars Devante Kincade and Ra'Shaad Samples could bring Skyline back from the large deficit. The schedule does not get any easier for the Raiders, as they enter a high-profile 5A showdown at Dallas Jesuit this week.
Diffusing the Rockets: Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.) was another school ripe for an upset this weekend, but the Hurricanes continued their torrid offensive production and held off the surging Miami Central to maintain unbeaten. While Central is now 1-2 after one of the hardest non-conference schedules imaginable, it is clear that the young Rockets have arrived and will churn several players into Division-I football. Anchored by its explosive offense and an excited defense, Manatee outlasted Miami Central 44-34 in a marathon to maintain its perfect record and avoid the upset bug that bit other top-ranked opponents this weekend.
It appeared from the outset that Manatee would coast to victory against the Rockets. Central went 12 yards backwards in its first two possessions and was down 9-0 early. By halftime it was 23-7.
But the offenses would come to life, recording a series of long offensive drives and providing the thrilling offensive showdown that onlookers expected. While quarterback Cord Sandberg has been the catalyst of the Hurricanes' offense for most of the season, running back Trevon Walters sealed the game on an 85-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. Walters finished with 227 total yards and two touchdowns.
The schedule finally gets easier for Central after a vicious stretch to begin the season while Manatee shows no signs of slowing down.
National Crusaders: Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) traveled 2,535 miles for its biggest win of the year, a 42-35 victory over Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas). Bishop Gorman played its third out-of-state opponent and second highly-ranked team (the Gaels beat Our Lady of Good Counsel, Olney, Md.) to start the season), but turned the ball over too many times to pick up its third victory of the season. Bergen Catholic was already touted as the best team in New Jersey and one of the best in the Northeast, but the Crusaders cemented itself as one of the nation's best with their landmark victory on the road.
And now the rankings, which are all shaken up after Friday's madness:
Previous rank: 1
Last game: Won 44-34 over No. 10 Miami Central (Fla.)
Next game: at Southeast (Bradenton, Fla.)
Sure, the Hurricanes got their first test, but they had no trouble passing it. The schedule now opens up to continue down that road toward a national championship, but obstacles always await when you are at the top.
Previous rank: 3
Last game: Won 72-0 over Carson (Calif.)
Next game: vs. St Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.)
The Eagles led 55-0 at halftime last Friday's laugher. The feast of cupcakes appears over, however. The Eagles welcome a challenging St. Bonaventure squad into Orange County next weekend, and after that starts the battles of the Trinity League.
Previous rank: 4
Last game: Won 34-7 over East St. John (Reserve, La.)
Next game: vs. Cohen (New Orleans, La.)
The Patriots start conference play and it shouldn't be too difficult; Cohen has been outscored 125-6 in its first two games of the season.
Previous rank: NR
Last game: Won 42-35 over No. 8 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
Next game: at St. Joseph Regional High (Montvale, N.J.)
The Crusaders are the new kids in this week's rankings, and they could shoot up the list even more if they can win another enormous game next week. Just one week after traveling across the country to beat a sturdy Bishop Gorman side, Bergen Catholic will play in a Jersey showdown against St. Joseph Regional, which recently dropped a hard-fought battle against Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.).
Previous rank: 5
Last game: Won 69-0 over Sammamish (Bellevue, Wash.)
Next game: vs. Lake Washington (Kirkland, Wash.)
Bellevue should get a bit of a better test with the Kangaroos this weekend, but Lake Washington is coming off of a blowout 42-13 loss against Mercer Island. The Wolverines, conversely, are showing no signs of letting up on offense.
Previous rank: 7
Last week: Won 21-13 over St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.)
Next week: @ Granada (Livermore, Calif.)
The Spartans had to claw a bit in its win over St. Mary's, but they controlled the tempo from the beginning and continues to show itself as one of the best teams in California. De La Salle gets an unheralded by undefeated side in Granada next week.
Previous rank: 9
Last week: Won 41-0 over Clinton (S.C.)
Next week: vs. Boiling Springs (Spartansburg, S.C.)
Brynes coasted to an easy victory against a weak Clinton side, but will face one of the stronger teams in the state when it plays Boiling Springs this weekend. The Bulldogs have scored at least 34 points in three of its four games and electric Akia Booker will be a significant test for the Byrnes defense.
Previous rank: NR
Last week: Won 40-0 over Strong Vincent (Erie, Pa.)
Next week: at McDowell (Erie, Pa.)
The Wildcats enter the top 10 this season predominantly because they have beat every opponent (all of which have been respected teams) by at lest 27 points. St. Ignatius has faced top teams from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, and has put up at least 31 points on every one; it has now outscored opponents 168-41 on the year.
Previous rank: NR
Last week: Won 59-14 over Redlands East Valley
Next week: vs. Cathedral Catholic (San Diego Calif.)
USC prize recruit Su'a Cravens obliterated a strong Redlands East Valley team last weekend, and for that it deserves a jump into the rankings. Vista Murrieta lacked some consistency at the beginning of the season, but enjoyed a tremendous offensive performance last Friday. All eyes are on Cravens, an athlete expected to revolutionize the Trojan secondary when he arrives next fall.
Previous rank: NR
Last week: Won 14-13 over St. Xavier (Cincinnati)
Next week: at Indianapolis Cathedral (Ind.)
Many have considered Trinity a disappointment this season, but it remains undefeated and held off one of the top teams in Ohio last weekend. The 10th spot shuffle may continue if the Shamrocks cannot log a big win when it travels to Indianapolis this weekend.
Next five: Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati), Camden County (Kingsland, Ga.), Miami Central (Fla.), Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.), Lake Travis (Austin)
Dropped Out: No. 2 Grayson (Loganville, Ga.), No. 6 Skyline (Dallas), No. 8 Bishop Gorman