The top seed goes down and one game is dubbed the best of the year by some pundits. Week 16 was full of action, even if there are only a few games remaining.
So even though St. Thomas Aquinas is one of the nation's most storied high school football programs, nobody expected the Raiders to obliterate the Hurricanes 35-18 and end Manatee's dream season.
SI.com and multiple national outlets considered Manatee the top team in the nation, and the Hurricanes held the No. 1 position for 13 consecutive weeks before Friday's loss. Three years ago, the same two teams played in similar circumstances but with different roles; Aquinas was the heavily favored defending state champion before Mantaee stunned the nation with a 28-20 win.
The difference between the two games is that the '09 edition was a bit closer. The Raiders turned an early 3-0 deficit to a 21-3 lead by the middle of the third quarter, and Manatee would trail by at least two scores the rest of the night.
The upset sets up an unlikely Class 7A state final between St. Thomas Aquinas and Lincoln (Tallahassee, Fla.), which beat Osceola (Kissimmee, Fla.) to advance to the championship.
The Eagles and Carroll (Southlake, Texas) traded touchdowns all night, but the game eventually hinged on three plays at the goal line. Carroll quarterback Kenny Hill had already scored five touchdowns, and now he had three shots at the end zone to advance to the state semifinals.
He was stopped three times, and DeSoto continued its magical season with a 49-45 win over the defending champs. Eagles' quarterback Desmon White passed for 376 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 139 yards. Heralded running back Dontre Wilson (who is committed to Oregon) was limited by a leg injury.
Coach Claude Mathis and his team now advance to the Class 5A state semifinals and will take on Allen (Texas).
The Huskies scored in the final minute to beat Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.) 41-34 to resist a big comeback and advance to the CIF Open Championship against De La Salle, which beat Folsom (Calif.) 49-15.
Centennial opened up a 27-8 lead at halftime, but two-time Los Angeles City Section Player of the Year Troy Williams helped Narbonne back into the game in the second half. Though the Gauchos came all the way back to tie the game 34-34, Centennial running back Tre Watson scored the game-winning touchdown with 22 seconds remaining.
Centennial will now take on the powerful Spartans on Saturday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
The Wolverines take over the top spot (perhaps for good) after Manatee's stunning loss. With a variety of dominant victories and a thrilling win over a major Trinity (Euless, Texas), Bellevue takes over the throne.
The Patriots capped an utterly dominant season with another big victory over a traditional state power.
The Eagles pulled out a magnificent win to oust the defending state champions, but a stiff test is waiting against Allen, the team that shut out Carroll to begin its 2012 season.
The Tigers keep mauling their opponents, but an undefeated Steele side should present a formidable challenge.
The Spartans are hitting their stride at the right time. Though legendary coach Bob Ladouceur is rumored to be retiring, De La Salle has continued its dominance despite persistent questions about its consistency.
Season concluded after defeating Jack Britt (Fayetteville, N.C.) 56-28 in the NCHSAA 4AA Championship.
Season concluded after defeating
The Suns are state champions after rallying to knock off Madison County, a team that called itself "the biggest underdog in the history of football." After the Cowboys built a 17-point lead on University, it appeared to be the underdog's night. Instead, Suns' quarterback Mike White (who also committed to USF over the weekend) helped bring his team back to clinch the first
Centennial is the only team with a loss in the top-10, but consecutive victories over two nationally acknowledged teams give them an appearance in this week's rankings. The Huskies will shoot up the charts if they can knock off vaunted De La Salle in the state championship.
With star running back Alvin Kamara, Norcross has knocked off two consecutive powerhouses (Camden County, Colquitt County) en route to the state championship.