GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 3 Allen (Allen, Texas) 7-0 at Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) 7-0, 7:30 p.m., Friday
There are no matchups this week with two FAB 50 ranked teams running into each other so the next best bet for a memorable matchup might be the highest ranked team facing an undefeated opponent.
While Allen comes into the game at No. 3 in the FAB 50 and Marcus is not even in the Midlands Region Top 20, it’s not expected to be an easy win for the Eagles. Marcus moved up to No. 14 in this week’s ESPNHS Texas Top 25 and it’s not as if Allen has been rolling over all of its district opponents. In the last two games, in fact, the Eagles have had to rally to get wins of 41-38 against Plano East (Plano, Texas) and 40-28 against Plano West (Plano, Texas).
With two potent offenses, the deciding factor in the game could be if Allen’s defense reverts to the form it showed in its first two district games when it gave up a combined 20 points.
Marcus has had to go into overtime to win two of its last three games, but also has a 20-10 win over Plano East, which compares favorably to closer win Allen had over the same team. The Marauders are built around the running back duo of Marcus Giddens and Jeff Smiley. Giddens has rushed for 1,167 yards and 18 touchdowns while Smiley has 830 yards and 10 scores. Smiley also had two interceptions on defense in last week’s 28-24 triumph over Plano.
Allen, which is trying to win its sixth straight district title before taking aim at the Class 5A Division I state crown, has a more balanced offense with Alabama-bound quarterback Alec Morris and highly touted running back Jonathan Williams. Morris has passed for 1,878 yards and 25 touchdowns on the season compared to just one interception. Williams has rushing for 100 or more yards in three straight games, including 28 for 167 and one touchdowns vs. Plano West.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Lorenzo Collins, Harrison (Farmington Hills, Mich.)
The 6-foot, 205-pound sophomore running back has emerged as a major offensive weapon for the No. 9 ranked team in the FAB 50.
Early in the season, quarterback Jake Vento led the Hawks with week-in, week-out production. But in the last few weeks, Collins has given the Hawks another dimension by rushing for over 200 yards in three straight games. Last week, in a 28-7 win over once-beaten Lake Orion (Lake Orion, Mich.), Collins ran for 212 yards and two scores. This followed outings of 244 yards and five touchdowns plus 213 yards and two scores.
Considering the size of the school and the competition, a sophomore with the size and speed of Collins is sure get college scouts very interested.
This weekend, defending Division 2 state champion Hawks will take a 22-game win streak into its regular season finale Friday against Farmington (Farmington, Mich.).
St. Ignatius (Cleveland) vs. No. 43 St. Xavier (Cincinnati) at John Carroll University, 2 p.m., Saturday
Two of Ohio's Division 1 heavyweight programs from opposite ends of the state stage their annual late regular season showdown with possible FAB 50 ranking implications riding on the outcome.
A St. Ignatius win over the No. 43 ranked Bombers could propel the Wildcats into the FAB 50 since the lone loss for the Cleveland power has come against unbeaten No. 38 ranked Mentor (Mentor, Ohio).
The Bombers, however, have won five of the last seven games against the Wildcats, including a 19-9 nod last year. St. Ignatius prevailed in 2009 and in 2008 when it capped a 14-1 record season with a Division 1 state crown.
St. Xavier also is coming off a 17-10 win over defending D-1 state champion St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio), but the win proved costly since three-year standout running back Conor Hundley limped off the field in the fourth quarter after rushing for 160 yards and two scores. The status of Hundley, who was on crutches after the game, is uncertain. If Hundley, who has 15 TDs and 791 rushing yards this year, isn't at full strength, the chances for an upset are much greater.
Upset Alerts so far this season: 3-4
TEAM ON THE RISE?
Couer d’Alene (Couer d’Alene, Idaho) 7-0
It would be easy to call the Vikings the Boise State of high school football, except that it is much more difficult to compare Couer d’Alene’s schedule with top high school teams in big states than it is Boise State’s. The Broncos, after all, have beaten many teams from top college conferences in recent years.
Coach Shawn Amos’ team clearly is on pace to be compared with some of the state’s all-time best teams. After going 11-1 last year and winning the state’s highest divisional title, this year has been marked by a series of lopsided blowouts. Last week’s of 69-7 against Lewiston (Lewiston, Idaho) followed one of 55-0 over Moscow (Moscow, Idaho). The one score, however, that shows it’s likely the Vikings might be able to play at the highest level of any state in the West is the win of 55-6 against Whitney (Rocklin, Calif.). Whitney features Elite 11 quarterback Jake Rodrigues and tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, a USC commit.
Heading into Friday’s game with Post Falls (Post Falls, Idaho), the Vikings have won 16 straight games. They are like Boise State in that there’s a quarterback leading the charge similar to Heisman Trophy candidate Kellen Moore. In Couer d’Alene’s case, that would be senior Chad Chalich. He has passed for 1,944 yards and 26 touchdowns with just one interception in seven games. Chalich also has rushed for 336 yards and eight more scores. Bubba Duran (36 catches, six TDs) and Deon Watson (30 catches, seven TDs) have split most of the action when Chalich passes. Another productive player has been senior Carlos Martinez, who has rushed for 525 yards and six scores and also has caught five TD passes.