Besides having one of the quickest defenses you’ll ever see and possessing a power running back like 6-foot-3, 215-pound Matt Jones, another reason to be impressed with this year’s football team at Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) is talented junior speedster Alvin Bailey.
Bailey is this week’s POWERADE FAB 50 Spotlight Player of the Week after he returned a punt 46 yards for a touchdown, ran back a kickoff 78 yards for a score and added a touchdown catch during Armwood’s 80-0 romp past Strawberry Crest (Dover, Fla.).
Coach Sean Callahan of the FAB 50’s No. 2 ranked team tries to utilize Bailey’s skills in varied ways. The obvious is as a pass catcher as was the case in the team’s first game when it traveled to Las Vegas and beat Bishop Gorman 20-17 in a matchup of top ranked squads. But Bailey also has completed 20 of 30 passes as a quarterback for 414 yards and five touchdowns. And he’s also run the ball 35 times for 388 yards and two other scores.
The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder, who was a quarterback as a freshman, is beginning to attract the interest of top college programs. Florida, Alabama, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt are among those who could be checking him out.
NFL HALL OF FAMERS FROM FAB 50 SCHOOLS
We have a shorter list than usual this week because there’s only two members of the NFL Hall of Fame who are from high schools in this week’s FAB 50.
Longtime Miami Dolphins’ quarterback Dan Marino, who was inducted at Canton, Ohio, in 2005, is the most famous football alum from No. 15 Pittsburgh Central Catholic (Pittsburgh).
The only other player on this list is receiver Michael Irvin. The longtime member of the Dallas Cowboys, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007, is from No. 17 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).
Marino was on the sidelines recently at St. Thomas Aquinas when the Raiders defeated No. 24 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) in a game shown on ESPN2.
HIGHEST RISING NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
No. 38 Mentor (Mentor, Ohio)
The Cardinals have taken over the No. 1 ranking in the Buckeye State and moved into the FAB 50 after spending several weeks in the Midwest Region rankings.
Mentor has never won a state football crown, but its 2006 team finished a 13-2 season as Division 1 runnerup to Davidson (Hilliard, Ohio) after a 36-35 shootout in the finals.
This season's team emerged as a contender in the third week when the Cardinals handed St. Ignatius (Cleveland) its lone season loss 38-24 while recording a school record 608 total offense yards. That win was led by 6-foot-3, 195-pound junior quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who amassed a school record 553 yards, including 469 by passing.
Last weekend, Trubisky continued his season-long productivity by passing for 334 yards and four scores in a 45-7 rout of Medina (Medina, Ohio). A week earlier, Mentor also handed Solon (Solon, Ohio) its lone season loss. The Cardinal defense is led by end Tom Strobel, a Michigan recruit.
Mentor, coached by 15-year veteran Steve Trivisonno, closes the regular season with road games against Strongsville (Strongsville, Ohio) and Twinsburg (Twinsburg, Ohio).
LOOKING AHEAD: LET'S PLAY TWO REMATCHES POSSIBLE
In at least three states, there could be playoff rematches of teams currently ranked in the FAB 50 and chances for losing teams to avenge regular season setbacks.
In Indiana, the two FAB 50 teams that played in the regular season would be No. 12 Warren Central (Indianapolis) and No. 48 Carmel (Carmel, Ind.). They could meet again in the Class 5A state playoffs, which begin this weekend. Warren Central survived its closest scare to remain unbeaten when the Warriors outlasted 22-20 on Sept. 30. The rematch rivalry takes another twist because the Carmel coach, Kevin Wright, used to coach nationally-ranked teams at Warren Central.
In North Carolina, observers already are pointing toward a postseason Class 4A rematch between FAB 50 ranked teams Mallard Creek of Charlotte (No. 21) and Butler of Matthews (No. 35). Mallard Creek opened the season with a 28-20 victory over two-time defending state champion Butler, which was sitting way up at No. 8 in the preseason FAB 50.
In Ohio, St. Xavier (Cincinnati) also could face a backyard playoff rematch against Moeller (Cincinnati) in the Division 1 playoffs. St. Xavier, ranked No. 43 this week, lost to Moeller 27-24 on Sept. 23 but has rebounded with three straight wins, including last Saturday's 17-10 win over defending state champion St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio). Moeller was ranked in the FAB 50 before being upset last weekend by Cathedral (Indianapolis) and is now No. 12 in the Midwest Region rankings.