Game of the Week
No. 40 Butler (Matthews, N.C.) 9-0 at No. 34 Independence (Charlotte, N.C.) 10-0
These teams have had nearly identical seasons and finally meet in a matchup that has been anticipated by local fans for weeks. In a game that often draws 10,000 fans, a renovation at Memorial Stadium means that only 4,200 will be allowed to cram into Independence Stadium to watch it. Students at the schools have even had to win a lottery to buy tickets. For Independence, a 35-32 win in its third game against defending South Carolina state champ South Pointe (Rock Hill, S.C.) became a springboard to a stellar regular season. The Patriots' only close game came in a 31-27 win over Providence (Charlotte, N.C.). Meanwhile, Butler also defeated a defending state champ in its third game when it bested Richmond County (Rockingham, N.C.), 38-31. The Bulldogs' only other close contest, like Independence, came against Providence as Butler snagged a 35-28 victory. This game also features two of the top quarterbacks in the state. Independence senior Anthony Carrothers threw for 439 yards last weekend and has passed for 2,367 yards and 22 touchdowns on the year to go with 13 rushing touchdowns. Butler counters with junior Christian LeMay, who has thrown for 1,741 yards and 25 scores with just one interception.
Player to Watch
Glenville (Cleveland, Ohio)
One of the best punt return touchdowns in the NFL this season was the one turned in by Ted Ginn Jr. of the Miami Dolphins last Sunday against the New York Jets. Wynn plays for Ted Ginn Jr.'s father, Ted Ginn Sr., at Glenville and is turning in highlight reel runs and returns nearly every week. In a 35-0 win last week over Cleveland East, Wynn flashed his 4.4 speed by returning the opening kickoff 85 yards for a score and then later in the first quarter he broke loose for 93-yard touchdown run from scrimmage. Wynn has been one of the top players at Glenville for two years and next year as a senior should be heavily recruited. He recently received an offer from Ohio State. As a sophomore, Wynn caught 56 passes and scored 17 total touchdowns.
No. 23 Katy (Katy, Texas) 8-1 vs. Cinco Ranch (Katy, Texas) 9-0
Both teams have had this game circled on the calendar since District 17-5A play started, if not sooner, and both have rolled to 4-0 district marks to set up Saturday's titanic matchup for the title at Rhodes Stadium. The scenario was the same last fall, and Cinco Ranch knocked off the Tigers in the finale, 27-21 in overtime, something largely forgotten by most after Katy bounced back to win six straight and close out '08 with a Class 5A Division II state title. Katy had problems stopping the run in its lone loss this season, surrendering 261 yards and four touchdowns to the The Woodlands' Daniel Lasco in a 31-27 loss, and could face the same problems in dealing with Cinco Ranch's K.C. Nlemchi. The 6-0, 200-pound junior has rumbled for 1,593 yards and 20 touchdowns so far this year, including a school-record 300 yards last week in a 49-17 win over Seven Lakes.
Team on the RISE?
DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas)
The Eagles soared into the FAB 50 this week for the first time all year and have a chance to really solidify their status as one of the elite teams in the Lone Star State with a win over previous FAB 50-ranked John Tyler (Tyler, Texas) this weekend in a big District 11-5A showdown. Second-year head coach Claude Mathis has led DeSoto back to prominence behind a frenetic, high-scoring no-huddle attack that is averaging over 44 points and nearly 570 yards of offense per game. Senior running back Marcus Murphy and Texas-bound receiver Darius Terrell provide the star power in the attack, but junior quarterback Ryan Polite is as efficient as they come, passing for 3,013 yards and 30 touchdowns with just six interceptions through nine games. The defense could be a tad more stout, as it cost the Eagles in a season-opening 44-41 loss to FAB 50 No. 3 Cedar Hill (Cedar Hill, Texas), but the Eagles can score with anybody.
Mark Tennis is a deputy editor for ESPN RISE.