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November 17, 2011

The only way to identify and keep track of the best teams and top players is to go see them.

All weekend.

Here's a look at just some of the hot spots where we'll be this weekend:

Find your region: Atlantic East | Heartland | Lakes | South | West (based on where game is played)

Rankings as of 11/14
No. 9 Allen (Texas) High vs. No. 20 Euless (Texas) Trinity
TheOldCoach.com: C.W. Starr
Saturday: It's the game most Texas high school football fans have had circled on their calendars since Trinity knocked off Allen in a classic round two showdown a year ago in front of over 30,000 at Cowboys Stadium. This time around both teams come in undefeated and with national rankings and plenty of hype, but each squad also has some flaws. Trinity's offense broke out in a big way last week, beating Duncanville, 55-36. RB Joel Kimpela ran wild with 269 yards and five touchdowns on the ground for the Trojans. Allen trailed feisty Keller Central 17-13 last week heading into the fourth quarter, before Arkansas commit Jonathan Williams and the Allen offense got rolling for a 30-17 win. Williams ran for 188 yards and a touchdown, while Alabama commit Alec Morris was solid but not spectacular in the winning effort. Both offenses on paper should move the ball with ease, but the key will be red zone efficiency. Trinity and that mammoth OL led by UCLA verbal Hiva Lutui is deadly in the red zone as they prefer to simply line up and mash you; Allen, on the other hand, last week had to settle for field goals on three red zone trips. That won't get it done this week. The Trinity defense with LB Brian Nance and DE Polo Manukainiu (Oklahoma) has enough talent to prevent Allen's offense from converting in the red zone and that makes the difference this week in another classic between two of the state's most dominant programs.
No. 18 Bellevue (Wash.) High vs. No. 19 Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes
UDUBNation.com: Ron Newberry (@RonNewberry)
Friday: Believe it or not, these two national Top 20 teams meet in the Class 3A quarterfinals. Lakes is led by a pair of four-star prospects in athlete Cedric Dozier, a California commit, and offensive lineman Zach Banner. Bellevue, meanwhile, is led by three-star offensive lineman Jake Eldrenkamp. The two teams met last year in the state semifinals with Bellevue rolling easily, 35-7 - a loss that Lakes seeks to avenge this time around.
No. 23 Dallas (Texas) Skyline vs. No. 34 DeSoto (Texas) High
TheOldCoach.com: Matt Diggs
Saturday: Round four of this epic rivalry takes place at Irving Schools Stadium of all places. There's no love lost between these two teams or coaches and their familiarity with each other will be interesting to watch. Skyline's defense was dominant last week in a 31-8 win over McKinney Boyd. Texas commit Thomas Johnson did haul in a pair of short touchdowns in the win but overall Skyline's passing game struggled as it only threw for 97 yards. They'll have their hands full against a very good DeSoto secondary paced by Bryson Echols and Jalen Mills. DeSoto, which relies heavily on the ground game, will likely be without their top lineman in Texas commit Curtis Riser and that could be tough against a Skyline front seven led by Texas commit Peter Jinkens and Dominic Spencer. DeSoto's passing game was outstanding last week as their two QBs threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns in a 54-10 win over A&M Consolidated. If DeSoto can throw the ball like that, it should open up its running game led by Air Force commit Devin Rushing and junior Dontre Wilson. The key in this game is mistakes - DeSoto's been in pressure situations all year, while Skyline has not. How will the Raiders respond to adversity which they will likely see against DeSoto is the million-dollar question.
No. 82 Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral vs. Columbus (Ind.) East at Indianapolis North Central
HickoryHusker.com: Leigh Evans (@HickoryHusker)
IrishIllustrated.com: Jake Brown (@Jake_Brown)
Friday: This Indiana Class 4A state semifinal features five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel leading Columbus East against Notre Dame safety commit John Turner and Indianapolis Cathedral. Kiel has Notre Dame under heavy consideration since reopening his recruitment.
No. 91 Wichita (Kan.) Heights vs. Derby (Kan.) High
HovPenSports.com: Bob Hovey
Friday: Heights won the first meeting of the two teams a month ago, but this time it's for a trip to the Class 6A final - and it's always tough to beat the same team twice.

Delaware, Maryland, N. Carolina, New England, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, S. Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia
Hillsdale (N.J.) Pascack Valley vs. Old Tappan (N.J.) High
NJVarsity.com: Pat Rice, John Otterstedt (@rivalsnewjersey)
Friday: A rematch of opening night, won by Pascack Valley, 30-28. Expect as good a game in the rematch and it's another opportunity to see four-star athlete Devin Fuller, who is on fire after recovering from an early season injury.
Manchester Township (N.J.) High vs. Toms River (N.J.) Monsignor Donovan
NJVarsity.com: Bobby Deren
Friday: Monsignor Donovan offensive tackle Brad Henson could very well be the top OL in NJ's Class of 2013 and will play his final game of the season on Friday night.
Sayreville (N.J.) High at South Brunswick (N.J.) High
NJVarsity.com: Matt Hladik
Friday: These two teams met on opening night, with the undefeated Vikings of South Brunswick registering a 14-7 victory. Sayreville, led by a balanced rushing attack, knocked off Jackson Memorial on the road last week to set the stage for this battle between Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division rivals. South Brunswick's Jevon Tyree is one of the more intriguing un-committed seniors in the Garden State.
Aliquippa (Pa.) High vs. Greensburg (Pa.) Central Catholic at Martorelli Stadium in Pittsburgh
PaPreps.com: Andrew Chiappazzi (@achiappazzi)
Friday: Two of the premier Class AA teams in the state will battle in a WPIAL semifinal game, with the winner going to Heinz Field. Aliquippa boasts quarterback Mikal Hall and sophomore running back Dravon Henry, while Greensburg has D-I prospects in TE Justin Kempka and OL Tyler Alt. The two last met in 2009 in the WPIAL championship at Heinz Field, a 33-7 Greensburg Central Catholic victory.
West Lawn (Pa.) Wilson at Birdsboro (Pa.) Daniel Boone
PaPreps.com: Rebeka Rice
Friday: The quarterfinal round of the Class AAAA playoffs in District 3 features two nearby teams from different conferences. The two didn't play in the regular season, but have similar opponents and similar results, meaning this could be a tight one. Daniel Boone's led by all-purpose athlete Darrell Scott and QB Tom Bodolus, while Wilson will rely on workhorse RB Rodney Gillin.
Maiden (N.C.) High at Lincolnton (N.C.) High
NCPreps.com: Deana King (@NCPreps)
Friday: This is a rematch of a game earlier in the regular season that Lincolnton won. There is more on the line now in this third-round playoff game. Maiden is led by UNC-Charlotte commit QB Matt Johnson while the Wolves are led by RB Dee Littlejohn, a Shrine Bowl selection.
Matthews (N.C.) Butler at Greensboro (N.C.) Page
NCPreps.com: Josh McKinnon (@JoshMcKinnon)
Friday: Checking out two of the best teams in North Carolina in this third-round matchup. Butler is led by the Ferguson brothers; junior QB Riley Ferguson and senior WR Zach Ferguson, plus juniors Uriah Lemay at WR and Peter Kalambayi at LB. Page is led by N.C. State commit James Summers and LB Blake Hickman.
Kannapolis (N.C.) A.L. Brown at Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic
NCPreps.com: Anthony Perkins
Friday: A.L. Brown will be headed to face a powerful Charlotte Catholic team. The Wonders are led by UNC commit Damien Washington, RB Kalif Phillips, and QB Brandon Eppinger. Catholic is led by Notre Dame commit Mark Harrell, Shrine Bowl LB Matt Cincotta, and sophomore RB Elijah Hood.
Baltimore (Md.) Boys Latin vs. Annapolis (Md.) Annapolis Area Christian at Towson University
MDHigh.com: Dave Lomonico
Friday: Checking out Boys Latin OT Greg Pyke, a Georgia commit, and a glut of D-I AACS prospects in the MIAA B-Conference championship game.
Towson (Md.) Calvert Hall vs. Baltimore (Md.) Gilman at Towson University
MDHigh.com: Dave Lomonico
Friday: Taking in the rematch between two of the top teams in Maryland in the MIAA A Conference championship game, as well as scouting all the prominent D-I prospects.
Frederick (Md.) Thomas Johnson at Damascus (Md.) High
MDHigh.com: Wayne Yarborough
Friday: Checking out a surprising Thomas Johnson team and its big defensive line and a young Damascus squad featuring big-time receiver Zach Bradshaw.
Waldorf (Md.) North Point at Millersville (Md.) Old Mill
MDHigh.com: Sid Thomas
Friday: Watching a Class 4A playoff matchup featuring two devastating defenses.
Pompton Lakes (N.J.) High vs. Saddle Brook (N.J.) High
NJVarsity.com: Pat Rice
Saturday: This is a North Jersey Group 1 Section 1 semifinal, the small school group. Don't thumb your nose: these are some of the most exciting games. Both teams are physical. Saddle Brook has Rutgers-bound Steve Longa at RB and LB, who has been nothing short of spectacular this year. Pompton Lakes has Nieko Torres at TB and while he may not be a major recruit, he's a very good high school player who hits the hole in a hurry.

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee
Miami (Fla.) South Miami at Miami (Fla.) Dr. Krop
Rivals.com: Chris Nee, Florida analyst (@RivalsCNee)
Thursday: In the only Thursday game in the Sunshine State, the two Miami-area schools square off in a Class 8A battle in the opening round of the state playoffs. South Miami is led by senior defensive back Amos Leggett, a Miami commitment, who they also use at quarterback. Dr. Krop counters with under-the-radar senior wide receiver Johnnie Durante, junior defensive end Paul James, junior defensive tackle Rafiki Lindsay, and freshman standout athlete Jovon Durante.
Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson at Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland
Rivals.com: Chris Nee, Florida analyst (@RivalsCNee)
Friday: A Class 6A opening round playoff battle that features two top senior defensive ends in the Sunshine State in Lake Gibson's Trent Taylor, a Tennessee commitment, and Mainland's Leonard Williams, a Rivals100 prospect still on the market. Lake Gibson's supporting cast includes senior defensive tackle Devante Terrell, junior defensive tackle Kennard Swanson, and junior wide receiver Eric Carter. Mainland also features senior running back Kelvin Lee, senior defensive back Deante Wilson, and junior linebacker Quinton Powell.

Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin
Eden Prairie (Minn.) High at Fridley (Minn.) Totino-Grace
MinnesotaPreps.com: Michael Much, Brian Jerzak, Cindy Kelsey
Friday: A state semifinal matchup at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Totino-Grace plays its first tournament game at the Dome after moving up to the top class this year. It faces perennial power Eden Prairie.
Plymouth (Minn.) Wayzata at St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall
MinnesotaPreps.com: Michael Much, Brian Jerzak, Cindy Kelsey
Friday: The second side of the semifinal bracket for the Top Class AAAAA championships. Wayzata is ranked No. 1 in Minnesota and is playing very well. Cretin-Derham Hall is strong and this promises to be a thriller. The winners of the Eden Prairie at Totino-Grace face the winners of this game for the State Championship.
South Bend (Ind.) Washington at Leo (Ind.) High
Rivals.com : Josh Helmholdt, Midwest analyst (@JoshHelmholdt)
Friday: Four-star athlete David Perkins, who recently decommitted from Notre Dame, leads his South Bend Washington team against Leo High in the semifinals of the Indiana high school playoffs. Perkins plays running back and linebacker for his team, while three-star Gehrig Dieter lines up at wide receiver.
Carol Stream (Ill.) Glenbard North at Wilmette (Ill.) Loyola Academy
EdgyTim.com: Kevin Smith (@TheOtherKS)
Saturday: Class 8A semifinal game featuring two of the top teams in Class 8A the largest class of football in Illinois.
Wheaton (Ill.) Warrenville South at Chicago (Ill.) St. Rita
EdgyTim.com: Kevin Smith (@TheOtherKS)
Saturday: Class 7A semifinal featuring Wheaton South/Northwestern 2012 commit Dan Vitale and St. Rita 2012 prospect Charles Elmore and LB Will McNamara .
Springfield (Ill.) Sacred Heart Griffin at Joliet (Ill.) Catholic Academy
EdgyTim.com: Tim O'Halloran (@EDGYTIM)
Saturday: Class 5A semifinal featuring JCA/Northwestern verbal commit 2012 RB Malin Jones and 2013 RB Ty Isaac.

Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas
Stephenville (Texas) High vs. Trophy Club (Texas) Nelson
TheOldCoach.com: Matt Diggs
Thursday: It's the only playoff game in the DFW area on Thursday night so these two get the big stage at Cowboys Stadium. Stephenville will likely have Baylor verbal RB Aiavion Edwards back this week after missing 8 weeks with a broken foot. That should make an already potent offense even better than it has been. Trophy Club Nelson is in its second varsity season and coach Brian Polk already has the Bobcats in the area playoffs. Going against a playoff regular like Stephenville will be a tall order.
Aledo (Texas) High vs. Mansfield (Texas) Summit
TheOldCoach.com: Matt Diggs
Friday: If you like great offense, this might be the game for you as both squads are capable of putting up a lot of points in a short period of time. Aledo is led by record setting RB Johnathan Gray who is capable of taking it to the house on any play. His offensive line, led by Texas A&M commit Michael Wilson, doesn't get the credit it deserves but they are among the best in the state. Summit comes in with an impressive 10-1 record. The Jaguars have a ton of speed and balance on the offensive side of the ball and they spread the ball equally to all their playmakers. On defense, the Jags are led by Texas Tech verbal Micah Awe. Their defensive line, however, will be key in containing Aledo's offense. Aledo's defense hasn't been tested since a loss to Lake Travis early in the season; the question is how much have they improved?
Wimberley (Texas) High vs. Gonzales (Texas) High
TheOldCoach.com: Brett Kinard
Friday: One of the top Class 3A matchups in the entire state this week pits a pair of 11-0 teams who are looking to stake their claim as the favorite in Region IV. Wimberley, which won the region last year, was nearly beaten last week by 3-7 Taylor; the banged up Texans needed overtime to knock off the Ducks. Gonzales got a test from a very good Hondo squad, but the Apaches escaped with a 21-10 win. This will be an absolute war as Wimberley looks to finally be back to full strength.
El Paso (Texas) Franklin vs. Arlington (Texas) Bowie
TheOldCoach.com: Matt Stepp
Friday: El Paso's top team all year has been Franklin which comes into the area round fresh off a 44-14 rout of Lubbock Monterrey last week. The Cougars have a big, physical offensive line and one of the Sun City's top passing quarterbacks in Brandon Layne. They'll have their hands full with Arlington Bowie, which dismantled Odessa Permian, 42-7. Bowie's win is all the more impressive when you consider Arizona State verbal RB Russell Hansbrough only had one carry in the game as he's still recovering from an ankle injury. TCU verbal commit QB Kolby Listenbee will have the offense on his shoulders once again if Hansbrough can't go. On defense keep an eye on North Carolina verbal commit DE Jessie Rogers for Bowie.
El Paso (Texas) Burges vs. Corinth (Texas) Lake Dallas
TheOldCoach.com: Matt Stepp
Friday: Lake Dallas made quick work of Canyon High last week, 45-14. Quarterback Dalyn Williams continues to put up ridiculous numbers on a weekly basis. Williams and Stanford verbal Dontonio Jordan will look to keep the hot streak going against a scrappy Burges squad which enters the game with a 9-2 record. Burges has one of the top 2013 players in all of West Texas in RB/DB Aaron Jones. The Mustangs don't have much depth so look for Lake Dallas to pull away in the second half.
El Paso (Texas) Andress vs. Denton (Texas) Ryan
TheOldCoach.com: Matt Stepp
Saturday: Denton Ryan and its ridiculous front seven takes its show 300 miles west to Midland to take on an Andress squad that is routinely considered among the most athletic in El Paso. Four-year starter RB Rashad Chisolm has put up some big numbers against local competition but going against a defense that features Mario Edwards (Florida State), Dominique Banks (Baylor), Jordan Richmond (Texas A&M) and Alex De la Torre (Texas) is a tall order for anyone. Look for Ryan's defense to slug out another solid win as it gears up for a big test next week.
El Paso (Texas) Riverside vs. Canyon (Texas) Randall
TheOldCoach.com: Matt Stepp
Saturday: Riverside stunned most observers with a strong run at the Texas State 7-on-7 this summer and its success has translated into a trip to the area round of the playoffs. The Rangers will have their hands full with 10-1 Canyon Randall, which most consider to the top 4A school in the Texas Panhandle.

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming
Los Lunas (N.M.) High at Artesia (N.M.) High
NMPreps.com: Kyle Henderson (@nmpreps)
Friday: Watching 12,000 (in a town of 15,000) cheer on the Bulldogs, who are vying for their 28th state football title
Norco (Calif.) High vs. Redlands (Calif.) East Valley
Rivals.com: Adam Gorney, West Coast analyst
Friday: Four-star linebacker and USC commit Scott Starr leads Norco, which has four losses this season, against Redlands East Valley, one of the surprise teams this season in Southern California, in the first round of the playoffs. Redlands East Valley is led by 2013 defensive end Kylie Fitts, who already has offers from Boise State and UCLA, and many other 2013 prospects.
Palmdale (Calif) at Canyon Country (Calif) Canyon
CaliforniaPreps.com: Dave Rogahn, Dave Keefer
Friday: Canyon's (8-2) last win was declared a forfeit loss because of an ineligible player, but it should have no trouble beating Palmdale (6-4) and its three-star athlete Christian Tago in the first round of the playoffs. Canyon's one-two punch of QB Jonathan Jerozal and RB Max Archuleta leads the way for the Cowboys who are 6-0 at home.
San Jose (Calif.) Leland High at Palo Alto (Calif.) High
NorCalPreps.com : Douglas Benton (@NorCalPreps)
Friday: The top match-up from the opening weekend in the CCS Open Division features the defending CIF Division I state champion and a quality 9-1 team in Leland. Palo Alto is averaging more than 40 points per game behind the electric playmaking and return game of BJ Boyd and steady play from sophomore quarterback Keller Chryst. Leland is led by Boise State-commit Chris Santini, who returned from injury at the end of the season and will make an impact on both sides of the ball.
Stockton (Calif.) St. Mary's High at Vacaville (Calif.) High
NorCalPreps.com: Michael Benton
Friday: The NorCalPreps.com Game of the Week pits two teams which are a combined 19-3 against quality schedules. St. Mary's is led on the ground by running back Jalen Ward and has been steady with quarterback Kaleb Parrish taking over for an injured Bowe Merin. Also look for defensive end Ewing Simmons. Vacaville is home to one of the best running attacks in Northern California, led by Melvin Mason. He has already set the single season school record for touchdowns. Junior Curtis Goins is another player to watch as a potential Division I recruit.
Mountain View (Calif.) St. Francis at San Jose (Calif.) Oak Grove
NorCalPreps.com: Cameron Schott (@CSchott_NCP)
Friday: In a Week One rematch, St. Francis seeks revenge on the Open Division top seed. Oregon State-bound corner Cleveland Wallace will highlight the speedy Oak Grove team and he will be key in covering future Washington baseball commit Braden Bishop. This one looks to be close again after a 27-25 Oak Grove victory in the previous meeting.

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