We’re in the heart of district and regional schedules across the country. With Friday in the books, here are the big takeaways we’re holding on to with more Super 25 action in the books:
1) All blowouts at the top:
Looking for a competitive football game? Don’t head to any of the schools in the USA TODAY High School Sports Super 25 anytime soon. Just check out the finals from Friday night, all of which were victories for the ranked squads: No. 1 Bishop Gorman, 63-7. No. 2 St. John Bosco 42-21 (against Mater Dei!), No. 4 Colquitt County 49-14, No. 6 Centennial 59-7, No. 7 Clay-Chalkville 72-6, No. 9 Ocean Lakes 77-0, No. 10 American Heritage 21-14.
OK, so there were a couple of competitive games there. And there was one upset, which we’ll get to in a second. Still, the teams that took care of business are precisely the ones who are still in some measure of a hunt for the national title. Perhaps this proves they should be after all, though only one will capture the crown come January.
2) Gonzaga proves that rivalries trump talent, every time:
About that upset. DeMatha Catholic entered Friday night’s WCAC rivalry matchup against Gonzaga undefeated, ranked No. 5 and seemingly cruising toward a historic undefeated season. They exited licking their wounds after a stunning, lopsided 24-10 upset to a fellow undefeated Eagles squad that may have been motivated by being overlooked to that point itself. Gonzaga running back Tyree Randolph exposed DeMatha’s defensive front to the tune of 187 yards and two touchdowns, avenging three straight losses to the Stags for his school, which suddenly finds itself in the 7-0 catbird seat en route to a potential season-ending Super 25 ranking.
What a sweet way to get there, too.
3) Can one Bosco help another win a national title?
If St. John Bosco is to win a national title, it might need some serious help from a school with a very similar name.
A quick glance at the remaining schedule for No. 1 ranked Bishop Gorman shows a lot of Nevada teams that the Gaels should dominate … and a critical visit from one of the greatest powers on the East Coast. Next Friday, Don Bosco Prep of Ramsey, N.J. comes calling, and while Bosco may not be ranked, the Ironmen have both the tradition and skill to pull a major upset. Sure, Bosco is 0-2 in its own league, with losses to fellow traditional national powers St. Joseph Regional and Paramus Catholic. Yet those losses came by a combined 13 points, and it is 4-0 against the rest of the nation, including a 35-0 rout of its own on Friday night. It has the talent and depth to compete with Bishop Gorman, particularly if the Gaels look ahead too early.
A trap in the waiting? Both Boscos will surely be hoping so.
4) Another scary injury … and an inspiring return:
In 2015, it wouldn’t be a prep football week without a terrifying in-game injury. This one came from Texas, where Alton junior Cam’ron Matthews suffered a seizure late in the first half of his team’s game against Carlisle. He was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where fans and onlookers continue to await his status.
Yet, Friday also provided a ready-made tonic for that heartbreak: The return to a football stadium of David Young, the Adna player who suffered a potentially debilitating injury in Washington just two weeks earlier. The teen has remained in good spirits despite his neck injury, and plans to return for baseball season, but not before a handful more appearances on a Washington sideline wearing a letterman’s jacket that he has earned in every way imaginable.
5) An NFL team steps up for prep football safety:
Cynics aside, this is a very nice, and important, gesture from an NFL team. The St. Louis Rams announced a partnership with Atletico, an organized collective of athletic trainers, to help ensure that high school games would have certified trainers on the sidelines.
It’s a move that is both scalable and easily duplicated by other NFL squads. In fact, all it really takes is a little research, outreach and some money to fund it. Given the profit margins of every NFL owner, it’s a shame this hasn’t popped up in every NFL city. Perhaps it still will. Even those aforementioned cynics would agree that it would be a wise public relations move amidst the focus on head trauma and health issues in the sport.