It's the last weekend of September. For some schools, that means it's the last weekend before they really start to set their sights on the league play and the postseason. For some in our Weekend Watch, it's one last chance to look back to 2009.
All five of our weekend watch games are replays of games played last fall - some of which are games still fresh in the minds of the teams.
Take No. 24 Warren Central vs. No. 91 Carmel. It's one of the biggest games in Indiana in years. (They've moved it to Lucas Oil Stadium. What more do you need to know?) Of course, last time they played there, in the state 5A final last fall, Warren Central came away with a disputed 42-36 double-overtime victory.
There was no disputing No. 15 Don Bosco Prep's victory over No. 98 Bergen Catholic last fall. It was just another notch on a perfect season for Bosco that resulted in a national title.
Bergen Catholic, however, is out to reverse the course of history - and started last fall when it hired Bosco offensive coordinator Nunzio Campanile to be its head coach.
That's the way it goes this weekend.
In Texas, Dekaney is out to show No. 99 Klein Collins that it's a little bit older - and a little bit better - than it was when it fell, 31-7, last year.
In Arizona, Chandler wants to show cross-town rival, No. 12 Hamilton, it's got the incentive (the memory of a 49-21 loss a year ago) to ruin Hamilton's run at a Top 10 spot.
And then there's Florida, where No. 69 Northwestern wants to reverse the course and avenge a 35-28 last year to No. 88 Washington.
Looking ahead ... that's what October is for. This weekend is one last chance to settle some old scores.
With that, an in-depth look at some of the top games of the weekend:
WHEN: Saturday 10/2, 1 p.m.
LAST MEETING: 10/25/09, Don Bosco won, 28-20
RANKINGS: Don Bosco (3-0), No. 1 in New Jersey
Bergen Catholic (3-0), No. 2 in New Jersey
WHY IT'S BIG: This game is always big as is it almost always is between two of the top-five teams in the state. Neither team likes the other - but this year there is more incentive. The new head coach at Bergen Catholic, Nunzio Campanile, was the athletic director and offensive coordinator at Don Bosco until February of this year. This should give Bergen the inside scoop about Bosco. Whether it has the edge in talent remains to be seen.
BEST MATCHUP: Don Bosco QB Gary Nova vs. Bergen Catholic QB Tanner McEvoy. Campanile was a quarterback-producing machine in his time at Don Bosco, coaching six consecutive college-bound quarterbacks. He is now trying to work his magic on McEvoy, who entered this season as the all-time leading receiver at Bergen Catholic. Depending on which of his understudies has the better game could be the determining factor.
BERGEN CATHOLIC WINS IF: It can slow the run. Paul Canevari has made an amazing transition from backup defensive end to starting running back this season. The 5-10, 210-pound back will eclipse the 1,000-yard mark easily, possibly by mid-season. If Bergen has designs on winning, it will need to make the Ironmen pass the ball.
DON BOSCO WINS IF: The young defense grows up quickly. Don Bosco, which replaced nearly its entire defense from last year, is only starting one senior right now. Facing a team such as Bergen - which has gotten off to a slow start so far offensively - it will be tested more so than it has been in its first three wins.
PREDICTION: Bergen gave Don Bosco all it wanted last year, when Don Bosco was the much better team. If Bergen Catholic can come out strong, it may be able to ride the momentum to a victory. Both teams have grown into the personalities of their coaches. For Bergen, that means it is the more emotional and fiery. If it gets down, however, will the team have the fortitude to climb back into the game. - Don Bosco 23, Bergen Catholic 13
-- For more on both teams and New Jersey football, visit NJVarsity.com
WHEN: Saturday 10/2, 7 p.m.
LAST MEETING: 10/03/09, Washington won, 35-28
RANKINGS: Northwestern (3-0), No. 11 in Florida
Washington (4-0), No. 14 in Florida
WHY IT'S BIG: The round-robin of games in South Florida involving these two teams (and Columbus) always are must-see television. The games usually involve two teams with 10-15 seniors who will be playing college football on some level; this season is no different. In Florida, rivalries are intense and exist regardless of classification. Northwestern being in 5A and Washington in 3A has no bearing on this one. It will be fairly evenly matched.
BEST MATCHUP: The Booker T. Washington offense against the Northwestern defense. When breaking down Northwestern, it is easy to be enamored by the offense and all the talent on that side of the football. But when digging a little deeper, the quality of football being played on defense is impressive. With the team being back to full strength (after having half the varsity suspended last week), look for the Bulls to play inspired football.
WASHINGTON WINS IF: It can rattle Teddy Bridgewater. The Northwestern offense has been moving through opponents with relative ease. Very little pressure has been put on Bridgewater. Washington will need to force Northwestern to make mistakes - something Bridgewater has been able to stay away from so far in the young season.
NORTHWESTERN WINS IF: It matches the intensity of Washington. Northwestern is out to avenge last year's loss; Washington is playing for respect. Both teams have chips on their shoulders; determining which is more meaningful is probably worth a score in this game.
PREDICTION: Washington was able to get over on Northwestern last season when the two teams were fairly evenly matched. This season it seems that the talent is on the side of Northwestern. It could be close but it also could be a runaway. - Northwestern 32, Washington 24
WHEN: Friday 10/1, 7 p.m.
LAST MEETING: 11/28/09, Warren Central won, 42-36
RANKINGS: Warren Central (5-1), No. 1 in Indiana
Carmel (6-0), No. 2 in Indiana
WHY IT'S BIG: It is a regular-season replay of last season's Indiana 5A state final, which Warren Central won in double overtime, 42-36, thanks to a controversial non-call at the end of regulation. Oh, it's also being played at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis. This may be the biggest regular-season game between Indiana teams in five years. Both teams have been playing extremely well this season and look to size one another up for the top spot in state.
BEST MATCHUP: Either offense agaunst either defense. It may sound like not much thought went into that answer, but it is just that easy sometimes. Both teams score a ton of points - averaging over 37 points per game. And both teams limit their opponent's opportunities - allowing just under 14 points per game. One of the two is going to have to give.
CARMEL WINS IF: It gets a few good bounces. The state's No. 2 team will need a turnover or a major special teams play to take home this game. It is no disrespect to Carmel, but it appears that this Warren Central team may not be a typical Indiana team. Or even a typical top team in the state for that matter. A few fortunate plays will need to go the way of the underdog.
WARREN CENTRAL WINS IF: It plays a clean game. Warren Central is the favorite for a reason; it needs to play like it. This is a talented and well-coached team that can flex its muscle and win this game. It has not been error-prone this season but hasn't been error-free either. If this is a clean game, it should be a relatively easy win.
PREDICTION: Both teams are very good, but the clear talent disparity is concerning if you are a fan of Carmel. Warren Central is loaded. That being said, many people have questioned if Warren Central is motivated to win this season as it has appeared disinterested at times. If Carmel catches a complacent team, it can pull the upset. The final score may be close but the outcome should never be in doubt. - Warren Central 26, Carmel 10
WHEN: Saturday 10/2, 5 p.m.
LAST MEETING: 10/29/09, Klein Collins won, 31-7
RANKINGS: Klein Collins (4-0), No. 9 in Texas
Dekaney (4-0), No. 42 in Texas
WHY IT'S BIG: The hot start for Dekaney has elevated this to a very important game - not only in District 13 but across all of Texas. Klein Collins looks loaded and ready to defend the district title, but Dekaney wants to prove it is ready to take the next step forward.
BEST MATCHUP: The Klein Collins offensive line against the Dekaney defensive front. The Wildcats were very young (even in the late stages of last season) when Klein Collins rolled 31-7. This season, the defense looks to be much improved allowing just 27 points in its first four games. The competition has not been what it will see on Saturday afternoon but the confidence gained could carry over to an inspired start to the game.
KLEIN COLLINS WINS IF: It starts fast. Dekaney will start the game with a lot of confidence, and if the Tigers can quickly squash that spirit, the game will be over soon after it starts. A solid offensive line will have to pave the way in the run game as well as provide good passing windows to throw through. If Klein opens up a 10-point lead, it shouldn't expect it to close.
DEKANEY WINS IF: Trey Williams has a good game on the ground. The running back tallied nearly 2,000 yards on the ground last year. If he can pile up 150 or more in this game (and keep Klein Collins on the sidelines), it will go a long way toward the victory.
PREDICTION: Dekaney may not be quite ready to take this step yet. The team is showing a lot of promise and looks poised to make the playoffs, which it was unable to do last year. Klein Collins is just too good right now. - Klein Collins 32, Dekaney 6
-- For more on these teams and Texas high school football, visit TheOldCoach.com
WHEN: Friday 10/1, 7 p.m.
LAST MEETING: 12/04/09, Hamilton won, 49-21
RANKINGS: Hamilton (6-0), No. 1 in Arizona
Chandler (4-1), No. 5 in Arizona
WHY IT'S BIG: This is a major balance-of-power game in Arizona and the West Coast. Hamilton, if it can go undefeated and win the state, likely will end the season comfortably inside the RivalsHigh 100's Top 10. Chandler is a team that has the firepower to derail those dreams. The teams share city limits and so expect a big crowd. It is also to be broadcast on ESPNU. Which team responds to the lights will receive a major boost in perception.
BEST MATCHUP: Chandler QB Brett Hundley vs. Hamilton defense. Yup, there it is. One man versus many. If Chandler is going to be successful, it will be because of Hundley. Having some help would certainly be beneficial, but Hundley is one of the best players in Arizona and he can throw the team on his back. If the Husky defense is able to contain his running ability and make him just a passer, that will be a major win for them.
CHANDLER WINS IF: Brett Hundley goes off. It is not out of the question for Hundley to take over the game; the national spotlight would be a great launching point for the UCLA commit. He can do everything on the football field. His teammates and opponents alike know it ... not that it's mattered yet this season.
HAMILTON WINS IF: It can set the pace of the game. It isn't that Hamilton can not score points in bunches - it can. But getting into a track meet with a team that wants to play loose could be a disaster. The Huskies want to be balanced and efficient. Keeping the Chandler offense on the sideline and then making it drive the length of the field, plays right into the Hamilton hands.
PREDICTION: This was the season circled by Hamilton fans. A monster offensive line, a balanced group of skill players and a solid defense makes this the best team on paper in Arizona in some time. A stubbed toe in this game, even with a state title later, will make for too many doubters. This is a statement game. Hamilton makes one. - Hamilton 38, Chandler 20