There were plenty of good games and more than a few scares - just no upsets for teams in the RivalsHigh Top 10 Friday night.
All eight teams in action triumphed, with two knocking off ranked teams. And while No. 1 Batesville (Miss.) South Panola, No. 2 Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas, No. 5 Hoover (Ala.) High and No. 7 Corona (Calif.) Centennial rolled, others had to fight to advance.
No. 3 Euless (Texas) Trinity broke open a close game in the fourth quarter - and that was an easier night than others had.
No. 10 Rock Hill (S.C.) Northwestern trailed at halftime, No. 5 Mission Viejo (Calif.) High trailed in the fourth quarter and No. 8 Hampton (Va.) Phoebus was behind with less than three minutes left, facing a must-convert fourth-and-goal play.
No. 4 Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward and No. 9 Katy (Texas) High are in action Saturday.
With that, a capsule look at how the RivalsHigh Top 10 fared on Friday night:
No. 1 South Panola 43, No. 74 Madison Central 7
Batesville (Miss.) South Panola scored twice in the first 89 seconds and five times by halftime. And did it against a Madison (Miss.) Central that came into the game as the No. 74 team in the country.
That's pretty good.
So is Qyen Griffin, who had another huge game with four touchdowns. He now has run for 2,292 yards and 31 TDs.
The South Panola defense was just as impressive, allowing fewer than 100 total yards.
South Panola (14-0) advances to play No. 35 Meridian (Miss.) High (14-0) in the Class 6A title game on Dec. 3. It was the 26th consecutive victory for South Panola.
Meridian is the last team to beat South Panola - winning the 2008 state final, 26-20.
RivalsHigh take: After a too-close-for-comfort win last week against Olive Branch, South Panola did not take winning for granted and came out and thumped a good Madison Central team. The Tigers now just need to better Meridian for a state title - and to keeps its national championship hopes alive.
For complete coverage, check out this game story in the Clarion Ledger.
No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas 49, Cooper City 7
So what happened on the two passes Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas quarterback Jake Ruddock didn't complete? Those, after all, were all that kept the senior from having a perfect night.
Ruddock was 10-for-12 for 155 yards and five first-half touchdowns to help Aquinas roll into the Florida Class 5A regional final.
Ruddock found receiver Phillip Dorsett (four catches for 75 yards and three TDs) for a score 72 yards less than two minutes into the game and the rout was on.
RivalsHigh take: A game that went as expected. The overwhelming majority of Florida playoffs do not get good until after this round, so the rout was expected.
For complete coverage, check out this game story in the Sun Sentinel.
No. 3 Trinity 42, Arlington-Martin 21
Euless (Texas) Trinity used a familiar formula to advance to the Texas Class 5A Division I final, letting its overpowering running game break open a close game.
Ahead by just seven, 28-21, in the fourth quarter, Trinity got a 70-yard run from Brandon Carter and a 46-yard effort by Serge Nseka to account for the final margin.
The runs helped Trinity finish with 378 yards on the ground. Carter did most of the damage, running for 184 yards and two TDs. He also threw for 95 yards.
Trinity, 13-0 this season and winners of 26 straight, will face the winner of Saturday's game between No. 33 Coppell and No. 72 Midland.
RivalsHigh take: Trinity has not had very many run-away-and-hide games this season. Many times the score is still within striking distance at halftime and a few times nearing the fourth quarter. The Trojans have managed to pull away each time; whether it will be able to all season is the biggest question facing this team.
Just in case you thought Hoover was all-defense - or maybe all-defense with a solid rushing attack - the Bucs brook out a new part of their offense.
Justin McArthur caught three TD passes (and ran for a fourth) to help Hoover roll to its 21st consecutive victory.
McArthur caught eight passes for 173 yards with TD receptions of 13, 16 and 79 yards.
The win means Hoover (14-0 this season) will play for its second consecutive Alabama Class 6A title. It will face No. 42 Daphne (Ala.) High.
RivalsHigh take: Whether he is running the ball or catching it out of the backfield, McArthur is go-to guy on this offense. The team has its share of top-end talent (with a handful of college-bound players), but its real strength is that it is loaded with a lot of very good high school football players.
Lots of yards. Lots of points. Lots of points on plays with lots of yards.
Centennial overwhelmed Yucaipa with 556 yards of offense and eight TDs - five of which went for at least 45 yards.
Quarterback Michael Eubank led the way (15-for-20, 303 yards, 5 TDs). Deja Olijade caught eight of those passes for 165 yards; Eric Finney caught four for 111. Running back Romello Goodman ran for 208 yards.
RivalsHigh take: Unlike Mission Viejo, Corona Centennial is not likely to be tested in the playoffs and needs to hope for a good CIF Bowl berth to prove its merits. This week's win over Yucaipa is more proof that there aren't many teams in the Huskies league.
For complete coverage, check out this game story in the News Mirror.
No. 8 Phoebus 12, Hampton 7
It's tough to beat any team twice in the same season - let alone your biggest rival.
Hampton (Va.) Phoebus managed to do it, but its 12-7 victory over cross-town rival Hampton (Va.) High may have been the toughest victory in the team's 43-game winning streak.
Receiver Daquan Romero scored on a 6-yard TD catch on a fourth-and-goal play with 2:55 left to give Phoebus its fifth straight region title.
The play - in which Romero had to fight his way into the end zone - gave Phoebus its first lead of the game.
"Da-Da ran a great route, and Roby made a great throw," head coach Stan Sexton told the Daily Press. "This is the first time we faced adversity this season, and it was good to see how they reacted. Our kids really showed their heart and character tonight."
Phoebus (13-0 this season) moves on to next week's Division 5 semifinals against Dinwiddie.
RivalsHigh take: Hampton and Phoebus were the class of Division 5 in the Tidewater area. Considering the way Phoebus manhandled the Crabbers in the first contest, it's no surprise that Hampton came ready to play. The come-from-behind win, however, likely will be the last test of the season for the Phantoms.
For complete coverage, check out this game story in the Daily Press.
No. 9 Katy (Texas) High
Plays No. 63 Houston (Texas) North Shore Saturday.
No. 10 Northwestern 41, No. 32 Goose Creek 34
Justin Worley led Northwestern to its third straight South Carolina Class AAAA, Division II title game. Just not in a way many would have expected.
Worley, which has overwhelmed opponents through the air for much of his amazing high school career, threw for just 264 yards and three TDs - low totals for him.
But he added two scores on the ground to help Northwestern overcome an early 27-13 deficit with a second-half rally against No. 32 Goose Creek.
Worley said it was just a matter of figuring out the best way to the end zone.
"Our coaches do a great job of watching and adjusting to the opponent," he told the Times Herald. "Our crowd got fired up after that, and it was just a matter of time before we got going."
It won't get any easier for Northwestern, which has lost the state final the past two years. It will meet No. 43 Greenwood (S.C.) High in the final.
RivalsHigh take: Northwestern coaches have done it time and again. Worley has seen nearly every defense a team could throw at him in his time in Rock Hill. Next week's opponent has a good linebacking core and a very physical front. He can expect the pressure - which he has proven he can handle.
For complete coverage, check out this game story in the Herald Online.