December 2, 2010

Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

Why have one when you can have two?

Or rather: Why pick one Game of the Week when you have two Weekend Watches?

So that's what we're doing.

As the stakes get higher across the country, our preview format is getting bigger.

Instead of Game of the Week, we're expanding our Weekend Watch. We're giving you two - one for each day.

Today, we offer an in-depth look at five games being played Saturday night. And what games they are.

No. 2 St. Edward and No. 42 Wayne meet in the final of the toughest postseason tournament in the country: Division I in Ohio.

Ohio isn't the only state to celebrate. Head to South Carolina, where No. 15 Dorman and No. 72 Byrnes renew what seems like an annual battle for the state final. And No. 49 South Pointe - just five years in existence - is out to prove its got the making of a perennial power in the Palmetto State when it takes on No. 73 Myrtle Beach in another final.

Of course, you have to get the big guns represented. We do.

In Texas, No. 23 Stony Point takes on No. 65 DeSoto. And in California, No. 24 Servite faces No. 53 Alemany.

We know, we know. All this, one day. Just call it a super Saturday.

Weekend Watch
No. 2 St. Edward
vs. No. 42 Wayne
HOW THEY GOT HERE
ST. EDWARD
def. Mentor, 35-21
def. Glenville, 42-22
def. Solon, 42-14
def. Whitmer, 23-13
WAYNE
def. Middletown, 21-0
def. Centerville, 36-33
def. St. Xavier, 28-24
def. Hilliard Davidson, 28-14

When: Saturday 12/4, 7 p.m.
Rankings: St. Edward (14-0), No. 1 in Ohio
Wayne (11-3), No. 2 in Ohio

ST. EDWARD WINS IF: Its defense can contain Braxton Miller. Wayne has made tremendous strides on the defensive side of the ball but the offense is still predicated on Miller making plays. Miller, a future Ohio State Buckeye, is not as dynamic or dominant as the OSU current signal-caller, Terrelle Pryor, was in high school, but his team depends on him in a very similar fashion. St. Edward already has played and beaten a team with a better offense than Wayne, when it downed Glenville in the second round. Miller brings a different dynamic that Glenville didn't have and it will be a challenge.

WAYNE WINS IF: It wins the turnover battle by two or more. Getting one interception or a fumble will not be enough. St. Edward is too fundamentally sound to let one possession impact that game that much, but if it becomes a routine, then it could plant a seed of doubt. Wayne will need momentum to live on its sideline.

X-FACTOR: Battle testing. Both teams have played a very good schedule. Each has eight playoff teams on its resume so neither is a fluke to be in the final. St. Ed nearly was tripped up against Toledo Whitmer in a look-ahead game last week, but it got by. Wayne has had its game face on since the playoffs began. If St. Ed already has cleaned a spot in the trophy case, Wayne will not let it off the hook.

PREDICTION: The Ohio Division I playoffs did not disappoint. The tournament was fantastic from start to finish and the two teams playing the best in November will sort it out this weekend. St. Ed has the better top to bottom team but Wayne has Braxton Miller. This could be a Superman-type performance or an exclamation point to a team-first season. We'll go with the better team. - St. Edward 35, Wayne 24

Weekend Watch
No. 15 Dorman
vs. No. 72 Byrnes
HOW THEY GOT HERE
BYRNES
def. Mauldin, 44-14
def. Dutch Fork, 31-14
def. Lexington, 31-7
DORMAN
def. White Knoll, 31-0
def. Forth Dorchester, 49-28
def. Irmo, 30-19

When: Saturday 12/4, Noon
Last Meeting: 10/29/10 Dorman won, 21-14
Rankings: Dorman (14-0), No. 2 in South Carolina
Byrnes (11-3), No. 7 in South Carolina

DORMAN WINS IF: It realizes that the game in October is not the game in December. The two teams tend to meet up twice a year and rarely is it a clean sweep. For Dorman, that is bad news as it won the first game 21-14. Last season, Byrnes won the first game and lost the state final. Dorman has to make sure it is working hard to not let history repeat itself. The Cavaliers have battled injuries all season but it should know that Byrnes has as well.

BYRNES WINS IF: It gets the lead early. This is a team that is better when it is playing with the lead and using emotion. Andre Brewton and the defense love to start talking smack and being fueled by emotion. The quicker that can happen the better for Byrnes. Dorman is a very polite team and if Brewton and his boys can get under the Cavaliers' skin, it could unnerve the favorites in the tense moments of the game.

X-FACTOR: Which team is healthy? Byrnes had to deal with injuries all through the first six weeks of the season and never truly was healthy all season. Dorman, likewise, has been a team knicked-up at key positions all year. The offense for both teams has never been able to get into a rhythm and that makes this game very intriguing.

PREDICTION: This is not a make-believe rivalry. The two teams hate each other, hate the sight of the other, and want to see the other fail. As much as celebrating a title is part of the game plan, relishing the other's misery will be icing on the cake. Both are defense-first teams and a big play on that side of the ball likely will turn the tide. Look for Dorman to make that play. - Dorman 20, Byrnes 16

Weekend Watch
No. 23 Stony Point
vs. No. 65 DeSoto
HOW THEY GOT HERE
STONY POINT
def. Westlake, 35-10
def. Klein Oak, 55-31
def. A&M Consolidated, 42-7
DeSOTO
def. Bryan, 68-28
def. Skyline, 38-0
def. Austin Bowie, 56-24

When: Saturday 12/4, 7 pm
Last Meeting: 9/17/10, Stony Point won, 48-29
Rankings: Stony Point (13-0), No. 3 in Texas
DeSoto (11-2), No. 8 in Texas

DeSOTO WINS IF: It can play some defense - any defense. This is the Texas Tech style of football: one of the highest-scoring teams in the country betrayed in big games by one of the highest-scoring defenses in the country. The Eagles give up nearly 30 points per game, generally not a recipe for success come December on any level of football. It has masked the defense by scoring 47 points per game, but a track meet with a team such as Stony Point is a failed proposition - as DeSoto already has learned once this season.

STONY POINT WINS IF: It can force a turnover or two. The way DeSoto plays (or doesn't play) defense gives Stony Point the confidence that it can score every time it touches the ball. If it turns possession a time or two, that margin of victory can increase. The only team that DeSoto stopped offensively this season was Dallas Skyline, a team that plenty of teams proved did not have a good offense. Stony Point is the better team, it just needs to play like it.

X-FACTOR: Stony Point defense. Curiously, the Tigers do have some questions on defense. The team allowed 29 points in the first meeting and has also allowed 34 to Georgetown and 31 to Klein Oak. It is not out of the realm of possibility for this score to get pretty high. Last week, Stony Point put the clamps on A&M Consolidated. But that was a triple-option attack; this is a wide-open passing game.

PREDICTION: If defense wins championships and offense wins games, then it probably means neither will advance past this game no matter the winner. It could also mean that DeSoto has the edge in the rematch. Ryan Polite sees the field very well and he likely will need to eclipse 300 yards passing if DeSoto is going to win. Stony Point will control the point of attack, the ball, and the scoreboard. - Stony Point 41, DeSoto 30

Weekend Watch
No. 24 Servite
vs. No. 53 Alemany
HOW THEY GOT HERE
ALEMANY
def. Newport Harbor, 27-7
def. Lakewood, 27-7
Servite
def. Long Beach Jordan, 41-14
def. Crespi, 40-16

When: Saturday 12/4, 7 p.m.
Last Meeting: Teams have not met this decade
Rankings: Servite (12-0), No. 5 in California
Alemany (12-0), No. 7 in California

SERVITE WINS IF: It brings its offense to the game. The knock all season on the Friars has been the inconsistent and non-explosive offense. The team - which finished in the Top 10 nationally last season - has had games where it struggles to move the ball at all but it has been putting up big scores the last few weeks. Alemany is a fairly complete team. If Servite doesn't score points, it won't win.

ALEMANY WINS IF: It can break the Servite defense. Servite may have one of the better defenses in California - only one team all year has broken 17 points. Alemany has played teams with good defenses and still moved the ball. But Servite is borderline great on defense.

X-FACTOR: Toughness. Servite prides itself on being stronger than its opponents. It likes to hit hard and leave the game with dirty jerseys. If Alemany is not ready to get busy in the trenches, it will not be prepared to win this game. But if the Warriors come to battle, it will be very interesting to see how Servite responds to a team that takes a punch and asks for more.

PREDICTION: This is a great semifinal game in the Pac 5 - the winner is only guaranteed a game with either Mater Dei or Mission Viejo. Not exactly a prize. Servite has a legitimate chance of getting a CIF Division I Bowl bid if it wins the Pac 5 and this is the first step in that. Alemany would love to play spoiler and advance its own season to the section final. - Servite 13, Alemany 10

Weekend Watch
No. 49 South Pointe
vs. No. 73 Myrtle Beach
HOW THEY GOT HERE
SOUTH POINTE
def. Eastside, 49-6
def. Daniel, 20-14
def. Greenville, 50-7
def. Fairfield Central, 53-8
Myrtle Beach
def. Brookland-Cayce, 70-0
def. Cane Bay, 45-22
def. Berkely, 42-28
def. Bluffton, 47-0

When: Saturday 12/4, 6 p.m.
Last Meeting: Teams have not met this decade
Rankings: South Pointe (13-1) No. 5 in South Carolina
Myrtle Beach (13-1), No. 8 in South Carolina

SOUTH POINT WINS IF: Jadeveon Clowney is a disruptive force as he has been all year. The No. 1 overall player nationally can change a game from the defensive line and needs to be accounted for. No team in Class AAA has been able to keep him in check all season and South Pointe has riden him all season. South Pointe is only in its fifth year of existence but has already become a multiple-time nationally-ranked team. It is scary to think about a scenario where these players still are a part of Northwestern or Rock Hill High.

MRYTLE BEACH WINS IF: Quarterback Everett Golson is on. The only team to beat South Pointe was Northwestern - and quarterback Justin Worley was the difference. If Myrtle Beach wants to take home the title, then Golson will need to put up a major statement game. The North Carolina commit was hurt for most of the season but has come on like gangbusters in the playoffs, tossing 18 touchdowns and only one interception in four games.

X-FACTOR: Myrtle Beach's defense. While much will be made of Golson-Clowney, the difference in the game will have to be the Seahawks defense. South Pointe has put up 40 points per game this season to go with its disruptive defense. If it is able to reach its season average, it will be tough for Myrtle Beach to keep up.

PREDICTION: The scoreboard better pass inspection before this game because it will be in use a lot. With perfect weather conditions expected for Saturday evening, this may be the most entertaining state final of the weekend. South Pointe is going to add another trophy to the case. Upstate football proves it is the place to be claiming all three of the top titles this weekend. - South Pointe 44, Myrtle Beach 37

Weekend Watch
Other Predictions (2010: 103-47)
No. 5 Katy def. Pearland, 40-23 (TEXAS playoffs)
No. 48 Guyer def. Southlake Carroll, 40-19 (TEXAS playoffs) *E-Mail request*
No. 51 Ursuline def. Coldwater, 26-0 (OHIO state final)
No. 69 Westlake def. No. 64 St. Bonaventure, 34-20 (CAL playoffs) *E-Mail request*
Lake Travis def. No. 74 Cedar Park, 31-27 (TEXAS playoffs) *E-mail request*
Have your game picked next week: E-mail Dallas Jackson
Game of the Week record: 10-5
2010 Record for all games picked: 113-4s




 

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