December 10, 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.

Friday Night Lights?

Well, sure, I read the book. Or is it, saw the show. Or, maybe, just understand the concept.

There's nothing like Friday Night for high school football in many spots in the country. But we're here to tell you, Saturday's just fine, too.

Take a look at these matchups - just some of the great games on tap for Saturday - and you'll see why:

Weekend Watch
No. 5 Trinity
vs. No. 19 Stony Point
HOW THEY GOT HERE
STONY POINT
def. Austin Westlake, 35-10
def. Klein Oak, 55-31
def. A&M Consolidated, 42-7
def. DeSoto, 72-48
TRINITY
def. South Grand Prairie, 36-16
def. Allen, 37-35
def. Martin, 42-21
def. Coppell, 41-40

When: Saturday 12/11, 4 p.m.
Last Meeting: 12/12/09, Trinity won, 35-28
Rankings: Trinity (14-0), No. 1 in Texas
Stony Point (14-0), No. 2 in Texas

Trinity wins if: It plays better defense that it did last week. The Trojans only average giving up 14 points per game on the season, but have given up 96 of its 205 total in the last three weeks. That is a little concerning, especially considering the team gave up points on all eight of the Coppell drives last week. Trinity is a very prideful team and hearing about its performance all week will likely fire up this squad.

Stony Point wins if: It is able to pass the ball effectively. The Tigers are traditionally a better running team than a passing team, but that plays into the hands of the Trojans. A running team needs to have a more physical offensive line than the Trinity defensive line. That's a rarity and certainly not the case in this game. Aaryn Sharp can throw the ball around the yard. If he has over 200 yards passing (he averages a little over 100 per game) then that will mean Stony Point was balanced and likely won.

X-Factor: Stony Point defense. The Tigers have given up their fair share of points this season as well. However, it is also more vulnerable to the pass than the run. It allowed a combined 79 points to Klein Oak and DeSoto in two playoff games - two teams who move the ball through the air. It only allowed 17 points to Westlake and A&M Consolidated - two teams that are primarily run-based squads. Trinity is more of a run team but has the ability to pass if needs be. Depending on how Trinity game plans for this game could determine the outcome.

Prediction: Stony Point has lost each of the last two seasons to the eventual state champions - Allen (23-21) in 2008; Trinity (35-28) in 2009 - and is motivated to make sure that does not happen again. Trinity is two games away from repeating as a state champion - something very few teams have done at the highest level in Texas. Something is going to have to give. This is a game that plays into the hands of Trinity: It is able to be balanced on offense while Stony Point will have to play off of its strength, which is running the ball. - Trinity 38, Stony Point 33.

Weekend Watch
No. 6 Mission Viejo
vs. No. 18 Servite
HOW THEY GOT HERE
SERVITE
def. Long Beach Jordan, 41-14
def. Crespi, 40-16
def. Alemany, 21-21
MISSION VIEJO
def. Long Beach Wilson, 63-34
def. Santa Margarita, 31-28
def. Mater Dei, 42-21

When: Saturday 12/11, 7:30 p.m.
Last Meeting: 12/4/09, Servite won, 19-18
Rankings: Mission Viejo (13-0), No. 1 in California
Servite (13-0), No. 4 in California

Servite wins if: Its defense forces turnovers. The Friars are a team that is led by the defensive unit and a team that sometimes struggles to score point offensively. If it is able to force a turnover or keep the field position pointed in its favor, that could play a heavy roll in the game. The Friars, without a dominant star this season, have mixed and matched its offensive heroes each week making it more important for the defense to play strong.

Mission Viejo wins if: It is able to stay patient and take what it is given offensively. The Diablos have not been held to under 30 points in any game this season, but Servite has not allowed more than 24. If Mission Viejo is happy with moving the ball underneath and working with a high completion percentage, it can move the ball. If frustration mounts, that will kill the team in its quest for a Pac 5 title and CIF Bowl bid.

X-Factor: Coaching battle. Troy Thomas and Bob Johnson are two of the best in the Pac 5 and it is no surprise that their teams are always good. Seeing which of the two is able to better adjust to the other's first punch will be interesting. Johnson is a quarterback guru and has developed plenty of players. His coaching could be the difference if he is able to work his magic against Thomas' defense.

Prediction: This is exactly how it was supposed to be when the brackets where announced - Servite and Viejo battling for the Pac 5 and CIF Bowl. The two teams had a lot of turnover from last year so the 19-18 battle really has few players remaining of impact so there is not much to take away. The strength of both teams remains the same. Odds are that the results will be similar as well. - Servite 20, Mission Viejo 17

Weekend Watch
No. 23 Phoebus
vs. No. 45 Stone Bridge
HOW THEY GOT HERE
PHOEBUS
def. Warwick, 49-0
def. Great Bridge, 35-6
def. Hampton, 12-7
def. Dinwiddie, 21-13
STONE BRIDGE
def. Stuart, 55-0
def. South Lakes, 36-15
def. Hayfield, 35-7
def. Osbourn, 21-0

When: Saturday 12/11, TBD
Last Meeting: 12/12/09, Phoebus won, 15-10
Rankings: Phoebus (14-0), No. 1 in Virginia
Stone Bridge (14-0), No. 2 in Virginia

Phoebus wins if: It brings its offense to the stadium. The defense is a given. Dinwiddie needed a pick-six last week to score 13 points. Those 13 points were a season high against the Phantoms. Phoebus' offense had been scoring into the 40's on a regular basis until the last two weeks. Coincidentally that is when the opposition began to improve. The Stone Bridge defense will be the stiffest competition of the year and it will need to be able to score.

Stone Bridge wins if: It wins the battle in the trenches. Few teams in the last five years have been able to match the Phantoms on the lines and that is what it takes to win this time of the year. Stone Bridge, like Phoebus, is a running team. But instead of packing the middle of the field, Stone Bridge will spread it out (and likely still run). Winning the one-on-one battle inside the line of scrimmage will determine the winner.

X-Factor: Turnovers. Phoebus's offense has scored the most points of any team in Virginia. Stone Bridge is second. Phoebus' defense has allowed the fewest points of any team in Virginia. Stone Bridge is second. So whichever team is the one to force the other into mistakes will likely win. While the look of the team is different the approach is the same. Run the ball and play defense.

Prediction: All of the numbers are balanced. The teams average nearly the same yards per rush, yards per play, points per game. Neither allows much on defense and both were expected to be here. As all points indicate, Phoebus has been the best team in Virginia this season and it is ready to prove it. The winner of this game will have earned its spot at the national rankings table. - Phoebus 18, Stone Bridge 13

Weekend Watch
No. 37 Lakeland
vs. No. 67 Plant
HOW THEY GOT HERE
PLANT
def. Plant City, 47-18
def. Newsome, 50-23
def. Countryside, 21-13
LAKELAND
def. Hagerty, 56-35
def. Oviedo, 35-3
def. Fleming Island, 29-19

When: Saturday 12/11, TBD
Last Meeting: 12/11/09, Plant won, 20-0
Rankings: Lakeland (13-0), No. 7 in Florida
Plant (11-2), No. 11 in Florida

Lakeland wins if: It is able to slow the Panthers. The Dreadnaughts have moved up in the state rankings and national rankings despite a suspect defense. The team has given up over 30 points four times this season - an unusually high amount for any Lakeland team. It is running into a team that is very balanced and has steadily improved as the season has progressed. If it gives up 30 points in this game it will not be advancing to the Class 5A title.

Plant wins if: It has truly developed its passing game. The recent run of games has shown that Phillip Ely and his receivers have developed more of a report. The knock on the Panthers at the beginning of the season were its wide receivers and its defensive backs. The wide outs seem to be better and the defensive backs likely won't be a factor with Lakeland running the ball most of the time.

X-Factor: Revenge factor? So many games this time of the year are replays of the season prior. Lakeland, which is used to being the leader in the 5A pack, was eliminated last year by Plant and could be seeing its run of dominance put on the back burner.

Prediction: This game was all but expected from the very beginning of the season and no one is surprised it has come to pass. The current ranking views Lakeland ahead of Plant, but at the beginning of the season Plant checked in atop the RivalsHigh 100. The team has rebuilt into what was expected from the get-go. - Plant 24, Lakeland 16

Weekend Watch
No. 9 West Monroe
vs. No. 27 Acadiana
HOW THEY GOT HERE
WEST MONROE
def. Chalmette, 42-6
def. Barbe, 34-29
def. Jesuit, 28-11
def. Westgate, 34-3
ACADIANA
def. East St. John, 56-6
def. Zachary, 49-7
def. St. Paul, 41-20
def. St. Thomas More, 31-0

When: Saturday 12/11, 7 p.m.
Last Meeting: 11/16/07, West Monroe, 19-14
Rankings: West Monroe (14-0), No. 1 in Louisiana
Acadiana (9-5*, 13-1), No. 2 in Louisiana

West Monroe wins if: Its defense is as advertised. The Rebels came into the season with plenty of hype surrounding the team. But without much of a schedule to talk about, there are still lingering questions as to that validity. The lone game it was challenged was against Barbe, which got some generous officiating to stay close. This Acadiana team is far and away the best it has seen all season. Will the Rebels be ready?

Acadiana wins if: It comes out with the same passion it has played with against St. Paul and St. Thomas More the previous two weeks. An LHSAA ruling forced the Rams to forfeit four games. The penalty - and near-miss of the playoffs because of it - has lit a fire like none other under Acadiana and it is out to prove that it is the best in state. It has the opportunity this week.

X-Factor: Comfort factor. West Monroe is at home in the Dome. Fans of the Rebels have had hotel reservations for months and the expectation to take home a state title to go along with it. Acadiana may come in with some nerves and with wide eyes. Those will go away quickly, but the quick-strike ability of West Monroe could make those first moments of uneasiness snowball.

Prediction: The winner of this game will have been in a battle. Both teams want it and both teams will enter feeling it is the best team in the state. The rage of the Rams and the steady hand of West Monroe will be tested. Look for the Rams to win the battle in the trenches but still have a hard time answering for Paul Turner. - West Monroe 34, Acadiana 31

Weekend Watch
Other Predictions (2010: 115-55)
No. 14 De La Salle def. California, 24-0 (CALIFORNIA playoffs)
No. 34 Denton Guyer def. Longview, 35-27 (TEXAS playoffs)
Colquitt County def. No. 81 Brookwood, 40-37 (GEORGIA state final)
No. 46 Franklinton def. Karr, 40-20 (LOUISIANA state final)
No. 87 Sandy Creek def. Carrolton, 20-16 (GEORGIA state final)
Game of the Week record: 10-5
2010 Record for all games picked: 125-60




 

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