October 7, 2011

Thursday Roundup: Getting it done

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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.

Top teams producing top efforts - that best describes a trio of victories for ranked teams that got a jump on the weekend by playing on Thursday night.

Out West, No. 84 Westlake won a backyard battle with rival No. 48 Oaks Christian and No. 65 Brophy Prep learned all about how to survive and advance.

In the East, No. 13 Miami Norland showed Coral Reef how it plays defense and No. 38 Butler proved you can come back from a near disastrous finish.

With that, a look at our roundup for Thursday night games:

No. 84 Westlake 43, No. 48 Oaks Christian 21

Call it just a good old-fashioned high school football game.

A neighborhood rivalry in front of a packed house ... two nationally-ranked teams meeting for the third time in two seasons ... a couple of star efforts and, perhaps best of all, just a bit of redemption.

Westlake's 43-21 over Oaks Christian in the battle of Westlake Village, Calif., had it all.

Westlake rushed for 429 yards - including 222 from quarterback Justin Moore - to control the line of scrimmage. But it needed kicker Alex Ball to get most of its points.

Ball, who missed a potential game-winning field goal last season when Westlake lost to Oaks Christian in the playoffs, booted five Thursday night, hitting from 33, 40, 47, 44 and 28 yards.

Westlake improved to 5-0 on the season and 4-0 in the always tough Marmonte League. Oaks Christian fell to 3-1 in the league, tied for second with No. 69 Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure.

  • RivalsHigh take: The merry-go-round of California teams continues with a win for Westlake. The evaluations of the teams in West continue to become clouded and seemingly no team from California wants to take - and hold - the top spot.

    For more, check out this report in the Los Angeles Times.

    No. 13 Miami Norland 14, Coral Reef 0

    Randy Johnson ran for 194 yards and two touchdowns - but Miami Norland really only needed one of them. Its defense was that good.

    Norland held Coral Reef to just 73 yards to win the battle of two unbeaten schools.

    Norland improved to 6-0 with the victory.

  • RivalsHigh take: Norland is a different team when "Duke" Johnson is out on the field. It is a good thing he was there in this contest as the offense was not able to get much done. With the win for Miramar over Aquinas - combined with an unimpressive win for Norland - a shakeup in the Florida rankings will likely have fallout for Norland.

    For more, check out this report in the Miami Herald.

    No. 38 Butler 43, Ardrey Kell 40

    Matthews (N.C.) Butler had blown an 18-point second-half lead by making all the mistakes coaches hate.

    It gave up a kickoff return. It muffed a punt. It committed 15 penalties for 161 yards.

    But with the game on the line, it turned to junior quarterback Riley Ferguson. And he made it all better.

    Ferguson drove Butler down the field in the final two minutes and connected with his brother, Zach, for a game-winning touchdown pass to lift Butler to the victory.

    Ferguson finished with 325 yards and four TDs to help Butler improve to 7-1 overall.

  • RivalsHigh take: Butler tried time and again to give this game away, including throwing a pick six under two minutes remaining in the game. The team showed plenty of fight after bringing on its own adversity. The mental mistakes are rare for a team that is usually more fundamentally sound.

    For more, check out this report in the Charlotte Observer.

    No. 65 Brophy Prep 24, Avondale Westview 21

    Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep scored the winning points on Zach Hudson's 45-yard field goal with 1:53 to go in the game, but it probably won the game thanks to a few big breaks along the way.

    Westview had chances it just couldn't convert as it fumbled the ball away at the 3 with the scored tied at 14.

    Then, after the teams traded touchdowns, Westview recovered an onside kick in the closing minutes but missed a chance to go ahead when it missed a field goal.

    Brophy Prep then let its defense take over, forcing a punt deep in Westview territory to set up the winning kick.

  • RivalsHigh take: Tough games like this are good for teams at the midseason point. Many were high on Brophy entering the game and this could either send doubters finger-pointing or make believers of those who thought the team would fall when facing adversity. This could be the No. 2 team in Arizona this year and this game may propel harder workouts to become No. 1.

    For more, check out this report in the Arizona Republic.


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