October 15, 2011

Friday Roundup: Big regional wins

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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.

The postseason is still a few weeks away, but a number of schools had statement games in their area Friday night.

No. 26 Servite showed it may be the best of the bunch in Southern California while No. 48 Del Oro rallied in a tough Northern California matchup.

Back in Florida, Miami Northwestern pulled an upset over Columbus while Jacksonville Bolles had a nice fourth-quarter recovery.

And in upstate New York, No. 74 Aquinas Institute had a tough out-of-state loss.

It's all in our Friday roundup:

No. 26 Servite 21, No. 72 Orange Lutheran 8

Best in Southern California? To find the answer, you may just have to go through Anaheim (Calif.) Servite.

Two weeks after losing a tough out-of-state game to No. 5 Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, Servite dominated Orange (Calif.) Lutheran with a stifling defense and explosive offense.

Wide receiver Ainslie Johnson caught two second-half TD passes (53 and 82 yards) and the defense held Lutheran until a final-minute touchdown - long after the game had been decided.

Cody Pittman led the way for Servite, completing 15 of 21 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns. His big plays went to Johnson, who finished with four catches for 157 yards.

Servite improves to 5-1.

"We felt we didn't play Servite football (in a 31-28 loss to Bishop Gorman)," Servite coach Troy Thomas told the Orange County Register. "Tonight, I felt like we played Servite football."

  • RivalsHigh take: Servite looks like it has stepped in front of the muddied mess in Southern California. Its win over Orange Lutheran puts it in the drivers seat going forward for the Open Division Bowl. The defense was tough as always and offense knows it doesn't need to light up the scoreboard when it is getting that kind of defensive performance.

    For more, check out this report on OCVarsity.com.

    No. 48 Del Oro 35, Nevada Union 31

    Best in Northern California? Ok, we're not ready to go there yet. But Loomis (Calif.) Del Oro at least kept its name in the conversation thanks to a come-from-behind win.

    Quarterback Bobby Heatherington was 16-for-18 for 190 yards. One of his two bad passes, however, almost was the difference as a late-game interception appeared to have sealed Del Oro's fate.

    Heatherington, however, made the most of a second chance, completing all five of his passes - including a game-winning 3-yard TD toss to Russell Smith - on his final drive of the game.

    Del Oro improved to 6-1 with the victory.

  • RivalsHigh take: This was a battle between Top 20 teams in NorCal and Del Oro kepts it path straight for a Division II Bowl Game in California. Its offense has been efficient and effective and despite giving up a lot of points in this contest the defense has been usually effective. In a confusing California pecking order, Del Oro maintained its No. 3 spot in NorCal.

    For more, check out this report in The Union.

    Miami Northwestern 40, No. 49 Columbus 32

    Just another South Florida thriller. Northwestern rallied from a 15-point deficit to defeat one of its top rivals, proving it once again belongs in the discussion of South Florida's best.

    "We're trying to get our respect back," Northwestern coach Billy Rolle told the Miami Herald. "Once upon a time, it was Northwestern this and Northwestern that all the time in the paper. A few programs got better over the past few years and got past us by beating us. But this was a game for us to get some of that respect back."

    Rolle has quarterback E.J. Hilliard and wide receiver Amari Cooper to thank for that.

    Hilliard was 14-for-25 for 231 yards and a TD and he ran for another TD.

    Cooper had eight catches for 169 yards, including an 80-yard scoring play that helped spark the comeback.

  • RivalsHigh take: This season has really become an "if not now, when?" season for Miami Columbus. It was the favorite entering games with both Northwestern and Central and failed to seal both games and lost tight battles. If the Explorers weren't going to get it done this year, will they ever?

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

    Cathedral Prep 16, No. 74 Aquinas Institute 13

    Rochester (N.Y.) Aquinas Institute may still be the top team in upstate New York, but its drive to finish in the Top 100 may have ended Friday night. By a foot.

    The foot of Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep kicker John Chereson.

    Chereson kicked three field goals - including 46- and 52-yarders - to key the upset, ending Aquinas' 19-game winning streak.

    Aquinas, down 16-6, tried to rally with a late 36-yard TD pass to Jahmahl Pardner, but its hopes were dashed when it failed to recover an onside kick.

  • RivalsHigh take: This was a surprising result as Erie Cathedral was not having its best season this year while Aquinas was expected to be in the middle of its banner year. This is a big blow to New York teams in the rankings as there was not a single team close to the evaluations of Aquinas and most likley will eliminate the state from the rankings for the remainder of the season.

    For more, check out this report on GoErie.com.

    No. 75 Bolles 28, Baker County 27

    It took Bolles three quarters to wake up, but once it did, it needed little time to recover.

    Down 13 early in the fourth, Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles finally went to work.

    First, it got a 12-yard TD run by Milton Revell to pull to 27-21. A few plays later, linebacker Cody Boswell picked off a pass and returned it to the 10. From there, it only took two plays for Revell to go in again (this time from 6 yards out) and Bolles to go ahead for good.

  • RivalsHigh take: Bolles has struggled in a few games this season and this could slide the team out of the Top 10 in Florida and onto the outside of the RivalsHigh 100. A win is always better than a loss but this game should not have been as close as it was.

    For more, check out this report on Jacksonville. com.


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