November 5, 2011

Friday roundup: Games coming down to the wire

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to and follow him on Twitter.

It's never over ... well, you get the point.

It certainly made Friday night when No. 31 Miami Central won a four-overtime thriller. But it may not have been the best ending of the night.

No. 59 King took a stunner over No. 60 Stephenson with a kickoff return TD in the game's final seconds.

And then there was Valdosta's overtime upset of No. 25 Colquitt County and No. 15 Servite's hang-on-to-the-end triumph over Mater Dei.

Here's our take on some fantastic finishes Friday night:

No. 15 Servite 35, Mater Dei 28

Anaheim (Calif.) Servite ran its league winning streak to 18 games and reaffirmed its status as Southern California's top team. But it wasn't easy. It never is against Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, even when it's a squad that is struggling this season.

Mater Dei, an unusually low 3-6, took a 21-14 lead in the third quarter, only to see Servite come to life.

Servite scored three straight touchdowns (two rushing, one on a recovered blocked punt) to seemingly take a comfortable 35-21 lead in the fourth quarter.

Mater Dei, however, came roaring back, pulled to 35-28, then got as far as the Servite 24 in the closing seconds before falling short.

The victory marks Servite's third straight over Mater Dei, something the school hadn't done since 1988.

  • RivalsHigh take: The close game was no surprise as the two play an intense rivalry game. What this will do is put the focus back on the evaluation of teams in SoCal and really push the issues if Westlake Village (Calif.) Westlake is the No. 1 team in the area. Servite tends to win ugly but at this point in the year, back-to-back defensive struggles are hard to ignore.

    For more, check out this report in Orange County Register.

    Valdosta 27, No. 25 Colquitt County 24

    After playing even over four quarters, Valdosta (Ga.) High dominated Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County in overtime and came away with its first region title since 2003.

    Colquitt County got the first possession of the overtime but went nowhere, losing 2 yards on a run then failing on two pass attempts. It had to settle for a 34-yard field goal.

    Valdosta had no issues on offense, needing just four plays to score, winning on Terrance Foster's 2-yard run.

    Oddly, Colquitt County had the better of the play late in the game, using a late interception to set up a game-tying TD pass with 28 seconds left. Overtime, however, was a different story.

    Valdosta quarterback Shelby Wilkes, playing against his former teammates, was 20-for-28 for 190 yards and three touchdowns.

  • RivalsHigh take: Colquitt County has been a tough team to evaluate this season as one week the team looks unbelievably good and the next it looks pedestrian. Which team shows up for the playoff run will be interesting to see as the team could be in the final, or it could be a first round exit.

    For more, check out this report in Valdosta Daily Times.

    No. 31 Miami Central 59, Belen Jesuit 56 (4 OTs)

    Hard to imagine a 59-56 game could be decided on defense, but this one was.

    After being deadlocked through three overtimes, Miami (Fla.) Central's Dawan Hunt intercepted a third-and-goal pass to keep Belen Jesuit off the board.

    Miami Central wasted no time, using a 27-yard field from Emilio Nadelman on its first play to get the win and a district title.

    Miami Central needed every bit of offense in regulation, using two fourth-quarter touchdowns to tie the game at 35 with roughly four minutes to play.

    Central improved to 8-0 with the victory. Quarterback Austin Stock finished the game 18-for-20 for 218 yards and four TDs.

  • RivalsHigh take: Florida overtimes are started from the 10 instead of the 25 as in many other states, so the explosion of scoring in the extra frame is no surprise. What is worrisome is that Central was gashed - again - by a misdirection Wing-T/triple option offense. There are not many of them left in Florida so it shouldn't be a glaring playoff problem but when compared to teams nationally that do run that offense, the evaluation needs updated.

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

    No. 59 Martin Luther King 50, No. 60 Stephenson 49

    Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson thought it had it won, thought it had a wild victory over Lithonia (Ga.) Martin Luther King after scoring a TD with less than 30 seconds to go.

    All it had to do was kickoff.

    Why it kicked off deep - and why it kicked off to Blake Tibbs will be questioned.

    Tibbs, who already had five receiving TDs in the game, got his sixth score by going untouched for 82 yards for the win.

    The play ended a back-and-forth game that saw King take a 12-0 lead early then give up 36 consecutive points. It pulled to 36-20 at half then rallied throughout the second half.

  • RivalsHigh take: This game was an amazing watch and one that if was on DVR would be fun to flip through again. It wasn't pretty football by any means but these were two talented teams that went back and forth all night. Both rallied back from big deficits - something that it didn't appear entering the game that either offense was built to do. Focus should certainly be called into question here.

    For more, check out this report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

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