November 19, 2011

Friday: Ranked teams down ranked foes

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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 still early, most states are still ramping up their playoffs, but a few key matchups across the country gave a hint of what's in store in the coming weeks.

There were three matchups of teams in the RivalsHigh 100 and each was telling for its own reason.

No. 18 Bellevue topped No. 19 Lakes, 35-14, in a Washington quarterfinal that may have answered which program is best in the state.

No. 25 Pittsburgh Central Catholic got a (another) lesson in playoff football, falling to a lower-seeded team (No. 91 Upper St. Clair) for a second straight season.

And No. 40 Chaparral got a reminder of just how tough the Arizona playoffs can be, holding on for a 31-30 victory over No. 87 Centennial.

Big games. Big results. And we're just getting started.

No. 18 Bellevue 35, No. 19 Lakes 14

Here's the deal with the Wing-T offense: Some feel its outdated, but the truth is, run correctly, it's still unstoppable.

Bellevue (Wash.) High provided another reminder of that when it ran over Lakes in one of the most-anticipated games in Washington in some time.

Quarterback Tyler Hasty only ran the ball 17 times, but he made the most of them, going for 113 yards and four scores.

His biggest came at the end of the first half. Ahead just 14-7 in the closing minutes, Hasty ran four times for 58 yards, including a touchdown with 29 seconds remaining.

For the game, Bellevue ran 54 times for 348 yards.

Hasty was lauded by his coach and teammates afterward - but he dodged the credit as easily as avoided defenders.

"The holes were wide-open, the linemen did great," he told the Seattle Times. "I was pretty much untouched on most of the plays. They (his teammates) were going all-out, all the time. They were making it real easy to get down the field."

  • RivalsHigh take: Bellevue has multiple solid wins this season and showed again why it is the unquestioned No. 1 team in Washington. The team has the right combination of explosive athletes and grind-it-out football players. The game with Lakes felt closer than the final score, although it never felt like Lakes was going to win the game.

    For more, check out this report in the Seattle Times.

    No. 40 Chaparral 31, No. 87 Centennial 30

    Davonte Neal's play at wide receiver had made him a candidate for Player of the Year in Arizona and a coveted recruit by nearly every major college in the country.

    His play at defensive back, however, may just help him become a state champion.

    Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral, on the ropes after wasting a 17-0 lead, got a late-game interception by Neal - his first of the season - to hold off Peoria (Ariz.) Centennial in an Arizona Division II semifinal.

    Neal made the interception in the end zone with just over a minute remaining in the game. The play made up for an earlier miscue.

    "Oh, man, it came at the right time," Neal told the Arizona Republic. "I just put myself in the right position to make the play. I found the ball and I knew I needed to catch it."

    Ahead 17-14, Neal was stripped of the ball while fighting for extra yards on offense. The fumble was returned for a score which gave Centennial its first lead of the game.

  • RivalsHigh take: Chaparral was able to avoid the fate of several ranked teams that jumped out to big leads only to give the game away. With only the stat title game left to be played, it looks as though the Firebirds are likely to be champions again.

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

    No. 91 Upper St. Clair 28, No. 25 Central Catholic 24

    Few thought Upper St. Clair (Pa.) High could beat Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic.

    And that was with a full lineup.

    With star quarterback Dakota Conwell on the sideline, Upper St. Clair pulled off a stunner, rallying in the fourth quarter behind backup Pete Coughlin.

    Trailing 14-13, Coughlin made the play of the game, going 73 yards for a score with just over 11 minutes remaining. Coughlin added a 25-yard TD pass later in the quarter to wrap it up.

    On the night, the 5-foot-9 Coughlin ran for 209 yards on 21 carries, helping Upper St. Clair to a 304-37 edge in rushing yards.

    "I heard people saying ... 'They're a one-man team, they can't do anything without Dakota,'" Coughlin told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "But we showed them even without him, we can be a great team."

  • RivalsHigh take: Well, count us among those who doubted Upper St. Clair when it was announced prior to kickoff that Dakota Conwell wouldn't play ... and assumed this to be a win for Central Catholic. The defense for Upper St. Clair proved to be too much as the offense just did enough, even if it did it late in the game, to get the win. This sets up a rematch with North Allegheny in the WPIAL final at Heinz Field.

    For more, check out this report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

    THE LOSERS: Ranked teams making earlier than expected exits

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