November 27, 2011

Top teams rise and fall as season winds down

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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.

Being a top-ten team is hazardous to your health. At least this year it appears to be.

No. 4 Katy (Texas) High was the latest to go down, falling to unranked La Porte in a stunning upset.

"I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I knew we could do it," La Porte coach Jeff LaReau told the Houston Chronicle. "We have been in tough games all year, and that showed tonight."

It showed how anyone can beat anyone this year.

No. 7 Dallas (Texas) Skyline survived a scare to triumph. No. 41 Loyola Academy wasn't as lucky; it went down in an Illinois state final.

Meanwhile, No. 50 North Allegheny and No. 51 Upper St. Clair just went down to the end, with North Allegheny triumphing in overtime.

With that, a look at some big games on Saturday.

La Porte 9, No. 4 Katy 7

Who knew? Deep in the heart of Texas, where offense often is king, defense still can win championships.

On a day of surprises, La Porte (Texas) High pulled off perhaps the biggest, eliminating the top-ranked team in Texas, Katy High, 9-7.

The winning points came on Eric Medina's 30-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. But the game was won on defense.

La Porte held Katy QB Brooks Haack in check all game except for one 52-yard scoring pass.

Katy, which defeated La Porte in both 2008 and 2009, failed to make the regional final for the first time since 2001.

  • RivalsHigh take: Crazy weather was affecting games all over Texas and this game was delayed due to weather - but it was delayed for both teams. Katy looked to be poised to make a run at a state title this season and a Top 5 national finish. Now it is hard to figure out what to do with the team after this loss. La Porte is a quality team and fought hard for this one.

    For more, check out this report in the Houston Chronicle.

    No. 7 Skyline 42, Klein Oak 24

    Skyline held on in a game that featured more than 50 first downs (52) and nearly 1,000 yards of total offense (983).

    Skyline was ahead, 21-16, in the third quarter when it took control, scoring three straight touchdowns to put the game away.

    Not surprisingly, it did it with a balanced offense.

    Thomas Johnson ran the ball just twice, but scored both times on runs of 64 and 41 yards. David Greene added 58 yards and two scores of his own.

  • RivalsHigh take: Skyline was moved into the pole position for the Division I title last week. After its performance this week - combined with the blood bath the other top teams took - it looks like it is now a head-and-shoulders favorite. The Raiders need to practice and play as if they are still the underdog or they could be met with a similar fate as many other teams that were eliminated.

    No. 50 North Allegheny 28, No. 51 Upper St. Clair 21 (OT)

    We figured this game would be close; we didn't know it would be anything like this.

    North Allegheny won a back-and-forth game in overtime on Mack Leftwich's 1-yard TD run.

    Leftwich, who had thrown for a score and run for a score earlier, was the offensive star of the day for North Allegheny.

    Defense, however, was the ultimate hero as it prevented Upper St. Clair from getting an equalizing score, winning the game on a sack.

  • RivalsHigh take: Like earlier this season, North Allegheny topped Upper St. Clair as the team extended its winning streak and pushed itself to the front of the line to repeat as state title winners. The WPIAL has looked solid all season and this was another war in the Pittsburgh area.

    For more, check out this report on PaPreps.com, the leading source for Pennsylvania high school sports.

    No. 100 Bolingbrook 21, No. 41 Loyola Academy 17

    Bolingbrook (Ill.) High quarterback Aaron Bailey made up for a four-turnover day when it counted - with the game on the line.

    Bailey's 33-yard touchdown run with just over five minutes to play was the difference as Bolingbrook held on to beat Wilmette (Ill.) Loyola Academy for the Illinois Class 8A title.

    For the game, Bailey rushed for 149 yards and two scores and threw for 140 yards.

    Both teams finished the season at 13-1.

  • RivalsHigh take: Loyola looked like the better team in Illinois entering the game but it was overwhelmed by the best player on the field when Bailey took over. It was an up and down season in Illinois and this is further proof of that.

    For more, check out this report in the Chicago Tribune.

    MORE: Ohio works its way to the state finals | Hamilton loses out West, other top teams struggle



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