August 27, 2008

Major Games Around the Country
Battle for Respect
Olive Branch (0-0 overall, No. 66 in the RivalsHigh 100) vs. Pahokee (0-0, No. 19)

Date: Saturday August 30.

Storylines: Olive Branch leaves the state of Mississippi to gain nation respect. Meanwhile Florida power Pahokee would love nothing else but to prove a 2B Florida school can take down a 5A giant.

Players to watch: Olive Branch will be led by a quartet of talented players highlighted by four-star defensive back Rod Woodson and Keshaun Cowan. Fellow four-star player and Florida commit Nu'Keese Richardson will be pivotal for the Pahokee success.

Best matchup: Olive Branch secondary vs Pahokee passing game. Woodson and Richardson will get to see plenty of each other on Saturday and chances are the player that wins that battle will go a long way towards their team winning the war.

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Leaving the Desert
Hamilton (0-0 overall, No. 35 in the RivalsHigh 100) vs. Booker T. Washington (0-0, No. 15)

Date: Friday August 29.

Storylines: Hamilton has been the king in Arizona for the past several years they enter this year ranked No. 2 in Arizona, this could be the game that puts the Huskies back at the top of the desert heap. Booker T. Washington will need to get out of the gates early and start strong.

Players to watch: On paper it looks as though the talent edge lies with Hamilton with four of the Top 25 players in Arizona suiting up for the Huskies it could be tough for a reloading Tornado team to keep up. Someone will have to match up with speedy WR Drew Terrell.

Best matchup: Booker T. Washington running game vs. Hamilton defense. Hamilton had 8 juniors start on defense last season, that experience will come in to play as the 2008 season kicks off. Discipline and defense will be the difference maker in this one.

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South Carolina Power Opens With a Battle
Byrnes (0-0 overall, No. 6 in the RivalsHigh 100) vs. North Gwinnett (0-0, unranked)

Date: Friday August 29.

Storylines: North Gwinnett is seeking to build off the best season in school history in which the Bulldogs finished 13-2 and made its first ever title game appearance. Byrnes wants to take the opporunity to showcase their talent and justify the lofty national rankings.

Player to watch: If ever there was a player who truly meant everything to his team it would be Bulldog Qb Michael Tamburo. With an above average arm and good mobility as he goes North Gwinnett goes. The big name on the Byrnes roster is running back, Marcus Lattimore. The 5-11, 205lbs junior is the state's top player in the Class of 2010, with seven offers from major DI programs on the table. Last season, Lattimore rushed for close to 1,900 yards and accounted for 30 touchdowns for the Rebels.

Best matchup: North Gwinnett defense vs Byrnes style of play: The Bulldog defense is very young and Byrnes offense has been a well oiled machine. North Gwinnett will have to find a way to corral 2010 Byrnes stud Marcus Lattimore.

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The Battle of Pistol Creek
Maryville (1-0 overall, No. 49 in the RivalsHigh 100) vs. Alcoa (1-0, unranked)

Date: Friday August 29.

Storylines: Maryville (#1 in 4A) and Alcoa (#1 in 2A) are the best teams in their class. Both teams have won their past 4 state championships. The players from each school know each other all to well. They've played against each other since pee-wee football. It's the closest thing you can get to a championship game in Week 1.

Players to watch: Maryville DE Justin Smith is a first team All-State and All-County DE. Last week Smith helped the Rebels defense limit Halls to just 150 yards on offense. For Alcoa, Chase James performed well last week with 4 TD's and 189 yards in Alcoa's 63-3 win over Spring Hill.

Best matchup: On the sidelines: Maryville coach George Quarles vs. Alcoa coach Gary Rankin. These two are arguably the 2 best coaches in the state of Tennessee. Coach Quarles and Maryville are trying to fill huge holes at QB and having them this early only helps Alcoa. This may be the best team Maryville will face all year and this may be Alcoa's best chance to beat Maryville. Something it hasn't done since 2000.

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Missouri Class 6 Powers Collide
Rockhurst (0-0 overall, No. 65 in the RivalsHigh 100) vs. Blue Springs South (0-0, No. 88)

Date: Sunday August 31.

Storylines: A battle between two Missouri Class 6 football heavyweights will take place this weekend on a national stage as Rockhurst, ranked No. 1 in the Power Poll will visit No. 3 ranked Blue Springs South, Sunday August 31 at 11:00 AM in a game televised by ESPN2.

Players to watch: Illinois commit Nathan Scheelhaase looks to start his senior season by defeating rival Blue Spring South. The 22-1 Jaguars QB, and Missouri commit, Blaine Dalton may have something to say about that as he is coming off of a stellar junior year.

Best matchup: This game will contain has many as a dozen current or future Division I prospects however there is no doubt all eyes will be on the quarterbacks in this class of Class 6 Missouri powers.

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Additional Games of Note

Stone Bridge (0-0 overall, No. 31 in the RivalsHigh 100) vs West Springfield (0-0, unranked).
Stone Bridge is the defending D-5 state champs and West Springfield is considered one of the state's best D-6 teams which makes this game one to watch. Both teams have high profile recruits- West Springfield's Bryn Renner was an Elite 11 QB while Stone Bridge boast four D-I commits and several others with offers.

Euless Trinity (0-0 overall, No. 1 in the RivalsHigh 100) vs John Curtis (0-0, unranked).
The RivalsHigh 100 No. 1 team opens the season with a tough matchup with Louisiana's John Curtis in the Texas Gridiron Classic. Interesting note, John Curtis will play their Jamboree game on Friday night, just three days before tangling with a very physical Trojan football team.

Colerain (1-0 overall, No. 27 in the RivalsHigh 100) vs. McKeesport (0-0, unranked).
Pennsylvania and Ohio have a healthy respect for one another on the high school football field. This weekend, at the Herbstreit Classic, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh send some of their best into battle.

Montgomery Bell Academy (1-0 overall, No. 78 in the RivalsHigh 100) vs. Moeller (1-0, No. 79).
MBA looked to be the best team in Tennessee after their 0 Week win against Antioch. Moeller faced much stiffer competition but looked impressive as well defeating Princeton 27-17. A win for either team would inch them closer to the Top 50.

Prattville (0-0 overall, No. 14 in the RivalsHigh 100) vs. St. Xavier (0-1, No. 45).
Prattville saw their season opener washed out with huricane rain. St. X wished their opener was a rain out. A rash of injuries and inexperienced play lead to the Bombers 13-8 loss to Colerain. Another loss to Prattville could spell disaster early in the season for St. X.

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