Trinity-Manual, Prattville-Daphne among H.S. playoff picks
Trinity beat Manual 58-7 on Oct. 7, rushing for more than 200 yards and 7 TDs
Bishop Gorman QB Anu Solomon torched Arbor View in previous two meetings
Underperforming Prattville could have a tough time slowing Daphne RB T.J. Yeldon
Looking to make sense of the high school football playoffs? SI.com has you covered. As the postseason begins, we'll break down each of the top matchups, building toward state championships.
Here are 10 games to watch for the weekend ahead.
No. 2 Trinity (10-0) vs. DuPont Manual (9-2)
The last time these two met, on Oct. 7, Trinity won 58-7 behind 203 rushing yards and seven touchdowns from Dalyn Dawkins and Garrett Sauer. Expect more of the same on Friday. The 'Rocks should roll to 11-0, and quarterback Travis Wright should eclipse the 5,000-yard career passing milestone (he's currently at 4,976).
The pick: Trinity 49, DuPont Manual 6
No. 5 Katy (10-0) vs. Houston Madison (6-4)
In its last three games, Katy has produced three different 100-yard rushers (Cody Gomez, Ricky Bickham, Tevin Arline). More than one should repeat that feat against Houston Madison. The Marlins allow three touchdowns per game. The Tigers allowed three in all of October.
The pick: Katy 38, Houston Madison 0
No. 6 Bishop Gorman (12-1) vs. Arbor View (9-2)
Quarterback Anu Solomon's past two games against the Aggies: 543 passing yards, 157 rushing yards, nine touchdowns, no interceptions. I'll take him -- and the Gaels -- in another rout.
The pick: Bishop Gorman 63, Arbor View 10
No. 7 Our Lady of Good Counsel (10-0) vs. St. John's (4-5)
Since Good Counsel's tussle with Gilman (Md.), no one has played the Falcons closer than St. John's. The problem: The Cadets' run D is still no match for Wes Brown and Dorian O'Daniel. Coach Bob Milloy will take to the ground, and Good Counsel will race into the WCAC finals.
The pick: Good Counsel 35, St. John's 7
No. 8 Buford (10-0) vs. Temple (6-4)
Last week, Carver (Ga.) beat Temple 42-0. On Sept. 2, Buford beat Carver 35-7. By my count, it adds to a big first half for running back Andre Johnson and another Wolves win.
The pick: Buford 56, Temple 3
No. 9 Allen (10-0) vs. Keller Central (8-2)
Allen has been maddeningly inconsistent, toeing the line between brilliant and baffling. I think they'll be more of the former on Friday, with the Eagles' passing tandem of Alec Morris-to-Andrew Rodriguez outshining the Chargers' duo of Tanner Tausch-to-Zack Sanchez. A victory likely sets up a second-round showdown with 12th-ranked Trinity.
The pick: Allen 41, Keller Central 30
No. 11 Mallard Creek (11-0) vs. Ardrey Kell (8-3)
Mallard Creek has scored at least 40 points in every game since its opener, riding workhorse back Jela Duncan (1,628 rushing yards, 20 touchdowns). That trend should continue, but Ardrey Kell won't roll over. The Knights hang around early before fading in the second half.
The pick: Mallard Creek 45, Ardrey Kell 24
No. 12 Trinity (10-0) vs. Duncanville (7-3)
DeAndre Grimes, Aaron Piper and the Duncanville offense average 35 points per game. Brian Nance, Polo Mahukainiu and the Trinity defense allow nine. In a showdown of strength against strength, the Trojan offense -- and running back Joel Kimpela -- proves to be the difference.
The pick: Trinity 35, Duncanville 20
No. 15 Carmel (11-1) vs. Ben Davis (10-2)
Trap game. Following Carmel's emotional triumph over Warren Central last weekend, it faces another tough test in Ben Davis. It says here that the Greyhounds survive, but just barely. Defensive ends Langston Newton (6-5, 240) and Shawn Heffern (6-6, 240) will be too much for the undersized Giants to handle.
The pick: Carmel 21, Ben Davis 17
Prattville (8-2) vs. Daphne (10-1)
Not quite the season that Prattville had envisioned. After entering the year ranked fourth in the nation, the Lions dropped two of their first five, including a stunner at home to Opelika. Their season ends, with Daphne's T.J. Yeldon (1,921 rushing yards, 24 touchdowns) delivering an All-American worthy performance.
The pick: Daphne 28, Prattville 24
Colerain (10-1) vs. St. Xavier (8-3)
St. X has had Colerain's number of late, winning four of their last five meetings. Thanks to a mistake-free showing from quarterback Dustin Smith, the Cardinals finally exact some revenge. He gets the best of coach Steve Specht's perennially stingy defense, and Colerain cruises to a Division I quarterfinal matchup with Archbishop Moeller.
The pick: Colerain 20, St. Xavier 9
If you haven't seen it yet, check out this tweet from Noah Spence, Bishop McDevitt's (Pa.) five-star defensive end. It sums up the state of Penn State recruiting, and begs the question: How firm are Armani Reeves and Tommy Schutt in their commitments?
Interesting note on Barry Sanders Jr., this week's Player of the Week. In attempt to discern his recruiting leanings, I asked which school he prefers on NCAA Football 12. His response? Boise State. "Kellen Moore is unstoppable," he said.
If any member of the Top 25 is primed for an upset, it may be Servite. The Friars squeaked by a struggling Mater Dei squad, and now face Santa Margarita (Calif.), 8-1 in '11. Keep an eye on the battle between BYU-bound defensive end Jherremya Leuta-Douyere and offensive tackle Max Tuerk, a USC commit.
Storyline you should watch: Hamilton (Ariz.) puts its nation-long 51-game winning streak on the line against Chandler (Ariz.). When the two met in September, Chandler led 21-13 entering the fourth quarter. They proceeded to lose four fumbles in the final 12 minutes, falling 28-21.
Team on the rise: Aledo (Texas). After losing two of their first three to begin the season, Johnathan Gray and Co. have snapped off seven straight, outscoring opponents 443-135. I like the Bearcats this week against Dunbar (Texas) -- and in the rest of the 4A Division 2 playoff bracket.
Team fading fast: St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.). The former national championship frontrunner dropped a shocker to Cooper City (Fla.), losing 21-16 in the 7A-District 15 final. Once a model of consistency, the Raiders are now in disarray, and could make a quick exit from the Class 7A playoffs if they don't turn things around fast.