MaxWire National Blog

Covering High School Sports in America
  • Photo by Stuart Browning

    Like most, Dan Marino looks like he can't believe St. Thomas Aquinas sprinted to a 31-0 lead midway through the third quarter against American Heritage. The game is being played at Sun Life Stadium.

    Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino, recently hired as a "special advisor" for the Miami Dolphins, couldn't give much helpful advise to players from American Heritage (Delray Beach, Fla.) in its national showdown game with St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Friday night.

    Marino, along with another former Dolphins' great Jason Taylor, soaked up and encouraged both teams at Sun Life Stadium.

    Taylor and Marino both played their high school football in Pittsburg (Pa.), but they couldn't help but admire the fast pace of Florida high school football. Marino attended Central Catholic (Pittsburgh) and Taylor went to Woodland Hills (Pittsburgh).

    St. Thomas, No. 3 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 rankings, raced past fifth-ranked American Heritage early on, with a 31-0 lead midway through the third quarter.
    Photo by Stuart Browning

    Dan Marino and Jason Taylor on the sideline at Sun Life Stadium.

  • Photo by Tom Beary

    Kyle Brady and Eric Dickerson speak to the press after the GIFT game in Dublin, Ireland.

    The high school football team from Cedar Cliff (Camp Hill, Pa.) went to great lengths to exact some revenge — 3,200 miles in fact.

    But the resolve of Penn Manor (Millersville, Pa.) was too great.

    Quarterback Tanner Erisman accounted for three touchdowns as the Comets jumped to a 27-6 lead en route to a 27-20 win at the Global Ireland Football Tournament at the University College Dublin Bowl on Friday.

    See the teams' journey to Dublin

    Penn Manor finished Cedar Cliff's season last year with a 35-34 playoff win, fighting back from a 21-point deficit. The Comets this time jumped out early and often to win this remarkable matchup overseas.

    The game was played early under a driving rain after the coin toss from Honorary Chairman Kyle Brady and NFL Hall of Fame back Eric Dickerson.

    "It was an incredible experience for both teams and it's unfortunate somebody has to lose," Penn Manor coach Todd Mealy said. "The kids played hard on both sides tonight and gave the people in Ireland a heck of a game to watch, and hopefully people back home watching to live stream enjoyed it as well.

    "This is special for both communities and we're fortunate to come out on top."

    Jayden Demmy rushed for 150 yards and Grant Breneman 92 for Cedar Cliff.
    Photo by Tom Beary

    Grant Gale runs free for Penn Manor at the University College Dublin Bowl in Ireland Friday.

  • It's a nearly unthinkable task to have to replace the icon that was Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M. On and off the field, Johnny Football was larger than life in every way imaginable.

    Photo by Jim Redman

    Kenny Hill, Southlake Carroll

    But that's exactly what former Carroll (Southlake, Texas) standout Kenny Hill will do tonight, as he lines up behind center for the Aggies' opening game against South Carolina.

    See photos of Kenny Hill at Southlake Carroll

    If anyone has the pedigree to succeed in the limelight it's Hill, whose father Ken Hill was a pitcher for 14 seasons in the major leagues. The younger Hill was also sensational in high school for the Dragons, throwing for over 3,300 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior in 2012.

    For his efforts, Hill was named a second team MaxPreps All-American. He was also a second team MaxPreps All-American in baseball as an infielder.

    Check out Hill's highlights as he led Southlake Carroll at quarterback.

  • If you're trying to bring down Montavis Rogers, you have to do more than just get in his way.

    The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Forestview (Gastonia, N.C.) senior proved that on Friday, when he punished several would-be tacklers during a remarkable 46-yard touchdown run in a 48-28 road win over Nation Ford (Fort Mill, S.C.).

    Rogers finished with 62 yards, including two touchdowns, on just six carries. He also picked up six tackles on the defensive side.

    Forestview and its bruising running back will take their 1-0 record into Friday's game against another South Carolina opponent, Clover.
  • According to several sources, a Mississippi football player has died three days after he felt ill on the field during a game.


    Walker Wilbanks

    Walker Wilbanks, a junior three-sport standout at Jackson Prep (Miss.), felt ill during Friday's game with Oxford and was rushed to the emergency room, where he apparently had a seizure.

    Prayer vigils were held over the weekend for Walker, a guard and defensive tackle. According to one report, more than 1,000 gathered at the school Saturday night for one of the vigils.

    Jason Lewis Watson, the head of school at Jackson Prep, wrote a letter to parents today. It read: "My heart is broken as I write this letter to you. I am reaching out to share we have been notified by the family of the passing of Walker Wilbanks. Since our home football game against Oxford High School, the singular focus of this community has been prayer. We have been on our knees in prayer individually, in prayer circles, at houses of worship and here on campus. We have been praying fervently for a miracle that the health and well-being of our beloved friend and student, Walker, would be restored.

    "The number of friends we have seen over the last few days have been a testament to the loving, caring, and charismatic young man that blessed all our lives."

    According to, Walker was transported to a hospital in the second half of the game after experiencing cramping in one of his legs. He was also vomiting.

    According to his home page on MaxPreps, Walker was a very good baseball player. Last season as a sophomore, he registered 44 hits, seven home runs and 63 RBIs.

    There will be a special prayer service at Jackson Prep Monday night.

    Walker is one of at least three football players to die this summer throughout the country for a variety of reasons.

    Douglas County (Douglasville, Ga.) football senior lineman Zyrees Oliver, who died Aug. 11 after being removed from a ventilator, reportedly suffered from over-hydration after drinking two gallons of water and two gallons of Gatorade after practice.

    A week earlier, Noah Cornuet, a 16-year-old sophomore from Burrell (Lower Burrell, Pa.) collapsed on the first day of practice following a round of wind sprints. Several reports indicate Cornuet died of atrial myxoma, a rare heart tumor.
  • It was a good day at Goodpasture Christian (Madison, Tenn.) last Thursday, as the Cougars set a Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association record with their 82nd-straight victory.

    Photo courtesy of Goodpasture Christian School
    According to The Tennessean, Goodpasture Christian won 25-11, 25-10, 25-17 at Gordonsville last Thursday to move Kirkman (Chattanooga) out of the top spot. Kirkman set its record from 1976-78.

    Goodpasture Christian was the AA state champ in 2012, the Class A champ last season and finished 100th in the final MaxPreps Xcellent 100 last season with a 48-0 record. The team was named the MaxPreps Small Schools Volleyball Team of the Year. Lynn Dearing coached all of the victories during the streak, and she was named the MaxPreps Small Schools Volleyball Coach of the Year.

    The National Federation of State High School Associations Record Book shows that the national record is 292 straight by Amherst Sweet Home Central (N.Y.) from 1978-87, and the final spot in the book (10th place) is 119 by Muncie Burris (Ind.) from 1989-91.
  • File photo by Dennis Lee

    Folsom All-American quarterback Jake Browning (12) likely won't have to worry about seeing this defense late in the season after the CIF dissolved the Open Division Regional finals, where the Bulldogs lost handily the last two years to perennial national power De La Salle (Concord).

    The CIF announced today that it will do away with the Open Division regional football games and hand pick the top teams from the South and North — the same way they pick the Division I through Division IV regional finalists.

    The move comes on the heels of back-to-back seasons in which Folsom (Calif.) entered the Open Division North Regional final undefeated and nationally ranked. Both years Folsom lost handily to De La Salle (Concord, Calif.).

    Clearly, the second-best team in Northern California (Folsom) didn't advance to the state finals the last two years because they were eliminated by powerhouse De La Salle. In fact, that is how the Bowl games have been set up the past two seasons. That apparently curbed discussion at the CIF and Monday they announced the change.

    On Dec. 7, the CIF commissioners will first announce the Open Division finalists — the best team from the South and North — and then the finalists for the other divisions. During the regional finals, the Open Division finalists will have a bye and extra week to prepare.

    De La Salle has been in every State Bowl final since its inception in 2006. The Spartans have played in the last five Open finals, winning four straight before being defeated by St. John Bosco last season.

    "Following two years of the expanded Open Division Football Regional Bowl Championships, the votes by both the football coaches' advisory committee and the 10 Section Commissioners indicated the strong desire to return the Open Division Football Bowl Game to its original format," CIF Executive Director Roger L. Blake said via a release a short time ago. "As with all State Championship events, each year there is always a thorough review by various committees. Modifications are forwarded when there is a majority that believes the changes will better serve our membership and their students."

    See the entire release here.
  • Photo by Stuart Browning

    The defending mythical national champion Booker T. Washington Tornadoes opened in impressive fashion with a big road win over a ranked opponent Saturday.

    A new head coach. Twelve new starters. A 957-mile road trip.

    All of it mattered little to Booker T. Washington (Miami), the defending mythical national football champion, which rocked Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) 57-21 on Saturday night.

    Photo by Stuart Browning

    Mark Walton, Booker T. Washington

    First-year starting quarterback Maurice Alexander started with a bang by completing 22 of 24 passes for 364 yards and five touchdowns, three going to Antonio Calloway (12 catches, 265 yards).

    The impressive showing was reminiscent of last year's opening-day victory, a 55-0 shellacking at Norcross, which eventually made it back to the national rankings. In that game, then-quarterback Treon Harris was 23 of 27 for 287 yards and five touchdowns. Alexander's numbers were even better.

    Oscar Smith also came in nationally ranked, No. 24 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25. Washington entered No. 9.

    New head coach Tim Harris, the son of former head coach Tim "Ice" Harris, now an assistant at the University of Miami, led the Tornadoes to their 27th-straight win.

    "Our kids stayed composed even early when it looked like we were rattled," Tim Harris told "But they stepped up and got settled down."

    Oscar Smith actually took a 7-0 lead, marching 80 yards in seven plays capped by Virgina Tech-bound running back Deshawn McClease, who took a screen pass from and rambled 16 yards for a touchdown.

    Mark Walton countered by taking a short pass from Alexander and going 67 yards for a score and Washington was off and running, or passing, as it were.
  • Photo by Dennis Lee

    De La Salle was hoping to take the field at Levi's Stadium to open its season. That will no longer happen.

    Updated, Aug. 24, 11 p.m..

    The bad news is that two high school football games, including the highly-anticipated matchup between De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) and Jesuit (Carmichael, Calif.), scheduled to take place at Levi's Stadium on August 29, will now be taking place elsewhere.

    The good news is that four games will take their place on Oct. 10-11.

    According to Joe Davidson of the Sacramento Bee, an issue with the facility's sod prompted the 49ers to nix the game at their stadium, which is brand new for 2014.

    The other game of the scheduled August 29 doubleheader between Wilcox (Santa Clara, Calif.) and Manteca (Calif.) has also been moved. Wilcox will now host the game. The De La Salle-Jesuit game will be played at Cal 8 p.m. Friday.  
    The 49ers released a statement at 3 p.m. stating that Levi's will now be hosting four games, starting Oct. 10. Times will be determined at a later date.

    The new schedule is:

    Friday, Oct. 10

    Santa Clara vs. Wilcox

    Elk Grove vs. Jesuit.

    Saturday, Oct. 11

    Oakdale vs. Manteca

    James Logan (Union City) vs. De La Salle

    The release states that purchased tickets to the Friday Night Lights event can choose to receive tickets to both October events or may request a refund. "Exchanges and refunds will be available through Ticketmaster in the next week," the release stated.

    De La Salle will play a game at Cal for the first time since the 2004 North Coast Section finals. Tickets purchased for the Levi's Stadium games will not be honored. Go HERE to purchase tickets. 

    On top of the game being moved, De La Salle received some bad news from its Friday scrimmage. The Spartans lost starting quarterback Anthony Sweeney (knee) and Northwestern-bound linebacker Simba Short (shoulder) against Jesuit due to injuries. De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh said "they shouldn't be out too long," but it's wait and see.

    Besides being vital players, both are co-captains and important leaders for the Spartans.
  • Honesty and integrity didn't win Holly Springs (N.C.) runner Gavin Kinkead a cross country race on Saturday. His conduct did win him admiration and adoration, however.

    MaxPreps photo
    As reported by the News & Observer, Kinkead was in second place during the Bay Six Kickoff Classic frosh-soph race over the weekend when he saw Sam Grelck of Cardinal Gibbons (Raleigh, N.C.) make a wrong "turn" as the leader. Grelck was supposed to turn but went straight, and Kinkead shouted to alert him he was not going the right way.

    Grelck ended up winning the race in 9 minutes, 37.5 seconds, while Kinkead finished third at 9:45.2. Still, he was the star of the meet.

    “I’d rather lose a race and know I lost fair and square then to win by elimination,” Kinkead told the newspaper. “He was pushing me to stay with him the entire race and to watch him lose by going the wrong way would not have been right.

    “It was just instinct to tell him that he was going the wrong way. He pushed me that race and I wanted to watch him win even if that means I help him out in some places. I did not even think about it when I had done it; it kind of just happened.”

    Coach Scott Myers told the newspaper that Kinkead is looked at as a leader on a young team.

    “Gavin’s actions on Saturday were a sign that he is accepting this role. We, the coaches, are very proud of his actions on Saturday.”