MaxWire National Blog

Covering High School Sports in America

Category: Football

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Photo by Jason Clifton

    McCluer North returned to the Edward Jones Dome on Saturday night, to watch the Rams take on the Packers.

    With all of the turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri, this week, Saturday night provided a reprieve for some local high school football players.

    The St. Louis Rams offered to give away 75 tickets to their preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night for each of the three high schools in the Ferguson area.

    "In light of everything going on it just kind of hit me," Rams Director of Fan Development and Alumni Engagement Kyle Eversgerd told MMQB. "I can't imagine with all that stuff going on, how tough it must be to practice. We were able to get them away from it all."

    Players from McCluer (Florissant, Mo.), McCluer North (Florissant, Mo.) and McCluer South-Berkeley (Ferguson, Mo.) bused to the stadium and took in the action from the 400 level.

    McCluer and McCluer North open their seasons Friday, while McCluer South kicks off its 2014 campaign on Saturday. Schools were closed in the city today.
  • Photo by Randy Sartin

    Hoover certainly has community support. Check out the tweets from the team's fan day.

    Could there possibly be a better high school football fan day than in Hoover (Ala.)? We're not so sure.

    First of all, Hoover boasts one of the largest football programs in America with 261 players and 23 coaches in all levels. Add in throngs of cheerleaders, dance team members, a pep band and the school's student body, plus fans, parents and alumni, and it looked to be quite a show at the local Riverchase Galleria mall.

    Speakers included Principal Don Hulin, Athletic Director Andy Urban and coach Josh Niblett, who talked at length about Hoover's Week 1 opponent Central (Miami), the defending state 6A champion. The showdown is likely America's best game of the week.

    Hoover, back-to-back 6A state champion and winner of 30 straight, is No. 3 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national rankings. Central is No. 15.

    Tweets from the 90-minute ceremony Sunday revealed much of the pageantry:

  • File photo by Neil Fonville

    Kyler Murray, Allen

    Allen (Texas) quarterback Kyler Murray, the returning MaxPreps National Player of the Year, will take a break from football this weekend to concentrate on baseball and in the process he'll make history.

    Already selected to play in the Under Armour All-American Football Game following the completion of the 2014 season, Allen was a recent addition to the Under Armour All-American Baseball Game, which was played today at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

    According to a press release by Baseball Factory, which powers the Under Armour All-American Baseball Game, Murray becomes the first player to be selected to play in both the football and baseball all-star games.

    Last year as the Allen quarterback, Murray led the Eagles to a Texas state championship while throwing for 3,248 yards and 40 touchdowns. He also played baseball for the Eagles and is considered a potential draft pick in next year's Major League Baseball Draft.

    The Under Armour All-American Game features 40 of the top high school baseball players in the United States and Canada.
  • Screenshot

    Anthony Chiang, Palm Beach Post staffer

    Somewhere George Plimpton is applauding. Or at least smiling.

    The late great "participatory journalist," who quarterbacked the Detroit Lions in a 1963 preseason camp which inspired the book and movie "Paper Lion," was copied, albeit unknowingly, last week by Palm Beach Post staff writer Anthony Chiang, who practiced with the Palm Beach Central (Wellington, Fla.) squad.

    See story/video/photos

    A former offensive lineman, the fit 25-year-old is now of running back or wide receiver size. He showed it when he practiced with the Broncos, including a nice move to avoid a would-be tackler during the fray.

    "I didn't know what I was doing, but I pretended like I did," Chiang wrote.

    It was his first time sporting a football helmet since 2003.

    "We were only teammates a day," he wrote about a conversation with a Palm Beach Central player. "But the conversation reminded me of the brotherhood that comes along with joining a football team."

    Beyond the firsthand account, there were some terrific photos and video of the Chiang's day at Central, including being hoisted up on the shoulders of the players.

    He no doubt received a "three cheers for Chiang" from sports writers everywhere as well.