Colder temperatures and playoff football have arrived in most locations across the nation, bringing even more intrigue to this week's MaxPreps Top 10 Games.
In Ohio, it's win or go home for a pair of teams ranked in the top 15 of this week's MaxPreps Xcellent 25 presented by the Army National Guard. In their first meeting since the 2005 playoffs, No. 14 St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) will take on No. 15 Glenville (Cleveland) in a Division I region semifinal. Similarly, in the Illinois 7A playoffs No. 17 Wheaton-Warrenville South (Wheaton, Ill.) hopes to survive and advance when it takes on a dangerous 10-1 Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) squad in Saturday's state quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, in California the regular season is just wrapping up this week. The game everyone is talking about pits a pair of Top 10 teams in the MaxPreps state rankings with No. 3 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) traveling to No. 10 California (San Ramon, Calif.). The winner will be outright champion of the East Bay Athletic League.
After another strong week of predictions, Stephen Spiewak has further distanced himself from the pack in our season-long predictions contest. Spiewak went 7-3 last week, improving his total record to 88-32. That's 10 full games ahead of Jamie DeMoney and 15 better than Steve Montoya. You can track the season-long standings and all the weekly results by clicking here
. To view MaxPreps' nationwide football playoff brackets, click here and select your state.
Here's a look at this week's Top 10 games of the week along with predictions from MaxPreps staff writers and contributors Mitch Stephens, Steve Montoya, Stephen Spiewak, Kevin Askeland, Jamie DeMoney and projections for the games by the MaxPreps computer rankings:Guyer (Denton, Texas) at Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas), Thursday
This figures to be one of the better first-round games in the Texas 5A Division II bracket. Both teams are 8-2 and ranked in the Top 10 of the Dallas Morning News' area rankings. Whichever team survives could have what it takes to make a run deep in the playoffs.
Guyer is led by senior quarterback J.W. Walsh
, an Oklahoma State recruit who has more than 2,100 passing yards and more than 800 yards on the ground. Marcus counters with senior running back Rufus Mason
, a 6-0, 205-pounder who is only 71 rushing yards shy of the 2,000 mark this season. The Marauders have a playoff-proven head coach in Bryan Erwin, who came to Marcus in 2007 after winning two 4A state titles during his final four seasons at La Marque. Mitch Stephens:
Guyer 49, Marcus 42Steve Montoya:
Marcus 21, Guyer 20Stephen Spiewak:
Guyer 42, Marcus 38Kevin Askeland:
Marcus 35, Guyer 24Jamie DeMoney:
Guyer 30, Marcus 23MaxPreps Projection:
Marcus 35, Guyer 27Aquinas Institute (Rochester, N.Y.) at Sweet Home (Amherst, N.Y.), Friday
The game of the year in western New York takes place this weekend, as Aquinas takes on Sweet Home in the state quarterfinals for the fourth year in a row. The winner of the three previous games has gone on to win the Class A title.
Aquinas has revenge as an added motivator after losing the last two games against Sweet Home by a combined 50 points. The Little Irish barely edged Victor, 10-7, last week for their fifth straight section championship. On the other side, Sweet Home is tied with nationally ranked Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) for the fourth longest winning streak in the nation (36 games). The Panthers totaled nearly 400 rushing yards en route to a 48-15 rout of Williamsville South (Williamsville, N.Y.) in the Section 6 championship at Ralph Wilson Stadium last Thursday. Mitch Stephens:
Sweet Home 17, Aquinas 14Steve Montoya:
Sweet Home 21, Aquinas 17Stephen Spiewak:
Sweet Home 14, Aquinas 7Kevin Askeland:
Aquinas 32, Sweet Home 21Jamie DeMoney:
Aquinas 31, Sweet Home 21MaxPreps Projection:
Aquinas 28, Sweet Home 19Blue Springs (Mo.) at Rockhurst (Kansas City, Mo.), Friday
This Class 6 state quarterfinal is the 12th meeting between these Kansas City area rivals and the fifth time they've gotten together in the playoffs. Rockhurst has won seven of the previous 11 meetings, including a 3-1 mark against the Wildcats in the postseason.
Three of the four times when these teams met in the playoffs, the team that came out on top is the one that lost the regular season. That's good news for Blue Springs (9-2), which fell to the undefeated Hawklets, 7-6, in the season-opener. The Wildcats have a history producing fine running backs, and Darrian Miller
(a Kansas recruit) belongs at the top of the list. The senior set the Missouri large-school rushing record last week as his career total reached 6,427 yards. On the Rockhurst side, the top player is senior tight end-defensive end Dan Tapko
. The 6-4, 225-pound Oklahoma pledge is a four-year starter and equally adept at catching the ball or rushing the quarterback. Mitch Stephens:
Rockhurst 28, Blue Springs 21Steve Montoya:
Blue Springs 31, Rockhurst 28Stephen Spiewak:
Rockhurst 21, Blue Springs 14Kevin Askeland:
Rockhurst 40, Blue Springs 28Jamie DeMoney:
Blue Springs 20, Rockhurst 13MaxPreps Projection:
Rockhurst 21, Blue Springs 14De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) at California (San Ramon, Calif.), Friday
The most anticipated game in Golden State this week takes place in the East Bay Athletic League, where national No. 17 De La Salle travels to fellow unbeaten California. The winner will claim the EBAL title outright and finish the regular season with a 10-0 record.
De La Salle, which has won its last 21 against in-state competition, is playing vintage, rugged Spartan Football of late. The team averages nearly 300 rushing yards per game on offense and, on defense, has limited foes to only seven points per game. California played the Spartans tough last time they hosted, losing only 21-14 in 2008. The Grizzlies are dramatically improved over last year's 5-6 record, thanks in part to outstanding play from quarterback Drew Reil
. The 6-foot, 195-pound senior has thrown for 1,584 yards and 25 touchdowns, including five last week in a 49-7 rout of Foothill (Pleasanton, Calif.). Mitch Stephens:
De La Salle 28, California 17Steve Montoya:
De La Salle 40, California 14Stephen Spiewak:
De La Salle 28, California 14Kevin Askeland:
De La Salle 48, California 0Jamie DeMoney:
De La Salle 35, California 12MaxPreps Projection:
De La Salle 34, California 21Dakota (Macomb, Mich.) at Cass Tech (Detroit), Saturday
The Detroit Public School League has a strong tradition of producing top-tier college talent but has had little success in the postseason to show for it. Only one PSL team – Detroit King in 2007 – has ever won a state football title. Likewise, Cass Tech – which had seven BCS-level signees the last four years – is bidding for its first-ever trip to the state semifinals.
Dakota (9-2) can reach the semifinals for the sixth time with a win against Cass Tech, a team it has never faced. Last week, the Cougars overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to beat Utica Ford (Sterling Heights, Mich.), 28-20. Senior running back Brandon Huges
led the way with 247 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Cass Tech (11-0) rode the arm of senior quarterback Keith Moore
, who threw five touchdown passes in a 32-13 quarterfinal victory over Fordson (Dearborn, Mich.). The Technicians are averaging 40 points per game this season. Mitch Stephens:
Cass Tech 21, Dakota 13Steve Montoya:
Cass Tech 24, Dakota 17Stephen Spiewak:
Cass Tech 35, Dakota 14Kevin Askeland:
Cass Tech 38, Dakota 28Jamie DeMoney:
Cass Tech 26, Dakota 21MaxPreps Projection:
Cass Tech 31, Dakota 22Franklin (Wis.) vs. Waunakee (Wis.), Saturday
The top two teams in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel state rankings meet in the semifinals of the Division 2 playoffs. It's the same round the teams met last season, a game won big by Waunakee, 42-14, en route to its third state championship.
Franklin (12-0) is one of Wisconsin's top-scoring teams, averaging nearly 42 points per game. Senior Lance Baretz
has been a standout in his third year as the starting quarterback, throwing for 34 touchdowns and more than 2,500 yards. Waunakee (12-0) likely has one of the few defenses in the state capable of slowing down Franklin's high-powered offense. On offense, the Warriors feature 6-5, 220-pound tight end Austin Maly
, a University of Wisconsin commit. Mitch Stephens:
Waunakee 21, Franklin 20Steve Montoya:
Waunakee 10, Franklin 3Stephen Spiewak:
Franklin 35, Waunakee 28Kevin Askeland:
Franklin 42, Waunakee 12Jamie DeMoney:
Franklin 34, Waunakee 25MaxPreps Projection:
Waunakee 35, Franklin 21Washington (Miami) vs. Central (Miami), Saturday
The top two public schools teams in Miami this year renew their rivalry in the regular season finale. Both teams enter the contest with 8-1 records and are looking to build momentum heading into the first round of the playoffs.
Washington's offense was not sharp in last week's 27-0 win over district cellar dweller Edison, but its defense was typically outstanding. The Tornadoes held Edison to only five passing yards in the game. On the other hand, Central has cemented its reputation as one of the most explosive offensive units in the state. The Rockets are averaging 46 points per game and ran roughshod over Hialeah-Miami Lakes (Hialeah, Fla.), 63-0, last week. Florida State recruit Devonta Freeman
ran for 95 yards and three touchdowns as Central built a 49-0 halftime lead. Mitch Stephens:
Central 34, Washington 20Steve Montoya:
Central 42, Washington 35Stephen Spiewak:
Central 42, Washington 21Kevin Askeland:
Central 21, Washington 14Jamie DeMoney:
Central 30, Washington 15MaxPreps Projection:
Central 34, Washington 21Glenville (Cleveland) vs. St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio), Saturday
It's not often two nationally ranked teams meet as early as the second round of the postseason, but such are the riggers of Ohio's highly competitive Division I playoffs. These longtime Cleveland powers have not played since 2005, when St. Edward knocked off an undefeated Glenville team in the third round of the playoffs.
Glenville survived a tough non-conference schedule but was on cruise control during its Senate League slate. Last week's 41-6 thumping of Harding (Warren, Ohio) was only its second game against a playoff qualifier since mid-September. The Tarblooders have injury concerns at quarterback. Senior Cardale Jones
left the Harding game with a hip injury, but is expected to be ready to play on Saturday. Glenville has good speed on defense, which offers an interesting matchup against St. Edward's tremendous size and strength on the offensive line. The Eagles ran for more than 300 yards in a 35-21 win against Mentor last week. Mitch Stephens:
Glenville 21, St. Edward 20Steve Montoya:
Glenville 14, St. Edward 7Stephen Spiewak:
St. Edward 28, Glenville 21Kevin Askeland:
Glenville 30, St. Edward 7Jamie DeMoney:
Glenville 23, St. Edward 14MaxPreps Projection:
St. Edward 31, Glenville 20Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) at Wheaton-Warrenville South (Wheaton, Ill.), Saturday
The Illinois Class 7A playoff bracket is loaded with quality opponents Wheaton-Warrenville South must vanquish to emerge from Thanksgiving weekend as repeat champion. Saturday's quarterfinal against Glenbard West proves the point. The Hilltoppers, who lost by a touchdown to Wheaton-Warrenville South in last year's 7A final, have a 10-1 record and revenge on their minds. They have two of the state's most heralded underclassman prospects in defensive tackle Tommy Schutt
and sophomore running back Kendall Johnson
, but it was senior Mark Hiben
who made headlines last week. The 6-4 receiver caught 12 passes for a state-record 319 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-28 round-two win over Lincoln-Way East (Frankfort, Ill.).
Wheaton-Warrenville South, ranked 18th week in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25, should receive its toughest test of the season. The Tigers, led by Illinois-bound quarterback Reilly O'Toole
, have beaten everyone on their schedule by at least 21 points. In a 44-0 blowout of Wheaton North (Wheaton, Ill.) last week, O'Toole threw four touchdown passes and totaled 183 yards, bringing him over the 2,000-yard mark for the season. Mitch Stephens:
Wheaton-Warrenville South 35, Glenbard West 28Steve Montoya:
Wheaton-Warrenville South 28, Glenbard West 21Stephen Spiewak:
Wheaton-Warrenville South 35, Glenbard West 21Kevin Askeland:
Wheaton-Warrenville South 35, Glenbard West 14Jamie DeMoney:
Wheaton-Warrenville South 31, Glenbard West 27MaxPreps Projection:
Wheaton-Warrenville South 35, Glenbard West 19Sheridan (Wyo.) vs. Natrona County (Casper, Wyo.), Saturday
Saturday's Wyoming 4A championship game is a rematch of the regular season finale won 18-17 by Sheridan. The outcome was decided late in the fourth quarter on an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Alex Welch followed by a 2-point conversion. It was the first loss of the year for Natrona County (10-1) and was its fourth straight defeat at the hands of the Broncs.
Sheridan (9-2) earned the right to play for a second consecutive 4A title by clobbering East (Cheyenne, Wyo.), 46-12, in last week's semifinals. Welch was the offensive star, running for 147 yards on only eight carries. Natrona County earned its first state finals berth in seven years by beating Campbell County (Gillette, Wyo.), 30-10. Senior quarterback Jim Shellenberger
led the Mustangs with three rushing touchdowns. Temperatures are expected to be in the lower 20s and light snow is possible when this game kicks off Saturday afternoon at the University of Wyoming's Sam Boyd Stadium. Mitch Stephens:
Sheridan 21, Natrona County 20Steve Montoya:
Natrona County 17, Sheridan 10Stephen Spiewak:
Natrona County 21, Sheridan 20Kevin Askeland:
Natrona County 32, Sheridan 21Jamie DeMoney:
Sheridan 24, Natrona County 23MaxPreps Projection:
Natrona County 22, Sheridan 14MaxPreps contributor Jamie DeMoney has covered high school sports and recruiting for more than 15 years. He is editor and founder of PrepNation.com. You can reach him at PrepNation@aol.com.