Compiled By Mitch Stephens
1. Barkley Barks Back
We’ve been pondering Matt Barkley's innards a lot lately, what with All- League, County, Metro, State and American teams running rampant. Everyone’s All-American coming into the season was on few, if any, lists at the end of the season. Obviously, the 2007-08 Gatorade Athlete of the Year couldn’t possibly have met the Category 5 expectations laid upon him. But nobody expected the rather pedestrian marks of 18 interceptions to 23 touchdowns or an 8-4 record for Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) either. So, while lesser recruited kids have been reaping postseason awards, we’ve been wondering how much confidence has been chinked away before Barkley makes his way to USC. On Sunday, playing before perhaps his largest national audience, the strong-armed quarterback answered loud and clear by being named the MVP of the Under Armour All-America High School Football Game at the University of Miami. Barkley threw for 237 yards including TD passes of 71 and 35 yards leading the White Team to a 27-16 victory. “It really felt good out there,” he said afterward. We feel good that Barkley feels good. He’s truly a gem of a kid who had the weight of the world on him this season. Glad it finished on a high note.
2. Unlikely Duo Star in San Antonio
Tajh Boyd (Phoebus HS, Hampton, Va.) and Bryce Brown (Wichita East HS, Kan.) hooked up for two touchdowns and were named co-MVPs, leading the East to a 30-17 win over the West in the ninth annual U.S. Army All-American Game before more than 32,000 fans and a national television audience at the Alamodome on Saturday. Boyd completed 7 of 9 for a record 187 yards and three touchdowns, two to Brown (146 receiving yards). Brown is actually a running back who has committed to Miami. Boyd might not have had many snaps had 5-Star QBs like Barkley, Russell Shepard and Garrett Gilbert not opted for the Sunday game in Miami.
3. All-Star Wars
The January All-Star football games have some heavy-hitting backers, ESPN (Under Armour) and NBC (U.S. Army), who compete for players and television ratings the very same weekend. Here’s a post weekend look at how the two games did both in the stands and on the tube.
4. Hoop Tourney Madness
If you want to catch up on all the big national boys basketball tournaments, click here to see MaxPreps senior writer Jason Hickman’s rundown of all the Holiday Tournaments. Of all the storylines, the one we found most entertaining is that Fairfax (Los Angeles) big man and 2011 projected NBA lottery pick Renardo Sidney was named MVP of the Les Schwab Invitational even though his team lost 58-56 in the finals to Southern California rival Dominguez (Compton). Considering Sidney’s reputation and that he had 32 points and 13 rebounds in the finals, not all that unusual the second-place team got the MVP. It’s just that Sydney actually blocked Dominguez’ game-winning bucket by Myron Green into the hoop.
5. Hirashima gone, remembered
Former Miramonte (Orinda, Calif.) girls basketball coach Darrell Hirashima, 56, was taken off life support during the Holiday break after suffering a massive heart attack on Dec. 7. The hugely popular coach was remembered in this touching obituary by The Contra Costa Times reporter Jennifer Starks and tonight he will be honored before Miramonte’s league home opener against Campolindo (Moraga). Miramonte plans to wear black uniforms in the memory of Hirashima, who coached 11 seasons and compiled a 238-85 record with four North Coast Section titles, including the last three.
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