This week is an embarrassment of riches of big games for Super 25 teams, so we are doing our best to pick only the five biggest playoff games for Super 25 teams:
The seniors for No. 1 Bishop Gorman can end their career without a varsity loss: The Gaels (14-0) have won 53 consecutive games, so losing is foreign to the team’s seniors. Quarterback Tate Martell’s last loss was as a freshman, when he was playing for Poway (Calif.).
The players on Gorman’s roster who have been there all four years were playing junior varsity the last time the Gaels lost a game. Bishop Gorman is going for its eighth consecutive 4A state title. In the way is No. 21 Liberty (Henderson, Nev.), which is 12-1, with its only loss coming to No. 11 Centennial (Corona, Calif.).
“Some of the seniors who played JV as sophomores may have lost a game, but as far as varsity they haven’t,” Bishop Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez said. “It’s been a fun ride, that’s for sure. All the experience they have in the big games has snowballed to where they expect to win.”
Liberty quarterback Kenyon Oblad has thrown for 3,616 yards and 37 touchdowns, but the Patriots were able to grind it out last week in the cold to win at Damonte Ranch (Reno) 30-27 in the semifinals.
Gorman beat Liberty 62-21 in last year’s state title game.
“They can mix it up, so you never know what you’re going to get with them, so we’re preparing for either,” Sanchez said. “They’re better this year than they were last year, so I’m thinking it’s going to be a better game. That’s what we’re prepared for.”
No. 2 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) vs. No. 9 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), Saturday: Though this game is for the CIF Southern Section Division I title, it might as well be for the state championship as this is a down year for De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), the usual opponent in a state bowl for whichever Southern Section team prevails. Mater Dei needed to come back to defeat St. John Bosco 26-21 on Oct. 21, so this game is likely to be interesting again. These teams are close enough that special teams and mistakes will likely decide it.
No. 3 DeSoto, Texas, vs. Cedar Hill, Texas, Saturday: The Eagles won the teams’ regular-season matchup 33-18, but Cedar Hill has been dominant the past few weeks. The two schools are only six miles apart, so the players know each other well, one reason there were 216 yards of penalties in the last meeting.
No. 14 Mill Creek (Hoschton, Ga.) at 12 Grayson (Loganville, Ga.), Friday: Both of these Gwinnett County teams lost in last season’s state semifinals, but this time they’ll be playing each other for a chance to reach the Georgia Dome and the state AAAAAAA championship.
Grayson is 12-1, with its lone loss coming in Week One to No. 2 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.). Mill Creek is 13-0. Mill Creek and Grayson each had a three-point defeat of McEachern (Powder Springs), but the Rams’ 49-21 defeat of Colquitt County (Moultrie) last week was more impressive than the Hawks’ 37-24 defeat of the Packers in their first game of the season.
It should be a fun game, unless you’re a defensive back.
Grayson quarterback Chase Brice,a Clemson commit, has thrown for 2,623 yards and 30 touchdowns and Mill Creek quarterback Cameron Turley, a Georgia Tech baseball commit, has thrown for 2,309 yards and 30 touchdowns. Grayson showed last week that it doesn’t have to rely on Brice’s arm as Rams running back Kurt Taylor ran for 204 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s defeat of Colquitt County.
No. 15 St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia) vs. No. 23 North Penn (Lansdale, Pa.), Saturday: Like the Mater Dei-St. John Bosco game, this one is a (6A) semifinal with the feel of a state championship. The Hawks (12-0) are allowing only 15.6 points a game but will be tested by a pass-heavy Knights offense that is scoring 41.8 points a game while going 14-0.
North Penn quarterback Reece Udinski has thrown for 3,827 yards and 37 touchdowns. Running back D’Andre Swift, a Georgia commit who had seven touchdowns in one game this season, has been the go-to guy for the Hawks. The last time these teams met, in 2013, St. Joseph’s won 35-6 in a regular-season game.