Five things to watch this week in the Super 25:
What kind of shape is the scoreboard at Cathedral Catholic in?
Last season’s 50-49 Honor Bowl win by IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) over Centennial (Corona, Calif.) may have been the best game of the year, particularly if you like offense. If you’re a defensive coordinator, it was Nightmare on Quarterback Street. The teams meet again Saturday at Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) as part of the five-game Honor Bowl on Friday and Saturday.
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Honor Bowl director Mark Soto waited only for a few moments following last year’s event to ask Centennial coach Matt Logan if he would like a rematch.
“He said, ‘Hey, do you want to play them again?’ ” Logan said. “I said, ‘Sure, why not?’ Playing IMG absolutely helped us the rest of the year. That’s why we agree to play. Any time you team of that caliber, it helps you.”
No. 9 Centennial, which is led by senior quarterback Tanner McKee, opened up last week with a 63-21 defeat of Pittsburg. It won’t be easy scoring that many points on No. 2 IMG, which has a defensive line that includes defensive end Xavier Thomas, a Clemson commit who is the ESPN No. 2 overall player in the 2018 class, plus defensive tackle Taron Vincent, the No. 13 player in the class and an Ohio State commit.
“Their defensive front is unbelievable,” Logan said. “Nobody has four guys like they have. We have to maintain our blocks in order to maintain success. Anything we can do to counter what they do well we’re going to try.”
One problem for Centennial is its offense scores so quickly that its defense doesn’t always get enough rest between series. Other than making sure his players are in shape, Logan said this year he has the personnel to allow him to rotate players in and out more effectively.
Is this De La Salle East vs. DLS West?
There are at least 36 Lasallian high schools (those run or founded by the Lasallian Brothers, a Roman Catholic religious teaching order founded by Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle), but St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) and De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) likely have the best two football teams among that group. The two meet Friday at 11 p.m. (ET) on ESPNU as part of the GEICO ESPN High School Football Showcase.
St. John’s coach Joe Casamento said De La Salle is an unique team to prepare for and not just because of its unusual split-back veer offense.
Ultimately, the Spartans, who hold the national record of 151 consecutive wins (set from 1992 to 2004) are the example a lot of schools would like to emulate, including St. John’s. When he was the coach at Christian Brothers Academy (DeWitt, N.Y.), Casamento paid a visit to Concord to see why De La Salle has been so successful.
“The first thing is they are all about each other,” Casamento said. “Two, it’s a selfless culture, totally. When they won 151 in a row, I found out how they did that. It was amazing to see. Everybody understands their role. If you are a scout team offensive guy who works against their defense, you’re critical. For us, it’s great. We’re a Lasallian school East and they are a Lasallian school West. We are creating a culture and they have one that’s a role model and we’re chasing it. You can talk about it and read about it, but sometimes you have to get on the field and actually go against it.”
For the first time since 2013, Allen and Cedar Hill will meet
No. 13 Allen and Cedar Hill, Texas schools with seven state championships between them over the past 11 seasons, open their seasons against each other on Friday at Allen as part of the Tom Landry Classic.
Both have new coaches since their last meeting in 2013, the end of a stretch where Allen took four in a row over the Longhorns. Longtime Eagles defensive coordinator Terry Gambill took over last season at Allen and Carlos Lynn, the former defensive coordinator to Joey McGuire when Cedar Hill won a state title in 2006, will be coaching his first game at Cedar Hill.
It’s a matchup of two stellar running backs. Brock Sturges, an Arizona State commit, rushed for more than 1,100 yards last season as a junior for the Eagles and Cameron Fleming, who committed in June to Memphis, ran for 409 yards and six touchdowns on 41 carries last season as a junior backup.
Miami Nice? Not so much
The Miami Central rivalry with Booker T. Washington (Miami) is always intense and Thursday’s game at Traz Powell Stadium should be no different. Central’s Rockets are ranked No. 15 and 1-0 while Booker T. Washington is 1-0 but fell out of the rankings after a preseason loss to American Heritage (Plantation), the No. 25 team in the Super 25. The Tornadoes hold a 5-4 series edge in recent years but Central won last year’s game, 35-14, the biggest winning margin by either team in that stretch. Central’s defense and running game may allow the Rockets to control the ball, but this one is always interesting.
Can DePaul reverse the trend against Bergen Catholic?
In the past 59 years, these teams have met 11 times with Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) winning eight of those games. DePaul (Wayne) has had plenty of success at the state level but not so much against teams like the Crusaders, who play in the North Jersey Super Conference United Red Division, perhaps the best football league in the country.
Bergen Catholic is set this season, particularly on offense with Boston College-bound quarterback Johnny Langan and wide receiver Dylan Classi, a Princeton commit, plus junior running backs Josh McKenzie and Rahmir Johnson. McKenzie can run over guys and Johnson has track speed. DePaul also is pretty good, with all but three seniors back, including quarterback Taquan Roberson (990 yards, nine touchdowns).