Here is what we are watching in this weekend’s Super 25 football action:
Top-ranked Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) gets its last chance of the season to reinforce that it belongs in the No. 1 spot in the Super 25 rankings when it attempts to win its seventh consecutive Nevada state championship. Gorman has not lost to an in-state opponent since 2008, a span of 76 games.
As expected, Liberty stands in the Gaels’ way. Last year, Gorman blanked Liberty 50-0 in the state semifinals, but this is a more experienced and more confident Liberty team, which is averaging 50 points per game. You know the stars for Gorman – Tate Martell, Tyjon Lindsey, Biaggio Ali-Walsh and a host of others – but here are two names to watch for Liberty – 6-3 quarterback Kenyon Oblad threw five touchdown passes in the semifinals last week and Ethan Dedeaux has caught eight touchdowns and has five interceptions on defense.
Will Messiah help Wayne deliver?
No. 15 Wayne (Huber Heights) and No. 8 St. Edward (Lakewood) will play in the Ohio Division I state final for the third time in six years. St. Edward won the two previous meetings, including last season. Wayne’s defense was tremendous in the regular season – four shutouts and three games allowed in single digits – but it might be the Warriors’ quarterback who could be the difference. Michigan State commit Messiah deWeaver, who transferred to Wayne after three years at Trotwood-Madison, has thrown for more than 2,750 yards with 30 touchdowns and two interceptions and the offense is averaging more than 40 points per game. St. Edward is coming off its best defensive performances of the season. It shut out Euclid 33-0 and allowed 209 yards in the third round and downed Stow 45-7 in the regional final and allowed 161 yards.
While St. Edward needed strong finishes to win its first two playoff games, it has given up a total of 29 points in four postseason victories.
Some are calling this weekend’s state semifinals in Georgia’s highest classification, AAAAAA, the best final four in modern state football history. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it is the fourth time that all four semifinalists are undefeated and the first time since 1995. (It is worth noting that the first two times – in 1954 and 1960 – some teams went directly from the regular season to the state semifinals.)
Colquitt County faces Mill Creek and Grayson matches up with Roswell. All four are 13-0 and three are ranked in the Super 25: Colquitt at No. 3, Grayson at No. 13 and Roswell at No. 21. Mill Creek is playing in its first state semifinal; the school opened in 2004.
Colquitt, Grayson and Roswell all had tighter than expected games in the last round. Colquitt County beat South Forsyth 49-31 but trailed in the fourth quarter. Grayson downed Westlake 35-28 and Roswell toppled Collins Hill 17-10.
Eastside Catholic (Sammamish) lost in the Washington state 3A final to Bellevue in 2012 and 2013, and that’s because everyone lost to Bellevue. The program had won 67 consecutive games and six straight state titles. But Eastside pulled off a stunner a year ago, downing Bellevue 35-13 in the championship game. Now, they meet again.
Eastside is 12-0 and ranked No. 23 in the Super 25. Bellevue enters at 11-1 with its lone loss coming against top-ranked Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) in the season opener. That followed a tumultuous offseason when the program was disciplined after it self-reported violations of Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) rules on illegal recruiting and out of season coaching. Head coach Butch Goncharoff and two assistants were suspended for games early in the season. The allegations against the program continued this week in another extensive report in The Seattle Times.
Years in the making
No. 10 Male (Louisville) has bee dominant in Kentucky and is one win away from its first state championship since 2000. Male makes its fourth title game appearance since the last championship when it faces Lafayette (Lexington).
Male has outscored its opponents 637-79 with seven shutouts, including a 50-0 victory against Central Hardin in last week’s semifinals.
On the other hand, Lafayette has trailed in every postseason game and trailed by double digits in two games. The Generals were behind 28-12 in the semifinals against Simon Kenton and scored 30 unanswered points to close the game and make the state final for the first time since 1985.