We’re reaching the end of the playoff rush, so without further ado, here are the main takeaways we gained from Friday’s whirlwind prep football action:
1) All dynasties eventually fall
Let the record show that it was Kearney which finally stood up for the rest of the state of Missouri. With USA TODAY High School Sports No. 17 Webb City attempting to capture it’s sixth straight Class 4 state title, Kearney came through with all the biggest plays at all the biggest moments, including a straight stuff of a potential game-winning touchdown for the Cardinals at the 1-yard-line, forcing a Webb City fumble which Kearney recovered to seal the deal at 17-14. The new Kearney title served as a bookend to Webb City’s dominance on 42-consecutive victories; the last team to beat Webb City in the playoffs was Kearney, in the title game in 2009.
2) What could have been for Ocean Lakes
Back-to-back season ending spots in the USA TODAY High School Sports Super 25. A role as the firm foundation of football in the Commonwealth of Virginia. All of that faded into distant memory for USA TODAY High School Sports No. 10 Ocean Lakes on Friday, when the Dolphins were steamrolled by Tidewater rival Oscar Smith, 29-19. The victory pushed Oscar Smith into the South region semifinals while it ended Ocean Lakes’ season at 12-1. The name of this game was runs, with Oscar Smith rushing out to a 20-0 lead before the Dolphins forced their way back in, cutting the deficit to one before the Tigers padded their lead and held on from there, putting an end to a run of two very impressive seasons from Ocean Lakes.
3) Nothing to see in Texas
Move along, That was the story put forth by the favorites in the Lone Star State. Two USA TODAY High School Sports Super 25 squads took the field aiming for a spot in their respective regional finals. Both got the job done with ease. First, No. 8 Katy returned to its scoreless ways, shutting out Friendswood 66-0, pushing their total season scoring advantage to 671-38 in the process. Hours later No. 5 Allen followed suit, topping area rival Arlington Martin 36-11 in a contest played at AT&T Stadium roughly 24 hours after it hosted an annual Thanksgiving Day contest. That both squads would advance as easily as they did brought some normalcy to affairs in Texas a week after both teams had tighter contests than they had imagined at a relatively early stage of the playoffs.
4) A pair of record performances in sad circumstances
Two different notable stars had memorable codas to their high school careers on Friday. Neither was a particularly happy ending, even though one player watched his team roll to another victory.
In North Carolina, East Lincoln quarterback Chazz Surratt completed a pass with his off-right hand to break Chris Leake’s career North Carolina total yardage state record. He had to use his right hand because he injured ligaments in his left elbow a week earlier in a playoff victory, and will require surgery in the coming days to repair the injury. He was given just one drive to lead in East Lincoln’s 35-14 victory against East Burke in a state semifinal and he made the most of it, setting the new state mark on a pass to teammate Coleton Banks. He finishes as both the career yardage state record holder and the career passing touchdowns record holder, a mark he set three weeks earlier.
There were no injury concerns DeShawn Smith, just the gradual realization that he was finally out of time. The Nature Coast running back scored four total touchdowns, two on the ground, in a 40-28 loss to Green Cove Springs Clay. The four scoring plays increased his single season total to 67, tied with former Michigan star Mike Hart for third all-time. Despite moving up the career record list, the game was a setback in multiple ways for Smith; he was held to a single-game yardage low of 120 and saw his team’s push for a state crown come to an end.
5) Wendell Phillips Academy wins for all Chicago
It took 41 years, but it finally happened: A Chicago public school has captured an Illinois state high school football championship. The honored victorious squad is Wendell Phillips Academy, the same team that was vanquished one win shy of the accomplishment in 2014. This time they left no doubt, rocking Belleville Althoff 51-7 to earn the Class 4A title in a game at Huskie Stadium in Dekalb. Afterward, Phillips was quick to note that the school’s lack of resources had pushed it to success.
“I don’t really think money was a big issue for us, just because we don’t have it,” defensive tackle Amir Watts, who had three sacks, told the Chicago Tribune. “I think it influenced us to be better.”
Evidently it did, and you proved it, Amir.