We’re in the midst of the playoff rush, so without further ado, here are the main takeaways we gained from Friday’s action:
1) No. 3 Euless Trinity stunned in Texas’ first round
No one saw this one coming. Texas power Euless Trinity, ranked No. 3 in the USA TODAY High School Sports Super 25 and considered one of a select few squads with a bona fide outside shot at a national title, fell in the first round of the playoffs when South Grand Prairie kicker Jose Cruz drilled a game-winning 32-year-old field goal for a 24-21 win.
Trinity entered the game a perfect 10-0, including a season-opening upset of then-No. 1 De La Salle of California. Yet none of that was enough to hold off a hard-charging South Grand Prairie, which entered the game 6-4 including three consecutive losses. Yet two of those losses came against other contending foes — DeSoto and Cedar Hill — making the Warriors a deceptively tried and tested foe. Add in a reliable placekicker, and it was enough to end a potential national title charge for the Trojans.
2) No. 14 South Panola’s season stifled by Madison Central’s defense
It’s not that South Panola didn’t have the chances to stay alive, but it just wasn’t the Tigers’ night. Madison Central’s stout defense stuffed South Panola on the goal line just before halftime, then killed off the Tigers’ final drive with an interception in a 14-8 victory. That’s not to mention the blocked extra point. And then, just like that, it was over.
The Tigers weren’t the first Super 25 squad to be bounced out of the playoffs early, but their loss may have been the most dramatic yet, following on the heels of Bingham in Utah and Saline in Michigan. The Tigers have a good nine months to figure out exactly what went wrong, and it might take that long to move past the final act of a previously undefeated 2015 season.
3) Katy has the greatest defense in football
The Katy Tigers are the 1986 Bears.
Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration … or maybe it’s not. The Tigers have allowed just 18 points in 11 games, and none in their prior five, including Friday’s playoff-opening 77-0 whitewash of Westside. That’s an average of less than a safety allowed per game. It’s insane. It also completely inverts all traditional logic in high school football, where clever offensive schemes and tactics give offense the edge. Not in Katy this year, where a strong finish in the state playoffs could cement the team’s status as one of the best football defenses in high school history, if not football history writ large.
4) No. 12 Male tops rivalry faceoff for heated playoff win
Male and Dupont Manual form one of the nation’s most heated single-city rivalries, capturing the divided hearts and minds of Louisville each time the two squads meet. This time the stakes were even higher, with the winner advancing in the Kentucky playoffs and the loser going home. There was no doubt who would end up on top on Friday, with nationally-ranked Male dominating throughout a 36-0 rout of their longtime rivals. Their reward? A match up with perennial contenders Trinity next Friday, sending the Bulldogs from the frying pan right into the fire.
5) Ty Pigrome is the star of the night
Clay-Chalkville had one very dominant thing going for it on Friday night. His name is Ty Pigrome. The Alabama school’s quarterback, Pigrome completed four touchdown passes and ran for two others to help Clay-Chalkville narrowly avoid a playoff upset, 40-39, against Homewood. It wasn’t easy, including a late four-down stop after Homewood scrambled and captured a late onside kick. But it still happened, almost entirely thanks to Pigrome, who gets another chance to shine against Minor next Friday.
Bonus: Pac-5 elite keep shining
St. John Bosco (Bellflower) and Centennial (Corona) continued on what seems like an invariable collision course for the Pac-5 championship in Southern California. Bosco downed Corona 72-7 and was leading 59-0 at halftime. Corona agreed to use the running clock to start the second half. It was the second consecutive week and third time this season that Bosco has hit 70. It also has hit 60 four times.
Meanwhile, Centennial downed Chaminade 70-29 and was ahead 42-14 at halftime. Centennial has scored at least 67 points in its last four games, including reaching 70 twice.
In the quarterfinals, Bosco faces Loyola a 41-10 winner against Long Beach Wilson. Centennial meets Orange Lutheran, a 21-14 victor against St. Bonaventure.