Another football Friday in the books, with terrific contests and some other notable events taking precedence and attention. Here’s what we’re taking stock of now that everything has shaken out:
1) No. 1 Bishop Gorman finally gets a test, then pulls away:
In the totality of USA TODAY High School Sports Super 25 No. 1 Bishop Gorman’s season, Servite was not supposed to provide the most stern of tests. Somehow everyone forgot to relay that message to the Friars, who gave the defending national champs their biggest test of the season so far.
Sure, Gorman eventually escaped with a 38-7 win, but the Gaels had to find a way through a tough Servite defense and an offense that found a way to make the most of Gorman’s miscues. And there were plenty of miscues in the first two periods. At halftime Gorman led just 10-7, even though the Gaels had 272 yards of total offense to Servite’s 41 in the first two quarters. Gorman could have had a 13-7 edge, but kicker Derek Ng missed a 19-yard chip shot field goal as time expired in the second half.
Clearly, if Gorman is going to successfully defend its title by running the table, it will have to play better than it did in the first half. There’s still time for the Gaels to get their act together, as they did in the second half against Servite, but suddenly there really does look like there’s work to do.
2) For first time in years, No. 4 Allen may have a quarterback controversy:
Oh, to have Allen’s problems. The Eagles are undefeated. They have won three consecutive state titles. And they play in a gorgeous, $60 million facility.
Yet, for the first time since the Eagles’ long undefeated run began, there are legitimate questions about who should be under center. With Kyler Murray sitting on the bench behind Kyle Allen at Texas A&M, the Eagles have vascillated between Seth Green, a transfer who has committed to Oregon, and Michell Jonke, Murray’s former backup. While Green clearly brings more athleticism and explosiveness in the open field, Jonke has been a more consistent and calm presence as a dropback passer.
Then came Friday night’s 38-28 victory against Marcus, when Jonke suddenly looked elusive while scrambling, even contributing a 53-touchdown on the scramble. Flipping the script, on the fly.
Of course, this is a terrific problem for Allen to be faced with. They have an evolving talent who is completely comfortable with the system and legitimate Division I talent who was recruited by a school just off competing for the national title.
Typical Allen. Even when there’s a problem, it’s an amazing one to have.
3) No. 10 Katy has a great offense, but an even better defense:
The Katy offense tends to get most of the team’s plaudits. That will happen when you score more than 40 points in just about every game. Yet the Tigers’ defense may be an even better asset in 2015. The Tigers have rolled to a 5-0 record while letting up a grand total of just 10 points, the most recent a 41-3 victory against crosstown Katy Taylor.
That’s two points per game. Just about no team is going to lose when they’re only allowing two points per contest, let alone one as talented as Katy.
4) Two big turnarounds in Southern California:
Servite may not have been able to pull off the upset of the nation’s No. 1 team, but that doesn’t mean that all of Southern California was in a downbeat mood. Quite the contrary, as noted by the Los Angeles Times: Two area schools are enjoying the best seasons in their relative histories.
Golden Valley set a new school record with four victories when it knocked off Hawthorne on Thursday night. The Grizzlies cruised to a 43-14 victory behind more excellent play from Golden Valley quarterback Victor Corona, who ran for two touchdowns and passed for another. For a school that has been in existence since 2005, it’s remarkable that it took a full 10 seasons to even near a .500 record. Now that the Grizzlies are just about there, another challenge remains: Winning the program’s first Foothill League game.
Meanwhile, nearby an even-more drastic year-over-year transformation has unfolded, with Whittier Pioneer earning its fifth victory with a 47-7 win against Cantwell Sacred Heart. At 5-0, Pioneer is a long way from the team’s 1-9 record in 2014. Pioneer is 5-0 for the first time since 2002 when the Titans were 9-3. This Titans team relies heavily on quarterback Phillip Hernandez, who passed for 268 yards and four touchdowns against Cantwell and will need to continue evolving and maturing if Pioneer is to reach the playoff promised land again.
Given what they’ve accomplished so far, only a fool would write Pioneer off now.
5) Is Saturday afternoon the new Friday night in prep sports?:
Did it seem like a quiet Friday night in high school football to you? That’s because it was.
There were a total of 13 games involving teams in the USA TODAY High School Sports Super 25. All 13 favored teams were victorious and in many cases by huge margins. Yet, in an unusual twist, there is a fairly full slate of contests on Saturday, too, including four potential barn burners.
To a certain degree, the evolution of high school football Saturdays are a natural evolution. Just as prep teams are now encroaching on college sports, those same college sports previously decided to start playing contests on Thursdays and Fridays for television reasons, usurping Friday Night Lights in the first place.
So, is hosting so many key games on a Saturday wrong? Absolutely not. However, it underscores that high school sports are now no more sacrosanct than their collegiate and professional brethren. That’s a bit sad at the very least.