Week One of the high school football season is now officially in the books (completely!), which means it’s an ideal time to look back on the big picture takeaways from the first full slate of action. Here are the three most notable people, teams or locales on the upswing, and those on the other side of the coin, in no particular order.
ATHLETIC BLOODLINES: One could be forgiven for taking a genealogical look at some of the week’s best players. Just consider the following:
— Biaggio Ali-Walsh, the grandson of Muhammad Ali, who ran for 198 yards and three touchdowns as No. 3 Bishop Gorman made a statement in a win at No 5 Cedar Hill.
— Javian Dayne, son of Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne, had 226 yards and 5 touchdowns for Waunakee in a Wisconsin rout.
— John Stephen Jones, grandson of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, threw for 325 yards and 4 touchdowns in Highland Park’s victory against Rockwall.
— Even in defeat, Dylan McCaffrey, son of former Broncos WR Ed McCaffrey and brother of Stanford RB Christian, was mighty impressive. He finished with touchdowns passing, receiving and rushing, and had 205 yards passing and 56 yards on the ground.
WINNING STREAKS IN NEVADA: It would be remiss to gloss over the new longest winning streak in 8-man football history, after Pahranagat Valley captured its 94th straight victory in a season opener at home in Alamo, Nev. If coach Ken Higbee has anything to do with it, the team will already be looking ahead to win No. 95.
Then there’s a streak which, while shorter, might be even more impressive. Two-time defending USA TODAY Super 25 national champ and current No. 1 Bishop Gorman captured it’s 40th straight victory with a rout of No. 5 Cedar Hill. Those 40 wins have come against some of the nation’s top teams across (now) three separate seasons, maintaining winning consistency despite shifts in skilled stars and head coaches amidst remarkable churn.
VERSATILITY: Remember McCaffrey’s aforementioned performance in Valor Christian’s loss to Arizona defending champion Saguaro? Well, his touchdown three-way (sounds like a Denny’s menu item, doesn’t it?) was matched by a fellow top recruit, senior defensive back Richard LeCounte III. Somehow, LeCounte scored four touchdowns using three different methods of touching the ball, scoring twice on receptions, once on the ground, once on a kickoff return and once on a punt return. He accounted for nearly half of Liberty Christian’s scoring offense, and that was just two weeks after being taken off the field on an ambulance.
TRADITIONAL TEXAS POWERS: So much for the Lone Star State taking a stand. Of the state’s traditional football powers, only one captured a victory in a nationally hyped game, with No. 17 Allen rolling past Alabama power Hoover, 25-7. The other big names were not so lucky. Among the losers: No. 5 Cedar Hill, No. 9 Lake Travis, and No. 11 Katy, That’s not a good start.
PITTSBURGH: The Steel City (and its surrounding suburbs) sent two of its finest football teams into the opening weekend spotlight. Pine-Richland, led by all-everything Notre Dame-committed dual-threat quarterback Phil Jurkovec looked set for a win against two-time defending Ohio state champ St. Edward before the Eagles rallied to steal a victory in the final two minutes. More strikingly, No. 16 Pittsburgh Central Catholic entered the season with plenty of attention and a distinct belief that the Vikings could vault up the rankings. They hosted Washington D.C.’s St. John’s College, and all that hype evaporated quickly in a 35-14 loss that was never even that close. It’s early, and both teams can and should respond, but that’s a tough start for Western Pennsylvania.
SARTORIAL SPLENDOR IN UNIFORMS: Look, we love clever uniform combinations. They’re work and fun all wrapped into one! That qualifier aside, we draw the line at any design that will have a direct, negative impact on the ability of referees to call a clean game and players to compete in one. That’s precisely what we seem to have in the new duds sported by Cincinnati school New Richmond. Let’s all hope the other set isn’t white-on-white or red-on-red.