Week Two of the high school football season is now officially in the books, which means it’s 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.
TIGHT FINISHES IN THE TOP 5
By now you’ve certainly read all about No. 3 IMG Academy’s gutsy, 50-49 victory at No. 14 Corona Centennial (by all means, if you haven’t, stop reading this and go read about it right now). As it were, the Ascenders weren’t the only team in the top-5 that needed a dramatic late push for victory. In Cincinnati, one of the city’s numerous epic crosstown rivalry games pitched St. Xavier against No. 5 Colerain. The game was tight, and tired, and eventually required bonus time for the Cardinals to escape with a 20-14 victory. That two of the nation’s top teams would need the full game (and then some, in one case) to gain an edge could be indicative of outsized expectations, more competition in the ranks … or both. We’ll all have to wait and see.
SUPER TEAMS LIVE UP TO THEIR STEREOTYPES
Speaking of IMG, their victory at Centennial ensured they lived up to their side of the super team bargain, an all-star team remaining undefeated through two weeks of an all-star schedule. No. 1 Bishop Gorman, to some the original incarnation of IMG except based in Nevada, did the same, rolling to a 46-10 victory against Florida power Cocoa after absorbing a tough first half test. That’s another two-for-two. The biggest test of all will come this week, when the two-time defending Super 25 champ Gaels take on No. 8 St. John Bosco, which has yet to yield a single point.
GIRLS PLAYING WITH THE BOYS, BECAUSE THE BOYS ASKED THEM TO
It’s one thing for girls to fight their way on to high school football teams out of sheer passion and determination. That’s an inspiring story every time. It’s an entirely different matter when the girls are practically begged to take part because of their talent. That’s apparently what transpired in Alabama, where the Wicksburg football team reached out to Ashton White, a soccer player without a high school team to compete for, to kick their field goals and kickoffs. The results have been terrific for Wicksburg, which didn’t have a kicker, and White, who was happy to use her skills in a new sport.
AVENGING THE LOSS OF A STAR
Traditional Texas contender No. 16 Austin Westlake upset national power Katy in Week 1, but lost superstar quarterback Sam Ehlinger to a dual knee injury that required surgery in both knees. In Week 2, they couldn’t keep up with Nevada school Liberty to drop to 1-1. South Carolina’s No. 15 Fort Dorchester lost starting tight end Nick Dedrick to sudden death, then fell to Dutch Fork, 35-22, days later.
It’s a testament to the overall quality of high school officiating that there is just one standalone gripe about the officiating in a major game last week, but the final play in longtime Texas power Cedar Hill’s 42-41 victory against Mansfield sure looks sketchy …
It’s not fair, but the way the top teams have set up their schedules makes it remarkably difficult for those who don’t have the resources to link up with the nation’s other top teams to compete at their level. IMG Academy plays a national power every week. Bishop Gorman does the same until it settles in to a run of games in Nevada to prepare for the state playoffs. No. 2 Booker T. Washington, from Miami? All Florida. The same goes for McGill-Toolen and numerous other members of the Super 25. It may not be fair, but the rule is consistent for all, and it’s only helping the teams that can afford to put themselves out there.