This past weekend, stories for Stanford recruiting unfolded both at home and across the country. On the home front, Stanford held Future Cardinal Day, an opportunity for the program to host 40 recruits spread out across various high school classes. The recruits spanned the spectrum from underclassmen potentially on the radar for the 2009 or 2010 recruiting cycles to seniors in the mix as potential walk-ons or late offer recipients. The Saturday festivities provided Stanford Football not only with the benefit of exposing prospective recruits to the campus but also with the practical advantage of having dozens of potential recruits provide the football office with film that will be useful in evaluating the recruits in the coming months.
In addition to the many under-the-radar recruits who visited campus over the weekend, the program also hosted 2008 commit Delano Howell, who took the opportunity to come up the coast and watch his future teammates play his brother Dan and the Washington Huskies. Since Howell already took an official visit to Stanford for the Oregon game, the past weekend was an unofficial visit.
Meanwhile, while Stanford hosted dozens of prospects for Future Cardinal Day, high school action continued apace throughout the country. While some areas finished up their regular seasons, others are already fully in the swing of playoff football and yet others saw their season come to an end this weekend. The vast majority of active recruiting targets for Stanford Football, however, play for dominant teams for whom playoff berths simply begin the quests for district, state, and even national titles. The weekend's action:
* In a marquee matchup of top Stanford prospects, Stanford commit Andrew Luck and Houston (Tex.) Stratford took on Michael Thomas and Houston (Tex.) Nimitz. Luck's Stratford team eventually prevailed 42-35 to improve to 7-2 with one week left before the playoffs. Luck starred in the winning effort with 248 yards passing and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions on 19-of-27 passing. On Wednesday, his great week continued as he was named the Touchdown Club of Houston scholar-athlete of the year, beating out two other local football players who are also ranked #1 in their high school classes. For Nimitz, Thomas had 11 carries for 65 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown run. As a quarterback, he completed 1 of his 7 passing attempts for a 26-yard gain.
* Newhall (Calif.) Hart put together an impressive 49-13 win to move to 8-0-1 on the season. Stanford commit Delano Howell put together a balanced performance with 98 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on only 5 carries while also racking up 109 receiving yards on 5 catches. Howell also had two long would-be touchdowns called back due to penalties. While Howell made his presence felt with his dynamic playmaking on limited touches, it was the Hart passing attack that did most of the damage. Quarterback B.R. Holbrook completed 15 of his 16 pass attempts for 325 yards and 4 touchdowns, all of which went to receiver Brian Felt. Felt had 7 catches for 204 yards and those 4 touchdowns. On defense, Hart played without injured UCLA commit Patrick Larimore but won with ease. The Hart win sets up a regular season finale against fellow California top 25 team Saugus in a game with significant playoff implications for the high-performing programs.
* Stanford commit Fred Craig's nationally ranked Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier team improved to 11-0 with a 45-14 opening round playoff win that was their second this season against Cincinnati rival Elder. Louisville commit Darius Ashley, now healthy after missing the early part of the season to injury and then easing back into action, rushed for 211 yards and 2 touchdowns on 17 carries. It was the second week in a row in which Ashley has rushed for more than 200 yards. Elder star tight end Kyle Rudolph, a Notre Dame commit, caught 7 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown.
* Mission Viejo (Calif.) beat local rival Capistrano Valley 42-14 to improve to 6-2 on the season. Stanford wide receiver commit Warren Reuland had 53 receiving yards and 2 touchdown catches, both from junior quarterback Allan Bridgford. The touchdowns came from 22 yards and 10 yards. Bridgford, like Reuland a Stanford target, finished with 282 yards on 16-of-22 passing and also added an 18-yard touchdown run.
* Stanford commit David DeCastro's Bellevue (Wash.) squad won their playoff opener 45-21 to go to 9-1 on the season. Bellevue dominated the first half and led 31-0 at halftime. In a rarity for the powerful Bellevue Wing-T rushing attack, however, they did not have a 100-yard rusher in the game.
* Stanford commit Sam Schwartzstein's Southlake (Tex.) Carroll improved to 8-1 with a 49-21 win. North Texas commit Riley Dodge passed for 246 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions on 19-of-29 passing and rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Texas commit Tre Newton also turned in his usual strong performance with 163 touchdowns and 4 touchdowns on 20 carries. Southlake Carroll head coach Hal Wasson attributed the offensive success to the play of Schwartzstein and the line: "I told them from the get-go, we were here to win the battle up front. I think it came down to that. Our offense and defense controlled the line of scrimmage in important situations." The win clinches Southlake Carroll's sixth consecutive district title while a win next week would give them a six-year undefeated run in district play.
* Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian moved into a three-way tie in the race for a league championship with a dominant 42-6 win over an opponent that had previously been undefeated in league play. Boise State commit Chris Potter ran for 3 touchdowns, passed for 2 touchdowns, and made a diving interception on defense. The defense, which includes super sophomore Malcolm Jones, helped Oaks Christian explode to a 28-0 lead before pulling their starters and ultimately a 42-0 lead before giving up a point. Jones also starred on offense with 173 yards on 13 carries. Stanford wide receiver commit Chris Owusu continued to rest his knee in advance of an anticipated playoff run, but his younger brother Brian Owusu caught one of the touchdown passes from Potter.
* Stanford soft commit Marcus Turner and his Long Beach (Calif.) Cabrillo team fell to 2-7 with a 29-26 loss that was their closest game of the season. On the season, Turner has 25 tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery.
* San Diego (Calif.) Francis Parker continued reeling with a 20-10 loss that was their fourth in a row after a 4-0 start to the season. Stanford commit Matt Zubyk did not handle punting duties and has been out for the past three weeks.
* Junior Stanford commit Shayne Skov helped Pawling (N.Y.) Trinity-Pawling to a 27-14 win that made them 6-1. On offense, Skov had 5 catches for 47 yards and a successful two-point conversion. Defensively, he contributed 8 tackles. The win gives Trinity-Pawling the Erickson Division title and a spot in the Open Division Prep School Super Bowl. It also came against Salisbury School, which had not lost since 2005 and won last year's Prep School Super Bowl. Trinity-Pawling will now play a non-league game on Friday before playing in the Prep School Super Bowl the following week.
* After a blistering 7-0 start that showcased a seemingly unstoppable passing attack, nationally ranked Santa Ana (Calif.) was knocked off over the weekend. While they fell to fellow California powerhouse Orange (Calif.) Lutheran, the 31-12 final score came as a shock to all those accustomed to seeing junior superstar Matt Barkley and the Mater Dei offense pass at will. Even more shocking, the vaunted Mater Dei offense did not score until the fourth quarter when Barkley finally threw 2 touchdown passes. On the game, Barkley was 22-of-37 for 264 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions, a far cry from his usual dominance. Orange Lutheran was led by USC commit Blake Ayles, who caught 2 touchdowns and had a sack of Barkley, an extremely rare feat for somebody lining up against Khaled Holmes and the Mater Dei offensive line. The two sacks on the game by Orange Lutheran were the first sacks this season of Barkley. Mater Dei's chance to bounce back will come against yet another California powerhouse as they take on fellow USC pipeline Servite this Friday. Servite had handled Orange Lutheran in the previous game and these three teams still represent three of the top teams in the state.
* Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton completed a perfect 10-0 regular season with a 46-0 demolition of cross-town rival Chandler (Ariz.) High. Covaughn Deboskie rushed for 96 yards and 3 touchdowns on only 7 carries and also caught 3 passes for 20 yards, adding a two-point conversion reception. On Wednesday, Deboskie was selected for the prestigious U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio in January. In the blowout loss to Hamilton, Chandler played without Stanford commit Harold Bernard, who is recovering from a broken fibula, and fellow star Dion Jordan, who suffered serious burns in an accident earlier in the year and has missed most of the season. The Arizona teams now head to the playoffs, where Hamilton will be the favorite for yet another state championship run.
* Sandy (Utah) Alta won their second round playoff game 35-28 to improve to 11-1 going into the semifinals. Star running back Sausan Shakerin carried the ball 33 times for 155 yards and 4 touchdowns. After battling injuries for much of the season, Shakerin has been dominant recently just in time for another playoff run for the Utah power. The Alta win sets up a much-anticipated semifinals match between Utah's top programs as Alta will now square off against defending state champion South Jordan (Utah) Bingham in a rematch of last year's state championship game.
* Bingham did their part in setting up the climactic semifinal showdown by winning their second round playoff game 45-7. Austin Holt was limited to one catch for 7 yards as Bingham relied on star running back Sam Langi and his 210 yards and 3 touchdowns on 27 carries. Bingham's Logan Ludwick also scored two defensive touchdowns in less than a minute. While Bingham's offense mostly relies on Langi's running, Holt leads the team in receiving with 27 catches for 472 yards and 6 touchdowns.
* Brett Nagel joined the parade of Stanford targets whose teams won their second round playoff games. The 21-7 win by Lemont (Ill.) sends them to the quarterfinals and knocked off a previously undefeated contender. Nagel had 93 yard on 17 carries. He also threw a 13-yard touchdown pass that put the game away. Typically known for his rushing outputs from behind center, Nagel threw for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns on 8-of-12 passing. Said Nagel, "I'm going home to ice my leg tonight. Grant was the hardest hitting team we've faced all year." The hard-hitting defense caused two turnovers with Nagel throwing an interception after a defensive lineman hit his arm while he was throwing and also fumbling on a play in which he was sacked.
* Las Vegas (Nev.) Canyon Springs, yet another top team making a playoff run led by a potential Stanford prospect, won their playoff opener in their typical shootout fashion with a 56-39 win. Quarterback Devonte Christopher completed 11 of his 17 pass attempts for 376 yards, 5 touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also rushed 5 times for 41 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Juron Criner, Christopher's partner in airing it out and fellow candidate for top Nevada honors, caught 5 balls for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns. To put Christopher's passing dominance this season into perspective, his 3088 passing yards are over 700 more than the next closest in Nevada and nearly 1500 more than the next closest in the Las Vegas area. His 43 touchdown passes are 17 more than the next most in Nevada and 24 more than the next most in the Las Vegas area. Given this performance, some programs are now telling Christopher that he will enter college as a quarterback rather than as an athlete.
* Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic improved to a perfect 10-0 with a 45-0 laugher in the playoff opener. Quentin Williams' role on offense was limited as he only had one catch, but he made the 7-yarder count as it was a touchdown at the end of the first half. He made more of an impact on defense with 2 sacks. Central Catholic, which has won by at least 21 points in every game this season, advances to the quarterfinals and remains a heavy favorite in the playoff hunt.
* Memphis (Tenn.) University School hit their stride heading into the playoffs as they won for the third straight game, all dominant shutouts, to finish the regular season 7-3. The third consecutive shutout for MUS was the sixth shutout in ten games for DeAndre Jones and his fellow defenders. In the latest game, they only gave up 103 yards of total offense and 7 first downs, two of which came on penalties. Jones helped the cause with 6 tackles, 3 of which were for loss.
* Marietta (Ga.) Walton also stayed white hot, winning their eighth consecutive game with a 45-14 triumph. In the second to last game of the regular season, defensive menace Chase Thomas enjoyed a few rare chances to have the ball in his hands as he caught a 14-yard pass and returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown. In addition to the interception return for a touchdown, Thomas wreaked havoc with 5 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 tackles for loss. On the season, Thomas has 58 tackles and 12 sacks in nine games.
* Like Thomas' Walton team, tight end prospect Ryan Wallace and Bowling Green (Ky.) have been dominant since an early-season loss. The past weekend's 52-14 win makes them 9-1 on the regular season and sends them into a first round playoff game against a team they blew out earlier in the year. Wallace kicked off the scoring action in the first quarter with a 21-yard touchdown catch and also added two more catches for a total of 48 yards. Wallace's recruitment is a national one being contested by Kentucky, Stanford, Colorado, Rutgers, Wake Forest and others.
* Chandler (Ariz.) Basha backed into the playoffs with a 27-7 loss that dropped them to 6-4 on the regular season. In the losing effort, Quinn Evans ran for 140 yards on 13 carries and contributed 6 tackles on defense.
* Johnson Bademosi, whose physical style of play and versatility to play multiple positions on defense prompted the Stanford coaches to offer him a scholarship this fall, saw his senior season come to an end with a 20-13 loss. His Gonzaga (Washington, DC) team fell to 4-5 on the year. Bademosi made first team all-conference in a year that saw him make 50 tackles, cause 8 fumbles, recover 4 fumbles, intercept 3 passes, and break up 10 more passes.
* In a 31-7 La Jolla (Calif.) Country Day win, kicker Travis Golia made all four of his extra point attempts and also chipped in a 21-yard field goal.
* Kevin Murphy's San Clemente (Calif.) team won 35-0 to improve to 6-2. On the game, the Tritons rushed for 185 yards and passed for 213 yards.
* San Diego (Calif.) Scripps Ranch evened their record at 4-4 with a 27-21 win, the first time Scripps Ranch has defeated St. Augustine in the last seven meetings between the teams. Scripps Ranch's junior quarterback Tate Forcier had an interception returned for a touchdown but also threw 2 touchdown passes and ultimately led the fourth quarter comeback drive that put them ahead for good. To add extra drama to the script of Scripps Ranch beating St. Augustine for the first time in years, Forcier's brothers Jason and Chris, now quarterbacks at Stanford and UCLA, respectively, both played for St. Augustine. Tate Forcier himself also went to St. Augustine before transferring to Scripps Ranch.
* Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista rolled into the playoffs with a 37-13 win. Devon Kennard, one of the very best juniors in America and a top Stanford target, starred on both sides of the ball. On offense, he carried the ball 5 times for 42 yards and punched in a touchdown run. On defense, he had 5 tackles, 3 sacks, and a quarterback hurry. The sacks give him a staggering 23.5 sacks in 10 regular season games as a junior. On Friday, Desert Vista will get a chance to avenge an early season loss against Harold Bernard's injury-riddled Chandler team in the playoff opener for both teams.
* Corey Adams, Kennard's fellow junior defensive line standout in Arizona, also had a big game in leading his team triumphantly into the playoffs. Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro goes into the playoffs 10-0 with a 44-19 win in which their defense was paced by Adams' disruptive presence. He finished with 9 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and a blocked extra point.
* Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a 30-6 win that made them 11-0 on the season. Like St. Xavier in Cincinnati, Cardinal Mooney has put together an undefeated season with a dominant defense and ranks not only as one of the top teams in Ohio but also one of the top teams in America. Coming into the game, top junior recruit Johnny Simon, who Stanford is courting, had 81 tackles and 6 sacks. Simon is joined on defense by an array of high-profile seniors including Oklahoma commit Taylor Hill (142 tackles and 16 sacks), Penn State commits Michael Zordich (130 tackles and 4 sacks) and Brandon Beachum, and Notre Dame commit Dan McCarthy (61 tackles and 5 interceptions). The seniors also lead on offense, with Beachum taking his turn pacing the most recent win with 178 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. The defense did not give up a point in the first half as Cardinal Mooney raced out to a 20-0 lead.
* Wheaton (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel snapped a five-game losing streak against Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha with a thrilling 28-24 win that moved them to 9-1 heading into the playoffs. Good Counsel scored 14 unanswered points to pull off a dramatic second-half comeback. The first strike in that spurt came on a touchdown run by junior Stanford recruit Jelani Jenkins, who finished with 69 yards rushing and a blocking performance from his fullback position that allowed another back to run for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jenkins also keys the Good Counsel defense as a linebacker. The win produced a three-way tie for first place in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference between Good Counsel, DeMatha, and St. John's, the only team to defeat Good Counsel and also Good Counsel's first round playoff opponent this weekend.
* La Mesa (Calif.) Helix improved to 6-1-1 with a 35-7 win in their first game since the wildfires that devastated much of Southern California. Junior Levine Toilolo caught a 29 yard pass and helped block for 279 yards of rushing offense but did not find the end zone. He also played on a defensive line that held the league's top rusher to less than 100 yards for only the third time in nine games this season.
* Cambridge (Mass.) Rindge & Latin improved to 7-2 with a 14-0 shutout win. Star junior Joshua Adams does it all for the Falcons. On the season, Adams has accounted for nearly half of the team's scoring offense and 168 yards of all purpose yardage per game. His 6 pass breakups and 1 interception lead the defense while he averages nearly 28 yards per kick return and is also the team's punter.
* Philadelphia (Pa.) Penn Charter fell 43-21 for their third loss in a row to drop to 4-4 on the year. Penn Charter junior defensive end Justin Renfrow is Stanford's most recent 2009 offer.
* Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou finished their season with a 48-14 win over a playoff-bound team. Despite having a 7-2 record and beating every team they played this season other than St. Louis, the top team in Hawaii, Punahou's run is over. Because the playoffs in Hawaii only take one team from each division and Punahou finished behind St. Louis, the Buffanblu must wait until next year before hitting the gridiron again. In the season's last game, Punahou star junior Manti Te'o caught a 28-yard touchdown pass, had two carries for 22 yards, and forced a fumble on defense.
* Junior recruit Jemari Roberts joined Te'o as a recruit whose junior season is done as his Long Beach (Calif.) team lost 41-0 to finish their season 1-9. Despite missing time in the second half of the season with injuries, Roberts was Wilson's top weapon this season as a triple threat receiver/rusher/return specialist.
Games of Interest:
Mission Viejo-Tesoro (Warren Reuland and Allan Bridgford) – Friday
Mater Dei-Servite (Khaled Holmes and Matt Barkley) – Friday
Hart-Saugus (Delano Howell) – Friday
Oaks Christian-Santa Paula (Chris Owusu) – Friday
Cabrillo-Millikan (Marcus Turner) – Friday
Francis Parker-Bishop's (Matt Zubyk) – Friday
La Jolla Country Day-Los Osos (Travis Golia) – Friday
Helix-Monte Vista (Levine Toilolo) – Friday
Scripps Ranch-Henry (Tate Forcier) – Friday
San Clemente-Dana Hills (Kevin Murphy) - Friday
Hamilton-Mesquite (Covaughn Deboskie) – Friday PLAYOFFS
Desert Vista-Chandler (Devon Kennard vs. Harold Bernard) – Friday PLAYOFFS
Saguaro-Agua Fria (Corey Adams) – Friday PLAYOFFS
Basha-Dobson (Quinn Evans) – Friday PLAYOFFS
Stratford-Memorial (Andrew Luck) – Friday
Nimitz-Aldine (Michael Thomas) – Saturday
Southlake Carroll-Richland (Sam Schwartzstein) – Friday
Friendswood-Texas City (Jacob Karam) – Friday
St. Xavier-Centerville (Fred Craig) – Saturday PLAYOFFS ROUND TWO
Cardinal Mooney-St. Vincent-St. Mary (Johnny Simon) – Saturday PLAYOFFS ROUND TWO
Alta-Bingham (Sausan Shakerin vs. Austin Holt) – Friday PLAYOFFS ROUND 3
Memphis University School-Father Ryan (DeAndre Jones) – Friday PLAYOFFS
Walton-Wheeler (Chase Thomas) – Friday
Lemont-Prairie Ridge (Brett Nagel) – Saturday PLAYOFFS ROUND 3
Bowling Green-Grayson County (Ryan Wallace) – Friday PLAYOFFS
Our Lady of Good Counsel-St. John's (Jelani Jenkins) – Saturday PLAYOFFS
Rindge & Latin-Waltham (Joshua Adams) – Friday
Trinity-Pawling-Brunswick (Shayne Skov) – Friday
Canyon Springs-Del Sol (Devonte Christopher) – Friday PLAYOFFS ROUND TWO
Central Catholic-Bethel Park (Quentin Williams) – Friday PLAYOFFS ROUND TWO
Penn Charter-Germantown Academy (Justin Renfrow) – Saturday
Bellevue-Newport (David DeCastro) – PLAYOFFS ROUND TWO
Season Over: Wilson (Jemari Roberts), Punahou (Manti Te'o), Gonzaga (Johnson Bademosi)
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