FNL: Lakes/Decatur

The Gators were on a four-game winning streak heading into their last home game with Lakes, but you'd never know it by the score. The 61-0 final included a running clock that actually started at some point during the second quarter, as the Lancers built up a 54-0 lead and coasted from there.

Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian and DL/Special Teams Coordinator Johnny Nansen were there to witness the first-half demolition. They spoke at length with Lakes Head Coach Dave Miller at halftime before leaving. Sarkisian also stopped for as many photo ops, as the kids at the game flocked to him. He's become a popular man. Washington commit Michael Rector, a receiver from Bellarmine Prep, was on hand to watch his cousin - Lakes PK Bo Wittig. I caught up with Rector, who told me that he's not planning on applying for admission into Stanford, which pretty much sews up his commitment to Washington, in my opinion. He hasn't set up his official visit to UW yet.

Decatur have been without their best player, OL/DL Jordan Wernet (6-5, 272), who tore his ACL the last practice of spring. Wernet had an offer from Wyoming at the time, but head coach Dave Christensen has since pulled the offer. I've been told that Wyoming OL Coach Pete Kaligis - a former Washington player and Strength Coach - has been fighting to get Wernet's ride back, and his rehab is ahead of schedule. You can see a couple of his post-op workouts here and here.

Lakes seems to always reload, and 2011 is no different. People obviously know about Zach Banner, Cedric Dozier, Ma'ne Manaea and Zaheer Webb, and those players did not disappoint. Banner, at 6-foot-9 and 335 pounds, cuts an imposing figure no matter how you slice it. He's a full helmet taller than the next tallest Lancer. Given the nature of the game, there wasn't much for Banner to do, but he showed well on both sides of the ball and was - as you'd expect - a very popular figure post-game, taking time for pictures and well-wishes. If you want to hear the Dawgman guys interview Banner earlier in the day, click here.

Dozier played both ways, as he always does, and split some quarterbacking duties with the starting QB, David Wood. He was 3-of-5 for 47 yards and also ran for a 17-yard touchdown. It's clear that Miller is trying to get the ball in the hands of Dozier, one of his chief playmakers. On the recruiting front, I'm expecting it to come down to a Cal-UW battle, with Dozier taking trips to both schools before making his final decision.

Manaea was his steady self, playing receiver on offense and defensive back on the other side of the ball. The Colorado commit wasn't outstanding in any one capacity, yet it's clear his value to the team. He's a vocal leader, and one of the guys the team rallies around. I expect playoff time is when Manaea's game moves to the next level and he starts imposing himself physically. These games right now are just prelude.

His CU-bound teammate Webb showed to be a real force on both sides of the ball. Offensively, he showed me things I hadn't seen from him before. The tandem of Webb at left guard and Banner at left tackle is fairly devastating right now; that's 650 pounds of Lancer coming right up your tailpipe. Defensively, he occupied Decatur's biggest offensive lineman and stymied him for most of the night. While Webb is expected to play defense in college, I wouldn't be surprised if schools come back and take a second look at what he can do on offense. He's a huge man that moves well for his size.

As usual, Lakes has a host of seniors right there on the verge of getting some serious recruiting attention; Wood, Levonte Littlejohn, Quinton Parker, J.J. Njoku, Charles Hall, Jr., and Penoy Penilton all fit into that group. Webb, Njoku, Hall and Penilton were all big reasons why the Lancers were able to hold Decatur to minus-6 rushing yards on 26 attempts.

Hall was stripped of a great hit and fumble during the second half when the officials were clearly more interested in moving the game along. Littlejohn ran for 49 yards on three carries and caught three passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns - how's that for efficient? And Penilton was all over the field on defense, showing his toughness after getting racked on one play, hobbling off the field, and then got right back in the next series.

I can't forget about a few underclassmen that also stood out. Junior WR/DB Marquin Russell finished the game with touchdowns on both sides of the ball, and according to Miller is also a standout 400-yard dash performer in track. He's definitely one to watch down the road. And big No. 1 - Sammie Long - is all of 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds. Word coming down from the Lakes staff is that Washington has been very impressed with Long so far this year and have been monitoring his progress closely. We'll see what happens with those two.

And last, but certainly not least, there's the younger brother of UW DL Sione Potoae, freshman TE/DE Benning Potoae. Because of the running clock, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Potoae didn't get too many chances to really shine, but it was my first chance to see him run around in pads, and he didn't disappoint. He was a revelation at the Jason Gesser Nike invite camp this past summer, and I expect he's only going to get better and better and better. Not too many 9th-graders get a chance to see the field for Miller - even if it's just for PAT's, but Benning is one of them.


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