BYRNES AT ST. THOMAS
Two big time high school programs collide on Friday Night in a nationally televised game on ESPNU. Byrnes enters the game at 5-0 with wins over Central Gwinnett 43-7, Myrtle Beach 65-14, Greer 52-6, Woodland 85-8(!), and Gaffney 60-7. St. Thomas sits at 3-0 with wins over Upper Arlington 52-7, Boyd Anderson 46-6, and Cardinal Gibbons 35-7.
Byrnes QB Chas Dodd (Rutgers commit) enters the game 79-116 for 1,321 yards with 18 TD's and just one interception. His favorite targets are Tony Hillman(21-306) and Torian Richardson(15-341). RB Marcus Lattimore, a national recruit, has 637 yards on 79 carries with 12 TD's. Another big time back waits in the wings- Shakeem Wharton. This is a balanced, explosive offense that will test the Raider defense, almost certainly more than they have been tested for two years.
Defensively Byrnes is led by two Tennessee commits: DL Brandon Willis and DE Corey Miller. A third 2010 DL is Roland Johnson who has attracted D-1 interest. DB Zach Miller headlines a secondary that has not given up much this year. Davon Terry leads the team with three interceptions.
St. Thomas is also very balanced on offense. Junior QB Jacob Rudock is off to a strong start: 27-41 for 392 yards and 7 TD's against just one pick. The junior has impressed with his poise and he has the arm to air it out. Rudock has three big time WR's to throw to: Junior's Phillip Dorsett and Rashad Greene along with senior all purpose and national recruit Lamarcus Joyner. This is probabaly the fastest trio in the nation and Byrnes DB's will need to be on their toes at all times. RB's Gio Bernard and James White pace the offense and both are BCS calibur recruits. Bernard's status is in doubt, but few teams are as deep as the Raiders. Brandon Linder and Jermaine Barton are bookend tackles, they will have their hands full with Miller(8 sacks).
For all the attention that the offense gets, it is really the defense that leads to the blowout victories. Teams simply don't move the ball on St. Thomas. It starts with a very solid front 7 that plays assignment football. MLB Vinnie Mauro and LB Garth Jobb are guys who clean up against the run. The secondary is the best in the nation with CB's Keion Payne and Cody Riggs and S's Brian Robinson and Reynaldo Kirtin. Joyner is being recruited for the defensive side of the ball and should see some time here as well.
Those of us in Florida know how powerful St. Thomas is, how well coached they are, how they simply take the life right out of teams. We are pretty sure South Carolina high school fans feel the same way about Byrnes. That is what makes this such an intriguing game. The winner will virtually guarantee themselves the 'National Title' should they finish undefeated. There are so many storylines and interesting match-ups within this game that you simply won't find many high school games that can put this much talent on the field (next week's Northwestern vs. Central game will be one of them). In the end, St. Thomas does not have to travel, they have handled their national competition thus far, and are simply rolling right now.
St. Thomas 30, Byrnes 24
NORTHWESTERN(3-0) VS. BOOKER T. WASHINGTON(4-0)
Classic Dade County game between SunStateFootball's #1 (MNW) and #10 (BTW) teams in the state. Both won state titles two years ago, last year's game saw Northwestern prevail 31-29.
The Tornadoes seem to be rounding into form after an average Spring and early season. They outscored opponents Coral Gables and North Miami 100-7 the last two weeks. QB Jeremiah Hay is now completing 59% of his passes and has 671 yards on the year. WR Jayvon Wrentz has stepped up and is leading the team with 13 catches for 251 yards. Quinton Dunbar(been injured), Jelani Rouland, and Ernest Tynes are other options. RB Eduardo Clements has 389 yards on 50 carries (7.8) and has added 10 catches.
The defense has held rushers to just 242 yards on 99 carries and has 12 turnovers in just four games. DE Lynden Trail will need to apply the pressure to knock the Bull offense out of kilter.
The Bulls are coming off a record setting performance by QB Teddy Bridgewater, he tossed 7 TD's in a win last week against HML. For the year he has 627 yards and 12 TD's and has added 136 on the ground. WR's Eli Rogers (7-198), Michaelee Harris (10-115), and Lorenzo Shinholster(8-153) are as good as they come. RB Corvin Lamb is pacing the ground attack with 272 yards (13.6 per carry) on the year, Israel Linder(102 yards) is another option. Northwestern can have a dominating frontline with Torrian Wilson, Terrance Carey, and Donald Senat.
The defense has been just alright thus far, but they have the potential to be much better. They have created just 4 turnovers on the year and have given up 386 rushing yards through just 3 games. Bottom line they need to tighten up as they start a brutal 3 game stretch that is Booker T. Washington, a nationally televised game with Central, and Columbus. There is simply too much talent with Todd Chandler, Khambrel McGee, Lyndon Edwards, Jermaine Reve, Eric Kinsey, Ricky Joseph, Rashard Gaitor, and Jerome Thomas on it to struggle against the run and to give up the big plays it has. We expect this unit to round into form starting this week.
Northwestern 27, Booker T. Washington 17