This is perhaps the most competitive division this year in the American Youth Football League in Broward County, Florida. You have a division where as many as five teams have an equal chance of standing on top of the mountain at end of the season. Here is how I think things will shake out in week one of the 120 lb. playoffs.
#1 Weston – 18 #8 Plantation – 0
Plantation was dominated in the first meeting in week 5. Weston has continued to get better as the season has gone on. They also rebounded well from having a 38 game win streak snapped by PPO two weeks ago.
#2 West Pines – 30 #7 Sunrise – 12
Sunrise is the most unpredictable team in the post season. One week they will blowout an opponent. The next week they will get blown out. West Pines should be motivated after loss to Weston last week
#3 Cooper City – 20 #6 Ft. Lauderdale – 0
Cooper City will control the tempo and the clock in this one. Ft. Lauderdale is on the edge of greatness but not quite there yet.
#5 Pembroke Pines – 12 #4 Pasadena – 6
This is a tough draw for the Panthers. Pasadena won a tough battle in the first meeting over a month ago. Teams usually learn their lesson in the rematch. PPO without one of their top players leaves Pasadena in a quandary as to how PPO will attack. A good game here that PPO wins with a late touchdown.
There’s nothing more exciting than a football player taking a football and weaving through defenders to go the length of the field. In celebration of that and to give a shameless plus for an awesome Dri-Fit T-shirt, I am going to be holding the weekly/monthly “Bomb ‘ Em for 90″ segment on Gridironstuds.com. This week we are going to take a look at two plays from the NFL yesterday and both were accomplished by players from the NFC North Division.
First up was Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson. The much maligned receiver operating in the finest receiving corps in the league hauled in a slant and go (slugo) route from Aaron Rogers and raced 93 yards to the end zone vs. St. Louis yesterday. It was just another big play for this offense enroute to another victory to move them to 6-0 on the season. Here’s a view of that exciting play:
Next up, we have a man who is no stranger to the end zone and to traveling the length of the field at high speeds. You may have missed it last night and who could blame you as the Bears were busying beating Minnesota’s back out in a snoozer. With the Bears up 26-10, the Vikings just scored a touchdown and came up with the brilliant idea of kicking the ball to Devin Hester. You can only guess what happened next. Hester tap danced on the Vikings’ beard and their hopes as he ripped it down the sidelines for a 98 yard kickoff return. Now the Bomb ‘Em for 90 Committee usually reserves the highlights for touchdown passes of 90 yards or more but we will make occasional exceptions for extraordinary plays and players. Hester and his deed falls under those categories. Check out his dazzling return and entry into the Bomb ‘Em for 90 Hall of Fame:
From the high school edition, which is what I really want this to be, you have to take a look at the man who coined the phrase, taking a kickoff back 90 yards for a touchdown earlier this season versus Goose Creek High School and that’s University School’s MacGarrett Kings. Take a look:
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Did you Bomb someone for 90? If you had a touchdown play for 90 yards or more and have the video, let us know. Send an email now with the description and link to the video to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are good games and there are games like the one freshman QB Tucker Israel had on Thursday Night. The signal caller surpassed the Florida state record of eight touchdown passes in a game when he went out and rained down 10 TD passes on Celebration High School in a 68-10 win for Lake Nona. If you are looking at those numbers and thinking it was bombs away, you would be disappointed. Eight of Israel’s 10 touchdowns traveled less than 20 yards in the air. Israel hit Ryan Sousa on a pair of skinny slant pass patterns and that was as deep as it got. The rest of Israel’s TD passes came from a combination of jet sweeps in which he chucked the ball one yard ahead to a player in motion and screen pass type dump offs to a back standing at the line of scrimmage. Regardless of this fact, it worked for Lake Nona as they had a 54-10 halftime lead on the well whipped Celebration team. Israel fell short by one of the national record of 11 TD passes thrown in a game. On the season, Israel has 24 TD passes and only four interceptions with an eye popping 1808 yards to boot. Lake Nona has won five straight since losing their opener to Orlando University High School. It’s gonna be a great year and a great career for this freshman. If he stays healthy he will likely own all of the state passing records by the time he dons his cap and gown.
We all see him on Sunday’s giving the other team fits and making opposing fans say words they should not be saying on Sunday. However, Desean Jackson is not new to this. Jackson was a phenom in high school playing for popular California High School Long Beach Poly. Jackson was groomed for greatness… literally. Jackson was trained by older brother and friends to be a playmaking machine. Young Jackson took the training and ran with it. It’s always good to look back and see what a guy used to be especially when he’s now a pro getting it done. Max Preps takes a look at Desean Jackson’s playmaking high school days in their segment called “Way Back When”
Yes, I know it’s old news but there are still those of you out there who have not seen it. So this is for you. A couple of weeks back, the Packers were out doing their thing which of late is beating the back out of the Chicago Bears (sorry windy city fans).
During the course of another Packers victory, Sam Shields found himself going down field with Hester on a pass route and things got a little testy. Don’t know who shoved who first and what may have led up to this but what I do know is that Hester and Shields started to go “All Andre Rison vs. Deion” on each other. Luckily the referee and cooler heads prevailed before it go full scale but this is the first I can recall two Hurricane teammates getting into it with each other on the field. Now, this would not have been unusual on the Hurricane practice field but to see it when they are on separate pro teams is unusual. For those wondering, Shields and Hester were not at Miami at the same time. Shields came right after Hester’s departure. If anyone can name another instance in which this would have happened, please comment. If anyone can think of an instance in which players from the same school got into on the NFL field, please comment.
Finally, who would win a race between these two? Shields has been clocked at 4.23 and Hester at 4.24. That would be better than this facemask pounding contest.
I have been paying attention and I hope you have been too. Top tier college football programs are finding it difficult to polish off those teams they have historically demolished by half time. This year, more than ever, it seems that the meek are beginning to rise. Just this past week I watched Utah St. beat someone (Wyoming) by 49 points! Utah State! This would have never have happened 10 years ago and I don’t care who Utah St. was playing. Wake Forest jumps up and beats Florida St. Syracuse had to travel to the edges of hell to beat Tulane 37-34.
Previous weeks has seen more glaring examples of the parity I have been noticing. Week before last week had Western Michigan beating Connecticut on the road. Bethune Cookman keeping Miami in check until late in the 3rd quarter. SMU beating TCU on the road! Week four there was, of course, Temple crushing Maryland. Virginia losing at home to Southern Mississippi. Auburn wrapped up in a battle with Florida Atlantic through four quarters. Ten years ago, that’s a 56-7 football game. There’s also North Dakota St. traveling to Minnesota and winning by two touchdowns. You need more? How about Temple losing by only four to Penn St. How about Toledo taking Ohio St. down to the wire. Tulsa putting up 33 points on Oklahoma St. Washington barely beating Hawaii 40-32. Clemson only beating Wofford 35-27.
As sites like Rivals.com and Scout.com begin hitting the 10 year mark of being significant and a load of other recruiting websites pop up monthly doing their due diligence to find hidden talent in every city, state and county, college coaches can recruit from their desktop. This allows the college programs with smaller budgets to navigate into parts of the country where they would not have dared to go in year’s past. Now, from their computer, a small school in Illinois can find an under-recruited kid in Texas with talent and find out if he would be interested before they spend money on a trip down there to see him. In the past, that small school from Illinois would not risk their budget to go down into Texas to find a kid that they think would either go to Texas or at the worst TCU.
This ability to shop for recruits from the office is bringing better talent to the smaller schools and depleting the “quality depth” of a lot of the major Division-I programs. Only the big time programs that have remained savvy and embraced the Internet recruiting will remain as relevant as they have always been. Programs with the old school mentality will sink in the rankings and relativity scale like a led balloon. We are watching it before our eyes. Smaller programs that make the most of what recruiting sites have to offer can see themselves ascend quickly and give the big time school fits. Once they sleigh a dragon on a Saturday, now even more eyes will be on their program.
This phenomenon also refocuses the importance on coaching and player development. Once upon a time, staffs at big time schools could just go out and shoot fish in a barrel and bring in big time talent. The better talent would get you a win on at least nine Saturday’s per season. If a coach could recruit well he always had a job. Well now, recruiting won’t be enough. Some college programs have not figured this out yet but they will sooner or later. If you can’t bring in your talent and develop them, you will get beat more often than not by some of these smaller programs that have been having to coach their tails off for years just to compete. It’s happening I tell you.
Some big time programs are crumbling and these are the major factors that are contributing. Embracing and using Internet recruiting sites to the fullest and developing your talent will be the two major factors in a college program maintaining their superiority and in smaller programs climbing their way onto the theater stage.
There are rules and then there are rules. Fed up with Demias Jimerson’s dominance of the youth league in Malvern, Arkansas, the league has dusted off an old rule in brought it back in.
Jimerson is now subjected to the Madre Hill rule named after current Oakland Raider and former Wilson Intermediate Football League competitor Madre Hill. The rule states that the player in question can not score a touchdown if he has already scored three times and his team has a 14 point lead or more.
This will make short work on many game days for Jimerson who has already scored seven touchdowns in a game this season. This is a feat he is not likely to repeat again given the rule being instituted. Unless of course, the coach wants to tank it on defense. Not a likely scenario.
The commissioner of the league Teri Bryant says the rule is in place to keep the other 21 players on the field involved in the contest. Perhaps he’s right. A seven touchdown performance by one player is likely to leave everyone in attendance including the players in spectator mode.
What do you think of a rule like this and is there anyone in your youth league that you think should have a rule like this placed up on them? Tell me your thoughts.
Proof that NBA players are getting bored during the lockout, NBA superstar Lebron James took to the high school gridiron and practiced in full gear for the St. Vincent, St. Mary football team on Tuesday. James wore it all down to the visor and mouthpiece however, tackling James was off limits (duh!). James borrowed equipment from an injured player who stands at 6’5″ inches tall. No video or pictures available but it is being told that James went up and got every pass thrown his way during the 1 1/2 hour practice session. The 6’8″ James was an All-State wide receiver for St. Vincent, St. Mary Fighting Irish in high school and led the team to the state semi-finals his junior year. A full write up about this story can be found on the Sun Sentinel’s online newspaper click here.
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