Thursday, August 31, 2006

USA Today Pre-season Top 25 Rankings

Many consider USA Today the ultimate when it comes to high school football's mythical national championship. Here is the publication's pre-season Top 25 National Rankings.

1. Hoover, Ala. (14-1)
2. Byrnes, Duncan, S.C. (15-0)
3. Lakeland, Fla. (15-0)
4. Lufkin, Texas (14-1)
5. Glades Central, Belle Glade, Fla. (12-1)
6. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (11-2)
7. Southlake (Texas) Carroll (16-0)
8. St. Edward, Lakewood, Ohio (12-1)
9. Central Catholic, Pittsburgh (10-2)
10. Warren Central, Indianapolis (14-1)
11. Lincoln-Way East, Frankfort, Ill. (14-0)
12. Oaks Christian, Westlake Village, Calif. (13-0)
13. St. Xavier, Cincinnati (15-0)
14. Hamilton, Chandler, Ariz. (13-1)
15. John Curtis, River Ridge, La. (10-1)
16. Garland, Texas (10-3)
17. Canyon, Canyon Country, Calif. (13-1)
18. Independence, Charlotte (15-0)
19. St. Bonaventure, Ventura, Calif. (14-0)
20. St. Peter's Prep, Jersey City (12-0)
21. Summerville, S.C. (12-3)
22. Camden County, Kingsland, Ga. (12-1)
23. South Panola, Batesville, Miss. (15-0)
24. Jenks, Okla. (9-2)
25. DeMatha, Hyattsville, Md. (11-1)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mississippi Top Football State

JACKSON, MS (August 25, 2006) – Football may still be king in California, Florida and Texas but a new powerhouse was introduced Friday – the State of Mississippi – as Governor Haley Barbour accepted the 2006 Governor’s Cup from USA Football, the national youth football advocacy organization founded by the NFL and the NFL Players Association.

The award salutes Mississippi as the nation’s top football state following a study conducted by The Wharton Spots Business Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania. The project encapsulated a variety of per capita criteria including, the percentages of collegiate and professional football fans, number of NFL players who hail from the state, percentage of high school football players in the state and percentage of high school players who have letters-of-intent to play for NCAA Division I-A colleges and universities.

“Receiving this honor is about celebrating a long history of Mississippi football legends –a tradition that continues today with many NFL stars who are Mississippi natives,” said Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. “We're proud of them all. The 2006 Governor’s Cup will serve as a symbol of the strength shown by Mississippians as they remain committed to rebuilding our communities following the tragedy that struck the Gulf Coast one year ago.”

USA Football Chairman and former U.S. Congressman Jack Kemp will present Governor Barbour with the inaugural award at a press conference at the state capitol. The presentation will also offer an opportunity to celebrate with Mississippi football legends Archie Manning, Deuce McAllister, L.C. Greenwood, Hugh Green, and the family of Mississippi great Walter Payton. They will be joined by officials from the NFL, New Orleans Saints and members of Mississippi college, high school and youth football leagues.

The presentation of the 2006 Governor’s Cup will also kickoff USA Football’s “Play Football Month” celebration in conjunction with the NFL and NFL Players Association. Billed as the “World’s Largest Youth Football Celebration,” it is designed to promote the sport of football at all levels. From mid-August through mid-September, NFL teams will host special events in their communities, including clinics, skills competitions, scrimmages, picnics and parades. Additionally, USA Football will award $500,000 in equipment grants to youth football leagues throughout the country. Applications are available at

“We present the Governor’s Cup to recognize everything that’s great about the sport of football – the passion of the fans, the focus of the players and the commitment of the coaches and administrators who help young men harness the skills necessary to ultimately play on Sundays,” said Jack Kemp, Chairman of USA Football. “The lessons learned playing football extend beyond the fundamentals of the game. Football teaches important life lessons from dealing with adversity and developing a strong work ethic, to learning the value of teamwork and building character.”

Research for the Governor’s Cup was performed by Dr. Jason Wingard of The Wharton Sports Business Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania and included data from the ESPN Sports Poll, the National Federation of State High Schools Association participation survey, College Sports Television’s 2006 NCAA Division-I recruiting base, the National Football League and the 2000 U.S. Population Census.

The study ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on five different criteria: percentage of professional football fans (Mississippi ranked 21st), percentage of college football fans (15th), percentage of varsity high school football players divided by the state’s male population 15-17 (3rd), percentage of signed NCAA Division-I recruits for 2006 divided by the number of 11-man varsity high school football players in that state (7th) and the percentage of NFL players in 2005 divided by the number of 11-man varsity high school players in the state (8th). The states ranking in the top 10 included (in order of finish) Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, Alabama, Texas, Virginia, South Carolina, Kansas and Florida.

Founded in 2002 by the National Football League and NFL Player’s Association, USA Football is an independent non-profit organization whose purpose is to support and expand football at all amateur levels. The first national advocacy group created for this purpose, USA Football enhances the development and operation of leagues, teams, coaches, parents and players across the country with resources and best practices such as coaching and health & safety information. The organization also serves as the designated United States representative to the International Federation of American Football.

VIrginia High School League Considering Major Changes To Fall High School Football Practice

The Virginia High School League is expected to consider sweeping changes to the way high school football programs can conduct pre-season camps.

As early as September, the VHSL could vote on a propsal that would using the NCAA model of banning two-a-day practices on consecutive days. The formal proposal also recommends fewer days will full equipment or contact at the start of pre-season practice, plus limits the amount of time that can be spent on the practice field.

The guidelines have been worked on over the past year with the intent of maximizing safety and minimizing risk to injury from the heat. The new rules really hit home after Stafford high lineman Joey Roberson died of hyperthermia, a heat-related illness, three days after collapsing on the football field near the end of a second workout session on the school's second day of practice.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hoover (AL) Blanks UMS-Wright In Champions Challenge

Hoover, which is ranked #1 in several national publications, didn't disappoint in its season opener. The Bucaneers shutout UMS-Wright in Alabama's first ever Champions Challenge at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery.

The Champions Challenge featured the 2005 Alabama high school football champs squaring off in games that don't count toward regular season records. Hoover won last year's 6A title, while UMS-Wright is the defending 5A champ.

Hoover was led by senior quarterback Ross Wilson, who was 16-of-23 for 261 yards and four touchdowns.

In the first game, Clay County (2005 2A champ) defeated Addison (2005 1A champ) 41-6 in the opener. The 3A and 4A champs decided not to take part in the Champions Challenge.

To read a wrap-up of Hoover's win, click on our headline "Hoover Blanks UMS-Wright In Champions Challenge".

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Independence (Charlotte, NC) Runs Win Streak To 94

Independence got back down to business in Week 2 of the high school football season. After a disappointing 17-6 win in its season opener, the Patriots rode a strong defensive effort to shutout West Mecklenberg 56-0 for the school's 94th straight win.
Independence's defense only allow 56 total yards of offense.

To read a wrap-up from the Charlotte Observer, click on our headline "Independence Runs Win Streak To 94".

Byrnes (Duncan, SC) Tops Glades Central (Belle Galde, FL) In Battle Of National Powers

Byrnes 27th straight win will stand out as one of the best in Rebel football history. Before a national television audience on ESPN, Byrnes beat Glade Central High School 27-15.

Byrnes used a strong defense to shutdown Glades Central, a team that is loaded with Division I-A talent. The Rebels held Raiders to just 168 yards in total offense. And while, the Rebel D was strong, quarterback Willy Korn and his receiver Randall Hawkins were putting on an aerial show.

Korn threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns. Hawkins caught nine balls for 149 yards and two of the touchdown tosses.

To read a compete game wrap, click on our headline "Byrnes Tops Glades Central In Battle Of National Powers".

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Mt. Carmel Tops Joliet Catholic In Battle Of Chicago Powers

When it comes to football in Illinois, Joliet Catholic and Mt. Carmel are the cream of the crop. Between them they own 22 state championships; 12 for Joliet Catholic, 10 for Mt. Carmel.

Saturday the two powerhouses kicked off the 2006 season at Solidier Field in the 2nd Annual Chicago High School Football Kickoff Classic. One game into the season, it's Mt. Carmel that has the bragging rights after a 13-6 win.

Mt. Carmel quarterback Carter Kopatch was the star of the comeback win throwing two fourth quarter touchdown passes. Kopatch was 13-of-21 for 252 yards.

Also Enjoy some of the pictures I took at Soldier Field.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Kentucky Adds Two Classes To High School Football Championships

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association has announced that its expanding the state's high school football championships from four classes to six starting with the 2007 season. The change means that 192 schools will qualify for the post-season, up from 128 this year.

To read about the change and how schools will be realigned, please click on our headline "Kentucky Adds Two Classes To High School Football Championships".

Independence Goes for 94 Straight

Independence puts it 93-game win streak on the line tonight at home against West Mecklenberg. While the Patriots struggled in last week's opener, West Mecklenberg was beaten by 25-points.

Independence's streak is head-and-shoulder above the rest of the nation. The second longest win streak currently is Modesto's(CA) 61-game streak. South Panola (MS) has the third longest active streak at 45 straight.

Glades Central (Belle Glade, FL) Opens Season With Major Test Against Byrnes (Duncan, SC)

How big is Saturday's match-up between national powers Glades Central and Byrnes? It will be broadcast live on ESPN at noon (EST). Byrnes opened the season last week with an easy win, while this is Glades Central's season opener.

Glades Central is loaded with Division I-A talent. The Raiders return 19 starters from last year's 12-1 team. Byrnes only returns two starters on offense and eight overall from last year's team that won the school's fourth straight state title.

The good news for Byrnes fans is one of the offensive starters is quarterback Willy Korn, who's given his verbal commitment to Clemson. Korn threw for 4,164 yards last year with 53 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Glades Central also returns it quarterback, senior Bryan Mann, who threw for over 2,200 yards last year with 26 TDs and only two picks.

Byrnes with a game under its belt may be a little more prepared for this one, but Glades does have experience on its side. Another factor will be how Central players deal with some pre-season tragedy that resulted in the death of a former player. To read that story, please click on our headline "Glades Central Opens Season With Major Test Against Byrnes.

Monday, August 21, 2006

State Champs Kickoff 2006 Alabama High School Football Season

Four of the six 2005 Alabama high school football champs will kickoff the 2006 season on Saturday at the historic Cramton Bowl in Montgomery in the inaugural Champions Challenge.

The pre-season doubleheader will kickoff at 3pm with 1A champ Addison taking on 2A champ Clay County. Then at 7pm 6A champ Hoover will battle 4A champ UMS-Wright. 5A champ Homewood and 3A champ Pike County decided not to participate in the event, which will have no bearing on the four teams' playoff status in 2006.

“This will be a good way to kickoff the football season and create more interest as we start the 2006 season the following week,” said Dan Washburn, Executive Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

The Cramton Bowl was the home of the now defunct Blue-Gray All-Star Football Classic.

For more on high school football in Alabama, please click go to our link on the right side of the website or go to

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Ringgold High School To Name Stadium After Joe Montana

Ringgold High School has had its share of top notch athletes, but probably none more famous than Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana. So to honor the QB with four Super Bowl rings, school officials have announced they will name their stadium after him.

The naming will take place September 1st when Ringgold hosts Indiana. The naming of Joe Montana Stadium will be just part of a bigger weekend to commemorate Ringgold High's new Hall of Fame.

Also being enshrined that weekend will be baseball great Stan Musial and Kenny Griffey, Sr., plus former Minnesota Vikings kicker Fred Cox.

High School Football Goes Primetime In SoCal

In 1994 in eastern Pennsylvania, I created a high school football highlights show called "The Big Ticket" that aired Friday night. The show was and still is a huge hit!!

It airs at 11 o'clock and last an entire hour with complete highlights from 12-15 games. Basically when "The Big Ticket" was created I expected it to be SportsCenter-like. We accomplished that in short order, and it became more than the usual Friday Night Frenzy that most local TV stations do every Friday night.

That's right, most local TV stations don't treat the sport right! But I'll save that rant for another time.

What this post is about is one cable station in San Diego that is doing it right.

Thursday Night High School Football comes to primetime this season thanks to Cox Communications TV 4 in San Diego. The cable company has created a 14-game television schedule of Thursday night games in the CIF, that will conclude with the CIF-San Diego Section football championship at Qualcomm Stadium. What I like about this is the fact that these games will standout for lovers of high school football. Friday nights are great, but watching an extra game a week is even better.

Below you'll find the schedule for the season. All games start at 7:05.

August 31 - Oceanside High @ Helix High
September 7 - Bogalusa High (Louisiana) vs. Bonita Vista High @ Southwestern College
September 14 - Poway High @ El Capitan High
September 21 - Monte Vista High @ West Hills High
September 28 - Valley Center High @ Mission Hills High
October 5 - Ramona High @ Escondido High
October 12 - Steele Canyon High @ Valhalla High
October 19 - Chula Vista High @ Sweetwater High
October 26 - Mar Vista High @ Hilltop High
November 2 - Carlsbad High @ Rancho Buena Vista High
November 9 - Cathedral Catholic vs. St. Augustine @ Southwestern College

Southlake Carroll (Southlake, TX) As Good As It Gets In Texas

The High School Football Huddle will release its first Top 25 High School Football Poll on Tuesday. Of course we know there's no way to actually crown a national champion in the sport, however, we do know there are some programs that year-in and year-out rank as the best in America.

Southlake Carroll falls into that catagory!

The Dragons are an amazing 63-1 in the last four seasons with three Texas 5A football championship trophies in the school's trophy case. They've actually played in the last four title games, losing that one by just one point.

Again this year, head coach Todd Dodge's team will be wearing the bullseye. Actually it could be a little bigger as Dodge's son Riley will be running Southlake Carroll's high octane offense that has dazzled viewers on ESPN in the past.

But the Todd Dodge Dynasty story is more than wins and losses, it's about survival. And that's the story that you can read about from the New York Times today.

All you have to do is click on our headline "Southlake Carroll As Good As It Gets In Texas"

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Cathedral (Indianapolis, IN) Wins #600

Congratulations to Indiana's "First School of High School Football". Cathedral High, which began playing football in 1919 beat Carmel 13-7 Friday night for it's 600th victory.

Cathedral, which is ranked #1 in Class 4A, is the first school to reach 600 wins. Elkhart Central is second on the all-times wins list with 576. To read a recap of the historic win from the Indy Star, click on The High School Football Huddle headline "Cathedral Wins #600".

Friday, August 18, 2006

Independence Opens 2006 With 92-Game Win Streak

Independence (Charlotte, NC) hopes its win streak hits the century mark this season, and it takes another step toward challenging DeLaSalle's national record of 151 straight wins.

Tonight, Independence puts is 92-game streak on the line in its season-opener against West Charlotte. In the Patriots last 46-games only three victories have been by fewer than ten points; 45-42 against Providence last year, 20-18 against Richmond Senior in 2003 and 27-18 against Providence in 2003. In each of those wins, Independence came from behind to win.

To get a glimpse at why the Patriots have been so successful take a look at two coaches who have built the dynasty by clicking on our headline "Independence Opens 2006 Wtih 92-Game Win Streak". It's a great article from the Charlotte Observer on head coach Tom Knotts and defensive coordinator Bill Geiler.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

National Powers Indepedence (NC) and Byrnes (SC) Square-off In Scrimmage

WOW...too bad Independence (Charlotte, NC) and Byrnes (Duncan, SC) didn't meet during the regular season instead of scrimmaging each other Saturday night. If they had, America would have been treated to one top-notch battle, that not only would have determined bragging rights in the Carolina's, but also possibly in the United States.

Independence owns the nation's longest active win streak at 92 games, while Bynes has won four straight 4A Division II state titles. In fact, The Sporting News has Independence ranked #9 in its national pre-season Top 25 poll, and Byrnes is right behind at #10.

As far as the scrimmage was concerned, but coaches treated the first half like the game counted!

Byrnes jumped out to a 21-0 lead behind quarterback Will Korn, who has verbally committed to Clemson. Korn completed 17 of 30 passes for 135 yards, and also run for 29-yards and two touchdowns. The Independence starters battled back to close to within 21-14 before both head coaches pulled the starters.

In the end, Indepedence's back-ups scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to give the Patriots a 28-21 win.

For more on this hotly conested scrimmage from the Charlotte Observer, please click on The High School Football Huddle headline "National Powers Independence and Byrnes Square-off in Scrimmage".

Saturday, August 12, 2006

High School Football Officially Kicks-off in Alaska

It's official, the games are counting as the 2006 high school football season kicked off in Alaska Friday. Here are the scores, plus a look ahead at Saturday's games.

Anchorage South 33 Chugiak 27
Palmer 40 Anchorage West 20
North Pole 20 Anchorage East 14
Skyview 36 Seward 13

For game recaps from Friday night's game, please go to the Alaska High School Football Huddle.

Here are Saturday's Games:

Barlett vs. Dimond
Eagle River at West Valley
Service vs. Lathrop
Juneau at Kenai
Soldotna at Colony
Kodiak at Wasilla
Homer at Eielson
Anchorage East JV at Nikiski
Houston at Delta