Sunday, January 30, 2011

NY Times Examines Allen, Texas' $60-million High School Football Stadium

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

It isn't new news, but the NY Times has pushed Allen (Texas) High School's $60-million dollar football stadium back to the front pages. The story by writer Greg Bishop appeared on the front page of Sports Sunday.

What I find interesting about the story is the fact that school athletic director Steve Williams decided to talk very publicly about the 18,000 seat stadium that will be ready for the 2012 season. When I contacted him in September of last year about appearing with me on CNBC to talk about the stadium and the big business of high school football, a person in Williams' office turned down the offer, because the school wanted to keep things "low key".

I don't know about you, but I don't think the front page of the NY Times is very low key??

So with the "can of worms" re-opened, I ask you, my readers, what do you think of a school district building a $60-million football Taj Mahal during this recession?  Of course, I must point out that 63-percent of Allen resident voted in favor of the bond issue to build the stadium.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Parade Magazine's Player of the Year

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

The 48th annual Parade All-America team won't be released until Super Bowl Sunday, but we do know one player on the team already.

Skyline (Sammamish, Washington) High School wide receiver Kasen Williams has been named Parade's Player of the Year. Williams is the first player from Washington to receive the honor.

Williams, who played in four straight state championship games, finished his senior year with 86 catches for 1,579 yards and 21 touchdowns. He finishes his career fourth on the state's all-time receiving list with 4,121 yards; fourth in receptions with 235; and third in receiving touchdowns with 56.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

NFL Names High School Football Coach of the Year

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Riverview High School (Sarasota, FL) head football coach John Sprague is the 2010 NFL High School Coach of the Year.

Sprague was nominated by former players David Bass of the San Francisco 49ers and Drew Miller of the St. Louis Rams.

As the 2010 NFL High School Football Coach of the Year, Sprague and a guest will be invited to attend the 2011 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii as a guest of the NFL. Coach Sprague also will receive a check for $5,000, and a $10,000 grant will be awarded to the football program at Riverview.

The NFL High School Football Coach of the Year Award was created in 1995 by the NFL and its teams to honor coaches who profoundly impacted the athletic and personal development of NFL players. This year, more than 50 NFL players nominated the high school football coaches who helped shape them during their teenage years.

Baas congratulated Coach Sprague on the recognition, saying “[He] is very deserving of this award. He has been a mentor for me, bringing me along into my career, and to all the kids he's helped, whether they're in the NFL or not. He really cares about them not only as players but as people too, no matter who they are or where they come from."

Miller added, “This is a great honor for Coach Sprague and is much deserved. I couldn’t be happier for him and the Riverview Rams.”

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

High School Football Around the World - Team USA vs. The World, Part II

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Next Wednesday in National Letter of Intent Signing Day for thousands of high school football players around America.

To celebrate the day, USA Football officials have decided to play the 2nd annual Team USA vs. The World all-state game in Austin, Texas.  The game pits America's Under-19 National Team against a World Team made-up of the best players age 19-and-under from outside of the United States.  Both teams have 45-man rosters.

Team USA is made-up of players and coaches from 21 states and Washington, D.C.  The World squad has players from four different continents representing American Samoa, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mexico and Sweden.

The game itself is sanctioned by the International Federation of America Football (IFAF), a Paris-based federation composed of 59 countries that possess a national federation dedicated solely to American football.

Westlake (Austin, TX) High School head coach Darren Allman is the head coach of Team USA.  Allman has an overall record of 57-19 in his six years as head coach at Westlake.

“This roster holds tremendously talented players, but its blueprint is centered on the assemblage of a true team, a national team,” said Allman. “Representing the United States in our country’s favorite sport is a high honor – our coaches and players understand this. We’ll be prepared to face a strong opponent on Feb. 2 and to celebrate football on an international scale.”

Team USA won last year's inaugural game 17-0 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Here's the Team USA 19-and-under Roster...

1- Jabriel Washington CB 5-11 165 Trinity Christian Jackson, TN
2- Ty Montgomery WR 6-0 202 St. Mark’s Dallas, TX
3- George Atkinson WR 6-1 194 Granada-Livermore Livermore, CA
4- Aaron Green RB 5-11 191 James Madison San Antonio, TX
5- Anthony Sarao LB 6-1 215 Holy Spirit Absecon, NJ
6- Avery Walls S 5-11 185 Eagle’s Landing Christian McDonough, GA
7- Stephon Tuitt DE 6-5 260 Monroe Area Monroe, GA
8- Hakeem Flowers WR 6-2 173 Wade Hampton Taylors, SC
9- Tacoi Sumler WR 5-8 170 Christopher Columbus Miami, FL
10- Kevin Hogan QB 6-5 195 Gonzaga Washington, DC
11- Cortez Davis S 6-3 200 Mainland Daytona Beach, FL
12- Cody Keith QB 6-5 195 Cheshire Cheshire, CT
13- Shannon Brown LB 6-2 225 Cook Adel, GA
15- Kiehl Frazier QB 6-3 212 Shiloh Christian Springdale, AK
17- Trey Metoyer WR 6-2 198 Whitehouse Whitehouse, TX
20- Josh Turner CB 6-1 175 Millwood Oklahoma City, OK
21- Brent Calloway LB 6-1 220 Russellville Russellville, AL
22- Ronald Tanner S 6-1 190 Eastmoor Columbus, OH
24- Wayne Lyons DB 6-0 185 Dillard Fort Lauderdale, FL
28- Savon Huggins RB 6-0 190 St. Peter’s Jersey City, NJ
32- Joe Bergeron RB 6-1 215 North Mesquite Mesquite, TX
34- Kenny Williams RB 5-10 206 Hendrickson Pfluggerville, TX
36- Devon Cajuste WR 6-4 225 Holy Cross Flushing, NY
40- Kevin McReynolds DT 6-2 281 St. John’s Washington, DC
41- Jesse Hayes DE 6-4 230 Archbishop Moeller Cincinnati, OH
43- Josh Atkinson CB 6-0 185 Granada-Livermore Livermore, CA
45- Nick Lifka LB 6-2 240 Naperville North Naperville, IL
55- Todd Peat OG 6-3 300 Corona Del Sol Tempe, AZ
63- Michael Bennett OL-DL 6-3 275 Centerville Centerville, OH
65- Cyrus Kouandjio OT 6-6 322 DeMatha Catholic Beltsville, MD
70- La’el Collins OT 6-5 285 Redemptorist Baton Rouge, LA
72- Tony Morales OL 6-4 300 Sam Houston Arlington, TX
73- Kiaro Holts OT 6-5 270 Warren Central Indianapolis, IN
74- Antonio Richardson OL 6-6 310 Pearl-Cohn Nashville, TN
75- Matt Hegarty OL 6-5 265 Aztec Aztec, NM
80- Jarvis Landry WR 5-11 178 Lutcher Lutcher, LA
88- Jack Konopka TE 6-5 262 Fremd Palestine, IL
89- Will Monday K-P 6-3 180 Flowery Branch Flowery Branch, GA
90- Taniela Topou DE 6-2 260 Archbishop Murphy Mill Creek, WA
92- Kris Harley DT 6-2 265 Warren Central Indianapolis, IN
95- Viliami Moala DT 6-2 326 Grant Sacramento, CA
98- Tim Jernigan DT 6-2 275 Columbia Lake City, FL

Here's The World Roster...

DL- Tavita Katina, American Samoa, 6-3, 250
LB- Beck Coulter American Samoa 6-2 240
LB- Penitito Faalologo, American Samoa, 6-2, 200
RB- Andreas Hofbauer, Austria, 5-11, 198
WR- Laurinho Walch, Austria, 5-11, 148
OL- Michael Habetin, Austria, 6-3, 309
OL- Aleksandar Milanovic, Austria, 6-6, 290
LB- Jakob Baran, Austria, 6-0, 220
QB- Ben Rossong, Canada, 6-3, 210
RB- Steven Lumbala, Canada, 5-11, 200
WR- Alex Anthony, Canada, 6-2, 200
WR- Jake Harty, Canada, 6-6, 205
WR- Tevaun Smith, Canada, 6-1, 180
OL- Kyle Brow, Canada, 6-4, 275
OL- Matthias Goossen, Canada, 6-3, 290
OL- Winston Miles, Canada, 6-6, 305
ATH- Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren, Canada, 6-1, 186
K/P- Felix Faubert-Lussier, Canada, 6-0, 202
DL- Lindon Gaydosh, Canada 6-4, 320
DL- Levi Steinhauer, Canada 6-4, 235
DL- Joel Seutter, Canada, 6-2, 235
LB- Drew Morris, Canada, 6-1, 225
LB- Andrew Rowe, Canada, 6-1, 215
DB- Soon Cha, Canada, 5-11, 180
DB- Thomas Girard, Canada, 5-11, 176
DB- Marcus Grandison, Canada, 6-0, 205
DB- Luke Thiel, Canada, 5-10, 190
DB- Cameron Wade, Canada, 6-2, 185
OL- Roman Grozman, Canada, 6-4, 330
DL- Shaquille Armstrong, Canada, 6-2, 288
DL- Victor Sarvi, Finland, 6-5, 253
DB- Tuomas Nurmi, Finland, 6-1, 198
QB- Marco Ehrenfried, Germany, 6-5, 216
OL- Farid Jansen, Germany, 6-1, 267
DL- Marcel Riep, Germany, 6-0, 231
RB- Shun Yokota, Japan, 5-10, 192
WR- Shin Takasaki, Japan, 5-11, 176
WR- Andres Salgado, Mexico, 6-2, 170
FB- Pontus Westman, Sweden, 6-2, 200
LB- Markus Westman, Sweden, 6-2, 205

Sunday, January 23, 2011

NFL Names Five Finalist for 2010 High School Coach of the Year Award

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

I like to live by the saying that you shouldn't forget where you came from.

The same can be said for the NFL players, who nominated their high school football coaches for the 2010 NFL High School Football Coach of the Year Award. This year 50 players recognized the coaches who shaped them during their teenage years.

This weekend, the NFL released the names of the five coaches who are finalists for the honor.

Here are the finalists and the NFL players who nominated them:

Rich Albonizio (Greenwich HS - Greenwich, CT) - John Sullivan, Minnesota Vikings
Mark Guandolo (Cypress Bay HS - Hollywood, CA) - Jon Beason, Carolina Panthers
Thom McDaniels (Solon HS - Massillon, OH) - Mario Manningham, NY Giants
Doug Morris (San Lorenzo HS - Felton, CA) - Andy Levitre, Buffalo Bills
John Sprague (Riveriew HS - Sarasota, FL) - David Bass, San Francisco 49ers & Drew Miller, St. Louis Rams

"Our players come from different backgrounds, regions and life experiences," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "The one thing they all have in common is that they received guidance and learned important life lessons from their high school coaches. These five finalists have dedicated their lives to teaching young players how to become leaders both on and off the field, and we congratulate them and all high school coaches for the roles they play in helping develop the leaders of our game."

n his nomination essay, John Sullivan of the Vikings recalled learning his work ethic from Coach Albonizio, writing "Coach taught me that nothing comes without hard work."

The Panthers' Jon Beason noted Coach Guandolo's influence away from the football field. "It's not about making you great football players, but better men, fathers & husbands," he wrote.

Mario Manningham of the Giants learned fortitude from Coach McDaniels. "[He] always told me that 'Only the strong survive,'" wrote Manningham. "I have always carried that mentality with me throughout college and now in my professional career."

Coach Doug Morris inspired the Buffalo Bills' Andy Levitre. "Coach Morris is a great motivator and a great person," he wrote. "He knows how to bring out the best in his students and players."

Both David Baas of the San Francisco 49ers and Drew Miller of the St. Louis Rams nominated their former coach, John Sprague.

Baas remembered that "Coach Sprague always cared about how players were doing in every aspect of their lives."

Miller acknowledged Sprague's role in his development, writing "I wouldn't be where I am today without him. He is a great man who impacts young kids' lives in a positive way."

Each finalist receives a $2,500 cash award and a $5,000 grant for their high school football programs. The winner, announced this week, will attend the 2011 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium as a guest of the NFL and receive a $5,000 cash award and a $10,000 grant for his high school football program. All grants will be awarded by the NFL Youth Football Fund.

Former NFL QB Gus Frerotte and 2010 High School Rudy Award Winner on NHSCA Sports Hour

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Just me at 6 P.M. EST for the latest edition of the National High School Coaches Association Sports Hour.

My co-host Trish Hoffman and I will be talking high school football, boys basketball and wrestling.

Joining us at the top of the show will be 2010 High School Rudy Award winner Chance Anthony of Breckinridge County High School in Kentucky. Anthony was a two-way starter on this year's football team in spite of the fact that he was born without the lower part of his right arm.

Also on the show will be former NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte, who was just hired as the head football coach at John Burroughs School in St. Louis. Frerotte, who played with seven NFL teams, has been the school's quarterbacks' coach during the past two seasons.

Last year, John Burroughs finished runner-up in Missouri's Class 3.

To listen to the show LIVE on the Artist First radio network, click here.

Texas Junior Named Mr. Football USA

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

I had a chance to watch Aledo (Texas) High junior Johnathan Gray's record-breaking performance in the Texas Class 4A Division II championship game.

To be honest, in 35-years of covering high school sports, I'm not sure I've ever witnessed a better individual performance. The 5-10, 195-pound running back rushed for 323 yards and eight touchdowns to lead Aledo to a 69-34 championship win over La Marque.

So this week when I heard that Gray was the first junior to ever be named ESPN Rise Mr. Football USA, I wasn't shocked.

Aside from the incredible championship game numbers, Gray, who's dad was a running back at Texas Tech, rushed for 3,221 yards and a single-season state record 57 rushing touchdowns, which broke the 57-year old mark that belonged to Kenneth Sims of Sugar Land High School.

With a year to go, Gray will now set his sights on the Texas record for career touchdowns and career rushing touchdowns. With 135 TDs so far, he needs 13 rushing scores and 12 overall to move to the top of the heap in the Lone Star State.

Gray will also continue to climb the state's yardage list. Coming into his senior season, Gray has rushed for 7,003 yards. He would need an incredible 4,240 yards to pass Hill, who holds the state and national record with 11,232 yards. The #2 guy, Tryalon Shead of Cayuga, is 3,295 yards in front of Gray.

Gray is the fifth Texas running back to win the award.

Here's a look at the all-time list...

2009 – Dillon Baxter, Mission Bay (San Diego, Calif.) QB-RB
2008 – Garrett Gilbert, Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) QB
2007 – Jacory Harris, Northwestern (Miami, Fla.) QB
2006 – Darren Evans, Warren Central (Indianapolis, Ind.) FB
2005 – Matt Stafford, Highland Park (Dallas, Texas) QB
2004 – Chase Daniel, Carroll (Southlake, Texas) QB
2003 – Jeff Byers, Loveland (Loveland, Colo.) OL-DL
2002 – Chris Leak, Independence (Charlotte, N.C.) QB
2001 – Vince Young, Madison (Houston, Texas) QB
2000 – Cedric Benson, Robert E. Lee (Midland, Texas) RB
1999 – D.J. Williams, De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) RB-LB
1998 – J.R. House, Nitro (Nitro, W. Va.) QB
1997 – Ronald Curry, Hampton (Hampton, Va.) QB-RB
1996 – Travis Henry, Frostproof (Frostproof, Fla.) RB
1995 – Tim Couch, Leslie County (Hyden, Ky.) QB
1994 – Chris Redman, Male (Louisville, Ky.) QB
1993 – Peyton Manning, Newman (New Orleans, La.) QB
1992 – James Allen, Wynnewood (Wynnewood, Okla.) RB
1991 – Steven Davis, Spartanburg (Spartanburg, S.C.) RB
1990 – Derrick Brooks, Washington (Pensacola, Fla.) LB
1989 – Robert Smith, Euclid (Euclid, Ohio) RB
1988 – Terry Kirby, Tabb (Tabb, Va.) RB
1987 – Carl Pickens, Murphy (Murphy, N.C.) WR
1986 – Emmitt Smith, Escambia (Pensacola, Fla.) RB
1985 – Jeff George, Warren Central (Indianapolis, Ind.) QB
1984 – Andre Rison, Northwestern (Flint, Mich.) WR-DB
1983 – Chris Spielman, Washington (Massillon, Ohio) LB
1982 – Rod Woodson, Snider (Fort Wayne, Ind.) WR-DB
1981 – Marcus Dupree, Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Miss.) RB
1980 – Bill Fralic, Penn Hills (Pittsburgh, Pa.) OL
1979 – Herschel Walker, Johnson County (Wrightsville, Ga.) RB
1978 – Eric Dickerson, Sealy (Sealy, Texas) RB
1977 – Marcus Allen, Lincoln (San Diego, Calif.) QB-RB
1976 – Freeman McNeil, Banning (Wilmington, Calif.) RB
1975 – Charles White, San Fernando (San Fernando, Calif.) RB
1974 – Billy Sims, Hooks (Hooks, Texas) RB
1973 – Earl Campbell, John Tyler (Tyler, Texas) RB
1972 – Tony Dorsett, Hopewell (Aliquippa, Pa.) RB
1971 – Dave Logan, Wheat Ridge (Wheat Ridge, Colo.) WR
1970 – Pat Haden, Bishop Amat (La Puente, Calif.) QB

Friday, January 21, 2011

Kentucky High School Football Player with One-Arm Wins 2010 Rudy Award

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Having a bad day?

We all have them.

I had one yesterday, but then I get a news release announcing the winner of the 2010 High School Rudy Award.  Then after learning about Chance Anthony of Breckinridge High School in Hardinsburg, Kentucky, I got the feeling that feeling sorry for myself wasn't the thing I should be doing.

Anthony was born without the lower part of his right arm.  That has not prevented the senior from being a contributing member of the school's football and basketball teams.

The two-way starter caught his first touchdown pass last season during the school's homecoming game. He can also bench press 235-pounds...basically with one arm!

“One hand or not, you can still catch a football and still catch a basketball,” said Anthony. “Sometimes my friends forget I’ve only got one hand. I do as much as anyone else at school. It’s how you deal with adversity that counts. If somebody gives you the opportunity, you better take it and run. Don’t look back and question why. I know I’m going to look back and really appreciate Coach giving me the opportunity to be the best I could be.”

Anthony, who won a $10,000 scholarship, was chosen for the 2nd annual award from 250 nominees.

The High School Football Rudy Award is named after Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, who became a not-so-famous, famous player while at Notre Dame while only playing two downs as a 5-6, 165 pound walk-on.

Anthony will join me and my co-host Trish Hoffman Sunday night on the NHSCA Sports Hour radio show to talk about his award an incredible journey to overcome his handicap. Click here to listen LIVE to the Sunday night at 6 PM EST.

The first runner-up was Cody Rye of Ironwood, Michigan...2nd runner-ups were Kyle Wilcos of Seffner, Florida and Tray Waite of Warren, Ohio.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Former NFL Quarterback Gus Frerotte Becomes High School Football Coach

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Gus Frerotte, who played for seven different NFL teams during his career, is now a high school football head coach.

Frerotte has been hired by John Burroughs School in St. Louis.  For the past two years, the former St. Louis Ram (also played for Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minnesota and Washington) quarterback has been an assistant coach for John Burroughs.

Frerotte takes over for Todd Small, who retired at the end of the season after leading the team to a runner-up finish in Missouri's Class 3. Small was 44-21 in six seasons as head coach.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Texas High School Installs Red Turf

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Don't adjust your computer screen...that is a red field.

New Braunfels Canyon High School has installed red turf on its home field.  Eastern Washington University, which won the NCAA Division I-AA championship earlier this month, was the first team in the nation to install the red turf.

Of course, everyone is familiar with Boise State's blue turf.

Pearland (TX) Football Coach Wins National Honor

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Pearland (Texas) High School head football coach Tony Heath has been named by as its National Coach of the Year.

Heath led the Oilers (16-0) to their first-ever Texas football championship last month.  Pearland beat Euless Trinity, the #1 team in the country at the time, to win the Class 5A Division I championship.

Heath owns a 133-38 record in 14 seasons at Pearland.  He's led the Oilers to the state semifinals three times and the quarterfinal round four times.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Maxwell Club Names National High School Football Player of the Year

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Jeff Driskel of Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Florida has been named as the 2010 Maxwell Club's National High School Player of the Year.

Driskel, who has given his verbal commitment to Florida, completed 138 of 235 passes this past season for 1,819 yards and 15 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,333 yards and 20 scores.  Driskel also led Hagerty to its first winning season in just its fourth year of varsity football.

Driskel will be honored at a ceremony March 4th in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

East Beats West in U.S. Army All-American Bowl

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

If you tuned-in to watch the best high school football players in America put on a great show in the annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, you were disappointed.

The East beat the West 13-10 in a game that didn't have much excitement. The West amassed minus-20 yards rushing thanks to 12 sacks by the East defense.

The real show in this annual game is the announcement by the blue chip players on where they will play their college ball.

This year 14 players made their announcements before the national television audience on watching on NBC.

Demetrius Hart (Dr. Phillips HS, FL) was named the game's MVP after becoming the first player to rush for 100-yards in the game. Hart, who earlier in the week was named the U.S. Army National Player of the Year, confirmed his commitment to Alabama during the game.

Here's the list of those that made their verbal commitments during the game...

Odell Beckham - Isadore Newman, LA - LSU
Brent Calloway - Russellville HS, AL - Auburn
Kris Frost - Butler HS, NC - Auburn
Dee Hart - Dr. Phillips HS, FL - Alabama
Gerold Holliman - Miami Southridge HS, FL - Louisville
Harvey Langi - Bingham HS, UT - Utah
Colt Lyeria - Oregon
Wayne Lyons - Dillard HS, FL - Stanford
Villami Moala - Hillsboro HS, OR - Cal
James Sample - Central Catholic HS, OR - Washington
Tobias Singleton - Madison Central, MS - Mississippi
Donovan Smith - Owings Mills - Penn St.
Damian Swann - Grady HS, GA - Georgia
Lateek Townsend - Marlboro HS, SC = Clemson

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Red beats White in Under Armour All-America High School Football Game

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Taylor Bertolet (Exeter HS, Reading, PA), a Texas A&M recruit, booted a 24-yard field goal with no time remaining to give the Red team a 24-22 win over the White team in the Under Armour All-America high school football game Wednesday night at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The game-winner was redemption for Bertolet, who saw his 28-yard field goal attempt blocked with three seconds to go.  However, the White team was called for a penalty, giving Bertolet a second chance.

The White team was led by quarterback Max Wittek (Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, CA), who is head to USC.  Whittek tossed two touchdown passes.