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August 20, 2012
Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email him your comments or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
The kickoff to the high school football season went largely as expected as teams opened the season with quality opponents in out-of-district and out-of-state play.
One team that may have gotten more than it bargained for coming out of the gate was defending national champion Louisville (Kent.) Trinity. The No. 10 Shamrocks finished with a 52-23 victory over Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy, but the score was not indicative of how the first half of play went.
Brentwood Academy, a team loaded with individual talent and a new head coach, struck the Trinity defense early and often with long touchdown plays of 20, 71, and 69 yards and held a 23-17 lead late into the second quarter before the Shamrocks powered to a victory.
Led by its defense in the second half, the team shutdown the visitors and held Brentwood Academy to just 14 total yards of offense in the third quarter and just three second-half first downs. Brentwood Academy did not cross midfield during the third quarter as the game was played almost entirely on its side of the field with special teams miscues compounding its offensive challenges.
The offense for Trinity was solid even as it breaks in an entirely new offensive line.
The trio of stars for Trinity each shined: Dalyn Dawkins rushed for 122 yards on 18 carries with two second-half touchdowns; four-star receiver James Quick had eight receptions for 116 yards and a score; quarterback Travis Wright was 21 of 31 for 291 yards and three scores.
The team stayed at its No. 10 spot in the RivalsHigh 100 this week and will travel to Tennessee to take on Nashville (Tenn.) Montgomery Bell Academy.
MOVING IN: With few teams in action this weekend, no team made a major jump - and those in action did little to inspire a push in the near future. Three teams did gain entry into the national rankings as Monroe (La.) West Monroe, Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul's, and Trotwood (Ohio) Trotwood-Madison climbed into the back end of the ranking at Nos. 91, 93, and 94, respectively. All were among the first 10 to miss the preseason rankings, and with losses by previously-ranked Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral and Gaffney (S.C.) High as well as the re-evaluation of Monroe (La.) Ouachita Parish, spots opened up. Each of the new RH100 members figures to compete for a state title and all three could push into the Top 25 as the season progresses.
ON THE SLIDE: Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian escaped with a 39-35 victory over Johnston (S.C.) Strom Thurmond and clung to the No. 98 spot in the rankings, dropping from No. 75. The season opener for the No. 3 team in Maryland was anything but a ringing endorsement for its preseason hype as the Honey Badgers allowed 200 yards rushing and 202 yards passing and committed 16 penalties for 130 yards in the game.
Quarterback David Sills was the lone bright spot on the evening as the junior USC commit completed 17 of 25 passes for 309 yards and four scores while also rushing for 32 yards and the team's other two touchdowns.
KEEP AN EYE ON ...: How Batesville (Miss.) South Panola responds to sluggish start to the season. The 2010 high school football national champ kicked an 18-yard field goal as time expired to take home a 12-10 victory over West Point (Miss.) High to open its season.
The offensive line for South Panola - generally a hallmark of the program - was not up to its normally high standards and limited the teams ability to make a push into the end zone. The defensive line was the strength of the team and was the lone saving grace on the night. It may be what will keeps South Panola among the Top 10 teams in Mississippi.
The team will be tested this week against No. 23 Hoover (Ala.) High. Hoover defeated South Panola last season, 24-13, which knocked South Panola from the national rankings. A similar fate could befall the Tigers if there is not marked improvement.
ABOUT TO BREAK IN: The state of Illinois could have a few teams knocking on the rankings door in the near future. The state's lone representative, No. 84-ranked Wheaton (Ill.) Wheaton-Warrenville South, could soon be joined or jumped by any one of East St. Louis (Ill.) High, Park Ridge (Ill.) Maine South, Bolingbrook (Ill.) High, and Mt. Carmel (Ill.) High. The performances of those teams in the first few weeks of the season could thrust all four into the back end of the rankings.
Maine South will travel to Wheaton-Warrenville South for a Labor Day Weekend showdown that will keep the victor in the national rankings.
East St. Louis will travel to nationally relevant Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst to open the season on Aug. 24 as well as play host to No. 22-ranked Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven on Aug. 31.
Bolingbrook is the defending state champion and returns plenty of talent that could see it slide into the rankings, and Mt. Carmel appears to be one of the best in the Chicagoland-area and could prove to be worthy of rankings sooner rather than later.
ON HIS SHOULDERS: Sandy (Utah) Jordan maintained its hold atop the standings in Utah and put the state on notice that it would be following the same game plan that it did last season.
Behind a group of five returning offensive lineman, sophomore quarterback Austin Kafentzis accounted for five touchdowns in his team's 53-12 victory over Fremont (Utah) High.
The Beetdiggers' young star piled up nearly 4,500 yards and 45 touchdowns last season and got his tally started early this year with the five-score game. He threw for three scores and rushed for the other two as the team scored on its first four drives and took a 27-0 lead into halftime.
Thanks partly his offensive line and partly his athletic ability, Kafentzis was knocked to the ground only one time when attempting a pass all evening.
ON TAP THIS WEEK: The top team in the nation, Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita kicks off its season with a road game against one of the top teams in the West Region, No. 65-ranked Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy.
The contest will match up two of the more explosive offenses in the region and could come down to which team has the ball last. The quarterback battle will be worth watching as four-star Brophy quarterback, Tyler Bruggman will be squaring off with three-star Santa Margarita quarterback Johnny Stanton.
Stanton, who has been nicknamed Johnny Tebow, has been one of the most complimented - and critiqued - players this offseason. His unorthodox throwing motion and arm strength have been called into question, but as his moniker would imply, he gets results and wins football games.
If Stanton is able to gain a victory in this first week, he could start to silence some critics.
Also taking the field this week are several national matchups: No. 7 Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes takes on No. 19 Chesapeake (Vir.) Oscar Smith; No. 9 Olney (Md.) Good Counsel travels to No. 27 Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman; No. 40 Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech plays No. 72 Birmingham (Mich.) Brother Rice; No. 41 Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller hosts No. 70 Baltimore (Md.) Gilman; and No. 69 Monroe (La.) Neville battles local rival No. 91 West Monroe (La.) High.