Thursday, September 15, 2011
ESPNHS Players of the Week
By Mark Tennis & Doug Huff
(After games of Sept. 8-11)
One player is chosen from each region of the country. The only other criteria is that no player will be chosen more than once during a season.
DeVante McFarlane, Half Hollow Hills West (Dix Hills, N.Y.) Before McFarlane heads to upstate New York to rock the orange and blue of Syracuse, he has some business to take care of in his senior campaign for Half Hollow Hills West. In the team’s first game of the season last week against Smithtown West (Smithtown, N.Y.), a rousing 34-14 win, McFarlane accounted for five total touchdowns, four on the ground, and dashed for 277 yards on 17 carries while throwing for a score as well. The ever-versatile talent is known for his skills as a tailback, but played quarterback, wide receiver and multiple spots on defense in his junior season, and is again playing all over the field in his final high school effort. He scored 10 touchdowns and accrued over 1,000 all-purpose yards last season, and will clearly best those numbers with more efforts like the one against Smithtown West. His 92-yard scramble with 7:54 to go not only cemented the victory, but earned him some pub as the East's Player of the Week.
Fredi Knighten, Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.) The 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior quarterback/athlete accounted for 556 total offense yards and eight touchdowns in a 64-34 victory over Cabot (Cabot, Ark.). Knighten completed 24 of 28 passes for 456 yards and six touchdowns and rushed 12 times for 100 yards and two scores. As a junior, Knighten passed for 4,324 yards and 54 touchdowns and rushed for over 800 yards. The versatile talent is hoping to get Pulaski back to the Class 4A state championship and this time win it after a 61-40 loss in the final last year to Shiloh Christian (Springdale, Ark.). Last summer, Knighten and his team won a second straight Shootout of the South 7-on-7 title with a win in the final over Allen (Allen, Texas), which is the No. 1 team in Texas so far this season.
Mitch Trubisky, Mentor (Mentor, Ohio) The 6-foot-3, 195-pound junior quarterback accounted for a school record 553 total offense yards as the Cardinals defeated perennial power St. Ignatius (Cleveland) 38-24. Trubisky connected on 28 of 44 passes for 469 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for 84 yards and two scores against the Wildcats. Overall, Mentor had what is believed to be a school record 608 total offense yards. In his previous game, Trubisky accounted for 424 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns when Mentor defeated Ursuline (Youngstown, Ohio) 38-27. Ursuline has won the last three Division V state titles.
Baker Mayfield, Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) In the same game in which the Texas career touchdown scoring record fell to Aledo’s Johnathan Gray (who broke the previous record of 148), Mayfield stole the show by leading Lake Travis to a 62-35 victory. The junior quarterback connected on 27 of 37 passes for 468 yards and six touchdowns. He also improved his season totals to 999 yards through the air with 12 touchdowns and no interceptions. Lake Travis avenged a loss to Aledo last season so the win cemented the Cavaliers’ status as the top 4A team in the state. The last two Lake Travis quarterbacks earned big-time scholarships, including Mr. Football USA winner Garrett Gilbert three years ago to Texas. He was followed by Michael Brewer, now at Texas Tech.
D.J. Martin, Stockdale (Bakersfield, Calif.) The 2010 Cal-Hi Sports State Sophomore of the Year and ESPNHS Sophomore All-American started his season with an amazing performance as Stockdale raced past East Bakersfield 60-16. Martin, who rushed for 1,900 yards and 23 touchdowns last season, set a school record by the third quarter with 405 yards on just 13 carries. He scored on bursts of 61, 30 and 80 yards in the second quarter, then added another 80-yarder in the third quarter. Martin did not play in the fourth quarter and for part of the third. His effort was harder to believe when you find out he was sick with a virus for three days earlier in the week.