High-SchoolFootball: Alex Ball
December, 8, 2011
By Mark Tennis & Doug Huff | ESPN.com
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comSkyline (Dallas) is looking to become the first Dallas ISD school in more than 60 years to win a state football title in 2012.GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 8 Skyline (Dallas) 14-0 vs. No. 12 Southlake Carroll (Southlake, Texas) 14-0, Saturday at SMU’s Ford Stadium
Two of the most talked-about junior quarterbacks in Texas will take center stage in this playoff showdown that will send the winner to the Class 5A Division I state final the following Saturday at Cowboys Stadium.
Skyline’s Devante Kincaide has been at the heart of an offense that has scored at least 31 points in every game so far. Kincaide can take off and run on any play, but he’d rather get the ball into the hands of wideouts Thomas Johnson (Texas), Jordan Woods (Purdue) and Tray Rabon (Kansas State). Few receiving corps around the nation are so deep with talent and high-profile commits. Johnson has been the most potent of that bunch, but double-teaming him has lead to more problems for opposing defenses given Kincaide's other wideout weapons.
Southlake Carroll’s Ken Hill has been just as outstanding. Hill accounted for four touchdowns in last week’s regional final win against Martin (Arlington, Texas). For the season, he has passed for 2,561 yards and 23 touchdowns and has rushed for 1,217 yards and 19 more scores. One of his receivers, Peyton Williams, is going to a major college as he’s committed to Colorado.
Beyond the offenses, this game also is important for all Dallas ISD schools since it has been more than 60 years since a Dallas ISD school has won a state football title. Southlake Carroll, of course, has tasted success much more recently and at the national level as well. The Dragons, who were FAB 50 national champions for 2004 and 2005, have won seven state titles in all. They won four of five from 2002 through 2006.
There are two common opponents for the two teams and judging by those scores Skyline would be the favorite. The Raiders beat Bowie (Arlington, Texas) 47-14 and Berkner (Richardson, Texas) 36-0. Southlake Carroll played both as well and won 21-17 and 20-10, respectively.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Alex Ball, Westlake (Westlake Village, Calif.)
In Friday’s rematch of last year’s CIF Southern Section Northern Division championship, Ball would like nothing better than to boot multiple field goals from long distances to help his team from Westlake beat Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.).
Ball happened to have a potential game-winning field goal hit the goal post one year ago when Oaks Christian edged Westlake 29-28. That win not only gave the Lions a section title, but denied the Warriors a chance to be 14-0 and eligible for selection to a CIF state bowl game.
Entering this year’s matchup, Westlake is in an even stronger position for the CIF bowl games. The Warriors, 13-0 and No. 14 in this week’s FAB 50, would likely be chosen for the CIF Open Division title game with a win over the Lions.
It’s ironic that Ball’s missed field goal last season was so significant because the 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior is one of the best specialists in the country and is rewriting the ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports state record book. With possibly two games still to go, Ball already has set new state records for most kicking points in a career with 327 (no one else had ever topped 300) and for most PAT conversions for a career (222). For most field goals in a season, Ball’s current total of 19 is three away from the state record of 22 set in 1994 by Chris Sailer from Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.). Ball also is just three field goals shy of the state career field goal record of 39 set last year by Jake Van Ginkel of Upland (Upland, Calif.).
Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) vs. FAB 50 No. 49 Centreville (Clifton, Va.), 4 p.m. Saturday at Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.
Oscar Smith is making its second state title game appearance in four years and takes a 13-game win streak into Saturday's Class AAA-Division 6 finals vs. FAB 50 No. 49 Centreville. The Tigers eliminated defending champion Battlefield (Haymarket, Va.) 42-16 in the semifinals. Zack Jones led the win with 228 total yards, two touchdowns and a pass interception. Quarterback J. J. Williamson also passed for four scores.
The Tigers have been on a roll in recent weeks while scoring no less than 34 points the last five games. In fact, Oscar Smith is unbeaten versus in-state foes after opening the season with a 51-27 setback to FAB 50 No. 23 Gilman (Baltimore).
Centreville, meanwhile, has won its last three playoff games by a total of seven points, including last weekend's 10-9 semifinal win over Hermitage (Richmond, Va.). Senior defensive end Ken Ekanem led the defense with 10 tackles, including six for losses.
The Wildcats, in the state final for the first time since 2000, avenged their only season setback in the state quarterfinals 27-24 over Westfield (Chantilly, Va.). The Westfield Bulldogs won the regular season game vs. Centreville in overtime 13-10.
Upset Alerts So Far This Season: 7-7
Team On The Rise?
Tucker (Tucker, Ga.)
The Tigers, who are 14-0 heading into the weekend, have been on the Southeast Region "bubble" for most of the season and could make a bid for the FAB 50 with a strong finish in Friday's Class 5A state title game at the Georgia Dome vs. 14-0 Lovejoy (Lovejoy, Ga.).
It's the second state final in four years for Tucker, which won the 2008 championship.
Tucker is the state's highest-scoring Class AAAA team with 45.3 points per game, including five games with over 50 points. But the 17-16 semifinal win over previously unbeaten Northside Warner Robins (Warner Robins, Ga.) was a stiff test. Northside had the ball on Tucker's 2-yard line, while leading by 16-10, when defensive end Justin Rivers scooped up a fumble and returned it 100 yards for the winning score with less than five minutes to play.
Tucker's title game foe, Lovejoy, should present another challenge with the state's stingiest AAAA scoring defense at just 3.6 points allowed per game.