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Green-Beckham shines, Fort Zumwalt West falls in opener

8/30/2011

In some ways, Dorial Green-Beckham is the worst-kept secret in high school football.

Hailing from the relatively small town of Hillcrest, most had heard about the broken records, Randy Moss comparisons and big-game potential possessed by the senior wideout. But outside of a highlight tape, few had actually seen the legend — until Saturday.

Green-Beckham didn't disappoint a national TV audience, reeling in 18 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Hornets to a 48-26 victory against Seneca.

The numbers say it all, but for those who argue that Green-Beckham would struggle against competition in states like Texas, Florida and California, think again. I saw former Georgia star and new Cincinnati Bengal A.J. Green play in high school and Green-Beckham has the same hands and playmaking skills as Green -- and maybe better since Green-Beckham packs more muscle.

Though Seneca put up a good effort, Green-Beckham looked like a man amongst boys for most of the contest, shedding off double coverage for impressive catches and big gains after the catch.

And as will probably be the case for much of the season, DGB's teammates benefited from the extra attention. For instance, sophomore Jawan Johnson looked solid, recording 94 yards on four catches, including a 72-yarder that set up a Hillcrest score.

In much more shocking news, Fort Zumwalt West — a team tabbed by many to battle Rockhurst for the Class 6 title — fell in its season opener to Christian Brothers College, 52-49.

Defense was at a premium in this thriller, as two teams that put up well over 30 points per contest last year lit up the scoreboard Friday. It wasn't until the final 90 seconds that defense proved decisive.

After forcing a turnover on downs, Fort Zumwalt West had one last chance to pull out a win. But Darian Bass' interception with 40 seconds left sealed the Cadets' upset win.

CBC's offensive trio of quarterback Dalton Demos (318 yards, three TDs) and tailbacks Jonathan Parker and Antonio Brown (a total of 299 yards and six touchdowns) proved too much for the Jaguars' high-powered attack of QB Drew Hare (223 passings yards, four total TDs) and tailback Ray Harris (162 total yards, three scores).

Granted, while the loss was a shocker for the Jaguars, CBC entered the season with high expectations as well, meaning a win like can only help the Cadets' push for a title.

AROUND THE STATE

*Rockhurst showed why it's the state's top-ranked team Friday and in the process, Jordan Walker displayed why he'll be a force to be reckoned with this season.

The senior tailback rushed for a school-record 400 yards to go with five total touchdowns in the Hawklets' 35-20 win against Blue Springs (Mind you, Walker gained just over 600 yards all season as a junior) Coach Tony Severino called it "the greatest rushing day in Rockhurst history" in this Kansas City Star article.

*In another battle of top teams, DeSmet flexed its muscles with a 28-0 win against Hazelwood Central. The victory avenged the Spartans loss in last year's Class 6 semifinals. Oklahoma commit and ESPNHS cover boy Durron Neal played above the competition, scoring three touchdowns to lead the rout.

*In a much-anticipated small-school matchup, MICDS slipped past Maplewood-Richmond Heights, 36-35. All-State running back Michael Scherer made the difference, scoring three touchdowns and the decisive two-point conversion.

The Rams needed every bit of Scherer's effort. Maplewood freshman tailback Elijah Keely exploded for 159 yards and five touchdowns in his debut, giving MICDS all it could handle.

Brandon Parker covers Missouri for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.