No. 4 Gateway shocked by Bethel Park
When the weather starts to turn cold and damp in many parts of the country just before Thanksgiving, there are some teams that seem to thrive and others -- especially those built on speed and quickness -- that sputter.
A good example of that was the stunning upset of nationally ranked Gateway (Monroeville, Pa.) on Saturday night at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Gateway never got untracked in its Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League Class AAAA final against Bethel Park and suffered its first loss of the season, 10-6.
The defeat ended any hopes Gateway had of a mythical national title and sent Bethel Park (13-0) on to this week's PIAA state quarterfinals, where it will meet State College, which is also unbeaten.
Bethel Park moved up to No. 28 in this week's ESPN RISE FAB 50, while Gateway hung on at No. 46 -- quite a tumble from the fourth spot. The team's final ranking will now be determined by how Bethel Park fares for the rest of the playoffs.
Lyle Marsh led the grind-it-out offense of Bethel Park with 27 carries for 113 yards and one touchdown, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In addition to Bethel Park, there were five other newcomers in this week's new rankings: Hightower of Fort Bend, Texas (fresh off its win over previous No. 17 and unbeaten North Shore); Pearland of Pearland, Texas; Homestead of Mequon, Wis.; State College, Pa.; and Oakton of Vienna, Va.
Another team on the rise is new No. 21 Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks, Calif. The Knights (11-0) made their FAB 50 debut just three weeks ago, jumped up to No. 33 two weeks ago and are now on the outside edge of the top 20.
Several final top-20 positions likely will be nailed down this week as more state championships are decided. The most significant for the national rankings will be Ohio's Division I state final Saturday night at Fawcett Stadium in Canton -- a matchup of No. 10 St. Ignatius of Cleveland and No. 16 Elder of Cincinnati. One group of Floridians rooting for Elder are the fans connected to St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale. St. Thomas Aquinas' mythical national championship hopes are pinned on Elder, as the Florida team delivered Elder's only loss of the season.
The ESPN RISE FAB 50 rankings were compiled by a panel of ESPN RISE and ESPN.com high school editors, which includes Mark Tennis, Doug Huff, Chris Lawlor, Jon Mahoney, Sheldon Shealer, Ronnie Flores and Paul Muyskens.
ESPN RISE FAB 50
1. Trinity (Euless, Texas)
Points: 250, five first-place votes
Previous rank: 1
Head coach Steve Lineweaver usually relies on a hard-nosed offense based on the run, but when Saturday's battle with Plano began to look like a shootout, senior quarterback Denarius McGhee came up big as a thrower in leading the Trojans to a 42-35 win at Texas Stadium in the second-round of the Class 5A Division I state playoffs. McGhee completed 13 of 20 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for a score and directing an offense that piled up 507 yards. McGhee's 26-yard TD pass to Tyree Tucker late in the fourth quarter broke a 35-35 tie. The Trojans' defense had a heck of a time slowing down the Wildcats, who got 142 yards and three scores on the ground from Rex Burkhead, while Carson Meger threw for another 297 yards. Trinity will battle 8-4 Arlington High on Saturday at Texas Stadium in a 5A DI Region I semifinal. The Colts are led by junior QB Matt Joeckel, who hit on a TD pass with 28 seconds left to provide the winning margin in a 28-27 win over Odessa High. Joeckel has thrown for 30 TDs and ran for another 10 this year.
2. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Previous rank: 2
The Raiders coasted to a 35-7 win over Coconut Creek in the Class 4A state playoffs. At times, it appeared Aquinas was practicing against Creek and using the game as a tune-up. Senior WR Duron Carter caught three passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns. The Raiders led 28-7 at intermission and played mostly backups in the second half. Next up for STA is a Broward County clash with Fort Lauderdale Dillard and star RB Trabis Ward.
3. Lowndes (Valdosta, Ga.)
Previous rank: 3
The Vikings easily picked up their school-record 26th straight win, a 62-21 victory over Bradwell Institute on Friday night at Martin Stadium. The game ball went to junior running back Robert Anderson, who found the end zone four times. The Vikings also racked up over 400 yards of offense. Lowndes will next host Grayson in the state quarterfinals on Friday.
4. Poly (Long Beach, Calif.)
Previous rank: 5
It was a close call for the Jackrabbits in their CIF Southern Section Pac-Five Division playoff opener against Bishop Amat as they rallied for a 21-17 triumph. Senior RB Melvin Richardson, who earlier scored on a 15-yard run, scored the game-winner with 1:23 left on a 1-yard plunge. Poly trailed 10-0 at halftime before taking the lead on back-to-back TDs. Bishop Amat then took a 17-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. Head coach Raul Lara's team still has a tough set of games in front of it before winning the section title and earning a probable berth in the CIF state bowl games, including this week against Esperanza of Anaheim. The Jackrabbits could face red-hot FAB 50-ranked Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks in the final.
5. Armwood (Seffner, Fla.)
Previous rank: 6
The Hawks topped a tough Winter Haven squad 30-14 in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs. Armwood used its version of the Wildcat formation to rush for over 300 yards with QB Mywan Jackson and RB Tavari Grant. Jackson finished the night with 172 yards and three touchdowns while Grant rushed for 174 yards and added a score. Next up for the Hawks is a rematch against Tampa Bay Tech.
6. Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.)
Previous rank: 7
The Tigers' bid for a state semifinal berth seemed well in hand until a late-game scare from Ocean Lakes. Trailing 28-7 with less than three minutes left, Ocean Lakes scored twice and appeared to recover an onside kick with 43 seconds left before a penalty negated the play. Oscar Smith held on for the 28-21 victory. Perry Jones, the Virginia-bound running back, was a one-man wrecking crew, rolling up 228 yards and scoring all four Oscar Smith touchdowns. After pulling within seven, Ocean Lakes attempted a second onside kick but the ball, according to the officials, did not travel 10 yards before Ocean Lakes touched it, returning possession to Oscar Smith, which ran out the clock with three straight kneel-downs. Oscar Smith takes on new FAB 50-ranked Oakton in Saturday's Division 6 state semifinals.
7. Lake Travis (Austin, Texas)
Previous rank: 8
Lake Travis looked mortal for a half on Friday night, as Cibolo Steele used a power running game to post a 21-14 halftime lead, even intercepting star QB Garrett Gilbert once. The lead was short-lived, however, as Gilbert ran for two scores and threw for a third in a second half that saw Lake Travis outscore Steele 24-0 on the way to a 38-21 victory in a Class 4A Division I second-round game. Gilbert finished the night with 290 yards, two scores through the air and three rushing touchdowns. Undefeated Alice is up next for coach Chad Morris' squad as it looks to repeat as 4A DI state champions.
8. St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.)
Previous rank: 9
The Tigers continue to run roughshod over in-state opponents. In a Class 6A regional playoff, St. Xavier routed city rival Pleasure Ridge Park for the second time this season, 48-6. Senior running back Deuce Finch ran for 198 yards and five touchdowns. Senior quarterback Matt Brutscher passed for 128 yards and added a rushing TD. The Tigers have outscored two playoff victims 120-13. Next up is another city foe, Manual, which fell to St. X 57-0 in the regular season.
9. Camden County (Kingsland, Ga.)
Previous rank: 10
The game between the Wildcats and previous FAB 50-ranked Northside of Warner Robins lived up to its pregame billing and was decided in the fourth quarter as Camden County won 28-20. The Wildcats rallied to take the lead on a 5-yard touchdown run by senior RB Greg Baker, his second of the game, with less than 10 minutes in the fourth quarter. Senior RB Daniel Valdez followed that up with a 2-yard touchdown scamper to preserve the win. The Wildcats take on Woodstock at Gilman Stadium in Friday's state playoff game.
10. St. Ignatius (Cleveland)
Previous rank: 11
The Wildcats will be seeking their 10th state championship after dismantling North Canton Hoover 34-7 in the Division 1 semifinals. St. Ignatius leads all Ohio schools in titles since playoffs started in 1972, and coach Chuck Kyle was at the helm of all nine between 1988-2001. St. Ignatius, riding a 13-game win streak, had a balanced attack blended with solid defense against Hoover. Patrick Hinkel, a Miami of Ohio recruit, scored four short-yardage touchdowns, including a blocked punt return, and senior quarterback Andrew Holland connected on 18 of 26 passes for 235 yards. The Wildcats will play FAB 50 No. 16 Cincinnati Elder (13-1) on Saturday night in Canton for the title.
11. South Panola (Batesville, Miss.)
Previous rank: 12
The Nicholas Parker Show threatens to become The Greatest Show on Earth. Led by the powerful junior, who is making his case early for Mr. Football 2009 in the state, the Tigers ran their victory string to 88 with a 21-14 win over upset-minded Northwest Rankin in the 5A quarterfinals. All Parker did was carry the ball 58 times -- yep, 58 -- for 373 yards and, of course, all three TDs as South Panola never trailed. Parker ran for scores of 11, 33 and 2 yards before more than 7,500 spectators at Robert Dunlap Stadium. That gives Parker 2,185 yards and 26 TDs, but since he didn't play a lot after halftime this year, more illuminating may be the 605 yards he has racked up the past two weeks. Next up for the Tigers will be dangerous Madison Central, coached by Bobby Hall, who has captured four state championships. Madison Central's 42-22 romp over Northwest Rankin earlier this year should be enough to keep South Panola focused.
12. Centennial (Corona, Calif.)
Previous rank: 13
It seems like it will only be a matter of time before the Huskies are up into the top 10 and even closer to Long Beach Poly. They won their CIF Southern Section Inland Division playoff opener 62-7 over Yucaipa behind senior running back Arthur Burns, who scooted for 207 yards on 17 carries and scored three TDs. UCLA-bound WR Ricky Marvray also had a strong outing with two TD catches on throws from Taylor Martinez plus a 55-yard punt return for a score. Next up for Centennial is a meeting with Vista Murrieta in the quarterfinals. Vista Murrieta won its first-round game 28-20 over Moreno Valley.
13. Lakeland (Fla.)
Previous rank: 15
Lakeland capitalized on three turnovers and scored five touchdowns in the first quarter to cruise to a 48-6 win against Bloomingdale. Sophomore WR Javares McCoy returned a punt 65 yards and Deonte Gary recovered a blocked field goal and raced 71 yards for a score. The special teams and defense proved to be the difference in the game. Friday, the Dreadnaughts square off with Osceola in a Class 5A state playoff matchup.
14. Phoebus (Hampton, Va.)
Previous rank: 14
The Phantoms turned to their defense for a 14-0 victory over previously undefeated Lake Taylor. The Phoebus defense forced four turnovers, two that resulted in scoring drives, and it held Lake Taylor's explosive running back game to 43 yards as the program secured a third straight state semifinal berth. Senior QB Tajh Boyd connected on a 38-yard scoring pass to DaQuan Romero and Shawne Alston scored on a touchdown run for Phoebus. Phoebus will take on FAB 50-ranked Stone Bridge in Saturday's highly anticipated Division 5 state semifinals. Stone Bridge beat Phoebus last year to win the Division 5 state title.
15. Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.)
Previous rank: 16
The Skyline defense shut down a powerful Auburn rushing attack that averaged nearly 400 yards a game and got some big plays from their offense to cruise past the Trojans 38-2 in the Class 4A state playoffs. Junior quarterback Jake Heaps completed 17 of 24 passes for 204 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Washington State commit Gino Simone led the way with eight grabs for 95 yards and two touchdowns, including a 55-yard punt return for a score. Saturday, the Spartans will face Ferris (10-1) in the Class 4A semifinals.
16. Elder (Cincinnati)
Previous rank: 18
The Panthers advanced to the state Division 1 title game with a 24-10 semifinal victory over previously unbeaten Pickerington Central. Elder, which has lost only to FAB 50 No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas of Florida, will play FAB 50 No. 10 St. Ignatius in the finals Saturday night in Canton. Elder will be seeking its first state crown since repeating as champion in 2003. Against Pickerington Central, Elder fell behind 10-0 in the second quarter before taking charge. Junior quarterback Mark Miller completed 17 of 26 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown.
17. Permian (Odessa, Texas)
Previous rank: 21
While many in Texas were facing tough second-round tests, the Panthers pounced on a shaky Burleson squad Friday night, racing to a 42-7 halftime lead on the way to an easy 56-21 win. Senior quarterback Trevor Adams continued his strong play, completing 17 of 20 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for a third. The road will get tougher for Mojo from here on out, as Permian travels to Texas Stadium to battle FAB 50 No. 33 Allen on Friday.
18. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.)
Previous rank: 20
Don Bosco upended St. Peter's Prep 38-13 in the Non-Public Group IV semifinals. The previous two years, the two-time defending champion Ironmen had bested the Marauders in the finals. Senior running back Dillon Romain ran for 99 yards and three touchdowns, while senior quarterback Brett Knief passed for 109 yards and two scores. The Ironmen will go for their third-straight title when they play rival Bergen Catholic in the finals on Dec. 6 at Giants Stadium. Don Bosco cruised past Bergen Catholic 38-7 in their other meeting this season. But before they meet up with Bergen Catholic, the Ironmen will continue their Thanksgiving rivalry against Paramus Catholic on Thursday.
19. Maryville (Tenn.)
Previous rank: 19
Maryville scored in a variety of ways Friday night. The Rebels scored on a fake punt, a fumble recovery and a more conventional rushing touchdown as they defeated Rhea County 28-8 in the Class 4A state playoffs. The win extends the Rebels' winning streak to 73 games. Maryville will play against Greeneville in the state semifinals Friday.
20. Stone Bridge (Ashburn, Va.)
Previous rank: 22
In a battle of undefeated teams, Stone Bridge used a stellar defensive effort to propel the team to a 35-6 victory over Edison. Minus a 54-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand, Stone Bridge's defense allowed only 71 yards on 25 Edison rushes. Stone Bridge also forced three turnovers and blocked a punt. Offensively, Stone Bridge broke a scoreless tie with a 21-point second quarter and tacked on 14 more before Edison scored late in the game. John Bladel and Marcus Harris each scored twice for Stone Bridge. Stone Bridge faces Phoebus in Saturday's Division 5 state semifinals.
21. Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.)
Previous rank: 33
Big-time junior Ryan Kasdorf continued to shine with 234 yards passing and four more TDs, but some of his teammates took some of the spotlight in a 42-0 win over Compton. The CIF Southern Section Pac-Five Division playoff victory also featured wide receiver James Flynn, who caught three TD passes and now has 19 for the season, and running back Kenny Boggs, who rushed for 104 yards and two scores. Since the Knights came into the playoffs fresh off a 56-21 romp past Bishop Amat and since Bishop Amat nearly knocked off Long Beach Poly in another first-round game, this became another chance for Notre Dame to jump further in the rankings.
22. Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.)
Previous rank: 23
Senior RB Ash Butler ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns as Dorman overcame a 14-0 deficit to defeat Lexington 38-14 in the Class 6A state playoffs. Lexington led 14-0 with less than six minutes remaining in the first half, but Dorman responded with 17 points to lead at halftime, 17-14. Dorman will host Byrnes in the state semifinals. Dorman handed Byrnes its only loss of the season earlier this year.
23. North Penn (Lansdale, Pa.)
Previous rank: 25
The Knights crushed Downingtown West 51-21 in the District 1 Class AAAA semifinals. Senior running back Tyler Smith had four touchdown runs, including a 52-yarder. Meanwhile, senior quarterback Justin Davey ran and threw for touchdowns. North Penn advances to play regionally ranked Neshaminy (11-1) in the district finals on Friday.
24. Plant (Tampa, Fla.)
Previous rank: 26
The Panthers blasted Lakewood Ranch 67-7 in the Class 5A regional quarterfinals. Plant's defense scored a pair of touchdowns and that was enough in the one-sided blowout. Junior LB Mike Mirabella forced a fumble and returned it 10 yards for a touchdown. On offense, sophomore QB Phillip Ely tossed four touchdowns in a 231-yard passing performance. Plant tackles Bradenton Southeast in Friday's contest.
25. De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
Previous rank: 27
With 16 consecutive CIF North Coast Section titles, giving the Spartans a first-round bye in the Division I playoffs is certainly well-deserved. They will play their first postseason game this Friday against 8-3 Deer Valley, which advanced with a 24-20 win over Berkeley.
26. Prattville (Prattville, Ala.)
Previous rank: 29
It would be difficult to look any more impressive than the Lions did in crushing highly regarded and previously unbeaten Auburn, 42-0. Playing their final home game, the seniors, who never lost in the friendly confines of Stanley-Jensen Stadium, recorded their seventh shutout of the season. The defense scored two touchdowns, one on a blocked punt and another on a fumble recovery, to complement the usual big game from senior RB Jerodis Williams, who averaged better than a first down a carry in gaining 156 yards on 15 carries, two of which went for touchdowns. In all, the Lions amassed 372 yards. Prattville, which has outscored its playoff opponents 141-30, jumped on top 21-0 after one quarter and cruised. It doesn't figure to be as easy this week as Prattville meets Davidson (11-2) in the Class 6A semifinals.
27. Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.)
Previous rank: 30
Junior quarterback Chas Dodd threw for 262 yards and five touchdowns as Byrnes defeated Clover 48-7 in its second playoff game. The Rebels' defense held Clover to 65 passing yards and 110 rushing while the offense totaled 413 yards. The win propels Byrnes to the state semifinals, where it will play the only team to defeat it this season -- Dorman.
28. Bethel Park (Pittsburgh)
Previous rank: NR
Bethel Park notched perhaps the most surprising victory of the 2008 season when it upset then-No. 4 Gateway 10-6 in the WPIAL Class AAAA finals for its first WPIAL crown. With the way Gateway was playing this season, it was assumed the Gators would not only roll to the WPIAL title but the state crown, as well. But Bethel Park used a stingy defense to limit Gateway's high-powered offense to only 107 yards. Meanwhile, Bethel Park senior running back Lyle Marsh ran for 113 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. Bethel Park's reward for its eye-opening win? A meeting with FAB 50 No. 49 State College in the PIAA Class AAAA state quarterfinals on Friday.
29. John T. Curtis (River Ridge, La.)
Previous rank: 31
A 29-point first quarter pretty much decided this one early as the Patriots rolled to their 11th straight victory, downing University Lab 49-14 in the second round of the 2A playoffs to jump into the top 30. Junior RB Kenny Cain bounded 30 yards for the first score and the rout was on. Senior QB Evan Ingram scored on runs of 22, 1 and 39 yards as the Patriots rolled to a 42-0 lead before backing off. Remember, that loss to open the season was a 16-pointer to FAB 50 No. 1 Trinity. Next up for Curtis will be Aquinas in the 2A quarterfinals. The Falcons advanced with a shutout win over Homer.
30. Madison County (Madison, Fla.)
Previous rank: 34
The Cowboys jumped out to a 21-0 lead behind senior RB Corey Akins en route to a 35-0 shutout over Marianna in the Class 2B state playoffs. Akins ran for 149 yards and three scores -- two in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. The defense, led by LB Justin Hampton, bottled up Marianna RB Bradley Battles and limited him to 75 yards on 24 carries. Madison will next tangle with Pensacola Catholic.
31. Maine South (Park Ridge, Ill.)
Previous rank: 32
The Hawks advanced to the state Class 8A title game with a 23-6 semifinal victory over previously unbeaten Bartlett. Maine South will play Hinsdale Central (11-2) in the finals on Saturday in Champaign. Against Bartlett, junior running back Matt Perez rushed 15 times for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Charlie Goro completed 21 of 29 passes for 177 yards and ran for a score. Maine South has won state crowns in 1995 and 2000 and finished runner-up three straight years from 2003-05.
32. South Pointe (Rock Hill, S.C.)
Previous rank: 36
Senior QB Stephon Gilmore accounted for four touchdowns as South Pointe defeated Berkeley 48-14 in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. Gilmore threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another in the win. Friday, the Stallions will host Laurens in the state semifinals.
33. Allen (Texas)
Previous rank: 38
Saturday night's 56-28 rout of Coppell may be dampened by the possibility that Allen could be losing star junior quarterback Matt Brown for the rest of the year. Brown was to be X-rayed on Monday to determine if he has a broken collarbone after taking a hard hit to his left (non-throwing) shoulder late in the first half. Brown has accounted for 40 touchdowns (27 passing and 13 rushing) this year. Jeremiah Williams and Uzoma Nwachukwu led the Allen assault between the lines on Saturday, each scoring three times in the first half as the Eagles stormed out to a 49-14 halftime lead before Brown's injury. Allen finished with a whopping 446 yards on the ground. No. 17 Permian is up next Friday at Texas Stadium.
34. Glenville (Cleveland)
Record: 11-1 (Season complete)
Previous rank: 35
Glenville split decisions with FAB 50 No. 10 St. Ignatius, bowing 8-7 in the regional semifinals.
35. St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.)
Previous rank: 37
A probable pick to eventually return to the CIF Division III state bowl game for a title defense, the Seraphs began their postseason by clobbering Newbury Park 38-14 in the CIF Southern Section Northern Division playoffs. Junior QB Logan Meyer passed for 216 yards and three TDs while senior RB Patrick Hall rushed for 104 yards and another score. The Seraphs go up against Paso Robles in the second round.
36. Centennial (Peoria, Ariz.)
Previous rank: 39
Often, when two teams meet for the second time in a season, the losing team has the advantage because it makes changes. But not always. Centennial beat Desert Ridge of Mesa 34-7 to open the season and was a point better, 35-7, Friday in the 5A Division II quarterfinals. Senior RB John Hughes was again the focal point, but on both sides of the ball this time. Hughes scored three TDs rushing, gaining 133 yards on 30 carries. However, it was his 44-yard interception return that broke open the game. Think the Coyotes will miss him next year? Well, the third of the Hughes brothers, junior Anthony, gained 153 yards on 15 carries against Desert Ridge. It will be another rematch for Centennial in the semifinals Friday as the Coyotes play Ironwood Ridge, a team it hammered 44-0 three games ago.
37. Hightower (Fort Bend, Texas)
Previous rank: NR
Hightower avenged a 33-9 loss to North Shore a year ago in the state playoffs with a nail-biting 28-21 win on Friday night, sending the previously FAB 50 No. 17 Mustangs home. The Canes got the game-winner from Miami-bound signal-caller A.J. Highsmith, the son of former Miami star and NFL RB Alonzo Highsmith, who scored on a 1-yard sneak with just 33 seconds remaining with Hightower trailing 21-20. Highsmith's game-winning run was necessary only after North Shore rallied from a 20-7 halftime deficit to finally take the lead with under five minutes remaining on Alex Tillman's 7-yard scramble. Tillman threw for 263 yards and two scores while also rushing for 44 yards and a TD in defeat, and North Shore outgained Hightower 389-192. Key turnovers and a blocked punt that set up an early Hightower score, however, were the difference. The Canes battle high-scoring 11-1 Katy Cinco Ranch next. The Cougars crushed Aldine Eisenhower 62-21, and their only loss was early in the year at Southlake Carroll.
38. Union (Tulsa, Okla.)
Previous rank: 40
Whether running or passing, the Redskins found no problem racking up yardage against Norman North and won 49-14 in the Class 6A state quarterfinals. Senior running back Jeremy Smith ran for 180 yards and five touchdowns on 27 carries, while senior tight end Tracy Moore caught 10 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. Union advances to play unbeaten and regionally ranked Midwest City in the state semifinals on Friday.
39. Independence (Charlotte, N.C.)
Previous rank: 41
Led by senior running back Harold Blythe's 126 rushing yards and three touchdowns, the Patriots scored 27 unanswered points in their 43-16 win over East Mecklenburg in the Class 6A state playoffs. Independence will next host Butler in the state quarterfinals.
40. Newnan (Ga.)
Previous rank: 45
It was a dominant second-half performance for the Cougars, who trounced Tift County 42-0 after leading 7-0 at the break. Newnan's defense picked up its sixth consecutive shutout. DB Jamal Ramsey intercepted a pair of passes in the rout, and QB Russell Powell accounted for over 300 yards of total offense. Newnan is looking to avenge last year's playoff loss to North Gwinnett when they meet Friday in a highly anticipated rematch.
41. Muskegon (Mich.)
Previous rank: 43
The Big Reds rallied from a 22-point third quarter deficit to defeat Davison 38-35 in the state Division 2 semifinals. Muskegon advances to play undefeated Warren De La Salle in the title game Friday at Ford Field. Against Davison, the Big Reds recovered two late onside kicks and scored 19 points in the final 4:31 to take the lead with 42 seconds left. A Big Reds' interception in the end zone by Elan Banks on the final play sealed the win.
42. Center Grove (Greenwood, Ind.)
Previous rank: 42
The Trojans advanced to the state Class 5A title game with a 49-21 semifinal victory over Ben Davis. The Trojans rushed for 400 yards with senior RB Luke Swift gaining 180 on 18 carries. The Trojans jumped to a 28-0 lead and led 35-14 at halftime. Swift had 238 yards at intermission, including three pass receptions for 92 yards and a 66-yard score. Center Grove will seek revenge in Friday's finals against defending champion Carmel (13-1), which nipped Center Grove 33-32 in the regular season. Carmel's lone loss was to Ben Davis.
43. Jenks (Okla.)
Previous rank: 46
The Trojans used a balanced effort to best Edmond Santa Fe 24-3 in the Class 6A state quarterfinals. Sophomore quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen threw for 170 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score, while sophomore running back Colton Dost ran for 74 yards and a touchdown. According to Tulsa World, Jenks star senior defensive back Gabe Lynn had to leave the game with a strained hip flexor. Lynn is rated the nation's No. 77 overall recruit in the ESPNU 150. No word yet if Lynn will have to miss the Trojans' semifinal game against Mustang on Friday.
44. Bellevue (Wash.)
Previous rank: 47
Bellevue used its powerful wing-T attack to run past Liberty 35-7 in the Class 3A quarterfinals. The Wolverines gained 406 yards on 50 carries to improve their postseason rushing total to an impressive 1,173 yards in three games. Senior RB Peter Nguyen led the way with 23 carries for 253 yards and three scores. The Wolverine defense was just as impressive, picking off four passes and holding a normally potent Patriots' running game, that featured three of the top five backs in the division, to just 21 yards on 23 carries. With the win, Bellevue advances to the semifinals for the seventh time in eight years, where it will face Capital.
45. Wayzata (Plymouth, Minn.)
Previous rank: 48
The Trojans were idle while awaiting Friday's Class 5A Prep Bowl title game at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Wayzata will play Blaine (11-1) for the crown. The Trojans have outscored four playoff victims 143-32. Blaine dethroned two-time defending champion Eden Prairie and outlasted previous FAB 50-ranked Cretin-Derham Hall in overtime.
46. Gateway (Monroeville, Pa.)
Record: 12-1 (Season complete)
Previous rank: 48
Dorian Bell, an All-American linebacker headed to Ohio State, capped an outstanding career with a 1-yard TD run plus a forced fumble that he recovered in his team's 10-6 upset loss to Bethel Park in the WPIAL AAAA title game at Heinz Field. Gateway's season will be remembered, unfortunately, for the one big upset loss, but for offensive and defensive talent, this team had one of the best lineups in the nation.
47. Homestead (Mequon, Wis.)
Record: 14-0 (Season complete)
Previous rank: NR
The Highlanders won their second state Division 1 championship in three years with a 13-11 victory over defending champion Arrowhead as the two teams met for the crown for the third straight year. A defensive struggle featured a safety on a blocked punt out of the end zone by Arrowhead's Chris Pendergast, a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown by Homestead's Tom Engle, and a blocked conversion kick.
48. Pearland (Texas)
Previous rank: NR
Dennis Walls returned a fumble 65 yards on the opening possession of overtime to lift Pearland past Clear Lake 34-28 and into the FAB 50 rankings. Junior RB Kasey Carrier ran for 176 yards and two scores, and Oilers' QB Sam Allen scored on a 1-yard sneak with 4:33 remaining to force overtime after Clear Lake ran all over Pearland's defense early on, jumping out to a 28-14 lead late in the third quarter. Clear Lake ran for 365 yards in the contest but lost three fumbles, including the game-deciding miscue in overtime. The Oilers get 7-4 Katy Taylor Saturday at Tully Stadium.
49. State College (Pa.)
Previous rank: NR
State College makes its FAB 50 debut after defeating Erie McDowell 22-10 in the District 6-8-9-10 Class AAAA subregional finals. The Little Lions advance to play FAB 50 No. 28 Bethel Park in the PIAA Class AAAA state quarterfinals on Friday. In the win over Erie McDowell, junior running back Bernard Smack had a touchdown run and an 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. State College senior linebacker Luc Yocum added a 75-yard interception return for a score.
50. Oakton (Vienna, Va.)
Previous rank: NR
In a highly anticipated rematch, Oakton turned its playoff game with Chantilly into a surprising rout. Oakton's 52-14 thrashing was a far cry from the team's 17-15 win over Chantilly in October. Oakton led 45-0 and scored on its first eight possessions and ultimately held a 52-0 lead in the second half. Senior QB Chris Coyer scored on three short touchdown runs while senior RB Trey Watts found the end zone twice for Oakton. Next up for Oakton is a FAB 50 clash with Oscar Smith in the Division 6 state semifinals.
Also receiving votes: Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) 11-1, Rocky Mount (N.C.) 12-0, Timpview (Provo, Utah) 14-0, Trinity (Louisville, Ky.) 11-1.
Dropped out: Previous No. 17 North Shore (Galena, Texas); No. 24 Good Counsel (Olney, Md.); No. 28 Arrowhead (Hartland, Wis.); No. 44 Northside (Warner Robins, Ga.); No. 49 Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio); No. 50 Columbus (Miami, Fla.).
*Ties in points are broken according to which team was ranked higher by a majority of panelists.