FAB 50 Preview: Dunkley ready for showdown

Updated: September 18, 2009, 12:53 PM ET
ESPN RISE

Game of the Week

Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.) at Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.)
Friday, 10 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Senior quarterbacks Jake Heaps of Skyline and Nick Montana of Oaks Christian are the marquee players in this showdown between two of the nation's top teams. Oaks Christian (2-0) is No. 6 in the ESPN RISE FAB 50, while Skyline (2-0) checks in at No. 9. Heaps, who is headed to BYU, has led the host Spartans to 30 straight wins and two consecutive Class 4A state titles. Montana fired up the local Seattle fans during the summer when he committed to the University of Washington. The son of the legendary Joe Montana (who helps coach the Oaks Christian squad) passed for 2,404 yards last season and was a major reason why Oaks Christian went 14-0 and won its sixth straight CIF Southern Section divisional title.

[+] EnlargeChris Dunkley
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comCan Chris Dunkley create separation versus Lamarcus Joyner?

What happens between Heaps and Montana, however, may not decide this matchup. It's more likely that the Oaks Christian rushing attack against Skyline's defense will be the deciding matchup. Both the Oaks Christian running game and the Skyline defense was on display in their respective season-openers. Oaks Christian faced Alemany (Mission Hills, Calif.), a team ranked in the state Top 25, and posted a 28-17 win with senior power back Malcolm Jones rushing for 275 yards on 37 carries and scoring three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Skyline went up against Oregon Class 6A preseason favorite Jesuit (Portland, Ore.) and rang up a 17-0 shutout. The Spartans only gave up three yards rushing. If Oaks Christian and Jones run the ball anything like that first game, the Lions likely win. If Skyline can shut down that running game and hold the Lions to less than 100 yards rushing, then its fans will likely go home happy.

Player to Watch

Chris Dunkley
Pahokee (Fla.)
Wide Receiver, Class of 2010
Rated the nation's No. 13 recruit in the ESPNU 150, Dunkley is one of the most explosive receivers in the country. When the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder goes across the middle Friday on his home field, he will probably come in contact with Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) standout Matt Elam. A 6-foot, 205-pound safety who also stars on offense, Elam has committed to Florida and is No. 25 in the ESPNU 150. This is Dunkley's first year at Pahokee after transferring from Royal Palm Beach (Fla.). In his first game for the Blue Devils, Dunkley caught five passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns in a 13-6 win over Atlantic (Delray Beach, Fla.). Then last week, Dunkley shined again with six catches for 144 yards and one score in a 45-0 romp past Inlet Grove (Riviera Beach, Fla.). Pahokee, which is No. 43 in the FAB 50, is facing a Dwyer squad that was No. 21 in the preseason FAB 50. Dwyer lost its first game, 21-7, to Pahokee's archrival, Glades Central (Belle Glade, Fla.), before coming back last weekend with a 46-0 win against Palm Beach Gardens (West Palm Beach, Fla.).

Upset Alert

Servite (Anaheim, Calif.) 2-0 vs. Crespi (Encino, Calif.) 2-0 M
Servite might be the fastest rising team in the country as the Friars have skyrocketed from the regional rankings up to No. 33 in the FAB 50 with impressive wins over two of California's top programs in Long Beach Poly (30-7) and Clovis West (47-13). But this week, coach Troy Thomas will have his team on upset alert when they hook up with the Crespi Celts, who appear to be back to their 2007 form after they struggled through a 6-4 season a year ago, whipping their first two opponents by a combined 107-14. Crespi is led by Oregon-bound senior QB Bryan Bennett, who is 2-0 as a starter against Servite. He led the Celts past the Friars, 21-20, last year and 13-10 in the CIF Pac-5 playoffs in 2007. In addition to the two teams meeting each of the past two seasons, there is added familiarity as Thomas was the head coach at Crespi prior to taking the Servite job in 2005. He was succeeded by his former assistant Jeremiah Ross, who has led Crespi since his departure.

Team on the Rise

Butler (Matthews, N.C.)
The Bulldogs vaulted into the Southeast Region Top 20 this week at No. 17 after a riveting victory over defending North Carolina Class 4AA champ Richmond Senior (Rockingham, N.C.) in which junior quarterback Christian LeMay threw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes to rally Butler from a 31-17 deficit to a 38-31 win. The 3-0 Bulldogs will be considered favorites in their next six contests and if they are able to move to 9-0, at that point they'd most certainly be FAB 50 ranked and would set up a monumental season finale showdown at North Carolina No. 1, FAB 50-ranked and league rival Independence (Charlotte, N.C.). The Bulldogs last beat Independence in 2007, only to lose to them later in the state playoffs, but that was an eventual three-loss Patriot team, and Independence appears to be back to a potential state championship form this fall.