Commentary

It doesn't get any bigger than this

Updated: October 1, 2009, 9:53 PM ET
By Mark Tennis | ESPNRISE.com

Game of the Week

No. 2 Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) at No. 1 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), 8 ET, ESPNU
The greatest achievement in South Carolina prep football is the wins total of John McKissick of Summerville High, who has more victories than any other coach in U.S. history. If Byrnes (5-0) can beat Aquinas (3-0) and finish No. 1 in the nation, it will be just as impressive. The visiting Rebels will aim to beat Aquinas with a blend of running and passing to go with their run-stuffing defense. The rushing attack comes in the form of EA SPORTS National Junior of the Year Marcus Lattimore, while Rutgers-bound quarterback Chas Dodd leads the Rebels' prolific passing attack. Byrnes' strength on defense comes from its two University of Tennessee-bound defensive linemen -- Corey Miller and Brandon Willis. Aquinas could be without standout running back Giovanni Bernard, but it still has James White, who scored three times last week against Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). The Raiders also feature a stout offensive line led by All-American Brandon Linder, and an explosive secondary paced by Lamarcus Joyner and Cody Riggs.

Player to Watch

Phillip Sims
QB, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.)
The top-ranked quarterback in the ESPNU 150 is going to be eager to get last week out of his system and could put up big numbers when Oscar Smith meets 2-2 Hickory (Chesapeake, Va.). Sims was 12-of-20 for 186 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown in a 7-3 win over Grassfield (Chesapeake, Va.), and Oscar Smith fell from No. 7 to No. 10 in this week's ESPNRISE FAB 50. The University of Alabama commit has just four TD passes on the season, but he has thrown for 853 yards. "Phillip is still the best quarterback in the nation," Oscar Smith coach Rich Morgan told The Virginian-Pilot. "It isn't always the quarterback -- sometimes it's routes, protection -- it's a lot of things that always fall on the quarterback."

Upset Alert

No. 4 Miami Northwestern (Miami, Fla.) at Booker T. Washington (Miami, Fla.)
The Bulls (3-0) are undoubtedly favorites in the renewal of this Overtown vs. Liberty City rivalry, but if Northwestern is looking ahead to next Thursday's showdown with Miami Central on ESPN2, the Tornadoes (3-0), ranked No. 5 in South Florida by The Miami Herald and on the ESPN RISE Southeast Region rankings bubble, have the firepower to take "Da West" down. These two played an instant classic a year ago, with four lead changes in the fourth quarter and a 1-yard touchdown run by Wayne Times with under a minute to play giving Northwestern a 31-29 win. Booker T. is loaded for bear with running back Eduardo Clements, wide receivers Ted Meline (Tennessee commit) and Quinton Dunbar and defensive end Lynden Trail. Junior quarterback Jeremiah Hay has stepped in nicely to distribute the ball to all of the Tornadoes' weapons. Northwestern comes in hot as well, with junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater earning ESPN RISE Southeast Region Player of the Week honors last week after throwing for seven scores.

Team on the RISE?

John Tyler (Tyler, Texas)
After moving into the ESPN RISE FAB 50 for the first time two weeks ago, the Lions were one of the biggest movers in last week's poll, jumping from No. 42 to No. 36 after putting up 70 points on Lewisville (Lewisville, Texas) to move to 5-0. John Tyler, a proud program that owns two state titles and produced Earl Campbell, went 6-6 a year ago but has been terrorizing foes in East Texas this fall. The team has a dynamic offense that features SMU-bound dual-threat quarterback Jeremy Johnson, another SMU recruit at wide receiver in Ricky Collins and standout running back Ky'Ordrick Black dashing behind a line that is powered by Oklahoma State recruit Gerron Anthony. Texas recruit Ashton Dorsey anchors the defense at defensive tackle. If Tyler, which is idle this week, can roar through its next four games, a potential showdown looms in the district finale versus ESPN RISE Southwest Region No. 14 DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas).

Mark Tennis is a deputy editor for ESPN RISE.

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