Football Friday Preview
Game of the Week
No. 19 St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio) 7-1
at No. 9 St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio) 7-0
Another week, another showdown in the Buckeye State. This time, it's the defending Division I state champion Wildcats hosting the Bombers, who won the Division I crown in 2007. It's a rematch of a game St. Ignatius won a year ago in Cincinnati, 19-16. The Bombers have won three straight since a 12-7 loss to No. 13 Highlands (Fort Thomas, Ky.) and have a win over Elder (Cincinnati, Ohio), which was No. 3 in the FAB 50 and unbeaten at the time. With quarterback Luke Massa rolling along, St. Xavier could be gearing up for another postseason run. St. Ignatius opened with a 14-13 triumph over FAB 50-ranked Glenville (Cleveland, Ohio), but its schedule has not been as difficult as St. Xavier's. Like the Bombers, the Wildcats have one of Ohio's top quarterbacks in their case, University of Pittsburgh-bound Mark Myers. St. Ignatius also features All-America candidate Scott McVey at linebacker.
Player to Watch
RB, Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)
Watch Pemberton in action.
Nicknamed Pinball, the 5-foot-4, 145-pound Pemberton has been a wizard for the No. 14 Rams (7-0). He ran for only 74 yards last week, but he eclipsed 4,000 in his career. Pemberton is tough to keep down for long, so he could have a big game at Meadowcreek (Norcross, Ga.). Last season, Pemberton earned all-state honors after he rushed for more than 1,900 yards. His small stature has limited his recruitment, but last summer he visited Georgia Southern, The Citadel and Samford.
No. 48 Edison (Huntington Beach, Calif.) 6-0 at Newport Harbor (Newport Beach, Calif.) 4-2
This could be a tricky game for the Chargers, who travel to play an opponent that is sky high after already posting an upset. With quarterback Matt Viles at the controls and the defense becoming more dominant in recent weeks, Edison hasn't shown signs of a letdown. The Sailors, however, might be strong enough to win if the Chargers don't play their best. With a defense led by University of California commit Cecil Whiteside at linebacker, Newport Harbor was good enough last week for a 23-20 victory over previously unbeaten Los Alamitos, then the state's No. 20 team. The win was coach Jeff Brinkley's 200th.
Team on the RISE?
St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.)
If St. X of Cincinnati wins in the Game of the Week, look for the Tigers' stock to soar: Their only loss in eight games was to St. X of Cincinnati, 24-7. St. X of Louisville has won five in a row since then, including a 32-7 victory three weeks ago over city rival Trinity. The Tigers, who host 3-4 Pleasaure Ridge Park (Louisville, Ky.), feature a two-headed monster at running back in Jeremiah Neal (85 carries, 575 yards, 12 touchdowns) and Lamont McMurry (44-500, seven TDs.).
Mark Tennis is a deputy editor for ESPN RISE.