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East Region Player of the Week
Lancaster Catholic (Lancaster, Pa.)
The 6-3, 200-pound quarterback has been known for his arm all season, but in Lancaster Catholic's 21-14 victory over Greensburg Central Catholic (Greensburg, Pa.), he used his legs to run for the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run in the Class AA state final. Smith entered the state title game with 50 touchdown passes on the season, but could not throw due to snowy conditions. Smith, who is receiving recruiting interest from Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, Pitt and Rutgers found a way to lead his team back from a 14-7 deficit for its first Pennsylvania state title.
Southeast Region Player of the Week
James Wilder Jr.
Plant (Tampa, Fla.)
The 6-2, 230-pound junior has the ability to take over a game at any given time and did just that during Plant's 21-14 victory against Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.) for the Class 5A state championship. The two-way standout rushed for 137 yards and one touchdown while adding a 20-yard reception. He was a force on defense as well, ringing up four tackles, two sacks and a pass deflection that was intercepted.
Midwest Region Player of the Week
No selection this week since all states have concluded the playoffs.
Southwest Region Player of the Week
Abilene (Abilene, Texas)
With much of Katy's defense focused on star junior running back Herschel Sims, his cousin, Ronnell Sims, the Abilene quarterback, ran for three scores to lead the Eagles to a 28-17 victory in the Class 5A Division II state championship. He finished the game with 215 yards rushing. Sims is also a junior like his cousin and ended the season with 1,701 passing yards and 17 touchdowns. He also had 962 rushing yards for the season and 14 scores.
West Region Player of the Week
De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
With 165 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns, Ward's rushing helped lead the Spartans past Crenshaw (Los Angeles, Calif.) in the CIF Open Division state bowl game. Ward raised his season total to 2,037 yards, which is a new school record. Previous record-holder Patrick Walsh, now a head coach at Serra (San Mateo, Calif.), was on hand to see Ward's performance.