• WLB Dorian Bell and CB/WR Corey Brown, Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway – The Gators became Heinz Field-bound with a 38-23 victory over Pittsburgh Penn Hills in a Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League Class AAAA semifinal Friday at West Mifflin.
Bell and Brown helped lead the attack for 12-0 Gateway. Brown caught four passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Bell rushed for 121 yards on 13 attempts with and a 1-yard touchdown.
After the game, Gateway head coach Terry Smith had high praise for Bell, who added nine tackles on defense.
“Dorian Bell is one of the top five players in the country,” Smith said. “He just does whatever we want from him. Hands down, he’s the best player in the state.”
The Gators never trailed. They led 14-6 after the first quarter, 21-9 at halftime and 35-16 after three quarters.
Gateway will play Bethel Park (12-0) for the WPIAL title next week. Bethel Park defeated McKeesport in the semifinals.
• DT/OG Adam Bellamy, Aurora, Ohio – Bellamy and the Greenmen followed Steven Yung’s lead in a 28-7 victory over Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit in an OHSAA Division III, Region 9 final at Solon Saturday.
Yung rushed for 159 yards on 16 carries with four touchdowns, and the Aurora defense took care of the rest on a rain-soaked Stewart Field.
Aurora head coach Bob Mihalik praised his offensive linemen, including Bellamy, after the victory.
“The key was getting up on them early, and I can’t say enough about our offensive line,” Mihalik told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I’m just real proud because I think people thought we kind of snuck up on them two years ago and surprised them (a 17-7 win over Walsh in 2006).
“I don’t think there’s any doubt right now, and I’m not being arrogant here, that we’re among the elite in Division III football.”
Yung scored on touchdown runs of 28, 13, 65 and 27 yards.
The Greenmen (11-2) will head to the state semifinals and will next face 11-2 Sunbury Big Walnut.
• RB Jaamal Berry, Miami (Fla.) Palmetto – Berry played for the first time since suffering a high-ankle sprain four weeks ago, but Palmetto fell 38-14 to North Miami Beach in both teams’ regular-season finale Friday.
Berry rushed 38 yards on his first carry but was held to only 17 yards after that. He finished with 55 yards on eight carries.
North Miami Beach (6-3) rushed for 239 yards and piled up 17 first downs in the victory. The Panthers (6-4) answered NMB’s first touchdown but trailed 16-7 at halftime. The Chargers then put the game away with 22 unanswered points in the second half.
The Panthers will begin their Florida High School Athletic Association Class 6A playoff run next week at Southwester Miami (8-2) in a regional quarterfinal.
• LB/FB Zach Boren and DB/WR Jamie Wood, Pickerington (Ohio) Central – A touchdown pass on a fake punt and a key goal-line stand propelled Pickerington Central to a 7-3 OHSAA Division I, Region 3 final victory over Hilliard Davidson Saturday at Upper Arlington.
Boren, Wood and the rest of the Tiger offense were held in check against the Wildcats, but it was their defensive effort that helped guide Central to the state semifinals. Davidson (11-2) drove to the Tiger 10-yard line midway through the fourth quarter but was held scoreless. After three running plays netted the Wildcats only 1 yard, J.D. Detmer came on to attempt a 26-yard field goal. The kicker missed wide right with 3:49 remaining.
The Wildcats forced a punt after the missed field goal and drove to the Central 22 before the Tigers defense again stood tall, forcing four straight incompletions to seal the victory.
“When our backs were against the wall, we came together and made some big stops,” Wood told the Columbus Dispatch. “We hadn’t been tested much in the red zone this year, and we came through.”
Central’s game-winning touchdown came in the first quarter. On a fourth-and-6 play from the Davidson 38, backup quarterback Josh Kristoff, an upback on punts, found gunner Patrick White for a 38-yard touchdown pass.
“If they weren’t lined up outside, (Kristoff) is supposed to yell, ‘hot dog,’ ” White told the Dispatch. “He threw it up there for me. I had to go up and make the play because I was covered pretty well. We run that play over and over again in practice, so it’s no surprise for us.”
After taking the lead, the Tigers defense did the rest.
“It was a real physical game,” Boren told the Dispatch. “They came straight at us. They are great at what they do. What was going through my head (when Davidson was driving late) was to suck it up. Their goal was to get 3 yards every play and we held them to a lot of third-and-longs.”
• WR Duron Carter, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas – The Raiders finished the regular season with a 49-2 rout at Miramar Friday.
Everything went St. Thomas Aquinas’ way in the first half. Even a bad snap on a field-goal attempt turned into a 6-yard touchdown. The snap bounced away from kicker Michael Palardy, who picked up the ball and ran with it before finding James White for a scoring pass.
The Raiders (10-0) drove down the field on their first four drives but only scored two touchdowns. Two fumbles, including one on the Miramar 1-yard line, kept the game within reach early before the Raiders finally pulled away. St. Thomas scored on seven of its 11 drives and punted only once.
The victory gave head coach George Smith his 10th undefeated regular season. His team will begin its FHSAA Class 5A playoff run with a regional quarterfinal game next week vs. Coconut Creek (7-3).
• CB Dominic Clarke, Frederick (Md.) Tuscarora – Clarke’s season came to an end Saturday in a 3-0 overtime loss at Urbana in a Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association Class 3A West semifinal.
The game was mired by sloppy field conditions. It was not until Ray Durante connected on a 21-yard field goal in OT that either team managed to score. The Titans (8-3) had the ball first in overtime but missed a 27-yard field goal. The Hawks (8-3) took over at the Tuscarora 10, as dictated by the rules of overtime in Maryland, and kicked from a spot on the field with better footing.
It was a difficult ending to a season in which Tuscarora made the playoffs for the first time.
“I just think they fought their butts off. I am proud of each and every one of them,” Tuscarora coach Shawn Carey told the Frederick (Md.) News-Post.
• CB/WR Justin Green, Louisville (Ky.) Male – Green rushed 18 times for 132 yards and three scores in Male’s 59-31 victory over Shelbyville Shelby County in the first round of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Class 6A playoffs.
The Bulldogs (7-4) dominated defensively, holding the Rockets (1-10) to 89 rushing yards on 37 attempts. Male will next face Madison Central (9-2).
• RB/CB Jordan Hall, Jeannette, Pa. – Hall caught a game-tying, 87-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Baradziej with 7:02 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Jayhawks had their season come to an end Friday in the WPIAL Class AA semifinals.
Jeannette fell to Beaver Falls, 35-28, thanks in part to a 12-yard screen pass – the only completion by the Tigers in the entire game – on a fourth-and-9 play from the Jeannette 19-yard line. That pass, from quarterback Tony Omogrosso to Cody Cook, set up a 2-yard game-winning touchdown run by Todd Thomas with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter.
“They made the plays and we didn’t,” Jeannette coach Ray Reitz told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We’ve had a great three years and, hopefully, we’re going to keep it going. These kids proved they could play without Terrelle (Pryor).”
Jeannette (11-1) ran out of time after the go-ahead touchdown. Baradziej, who threw for 236 yards, threw three incomplete passes. Beaver Falls outrushed Jeannette, 451-124.
• LB/FB Adam Homan, Coldwater, Ohio – The sequel did not live up to the original when Coldwater and Kettering Alter renewed acquaintances in the OHSAA Division IV, Region 16 final at Troy.
At least the Cavaliers did not think so.
Alter avenged its three-overtime loss to Coldwater in the 2007 regional semifinals with a 31-21 victory Friday over the Cavaliers. The Knights (11-2) silenced the Coldwater offense in the second half and rallied from a 21-10 halftime deficit.
“People have been talking about last year’s (matchup) was the greatest game they ever saw,” Alter coach Ed Domsitz told the Dayton Daily News. “To me, this was the greatest game.”
Coldwater (11-1) only ran six plays in the third quarter as Alter stormed back. The Knights scored 24 unanswered points.
• FB Carlos Hyde, Naples, Fla. – Hyde and the Golden Eagles finished the regular season with a 49-12 victory at Sarasota Friday night.
The defending FHSAA Class 3A state champs got three touchdowns from quarterback Juno Prudhomm in the victory. Greg Pratt rushed for 124 yards and three more scores for 9-1 Naples.
The Sailors (3-7) answered Naples’ first touchdown but could get no closer than 7-6.
Naples will host Riverside in a FHSAA Class 3A regional quarterfinal next week.
• LB/RB Storm Klein, Newark (Ohio) Licking Valley – Cold, rainy weather and even a power outage could not stop Klein and the Panthers from taking a 35-28 victory over Dover Saturday night at Zanesville in the OHSAA Division III, Region 11 final.
Licking Valley (12-1) nearly blew its halftime lead and had to wait 45-minutes after the lights went out early in the first quarter. Nonetheless, the Panthers are going back to the state semifinals for the second straight year.
The Panthers led 21-0 in the first half, but Dover (11-2) cut that defict to 21-14 early in the third quarter. That is when Licking Valley took command thanks to its running game. LV answered with a 65-yard touchdown drive that featured eight straight running plays from the trio of Klein, Eric Mitchell and Drew Ryan. Mitchell capped the drive with a 14-yard touchdown run up the middle.
"No doubt about it, that was our biggest drive of the night," Mitchell said. "We just had to get our momentum back after they scored, and we played smash-mouth football."
Klein led the rushing attack with 115 yards on 32 carries with three touchdowns. All of his scores came in the first half on runs of 1, 1 and 2 yards.
The Panthers will face Columbus Eastmoor Academy in the state semifinals.
• LB Jordan Whiting, Louisville (Ky.) Trinity – The Shamrocks cruised in the first round of the KHSAA Class 6A playoffs with a 59-3 rout of Mayfield Graves County.
Tim Phillips led Trinity (11-1) with 111 yards rushing with four touchdowns.
The Shamrocks will face Louisville Ballard (6-5) in the next round.
The following OSU verbal commits have finished their seasons: CB C.J. Barnett, Clayton (Ohio) Northmont; DE Melvin Fellows, Garfield Heights, Ohio; WR Chris Fields, Painesville (Ohio) Harvey; TE/OL Reid Fragel, Grosse Pointe (Mich.) South; WR/CB James Jackson, Grand Ledge, Mich.; OG Corey Linsley and J.T. Moore (junior), Youngstown (Ohio) Boardman; OT Sam Longo, Bellbrook, Ohio; OL/DL Jack Mewhort, Toledo (Ohio) St. John’s Jesuit; DE Jonathan Newsome, Cleveland Glenville; DT Johnny Simon, Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney.