• WR Duron Carter, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas – Carter and the Raiders will look to continue their perfect season with a Region 4 final victory over visiting Stuart South Fort Friday at Brian Piccolo Memorial Stadium in the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 5A playoffs.
Carter caught 10- and 11-yard touchdown passes in the Raiders’ last victory, a 49-8 rout of Fort Lauderdale Dillard in a regional semifinal. Quarterback Ryan Becker threw for 103 yards and four touchdowns. Giovanni Bernard led the rushing attack with 122 yards and two scores.
The win was the 21st straight for St. Thomas Aquinas. The Raiders have outscored their opponents 548-82 this season.
South Fork (9-3) earned its trip to the regional final with a pair of upset victories. The Bulldogs upset then-once beaten Melbourne Palm Bay, 21-20, in the regional quarterfinals before earning a 35-28 win over then-unbeaten Delray Beach Atlantic last weekend. That victory earned the Bulldogs their first trip to the regional final in school history.
“It’s just a tremendous accomplishment and a tribute to the kids, especially to the seniors, and the staff to get us to turn the corner and get to this point,” South Fork coach Dennis Lavelle told the Stuart News. “I’m just hoping we’re not done, and they want to try again. It’s a big deal for the school.”
The Bulldogs led 21-7 Atlantic before falling into a 28-28 tie. Running back Willie Walker put South Fork ahead for good with a game-winning 1-yard run in the fourth quarter. Walker finished with 196 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns.
• CB/RB/WR Justin Green, Louisville (Ky.) Male – Two teams hitting its stride at the right time will meet when Male hosts Independence Simon Kenton Friday in a Kentucky High School Athletic Association Class 3A state semifinal.
The Bulldogs entered the playoffs with a 6-4 record, but in three postseason wins Male has averaged 52 points. Green is coming off a season-best 254-yard rushing performance in Male’s last game, a 56-35 victory over visiting Georgetown Scott County in the state quarterfinals. Green scored five touchdowns, four rushing and one on a 76-yard reception.
The Bulldogs have been aided by the progress of quarterback Dexter Britt, who completed 12 of 18 passes for a career-high 258 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Scott County. Britt took over as the starting quarterback four games into the season after splitting time with Trent Kelley.
“I think he handled the two-quarterback system well,” Green told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “He kept on playing, and he didn’t get down just because he wasn’t starting. Eventually he got his shot.”
Simon Kenton (9-4) has been a team of road warriors in the playoffs, winning three times away from home. The latest of those came last week in a 14-7 victory over Florence Boone County. That avenged a 42-7 regular-season loss.
The Pioneers broke a 7-7 tie in the second half with a 48-yard touchdown reception from Chad Lawrence to running back Miles Simpson on a throwback screen.
“They blitzed everybody,” Simpson told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I had to pick somebody up so Chad could get free at first. I didn’t know if the ball was going to come or not. As soon as it did, I just said, ‘Don't drop it.’ ”
• FB Carlos Hyde, Naples, Fla. – Hyde will look to continue his impressive postseason run when the Golden Eagles travel to Miami Monsignor Pace Friday in the FHSAA Class 3A, Region 4 final.
Hyde has rushed for 469 yards with seven touchdowns in two playoff games, leading Naples into a rematch against the team that handed the Golden Eagles (11-1) their lone loss. In that season-opening game, Pace earned a 24-23 victory.
“That first game, a lot of our defensive players didn’t prepare,” Naples defensive coordinator Sam Dollar told the Miami Herald. “They thought they were going to be able to go out there and do what Naples always does and win. It was really an eye-opener for those who thought they were going to win without working.”
Hyde ran for 203 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns in Naples’ 17-14 win against visiting Fort Myers Dunbar last weekend in the regional semifinals. That effort was a week after Hyde ran for a career-high 266 yards and five touchdowns against Fort Myers Riverside.
Pace (10-2) earned its regional final berth with a 13-6 win last week over previously unbeaten Belle Glade Glades Central. The Spartans built a 10-0 lead in the first half and held Glades Central without a first down in the first half. Quarterback Stephen Morris led the Pace offense by completing 10 of 18 passes for 191 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
“(Naples is) coming in here on a payback, on a revenge or on a redemption, however you want to look at it,” Pace coach Alvin Simpson told the Naples News. “But they’re coming in here because they feel like we went in their house and we maybe stole one, so they’re goal is to come in here and get it back from us. But I like the way we’re playing and it’s going to be hard to beat us at home if we keep exemplifying and displaying all the things that got us to this point.”
• LB Jordan Whiting, Louisville (Ky.) Trinity – The Shamrocks will look for revenge this weekend in a KHSAA Class 6A state semifinal showdown against archrival Louisville St. Xavier Friday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
Whiting and the Trinity defense struggled in a 30-6 loss to St. X in the regular season. Four different Tigers scored in the rout. Rusher Deuce Finch rushed for 152 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown. Quarterback Matt Brutscher threw for two touchdowns.
The Shamrocks (12-1) defeated Louisville Eastern, 63-15, in the state quarterfinals last weekend. Senior rusher Tim Phillips ran for a season-high 216 yards and scored four touchdowns.
Trinity has outscored its three playoff opponents 159-31.
St. X (12-0) earned its spot in the semifinals with a 53-0 blowout win over Louisville Manual last weekend. It was the fifth shutout of the season by the Tigers’ defense. St. Xavier has averaged 53 points per game and gave up just four.
“Our theme is ‘leave no doubt,’ ” St. X coach Mike Glaser told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I think our games are getting like this because we play so hard for all 48 minutes. We came out ready to play.”
Finch led the St. X rushing attack with 133 yards on 13 carries with two touchdowns. Brutscher completed 10 of 16 passes for 116 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
The following OSU verbal commits have finished their seasons: CB C.J. Barnett, Clayton (Ohio) Northmont; WLB Dorian Bell and CB/WR Corey Brown, Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway; DT/OG Adam Bellamy, Aurora, Ohio; Jaamal Berry, Miami (Fla.) Palmetto; LB/FB Zach Boren and DB/WR Jamie Wood, Pickerington (Ohio) Central; CB Dominic Clarke, Frederick (Md.) Tuscarora; DE Melvin Fellows, Garfield Heights, Ohio; WR Chris Fields, Painesville (Ohio) Harvey; TE/OL Reid Fragel, Grosse Pointe (Mich.) South; RB/CB Jordan Hall, Jeannette, Pa.; LB/FB Adam Homan, Coldwater, Ohio; WR/CB James Jackson, Grand Ledge, Mich.; LB/RB Storm Klein, Newark (Ohio) Licking Valley; 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.