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California high school football: Top 10 games of the spring season - HIGHSCORE
California high school football: Top 10 games of the spring season
A month ago it looked like a California high school football season in spring was a no-go. That changed Feb. 19 with new state guidelines allowing most counties to participate in a shortened season. School scrambled to cobble four-to-six game schedules featuring mostly league opponents.

We won't get to see that national showdowns in years past that featured Mater Dei (Santa Ana) playing St. Frances Academy (Baltimore) or IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), but there are still big-time matchups led by an April 17 Trinity League showdown between the Monarchs and St. John Bosco (Bellflower).

They have played in the last four CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship games and the winner has gone on to beat De La Salle (Concord) in the CIF Open Division state championship in each of the last four years.

With there not being any playoffs this spring in the Golden State that regular season finale will feel a lot like a post-season matchup and most likely decide California's best team. 
St. John Bosco and Mater Dei clash April 17 in a season-ending battle between the Trinity League powers.
File photo by Louis Lopez
St. John Bosco and Mater Dei clash April 17 in a season-ending battle between the Trinity League powers.
Top 10 High School Football Games in California

When: March 19
Significance: Former Narbonne (Harbor City) head coach Manuel Douglas begins his first season at St. Bernard and has a talented roster led by Arizona State-bound Larry Turner-Gooden. Sierra Canyon is loaded too, led by Virginia Tech-bound DJ Harvey and four-star safety Kamari Ramsey.

When: April 2
Significance: The Huskies have won 55 consecutive league games heading into the spring season and their biggest test this year will come against the Cougars. Even with five-star Korey Foreman sitting out, expect Matt Logan's squad to be one of the best in California.

When: April 17
Significance: The Spartans close out the season against the defending CIF Division 2-AA state champs. De La Salle has not lost to an opponent from Northern California since 1991.

When: April 16
Significance: The Diablos will be without Peter Costelli under center after he opted out of the spring season, but they return a lot of talent led by California-bound receiver Mavin Anderson and Oregon State-bound linebacker Easton Mascarenas. Lochlan Rosmalen takes over at quarterback for the Tritons and Ryland Swarthout is one of the best two-way lineman in the state.

When: March 13
Significance: The Sierra Foothill League is one of the best leagues in California and opens up with a marquee matchup between the Bulldogs and Trojans. Both teams will be without their starting quarterbacks this spring. Ari Patu is enrolling at Stanford later this month while Justin Lamson is already enrolled at Syracuse.

When: April 16
Significance: Texas-bound quarterback Maalik Murphy takes over as the full time starter for Serra and the five-star recruit checks in as the fourth-rated pro style quarterback in the Class of 2022. He faces a defense loaded with talent led by four-star linebacker Niuafe Tuihalamaka, four-star cornerback Ephesians Prysock and four-star safety RJ Jones.

4. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) at St. John Bosco (Bellflower)
When: March 13
Significance: The defending national champs take the field in the biggest game of the opening weekend in California. Some of the best talent in the Golden State will be on display. The Braves are led by four-star offensive lineman Earnest Greene III, four-star running back Rayshon Luke and four-star defensive end Nathan Burrell.

3. Servite (Anaheim) at St. John Bosco (Bellflower)
When: March 26
Significance: Mater Dei and St. John Bosco have dominated the Trinity League but this could be the year Servite kicks the door down. The Friars nearly knocked off the Braves in 2019 before falling 27-26. Troy Thomas retursn a lot of key players led by four-star quarterback Noah Fifita, five-star wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan and USC-bound tight end Keyan Burnett, who transferred from JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano).

2. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) at Servite (Anaheim)
When: April 3
Significance: A week after facing St. John Bosco things don't get any easier for the Friars as they have a Saturday showdown against the Santa Ana power. Mater Dei is loaded again this year with Raleek Brown, Kyron Ware-Hudson and CJ Williams headlining the offense and Raesjon Davis, Domani Jackson and Tyler Narayan being the leaders on defense.

1. St. John Bosco (Bellflower) at Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
When: April 17
Significance: Easily the biggest game during the spring season. Among the premier programs in the country, the winner could be crowned as the state's best.
High school football: Unconventional Arkansas coach that never punts lands college head coaching gig - HIGHSCORE
High school football: Unconventional Arkansas coach that never punts lands college head coaching gig
Kevin Kelley approached and accomplished things on the high school football field few have ever done. The Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.) head football coach announced Thursday he was leaving his post to take the same job at NCAA FCS program Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C.

The nine-time state champion has earned national attention for his statistical-driven, no-punt, high risk-high reward approach while piling up head-spinning numbers at the small (1,221 enrollment K-12), private, independent school in central Arkansas.

The 51-year-old's revolutionary offenses and methods were featured on segments of 60 Minutes, HBO's Real Sports and NFL Films and he once was a guest speaker at MIT. He was a pioneer of analytics in the high school game.

In 18 seasons, he boasted a record of 216-29-1 and was recently inducted into the Arkansas Hall of Fame.

His rise in fame coincided with the invention of numbers-driven and he quickly became the poster coach for entering team and individual statistics. His teams often ranked near or at the top of all offensive categories.
Kevin Kelley, Pulaski Academy
File photo by Rickey Miller
Kevin Kelley, Pulaski Academy
Among the Bruins' remarkable feats since 2004:

* Scoring more than 600 points 13 times and at least 700 seven times, topped out at 790 in 2019 and 789 in 2011.

* That 2011 squad was his only team to finish 15-0. Three other times the Bruins went unbeaten including his final season in 2020 (13-0), the only time they finished No. 1 in the MaxPreps Arkansas computer rankings. They finished ranked second in 2008, 2016 and 2019 and No. 3 in 2011.

* In all but one season (2009), they averaged more than 500 yards per game, while once clearing the 600-yard plateau in 2019. That year, they averaged a ridiculous 648 yards, 439 through the air and 209 on the ground.

* Average yards per game per year since 2010: 529, 537, 513, 556, 516, 581, 550, 571, 597, 648 and 579.

* Points per game since 2014: 50.2, 50.8, 47.8, 56.0, 50.2, 56.4 and 50.7.

* In a 2017 game, the Bruins pilled up what was then a national record 991 total yards during an 86-56 win over Little Rock Christian Academy. Layne Hatcher set a state record with 745 yards passing to go along with nine touchdown passes.

Hatcher is one of the most prolific passers the country has ever seen. He's the state leader with 15,483 career passing yards.  But Hatcher is not nearly alone among Kelley's pupils.

A 2020 story by MaxPreps senior writer and historian Kevin Askeland highlighted that Kelley has coached 12 of the top 100 single-season passing yardage marks in history.
Layne Hatcher, Pulaski Academy's record-setting quarterback in 2017.
File photo
Layne Hatcher, Pulaski Academy's record-setting quarterback in 2017.

High school baseball rankings: Marcus climbs into HIGHSCORE Top 25 after upending No. 5 IMG Academy - HIGHSCORE
High school baseball rankings: Marcus climbs into MaxPreps Top 25 after upending No. 5 IMG Academy
For awhile, it looked like IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) was going to sweep through the state of Texas in impressive fashion, but then Marcus (Flower Mound) got in the way. The Mauraders jump into this week's MaxPreps Top 25 high school baseball rankings after their 6-5 win over the Ascenders, who fall three spots to No. 5.

IMG Academy had looked impressive beating two-time defending Texas state champion Southlake Carroll 11-0 and Flower Mound 16-0 before the loss. IMG Academy slides below Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.), which was ranked No. 1 in 2020 when the season ended, Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Buford (Ga.), both of which are undefeated.

Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.) holds on to the top spot with a single win last week. The Tigers face a tough test this week when they take on Venice (Fla.)

Dropped out: No. 10 Jackson Prep (Jackson, Miss.); No. 14 North Paulding (Dallas, Ga.); No. 15 Venice (Fla.); No. 20 Prosper (Texas); No. 22 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas).

Game of the Week: Marcus 6, IMG Academy 5. Jake Duer's RBI single in the top of the sixth scored Tyler Schott from second to break the tie with IMG Academy. Schott was 3-for-4 in the win while Duer was 2-for-3. The duo combined to score five of Marcus's six runs. IMG Academy got a home run from Sam Hunt, but managed four hits in the loss.

Player of the Week: Jackson Ferris, IMG Academy. Although Ferris tossed a four-inning perfect game in a dominant 16-0 win over Flower Mound. Ferris did not allow a ball to be put into play as he struck out all 12 he faced. A total of 44 of his 58 pitches were strikes. The closest he got to losing the perfect game was the first batter in the fourth inning when Ferris threw three straight balls to open the at-bat. However Ferris got the Flower Mound batter on three straight swinging strikes. The perfect game is the second no-hitter of the season for Ferris.

Recruit Watch: Dylan Lesko, Buford. Perhaps the top pitcher in the class of 2022, Lesko has not allowed a hit in nine innings pitched with only one batter reaching base on an error and another to reach on a walk. He struck out nine in both outings, including a 10-0 no-hitter against Shiloh.

Game to Watch: Jesuit (Tampa) vs. Venice. Jesuit is ranked No. 1, but could get a battle from Venice, the two-time defending state champions at the Class 6A level. Venice is off to a 3-2 start with losses to Braden River and Sarasota.

Streaks: Andrean (Merrillville, Ind.). The Fighting 59ers have not lost since winning the Class 3A state championship in
2019. Coach Dave Pishkur, who is the all-time winningest coach in Indiana, has guided Andrean to 34 straight wins, which is the second best total in the nation heading into the 2021 season behind Webster (Wis.).
Camron Montz, Marcus
Photo by Tommy Hays
Camron Montz, Marcus
MaxPreps Top 25 baseball rankings

1. Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.)
3-0 | Last week: 1
Results: Def. Tampa Catholic, 12-0
Stats: Alden Segui, Dominic Castellano and Ryan Denison each struck out four over five innings on a combined no-hitter against Tampa Catholic. Nick Rodriguez had a triple and a home run in the win.
Next: Tuesday vs. Hillsborough; Friday vs. Venice.

2. Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.)
0-0 | Last week: 3
Next: Season opens March 12.

3. Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
4-0 | Last week: 4
Results: Def. Miami Christian, 7-0
Stats: Andrew Painter and Irving Carter each struck out nine batters and Rene Lastres hit a home run in the lone win of the week.
Next: Friday vs. Denmark (Ga.); Saturday vs. Pacelli (Ga.).

4. Buford (Ga.)
6-0 | Last week: 5
Results: Def. Shiloh 10-0, 13-0 and 9-0.
Stats: Dylan Lesko threw a five-inning, no-hitter with nine strikeouts in the 10-0 win while Jackson Gaspard struck out nine in the 9-0 victory.
Next: March 8 vs. Lanier

5. IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
5-1 | Last week: 2
Results: Def. Southlake Carroll, 11-0; def. Flower Mound, 16-0; lost to Marcus, 6-5.
Stats: Mason Albright struck out seven against Southlake Carroll while Jackson Ferris threw a four-inning perfect game with 12 strikeouts against Flower Mound. Elijah Green and James Wood each added a home run. Drew Gray had eight strikeouts in the loss to Marcus while Sam Hunt had a home run.
Next: March 10 vs. Montverde Academy.

6. Barbe (Lake Charles, La.)
5-0 | Last week: 7
Results: Def. Sulphur 2-0; Glenmora 10-0; Tioga 6-0; Glenmora 15-2 and West Monroe 5-2.
Next: Tuesday vs. South Beauregard

7. St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)
0-0 | Last week: 6
Next: State begins play March 24.

8. Lake Travis (Austin, Texas)
4-0-1 | Last week: 9
Results: Def. Flower Mound, 9-6; def. Southlake Carroll, 8-1; def. Prosper, 5-4; def. South Grand Prairie, 1-0; tied Flower Mound, 3-3.
Next: Tuesday vs. Hutto

9. Spruce Creek (Port Orange, Fla.)
5-0 | Last week: 12
Results: Def. Olympia, 9-1; def. Viera, 6-3; def. DeLand, 8-4.
Stats: Sebastian Iguaran had two doubles against Olympia.
Next: Tuesday vs. Flagler Palm Coast; Wednesday vs. Hagerty.

10. Carrollton (Ga.)
8-0 | Last week: 13
Results: Def. St. Pius X Catholic, 6-2; def. Ola, 8-1; def. Campbell, 3-0; def. Etowah, 3-2.
Stats: Eli Runyan struck out nine against Ola. Bear Madliak had a home run against Etowah.
Next: Thursday at Helena; Thurs at Daphne.

11. Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas)
4-1-1 | Last week: NR
Results: Def. Rockwall Heath, 11-4; def. Prosper, 2-1; def. Southlake Carroll, 5-1; lost to South Grand Prairie, 6-5; tied Lake Travis, 3-3; def. IMG Academy, 6-5.
Stats: Tyler Schott struck out eight against Southlake Carroll.
Next: Saturday vs. Centennial (Frisco).

12. Winder-Barrow (Winder, Ga.)
5-0 | Last week: 18
Results: Def. Archer, 10-6; def. Peachtree Ridge, 7-6.
Stats: Andreaus Lewis had two home runs, including a grand slam, against Archer.
Next: Tuesday vs. Peachtree Ridge

13. Woodstock (Ga.)
5-1 | Last week: NR
Results: Lost to Walton, 2-1; def. Lambert, 7-0; lost to Denmark, 10-4.
Next: Tuesday vs. Kell; Thursday vs. North Cobb.

14. Calvary Christian (Clearwater, Fla.)
4-1 | Last week: 8
Results: Def. Tarpon Springs, 10-0; lost to Lakeland Christian, 4-2.
Stats: Landen Maroudis had a home run against Tarpon Springs.
Next: Tuesday vs. Boca Ciega.

15. Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.)
4-0 | Last week: NR
Results: Def. Wellington, 6-1; def. Stoneman Douglas, 7-4
Next: Tues. vs. Cardinal Newman; Friday vs. Dwyer.

16. Stoneman Douglas (Parkland, Fla.)
5-1 | Last week: 11
Results: Def. Coral Reef, 12-2; def. Taravella, 7-3; lost to Palm Beach Gardens, 7-4.
Stats: Grant McDonald was 3-for-3 with two doubles against Coral Reef. Christian Rodriguez struck out nine against Taravella.
Next: Tuesday vs. Western; Thursday vs. Archbishop McCarthy.

17. Vestavia Hills (Ala.)
7-1 | Last week: 16
Results: Lost to Hillcrest, 5-4; def. Oak Mountain, 3-2.
Stats: Joseph Sullivan and Connor Witherington both doubled against Oak Mountain.
Next: March 9 vs. Hoover.

18. Houston County (Warner Robins, Ga.)
6-1 | Last week: 17
Results: Def. Veterans, 15-2; def. Hartselle, 4-3; def. Locust Grove, 10-1; lost to Hartselle, 3-2.
Stats: Drew Burress had a home run against Veterans and two doubles against Hartselle. Gage Harrelson had a triple against Locust Grove.
Next: March 9 vs. Veterans.

19. Reagan (San Antonio)
6-1 | Last week: 21
Results: Def. Lee, 27-0; def. Austin McNeil, 14-0; def. San Angelo Central, 6-0; lost to Round Rock, 3-1; def. Georgetown 5-4; def. Stony Point, 2-1. Billy Baehr threw a four-inning no-hitter against McNeil.
Next: Tuesday vs. MacArthur; Thursday vs. Eagle Pass.

20. Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)
5-0 | Last week: NR
Results: Def. Flowery Branch, 5-3; def. South Forsyth, 7-5; def. Lowndes, 6-4.
Next: Tue. vs. Mill Creek; Fri. vs. Hillgrove; Sat. vs. Wesleyan.

21. John Carroll Catholic (Fort Pierce, Fla.)
4-0 | Last week: NR
Results: Def. American Heritage (Delray), 11-1; def. Fort Pierce Westwood, 11-1; def. Sebastian River, 6-0.
Next: Tuesday vs. Central Pointe Christian; Sat. vs. Episcopal School.

22. De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
0-0 | Last week: 19
Next: March 8 vs. Livermore.

23. Heritage Hall (Oklahoma City)
0-0 | Last week: 23
Next: Tuesday vs. Carl Albert; Thursday vs. Deer Creek.

24. Farragut (Knoxville, Tenn.)
0-0 | Last week: 24
Next: March 16-18 Grand Slam Tournament

25. Charlotte Christian (Charlotte, N.C.)
0-0 | Last week: 25
Next: March 4 vs. Combine Academy
High school basketball: GEICO Nationals schedule, preview - HIGHSCORE
High school basketball: GEICO Nationals schedule, preview
The stage is set to crown a high school basketball national champion this week at the Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Fort Myers, Fla., as 10 teams converge for GEICO Nationals.  Unless a Cinderella story emerges, the winner will likely top the final MaxPreps Top 25 rankings.

Play begins Wednesday and continues through Saturday, when the champion will be crowned at noon ET on ESPN. National No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) enters as a slight favorite and will be looking for its fifth GEICO Nationals title since 2013.

Among the biggest storylines entering the event will be a notable void in the lineup for one of the contenders. Top 50 senior prospect Da'Ron Holmes was ruled ineligible by the tournament committee and won't suit up for No. 2 AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) after missing the transfer deadline. According to GEICO Nationals officials, the rule has been on the books for several years though the application of it in this situation appears harsh. Jaden Akins transferred to Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) less than one week prior to the arrival of Holmes and has been deemed eligible to participate.

With Holmes, AZ Compass Prep beat No. 2 seed Sunrise Christian earlier this season and took Montverde Academy to overtime before suffering its lone setback. The Dragons face No. 10 Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) in the opening round in a contest that pits two of the top senior guards in the country – MaxPreps National Player of the Year candidate TyTy Washington and McDonald's All-American selection Nolan Hickman (Kentucky signee).

GEICO Nationals winners in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018, Montverde Academy is led by No. 2-ranked junior prospect Jalen Duren and senior sharpshooter Caleb Houstan (Michigan signee). The Eagles have won 45 of their last 46 games dating back to the start of last season and remained No. 1 in MaxPreps Top 25 for the entirety of that span.
Montverde Academy could secure its third national championship in four years at GEICO Nationals.
Photo by David Rosenblum
Montverde Academy could secure its third national championship in four years at GEICO Nationals.
Montverde's first-round game is against Wednesday's play-in winner featuring first-time participant and Georgia AA champion No. 15 Pace Academy (Atlanta) and unranked tournament mainstay Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.). Head coach Steve Smith's Warriors have struggled a bit this season but an always-talented roster provides stiff competition for a Pace Academy team entering with 28 consecutive wins.

M.J. Rice leads way for Oak Hill Academy while Florida State signee Matthew Cleveland is Pace Academy's top player.

Wednesday's other play-in game pits No. 12 Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.) against La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.), which enters with a sub-.500 record. Prolific Prep is making its first GEICO Nationals appearance after receiving an invite in 2020 only to see it canceled due to the pandemic.

No. 3 Sunrise Christian draws the Prolific Prep-La Lumiere winner. A deep, talented rotation is led by a pair of five-star seniors in versatile guard Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee signee) and impact wing Kendall Brown (Baylor). The Buffaloes are the only team to knock off Montverde Academy in the past two seasons, handing the Eagles a rare home loss in early February.

Thursday's first quarterfinal contest pits defending champion No. 4 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) and Georgia AAAAAAA state champion No. 7 Milton. IMG features a roster full of four- and five-star prospects headlined by the trio of Moussa Diabate (Michigan), Jaden Bradley and Jarace Walker. The gritty Peach State public school counters with one of the top underclass backcourts in Bruce Thornton (Ohio State commit) and sharp-shooting five-star sophomore Kanaan Carlyle.

The four-day tournament is available ESPN family of networks, either streaming or broadcast (full schedule below).

GEICO Nationals schedule

Wednesday, March 31
Games on ESPN3, All times ET
6 p.m. — Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.) vs. La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)
8 p.m. — Pace Academy (Atlanta) vs. Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)

Thursday, April 1
Games on ESPNU
Noon — IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) vs. Milton (Ga.)
2 p.m. — Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) vs. Prolific Prep/La Lumiere winner
4 p.m. — Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) vs. Pace/Oak Hill winner
6 p.m. — AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) vs. Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)

Friday, April 2
Games on ESPN2
2:30 p.m. — Semifinal
4:30 p.m. — Semifinal

Saturday, April 3

Game on ESPN
Noon — Championship
Dasan McCullough named 2020 HIGHSCORE Kansas High School Football Player of the Year - HIGHSCORE
Dasan McCullough named 2020 MaxPreps Kansas High School Football Player of the Year
Each year since 2006, MaxPreps has recognized outstanding performers in high school football. America's source for high school sports continues the tradition to close out the 2020 season by naming the top player in each state. Selections are based on team success and individual excellence, in addition to local and state accolades.

Dasan McCullough of Blue Valley North (Overland Park) is the 2020 MaxPreps Kansas High School Football Player of the Year. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound junior contributed on both sides of the ball but dominated defensively for the Mustangs, who went 7-3 en route to the Class 6A state championship game.

The son of the Kansas City Chiefs running backs coach Deland McCullough, the Blue Valley North star finished the year with 75 tackles, six tackles for loss, four interceptions and four forced fumbles.

McCullough is one of the nation's top Class of 2022 prospects according to 247Sports. The top 100 recruit committed to Ohio State last August over a reported 42 other offers – including College Football Playoff participants Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame.

Each state's MaxPreps Player of the Year will be considered for inclusion in the MaxPreps All-America Team, which will be released Jan. 29.
Dasan McCullough in action against Derby in the Class 6A state championship game.
Photo by Tom Fleeman
Dasan McCullough in action against Derby in the Class 6A state championship game.