High school football season is winding down across the country, with many state championship games slated to take place next weekend. This is the case for teams featuring Michigan commits as well, with only 11 players still alive in the playoffs this past weekend. Given the few players in action, we’re going to switch up the format this week and give attention to each recruit’s performance.
First up is three-star running back Gaige Garcia, who’s Southern Columbia faced their toughest challenge all season, fellow undefeated team Upper Dauphin, in the state quarterfinals.
Of course, that means that Southern Columbia only won 63-22. Upper Dauphin’s 22 points almost equals the total number of points Southern Columbia allowed in their 13 games prior to this week, which was a whopping 26.
In the victory, Garcia rushed the ball four times for 95 yards and a touchdown, giving him an even 30 scores on the ground this season. He also had a reception for 33 yards. Southern Columbia will face another undefeated team in the semifinals this week in Richland.
Flip the score from Garcia’s game above and you’ll get close to the loss suffered by St. John’s in their state semifinal game last Saturday. Despite being knotted at 14-14 after the first quarter, Central cruised in the last three quarters to solidly beat St. John’s 64-33.
In the loss, Dennis was able to haul in four catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns. While I assuredly have incomplete season stats for Dennis, his per catch averages remain insane. His two scores in this game both went for 52 yards, showing his big play ability.
Despite the loss, St. John’s still has another game on the schedule, their annual clash against rival St. Peter Marien on Thanksgiving Day.
In a tight game against Marist in the state semifinals, Henning proved the difference as he helped Lincoln-Way east pull away late for the 24-7 victory. Late in the third quarter with only a 10-7 lead, Henning scored twice on his team’s final three possessions to seal the game.
In total, the four-star had three catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns, while also carrying the ball seven times for 19 yards. Henning has almost 1,500 all-purpose yards this season with 30 touchdowns. He’ll play for a state championship against Warren Township next weekend.
Here we have another four-star wide receiver who helped his undefeated team reach the championship game with a two touchdown performance. In Wilson’s case, his St. Louis squad enjoyed a more comfortable lead during their 35-0 shutout of Mililani.
Wilson chipped in 9 catches and 74 yards to go along with his two touchdowns, which included this ridiculous grab:
He’s not just fast folks.
Hibner and Lake Braddock came away with a tight 30-24 overtime victory against Mount Vernon this week to advance to their district championship. The three-star tight end was kept quiet on offense with only one catch for 22 yards, but absolutely exploded on defense.
Lining up at defensive end, Hibner racked up 20 tackles, which included two tackles for loss and a sack. He also had a pass deflection, his 7th of the season.
I think that Hibner and four-star Braiden McGregor are kind of mirror images of each other given the positions they plan to play in college. Both are long, super smooth athletes who line up at both sides of the ball at tight end and defensive end. Given Hibner’s performance this season, he’s one of the recruits whose career I’m most excited to watch unfold.
Williamstown and Lewis have played two tight games against rival Lenape this season, with the result coming out the same each time. With a one-score margin late in the game, Williamstown has relied on Lewis to come up with a big sack to stop Lenape’s attempt to tie the game and seal the victory. This time, however, it was for a Group 5 district championship.
Lewis not only got the sack as time expired but also forced a fumble to erase any doubts about his team’s win. This was Lewis’ 10th sack on the season, which has been a successful individual and team campaign.
Williamstown moves on to face Cherokee in the South Central New Jersey Group 5 bowl game.
Good Counsel and St. John’s faced off in their own version of Sunday Night Football to determine the WCAC champion. It was certainly a thriller, with Good Counsel walking away with the 16-14 victory thanks to a 32-yard game winning field goal with only 14 seconds left on the clock.
Jenkins played a large role in his team’s stifling defensive performance with seven tackles, five of which were for a loss. That also includes a sack, his 7.5th of the season. Good Counsel gets to wrap up their season with their first conference championship since they won four in a row from 2009 to 2012.
After the game, Jenkins and his three-star teammate Mitchell Melton, an Ohio State commit, were named co-defensive players on the year for the WCAC conference.
There hasn’t been much of a spotlight on Mohan this year because of the lack of coverage of New York football, but that doesn’t mean him or his team have been forgettable on the field. In fact, Erasmus Hall has enjoyed a successful 10-2 season, with their latest win a 25-0 shutout over Curtis in the New York City tournament semifinal.
This win was Erasmus Hall’s eighth shutout in 12 games, meaning opposing teams only have a one in three chance to score on a defense led by Mohan. Luckily, I recently found Mohan’s season stats so we can quantify how much of an impact he’s had. With 56 tackles and 13 sacks from the linebacker position, it’s safe to say that it’s a lot.
Erasmus Hall will play Tottenville in Yankee Stadium for the PSAL championship on Wednesday, December 4th. Tottenville gave Erasmus Hall one of their two losses earlier this season, with a narrow 24-21 win.
After conquering a West Bloomfield squad filled with FBS talent last week, Belleville faced a Brighton squad with only one player holding an FBS offer, but fell 22-19 on a late touchdown pass.
With just over a minute left in the game, it appeared that Seldon had won the game with an interception, but pass interference was called on one of his teammates, negating the turnover. On the next play, the Brighton quarterback found his receiver in the end zone with 50 seconds left to pull ahead for good.
This is Belleville’s second straight loss in the semifinals after losing to eventual state champion Chippewa Valley last season.
We’re moving on to the 2021 class now, where five-star J.J. McCarthy put on an eerily close Shea Patterson impression in Nazareth Academy’s 42-14 win over Rolling Meadows in the state semifinals.
McCarthy completed 20 of 27 passes for 364 yards and five touchdowns on the day, which compares favorably to Patterson’s 20 of 32 for 366 yards and five touchdown evisceration of Indiana happening at the same time.
On the season, McCarthy has a 35:8 touchdown to interception ratio and 2,796 passing yards. He’ll be looking to lead his team to back-to-back state titles against Mt. Carmel next week.
On the other side of the Michigan state playoff bracket was Giovanni El-Hadi and his Sterling Heights Stevenson squad, who went on a surprising three-game playoff win streak after entering the tournament with a 5-4 record.
Unfortunately, Stevenson faced the same fate as Belleville, losing 34-27 in overtime to Davison. In the loss, El-Hadi helped pave the way for over 400 yards of offense and four touchdowns and had a couple of stuffs while playing on the defensive line.
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