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October 13, 2011

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

The beauty of Weekend Watch - if we do say so ourselves - is that we're watching everything.

Sure, we have some of the traditional powers selected this week; how could we not make the Ohio battle between No. 38 Cincinnati-St. X and No. 45 Lakewood-St. Edward as the top game in the Lakes area or the Texas tussle between No. 77 Southlake Carroll and Coppell in the Heartland.

But we're not afraid to introduce some schools that may not be as familiar - see the California game between No. 48 Del Oro and Nevada Union and the Louisiana tussle between No. 58 Carencro and Barbe.

And we're not afraid to go out of the more heralded states - see the Massachusetts' matchup between No. 97 Everett and Xaverian Brothers.

We've past the midway point in the high school season, meaning the matchups are taking on more significance. We're making it our job to watch it all.

With that, the best games in our regions:

Weekend Watch
No. 97 Everett v Xaverian Brothers

RIVALS HIGH KEY PLAYERS
EVERETT
QB JOnathan DiBiaso (6-0/175, Sr.)
RB Vondell Langston (5-11/186, Sr.)
When: Saturday Oct. 15, 2:00 pm
Last Meeting: Oct. 16, 2010 - Everett won, 28-13
Rankings: Everett (5-0), No. 1 in Massachusetts
Xaverian Brothers (4-1), No. 5 in Massachusetts


Why it's big: Everett was moved down in classification this year and so its playoff path will likely not be as tough as it has been in past years. Its next two outings - Xaverian and BC High - will be its two measuring stick games; it needs to show well to hold onto its spot in the national rankings. Xaverian Brothers, a team that has fought for national rankings in recent years, will not be a pushover in a rivalry game.


Best matchup: The Everett passing game against the Xaverian defense. The amount of times Everett goes to the air may be surprising to some. Xaverian is a grind it out team that prefers a more traditional Northeastern pace of play. Matching up those two styles will be interesting - and be dictated by how much Xaverian can slow down Everett's aerial attack.


Xaverian Brothers wins if: The defense is stout. The Hawks only have allowed one team to score more than 7 points all season - and it was a 31-point explosion in a loss to Duxbury. If Xaverian has any chance to win this game it will come with a defensive performance like none other, and that will need to include a couple of turnovers.


Everett wins if: It scores more than 21 points. Everett isn't the most formidable of defenses in the country, but Xaverian's offense is not very explosive. If the Crimson Tide are able to put up three touchdowns it should be enough as Xaverian figures to struggle to get on the board twice.


Prediction: Everett looks like the class of New England this year and will look to flex its muscle in this game. Since it is a rivalry game, figure there will be some wiggle room on the final score. It is a home game and that will aid if Everett gets out early like it is expected to do.
- Everett 34, Xaverian 10.

Weekend Watch
No. 58 Carencro v Barbe

RIVALS HIGH KEY PLAYERS
CARENCRO
RB Alex Johnson (5-11/195, Sr.)
DT Jacoby Briscoe (6-4/291, Sr.)
OL Jordan Walker (6-4/299, Sr.)
BARBE
TE DeSean Smith (6-4/223, Jr.)
When: Friday Oct. 14, 7:00 pm
Last Meeting: Sept. 10, 2010 - Barbe won, 26-14
Rankings: Carencro (6-0), No. 1 in Louisiana
Barbe (4-2), No. 18 in Louisiana


Why it's big: These are the lone undefeated teams in Louisiana 5A District 3. This very well could be a separation game for the top spot in the district. Carencro has become one of the hottest teams in the state and in the nation. and Barbe - which crushed Acadiana last week - could take a commanding lead in the area with wins over the top two teams it competes with.


Best matchup: The Barbe passing attack against the Carencro secondary. Barbe likes to spread teams out and go over the top, which could exploit the defensive backfield of Carencro. Its biggest worry could be that the game turns into a shootout, which could hppen against Carencro (a 69-48 winner over Calvary Baptist earlier this year). If Barbe finds soft spots in the defense, it will press on them.


Carencro wins if: It is really as good as it is getting credit for. None of the team's last three opponents have a winning record, so it could be gaining false confidence ahead of a game where it will likely be tested. If Carencro gets down on itself early because of a scoreboard deficit, it may unravel. Carencro was a 5-5 team last year so losing this game is not out of the question.


Barbe wins if: It is efficient on offense. It needs to score but not at a breakneck pace because Carencro can answer just as quickly. Some methodical drive that are back breakers and not just two play gassers will wear on the confidence of Carencro as well as chew up clock. While Barbe likes to throw it around the playground, it needs to be cognizant of time management and make the ticking seconds play to its advantage.


Prediction: Barbe is likely better than the 31-16 loss to Evangel Christian, but it likely isn't as good as the team that beat Acadiana 44-14. Finding out which Barbe team shows up will be a major swing to this outcome and playing at home will help it settle in quickly. Carencro has the talent edge entering the contest. Both teams are riding high off of big wins; seeing which team is able to keep the momentum and playing well will be a tell tale of the game. Barbe beat Carencro last year; it won't this year.
- Carencro 30, Barbe 27.

-- For more on Louisiana football, visit PelicanPreps.com

Weekend Watch
No. 38 St. Xavier v No. 45 St. Edward

RIVALS HIGH KEY PLAYERS
ST. XAVIER
RB Conor Hundley (5-9/186, Sr.)
DB Arndrew Arand (6-2/200, Sr.)
OL Brandyn Cook (6-2/293, Sr.)
LB Nate Gerbus (6-1/220, Sr.)
ST. EDWARD
DE Darryl Render (6-3/245, Sr.)
DE Tom Lally (6-3/250, Sr.)
TE Sam Grant (6-6/240, Sr.)
OL Kyle Kalis (6-5/302, Sr.)
When: Saturday Oct. 15, 2:00 pm
Last Meeting: Oct. 16, 2010 - St. Edward won, 20-3
Rankings: St. Xavier (5-2), No. 2 in Ohio
St. Edward (6-1), No. 4 in Ohio


Why it's big: In addition to being a huge game for playoff points in Ohio, it also is a measuring stick game for teams battling for a national title. The best win for No. 2 Louisville Trinity came in a dominant performance against St. X. The best win for No. 1 Don Bosco was in dominating fashion against St. Edward. A head-to-head battle between the two is a great way to see which of those two national contenders will gain more strength-of-schedule points going forward.


Best matchup: The St. Ed offensive line against the St. X defensive front. The St. Edward's offensive line was totally exposed in last week's game against Don Bosco. In the week's prior, the St. X defensive front was not as successful as it usually is against Trinity. How that dynamic plays out in this game likely will determine the winner.


St. Edward wins if: It can put up points offensively. It was held to just seven last week and has had a problem with production all season. Its inability to get early movement against good defensive teams is making that Tampa Jefferson outburst look a lot like an outlier performance and not the norm. If the Eagles are not able to put up 20 points, it will have a tough time winning.


St. Xavier wins if: It can put up points offensively. The team has averaged 26 points per game - which for St. X is a lot - but it was held to 17 in a win over Colerain, seven in a loss to Trinity, and 21 in a win over Elder. Its offensive outbursts against LaSalle and Springfield skew the numbers. If this team is unable to get over the 20-point barrier, it will have a tough time winning.


Prediction: This game is being played at St. X, which gives the home team a major advantage. St. Ed just traveled to New York for a game and now is going to have a near three-hour bus ride across the state on a short week. Pride will play a major factor for St. Ed as it needs this win to rehabilitate its image. If this game were played 10 times, there may not be much separating the two as neither offense is explosive enough to pull away. Expect a steady does of power football from St. X in a low-scoring win.
- St. X 13, St. Ed 7.

-- For more on Ohio high school sports, visit OhioVarsity.com

Weekend Watch
No. 77 Southlake Carroll v Coppell

RIVALS HIGH KEY PLAYERS
SOUTHLAKE CARROLL
LB Will Davis (6-1/215, Sr.)
DB Sabian Holmes (5-11/175, Sr.)
OL James Prince (6-6/270, Sr.)
COPPELL
DB David Busby (5-11/175, Sr.)
QB Jake Larson (6-4/205, Sr.)
OL Sam Rice (6-4/285, Sr.)
When: Friday Oct. 14, 7:30 pm
Last Meeting: Oct. 15, 2010 - Coppell won, 35-17.
Rankings: Southlake Carroll (6-0), No. 9 in Texas
Coppell (5-1), No. 39 in Texas


Why it's big: This is a separation game in Texas 5A District 7 and a tell-tale game for Southlake Carroll, which has underwhelmed in several games this season. If the Dragons are going to get back into a serious national title contender discussion, they will need to rediscover their killer instinct and not just play to the level of its opponents.


Best matchup: The Carroll passing game against the Coppell secondary. Southlake Carroll is a shell of its Todd Dodge days, but the team is still winning and it is still throwing the ball. Coppell's secondary is in disarray compared to last season, when the back seven of the defense was very strong. Its 31-7 loss to Denton Guyer was a tough pill to swallow, but it could be in store for another such finish if improvements haven't been made.


Coppell wins if: Southlake Carroll allows the team to stay around and steal the game. Coppell is not what it was last year, especially on defense, which lost a load of talented athletes who are very tough to replace. Coppell has won some games on grit and guts, but this game it should be outgunned. Unless it is helped by mistakes, it should be a Dragon win.


Carroll wins if: It can play like a team that wants to be a threat to a state title. This team has escaped with one-score wins against Copperas Cove, Fossil Ridge and Keller - and none of those teams are as good as Coppell. If the team does not put the Coppell away early, it will be in danger of losing the game as well as its national ranking.


Prediction: There seems to be a pack of teams separating in Texas, but Southlake Carroll and Coppell do not look like they are a part of that group. This game will continue the sorting of teams on the second tier of quality teams, but baring something amazing, it will not push either up the ladder too much. Winning this district is a statement and Carroll would like to get back to its dominance of this area.
- Southlake Carroll 26, Coppell 13.

-- For more on Texas football, visit TheOldCoach.com

Weekend Watch
No. 48 Del Oro v Nevada Union

RIVALS HIGH KEY PLAYERS
DEL ORO
LB Alex Bertrando (6-3/215, Sr.)
WR Quinton Kime (5-9/160, Sr.)
RB Brandon Monroe (6-0/184, Jr.)
NEVADA UNION
LB Gabe Humphers (6-0/197, Sr.)
RB Connor Keith (6-1/215, Sr.)
When: Friday Oct. 14, 7:30 pm
Last Meeting: Oct. 15, 2010 - Del Oro won, 14-10.
Rankings: Del Oro (5-1), No. 5 in California
Nevada Union (4-2), No. 41 in California


Why it's big: This is a matchup of Top 20 NorCal teams that has been a close contest in the past and should be again this week. Del Oro has rapidly moved up the ranking inside the state - mainly because of a lot of interplay losses pushing other NorCal teams down. A 30-27 defeat to Westlake actually boosted this squad. Union was pushing for similar respect nationally until it fell to Elk Grove and Granite Bay in consecutive weeks. A win here could stop the bleeding as well as derail Del Oro's goal of a CIF Division II Bowl bid.


Best matchup: The quarterback play for Del Oro and Nevada Union. Without starting quarterback Kyle Cota, Union was able to stay in the game with Granite Bay showing the toughness and depth of the team. Bobby Heatherington has been efficient and effective against most all teams this year. Whoever is able to be the star of the game could be the team that takes home the victory.


Del Oro wins if: Junior running back Brandon Moore is able to get going and lighten the load on Heatherington. Moore had a touchdown rush last week and has improved his play and his stock as the season has played on. Getting him going on the ground will be a great way to loosen the defense of Union.


Nevada Union wins if: It can be settled at quarterback. Tyler Houlihan did a solid job last week with two passing touchdowns and a rushing score in the loss. If he is better this week and gets a little help from his skill players then Union can pull the mild upset.


Prediction: In a decidedly down year for top-level teams in California, more teams such as Union are emerging as solid opponents. If it beats Del Oro, it would not register as much of a shock at all. Del Oro has the ability to control its own destiny and get to a CIF Bowl Game with this game and next week against Granite Bay being major tests. Taking the trip should focus this team and not be a major disadvantage.
- Del Oro 23, Nevada Union 7

Weekend Watch
Other Predictions (2011: 55-17)
Game of the Week: Servite def. Orange Lutheran, 27-20
No. 40 Carmel def. Ben Davis, 30-20
No. 64 Longview def. Mesquite Horn, 24-20
No. 81 Colquitt County def. Lowndes, 28-13
No. 91 Bergen Catholic def. St. Joe's Regional, 40-36
Have your game picked next week: E-mail Dallas Jackson
Submit your picks: Play the Pick'Em contest
Game of the Week record: 6-2
2011 Record for all games picked: 61-19



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