Friday Night Lights: Look Ahead

Two Ohio State verbal commits will take the field this weekend hoping to bring home state championships in Indiana and Missouri, respectively, while two future Buckeyes face off in the Ohio playoffs. Here is a look at the upcoming games for the future Buckeyes.

J.T. Barrett, QB, Wichita Falls (Texas) Rider – Barrett's prep career might be over because of a knee injury, but his Raiders play on. Rider (9-2) will host Fort Worth Southwest Friday in the area round of the University Interscholastic League Class 4A Division II tournament.

Rider earned a 44-26 victory at Fort Worth Dunbar in the bi-district round. In that game, Barrett's stand-in, Chase London, threw for 202 yards and tossed a pair of touchdown passes. Southwest, led by Baylor-bound receiver Robbie Rhodes, emerged with a hard-fought 7-0 victory against Everman. Rhodes, who left for part of the game because of a minor injury, provided the only score of the game on a trick play that had him threw a 43-yard TD pass to Isaiah Homes in the second half.

Joey Bosa, DE, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas – A district rematch is up next for the Raiders as St. Thomas Aquinas (9-2) hosts Plantation (8-3) Friday in a Florida High School Athletic Association Class 7A regional semifinal.

On Oct. 26, Bosa and his teammates rallied for a 24-20 victory against the Colonels. In that game, Plantation led 20-17 after the third quarter before Fred Coppet gave the Raiders the victory with an 8-yard touchdown run with 3:55 remaining. It was one of two trips to the end zone for Coppet.

Last week, St. Thomas Aquinas opened its postseason run with a 42-7 rout of visiting Miami Beach. Coppet scored a pair of touchdowns, as did Deltron Sands. Plantation earned a 29-8 win at Hialeah American, its first postseason victory since 2009. The Colonels rushed for 261 yards in the win, led by a 120-yard performance by quarterback Chris Lammons.

Cameron Burrows, CB, Trotwood (Ohio) Madison and Darron Lee, S/QB, New Albany, Ohio – One of two Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II semifinals will pit future Buckeyes against each other when Trotwood (11-2) battles New Albany (11-2) in a game Friday night at Piqua.

The Rams are the defending state champions and enter the game on a roll. After opening the season 1-2 with losses Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University and Huber Heights Wayne, Trotwood has won 10 in a row – including three en route to a Region 6 championship. Despite only managing a six seed in the region, the Rams marched to the semifinals. They defeated No. 3 Cincinnati Mt. Healthy, 48-0, in the opening round before outlasting second-seeded Cincinnati Winton Woods, 27-20, in overtime. Last week, the Rams earned a regional crown with a 42-14 thumping of No. 1 seed Cincinnati Turpin.

In the postseason, Burrows had seven tackles and a fumble recovery.

New Albany lost its first two games of the season – 10-9 against Reynoldburg and 23-20 (OT) against Westerville Central – before turning its season around. The fourth-seeded Eagles opened their postseason run with a 25-6 win against No. 5 Columbus Beechcroft before earning wins against No. 1 Dresden Tri-Valley (42-35) and third-seeded Columbus Marion-Franklin (32-30). In the latest win, Lee played his part by scoring two touchdowns on offense, returning a punt for another and nabbing a victory-sealing interception in the final minute.

The Eagles are making their second state semifinal appearance. The other came in 2006.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, St. Louis John Burroughs – Elliott is one win away from capping his high school career with a state championship. He and the Bombers (13-0) face Maryville (14-0) Friday afternoon at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis for the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 3 championship.

Burroughs has plenty of motivation leading into the game, which kicks off at 1 p.m. The Bombers are making this third straight title game appearance, but are looking for their first win. They lost to Richmond in 2010 and Logan-Rogersville in 2011 – by a combined eight points. Led by Elliott's 1,955 yards and 47 touchdowns, the Bombers have cruised through the season and hope to prevent Maryville from winning its first title since 2009 when it defeated Brentwood for the Class 2 crown.

The Hounds have averaged nearly 50 points per game and are coming off a 42-7 thumping of formerly unbeaten California in the semifinal round.

Tim Gardner, OT, Indianapolis Lawrence Central – Another future Buckeye will attempt to win a state championship this weekend when the Bears (14-0) battle Fort Wayne Snider (14-0) Saturday night in the Indiana High School Athletics Association Class 5A championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Lawrence Central will likely use a familiar script in trying to earn their first state crown – running the football and putting it in the hands of 1,000-yard rushers Drake Christen, Alex Rodriguez and Isaiah Townsend. The Bears are making their return to the Hoosier state's top stage since losing the 2010 Class 5A title game to Fishers. Lawrence Central punched its ticket to the championship game last weekend by beating host Greenwood Center Grove, 28-15.

Snider won the state championship in 1991 but has lost its four other title game appearances. The Panthers bested Merrillville, 42-39, last weekend at the semi-state level. Brandon Phelps led the way by tossing three touchdown passes, two to Addison Dellinger. He also ran for a third score.

Tyquan Lewis, DE, Tarboro, N.C. – Lewis and the Vikings (13-0) will battle Tabor City South Columbus (12-2) in the Eastern Regional final of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Class 2A playoffs.

Top-seeded and three-time defending state champ Tarboro is coming off its 18th straight playoff victory, a 52-24 rout of visiting Elizabeth City Northeastern. The Vikings rushed for 455 yards and finished with 511 yards of total offense in the win. Radja Bobbitt and Quentin Roberson combined for 387 yards and five touchdowns. Lewis also had a sack in the victory.

The Vikings' battle with South Columbus will be a rematch of last season's Eastern Regional final. In that game, Tarboro rallied for a 13-10 win. The Stallions earned a 24-14 victory against East Bladen last weekend. South Columbus trailed 14-8 at halftime before mounting a comeback for its sixth straight win.

Jayme Thompson, S, Toledo Central Catholic – While Burrows and Lee battle for a spot in the state championship game, Thompson and the Fighting Irish (12-1) will hope to join one of them by besting Aurora (12-1) in another OHSAA Division II semifinal Friday night at Huron.

Central Catholic is back in the state semis for the second time in program history and hope to end the season as it did in 2005 – with a championship. The Irish earned the Region 6 title by bouncing back from a regular season-ending 42-0 loss to Toledo Whitmer. Second-seeded Central Catholic opened the postseason with a 50-7 win over No. 7 Grafton Midview before earning a 45-7 win against sixth-seeded Mansfield Madison and a 42-14 win against No. 4 Avon for the regional title.

In the win against Avon, Thompson reached the end zone on a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown. It was not Thompson's only big play of the postseason, either, as he recovered a fumble in the victory over Mansfield Madison.

Third-seeded Aurora won the Region 5 championship last week with a 34-14 win against No. 4 Chardon. Before then, the Greenmen defeated No. 6 New Philadelphia (35-32) and second-seeded Kent Roosevelt (27-13).

The Greenmen are led by quarterback George Bollas, who finished Aurora's win against Chardon with 326 yards of total offense. He rushed for 250 yards and four touchdowns and added 76 yards on 6-of-8 passing.

Eli Woodard, CB, Voorhees (N.J.) Eastern – After outlasting Toms River North in the first round of the postseason, second-seeded Eastern (7-3) gets a week off. The Vikings will host No. 6 Manahawkin Southern (7-2) in a New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association South Jersey Group 5 semifinal on Nov. 30.


The following players have ended their seasons: Marcus Baugh, TE, Riverside (Calif.) North; Michael Hill, DT, Pendleton, S.C.; Taivon Jacobs, WR, Forestville (Md.) Suitland; Evan Lisle, OT, Centerville, Ohio; Jalin Marshall, QB, Middletown, Ohio; Billy Price, DT, Austintown (Ohio) Fitch; Tracy Sprinkle, DE, Elyria, Ohio; Johnny Townsend, P, Orlando (Fla.) Boone.