Lawrence Central (Ind.) vs Indianapolis North Central (Ind.)
North Central issued a tough challenge, but Lawrence Central remained undefeated on their quest towards a state title.
Ohio State commit Tim Gardner had a good game while being matched up with four-star defensive tackle Darius Latham. Gardner dropped weight this summer and is moving better and getting off the ball better than what we had seen of him previously. He doesn't have the length for tackle, but shows the tools to be able to make a successful move inside come college. I don't see him as an instant contributor, but his improvement and willingness to work at getting in shape and playing at a higher level gives me confidence that he can compete after a year or two.
Latham has great size. He's likely to play inside in college, but plays end for North Central. He's a good athlete who is light on his feet. The biggest thing for him will be learning to play with lower pad level as an inside guy. He offers a lot of potential for the next level because of his tools.
Lawrence Central has three juniors with BCS offers. Wide receiver Kenny Jones only had one reception, but it was a highlight reel catch in traffic where he showed his talent and ball skills. Linebacker Brandon Lee showed that he can play over the slot and play in space. He has good speed and showed that in pursuit on several plays. Kevin Willis, recruited by some as a defensive tackle, played mostly offense, serving as the team's center.
Also impressive in this game were LC's two senior defensive ends, Deshai Powell and Derrick Dunlap, both committed to Western Michigan. Powell, in particular, was very active and made several big plays in the backfield. Neither are real big, but both have motors and a knack for making plays.
Zeeland (Mich.) West vs Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian
Michigan State commit Drake Harris was the star of the game. He went high to grab several highly contested touchdowns on 3rd and long. He is an elite athlete who can really jump, has great ball skills and glides on the field. The only thing he needs is to add a little weight and strength, but in terms of positional skills and athletic talents, he has it all.
Junior offensive lineman Tommy Doles is another who has to add a little weight, but he is a technician with great footwork, knee bend and smarts. Senior tight end Zach Crouch, a Central Michigan commit, is a nice sized pass catcher with sure hands.
Zeeland West's Jordan Van Dort, a tight end likely to be an offensive lineman in college, had a very nice game. He was strong as a blocker, showing natural strength that makes it seemingly effortless for him to move people out of the way. He has soft hands and is a good athlete for being 6'4, 275-lbs, which bodes well for a potential move to guard at the next level.
Dave Berk, Ohio Recruiting Analyst
Trotwood (Ohio) Madison vs Cincinnati (Ohio) Mt. Healthy
Game was a total blowout as we learned upon arriving Mt. Healthy 2014 athlete Tyree Elliott was out after suffering an ACL injury a couple weeks prior and had successful surgery on October 30-th. Without Elliott the Owls didn't have a chance against a very powerful Trotwood team winning 48-0. The return of Illinois pledge Jarrod Clements (6-foot-3, 260-pounds) could help the Rams reach their goal of playing in their third consecutive state finals. Clements is not at full strength (75%) as he returns from an ACL tear but still played a big role in the Rams defensive success. Michigan pledge Michael McCray had a great night that saw a long interception return for a touchdown called back by penalty. Trotwood will be tested next Friday as they'll battle Cincinnati (Ohio) Winton Woods who advanced with a 50-7 victory over Edgewood.
Middletown (Ohio) Lakota East vs Springboro (Ohio)
Caught the first half of this battle that saw emotions at an all-time high as Springboro took the field after losing junior offensive lineman Shaun Frechette who was killed in a one-car crash early Thursday morning while driving to school. After both teams gathered at midfield for a moment of silence and prayer the teams battled into overtime before East came away with a 45-38 victory. It took Lakota East 16 years to earn the school's first postseason trip and behind the blocking of junior offensive lineman Jarrett LaRubbio the Thunderhawks will play Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller for a chance to play in the regional final.
Springfield (Ohio) Shawnee vs Kettering (Ohio) Alter
Arrived just as the second half started and watched Notre Dame quarterback pledge Malik Zaire finish his high school career with a 273 yard, three touchdown performance in a heart breaking losing effort. Zaire, along with Nebraska pledge Greg Hart looked ready to advance to the second round taking a 34-21 lead in the third quarter. However, Shawnee never went away as J.D. Davis posted a 99-yard kickoff return with just 13 seconds left in the third quarter and later found magic when Alter muffed a punt late in the fourth quarter setting up the go ahead touchdown needed for the victory. Zaire will soon be putting his high school career behind him as he is expected to enroll early at Notre Dame.
Beth Long, Midwest Field Reporter
Lakes Community (Ill.) vs Lake Forest (Ill.)
In a hard fought battle, Lake Forest came out on top of Lakes Community 23-21. After Lakes Community barely missed a last second field goal, in what was an incredibly close game. Lakes Community had it's fair share of big plays though, highlighted by 2013 running back Dirrell Clark, who holds an offer from Purdue. Several other players that stood out in the game were Lake Forest 2014 running back Stephen Cirame, 2014 linebacker Trent Williams, and Lakes Community 2014 wide receiver Nick Battaglia.
Lincolnshire Stevenson (Ill.) at Glenbard North (Ill.)
In an 8A Battle, Glenbard North came out on top of Lincolnshire Stevenson 24-13. Glenbard North was led by 2014 running back Justin Jackson, who paced the day with three touchdowns recently picked up an offer from Indiana, and senior quarterback Brian Murphy who plans to wrestle at Michigan. Stevenson wasn't without it's fair share of talented players though, highlighted by 2014 offensive lineman Zach Novoselsky and defensive back/wide receiver Matt Morrissey.
Simone Scott, Midwest Recruiting Reporter
Westerville (OH) South vs. Hilliard (OH) Darby
It was easy to see why Hilliard Darby was undefeated throughout the regular season and continued that in the first round of the playoffs. Illinois commit Caleb Day was active with a 15 yard touchdown reception plus an interception to put the game out of reach. Junior Devon Rogers also added a 30 yard touchdown catch and could be a prospect to keep up with in the future. Jalen Bell was impressive for Westerville South. The senior scored the only touchdown for his team off of a 4 yard catch as well as several big runs. Also showing out for Westerville was senior Noah Prentiss. Prentiss had several big runs and needed multiple player to attempt to slow him down.