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October 21, 2010

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.

Offense? Defense?

What do you like? We've got them both this weekend.

It's tough to top the quarterbacking show that is Northwestern's Justin Worley - he'll be on display in a big game in South Carolina against Clover.

Looking for a little more balance? Check out the Wayne County offense when it goes up against West Jones in a Mississippi matchup.

Defense, you say?

Then watch St. Edward do battle against Ohio rival Moeller.

Or better, Mullen take on anyone in Colorado. This week it's up-and-coming Arapahoe.

Of course, maybe you want a little bit of both. A potential playoff preview. We've got that too, down in Texas, where Copperas Cove takes on A&M Consolidated.

It's the type of weekend where there's a little bit of something for everyone as we inch closer to the postseason.

With that, an in-depth look around the nation at some of the top games of the weekend:

Weekend Watch
No. 15 Northwestern
vs. Clover


RIVALS HIGH KEY PLAYERS
NORTHWESTERN
QB Justin Worley (6-4/196, Sr.)
DT Roderick Byers (6-4/262, Sr.)
DE Gerald Dixon (6-2/246, Sr.)
CLOVER
DR Trey Childress (6-2/185, Jr.)
QB Aaron Miller (6-0/180, Sr.)

When: Friday 10/22, 7:30 p.m.
Last Meeting: 10/16/09, Northwestern won, 38-31
Rankings: Northwestern (8-0), No. 2 in South Carolina
Clover (7-1), No. 15 in South Carolina


WHY IT'S BIG: It is the first home game in over a month for Northwestern and it will be a tough test to the steadily rising Trojans football team. Clover rebounded nicely from its tough loss to Gaffney by beating Spartanburg. It is truly a late-season measuring stick game for both teams. Playoff seeding is on the line in this Class AAAA Region III contest.


BEST MATCHUP: The Northwestern offense against the Clover defense. More specificially, the Clover secondary. Northwestern runs a complete spread offense and its quarterback, Justin Worley, has masterful command of the system. Clover has given up some bloated point totals of late - 35 at Fort Walton Beach and 41 to Gaffney. If it gives up that many to Northwestern, then pencil in a loss.


CLOVER WINS IF: It takes care of the football and the clock. Northwestern always looks to score and score quickly, so if Clover does not sustain drives and put points on the board, this game could get ugly quickly. Turning the ball over will exponentially increase the likelihood of a blowout.


NORTHWESTERN WINS IF: Justin Worley has a good game. The quarterback has seen just about everything a team can do defensively. Blitz, zone, drop all 11 men in coverage, you name it. His poise and command of the offense is the key to the success of the team each and every game and that does not change this week.


PREDICTION: By season's end, Northwestern could prove itself to be the best team in the state depending on its playoff road. Clover would be another quality win on its resume - a win that is expected to happen. Look for Northwestern to jump out early and then ride to a comfortable margin of victory. - Northwestern 44, Clover 19

-- For more on both teams and South Carolina football, visit SCVarsity. com

Weekend Watch
No. 52 West Jones
vs. Wayne County

RIVALS HIGH KEY PLAYERS
WEST JONES
QB Ben Stevens (6-0/182, Sr.)
RB Ervin Gavin (5-11/192, Sr.)
DB Artis Thigpen (5-11/180, Jr.)
WAYNE COUNTY
RB Dewayne Davis (5-7/175, Sr.)
QB Jaleel Lacey (6-0/179, Jr.)
LB Nate Cran (5-11/190, Sr.)

When: Friday 10/22, 7 p.m.
Last Meeting: 11/20/09, Wayne County won, 38-21
Rankings: Northwestern (7-0), No. 2 in Mississippi
Wayne County (7-1), No. 7 in Mississippi


WHY IT'S BIG: It is a Top 10 battle between Mississippi powers which are likely to also collide in the playoffs. Both teams do not like one another; this rivalry game will provide a packed stadium and hostility toward both groups. The two teams split last season with Wayne County winning in the playoffs. Both teams appeared to be looking past opponents last week and should be ready for a fight this week.


BEST MATCHUP: The West Jones defense against the Wayne County offense. The West Jones Mustangs have four shutouts and held their other three opponents to a total of 22 points. Wayne County has been held to under 30 points just twice this season. If Wayne County wants to win, it will need to move the ball.


WAYNE COUNTY WINS IF: It plays a better game. Both teams are among the best in the state and so neither has to play a perfect game to win this game. If Wayne County can get on the scoreboard and frustrate West Jones, it has a chance to win the contest. It also will need to contain its emotions. The underdog could come out a little jumpy.


WEST JONES WINS IF: Its defense brings its 'A' game. Wayne County is not a stifling team on defense so West Jones can figure on putting up 20 on the scoreboard. If the defense is on its game and is able to contain Wayne County's offense (holding it under 20), it should triumph.


PREDICTION: This will be a fist fight and a fun game to watch - but get there early if you want a seat. The two teams are not friendly toward each other and this one could get chippy. Look for West Jones to be much more focused than it was last week in its game with Stone. Likewise, Wayne County will need to play better defensively than it did against Forest Hill last week. - West Jones 23, Wayne County 14

-- For more on both teams and Mississippi football, visit MagnoliaPreps.com

Weekend Watch
No. 26 St. Edward
vs. Moeller

RIVALS HIGH KEY PLAYERS
ST. EDWARD
DE Deonte Gibson (6-3/225, Sr.)
DB Avery Bailey (6-1/190, Sr.)
OL Geoff Mogus (6-4/267, Sr.)
OL Brandon Jackson (6-4/330, Sr.)
MOELLER
DE Jesse Hayes (6-4/230, Sr.)
LB Kendall Walker (6-1/210, Sr.)
RB Tyler Skove (5-10/187, Sr.)

When: Saturday 10/23, 2:00 p.m.
Last Meeting: 10/24/09, Moeller won, 40-10
Rankings: St. Edward (8-0), No. 4 in Ohio Moeller (6-2), No. 13 in Ohio


WHY IT'S BIG: This is a measuring stick game for both teams as well as a playoff primer. Moeller has two losses yet only one in the state of Ohio, and has yet to find the consistency it would like to enjoy as the playoffs near. St. Edward is making the long trip from Cleveland to Cincinnati to take on one of the better GCL-South squads after downing St. Xavier, 20-3, last weekend. St. Edward has played one of the toughest schedules nationally.


BEST MATCHUP: The St. Edward run defense against Moeller's rushing attack. St. Edward has not allowed any of its last six opponents to break the 6-point barrier largely due to its emphasis on stuffing the run. Moeller relies on the ground game to move the sticks and control the game. Whichever strength is stronger will win.


MOELLER WINS IF: Tyler Skove and the offense can get in gear early. The Crusaders have gotten off to some slow starts this season and have been able to stay in games and battle back in. This week will be the toughest test on the schedule for Moeller as St. Edward will sell out to stop the run.


ST. EDWARD WINS IF: It can establish the run. Much like Moeller, St. Edward likes to run the ball and Moeller will do its best to stop the run. The offensive line will need to get off the ball and make holes to run through if the Eagles want to continue the magical season.


PREDICTION: St. Edward is as battle-tested as any team in the country this year. The trip to Cincinnati will be the team's second of the season. It defeated Elder, 20-3, earlier in the season. The Eagles also will have the added chip on their shoulder from the 40-10 whipping Moeller doled out last year. - St. Edward 20, Moeller 6

-- For more on both teams and Ohio football, visit OhioVarsity.com

Weekend Watch
No. 92 Copperas Cove
vs. A&M Consolidated

RIVALS HIGH KEY PLAYERS
COPPERAS COVE
DT Trevor Valdez (6-3/268, Sr.)
LB Brandon Durant (6-0/180, Sr.)
WR Orlando Thoams (6-2/174, Jr.)
A&M CONSOLIDATED
RB Chris Nutall (5-8/165, Sr.)
DB Ernest Payton (6-2/195, Jr.)

When: Friday 10/22, 7:30 p.m.
Last Meeting: 10/30/09, A&M Consolidated won, 21-7
Rankings: Copperas Cove (7-0) No. 13 in Texas A&M Consolidated (6-1), No. 20 in Texas


WHY IT'S BIG: While both teams should easily cruise into the playoffs, this head-to-head battle could determine the District 12 winner. Both teams have been able to knock off Bryan, with Copperas Cove also defeating Belton giving it the odds-on advantage for the No. 1 spot in the district.


BEST MATCHUP: Consolidated's secondary against the skill players of Copperas Cove. Copperas Cove has one of the more balanced attacks in the district with plenty of running backs as well as a core of receivers who can all produce. Consolidated has given up its fair share of points this season but has scored plenty as well. This doesn't look to be a shootout, but if Copperas Cove goes on tilt, it could run away and hide.


COPPERAS COVE WINS IF: Its defense comes up big. The Bulldawgs already have played and defeated a more explosive offense this year - Belton - so they know they can limit a good team to 21 points. However, the team may not have faced a more hungry and balanced team. Which means the defense will need to be ready.


CONSOLIDATED WINS IF: It is able to keep the pace moving. Moving the sticks and not making mistakes will keep the clock moving and the fans into the game. Taking advantage of the home-field advantage could be a spark that gets the Tigers over the edge.


PREDICTION: Consolidated has played Klein Oak, Austin Westlake and Bryan. Copperas Cove has played Southlake Carroll, Belton and Bryan. Both have been tested and both look like quality teams. Strangely, this game looks like it could go two ways. A close win for Consolidated or a blowout for Copperas Cove. Here's to a good game. - A&M Consolidated 28, Copperas Cove 24

-- For more on both teams and Texas football, visit TheOldCoach.com

Weekend Watch
No. 46 Mullen
vs. Arapahoe

RIVALS HIGH KEY PLAYERS
ARAPAHOE
OL Joe Ziccardi (6-7/280, Sr.)
TE Will Ratterman (6-4/210, Sr.)
MULLEN
LB Leilon Willingham (6-2/240, Sr.)
LB Brady Daigh (6-2/220, Sr.)
LB Connor Healy (5-11/206, Sr.)
RB Adonis Ameen-Moore (5-10/210, Sr.)

When: Friday 10/22, 7 p.m.
Last Meeting: 10/09/09, Mullen won, 40-0
Rankings: Mullen (7-0), No. 1 in Colorado
Arapahoe (5-2), No. 14 in Colorado


WHY IT'S BIG: Mullen has been the clear best team in Colorado this season. Arapahoe is making a major turnaround after a 3-7 season last year. It is more of a measuring stick game for Arapahoe than Mullen. Mullen should dominate the entire class but this could be a signal of things potentially changing in Class 5A.


BEST MATCHUP: The Arapahoe offense against Mullen's defense. Mullen has five shutouts this season and one of the best linebacking corps in the nation. Arapahoe has not had a problem scoring points, even in its two losses. Seeing if it is able to challenge Mullen will let the team know how much further it has to go.


ARAPHOE WINS IF: A lot of things go its way. And it gets a little bit of luck. It doesn't look like there is a team in 5A that will be able to stay with Mullen this year. Even though Arapahoe has a good win at Bear Creek and over Heritage, it doesn't look to have the chops to run with the Mustangs yet.


MULLEN WINS IF: It puts the clamps on the game early. It is getting to an awkward point in the season for Mullen; complacency could seep in. If Mullen allows Arapahoe to gain confidence, it may slip up. The defense for Mullen is still among the best and it needs to play that way.


PREDICTION: Mullen is the best team in Colorado. Arapahoe doesn't figure to be a team to knock it off its perch. But it would be good to see Mullen against a legitimate competitor. Mullen will roll in this game. Arapahoe will learn a lot about itself. - Mullen 44, Arapahoe 12

-- For more on both teams and Colorado football, visit ColoradoPrepReport.com

Weekend Watch
Other Predictions (2010: 53-27)
Game of the Week: Hampton (Va.) Phoebus def. Hampton (Va.) High, 16-6
No. 27 Allen def. Flower Mound Marcus, 37-24
No. 36 Cocoa def. Astronaut, 28-6
No. 66 Abilene def. Midland, 37-17 *E-mail request*
Gaffney (S.C.) def. Lancaster, 31-10 *E-Mail request*
St. Bonaventure (Calif.) def. Thousand Oaks, 29-21 *E-mail request*
Have your game picked next week: E-mail Dallas Jackson
Game of the Week record: 5-4
2010 Record for all games picked: 58-31



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