Prep Rally

  • On Sunday night, Ray Lewis was on the sidelines in Pittsburgh, watching the Ravens pull out a crucial victory. With the attachment the linebacker has always felt for the Baltimore franchise it's understandable that he was completely entrenched in the game's action, despite an injury that will keep him out of action for the remainder of the season.

    Ray Lewis III set a new county rushing record in front of his famous father — Orlando SentinelRay Lewis III set a new county rushing record in front of his famous father — Orlando Sentinel

    Yet as much as Lewis may have been focused on the Ravens' travails, the matchup was actually just the second-most stressful football game he attended over the course of the weekend. That's because Ray Lewis II was on hand to see his son, Ray Lewis III, and junior Lewis' Lake Mary (Fla.) Prep take on Deltona (Fla.) Trinity Christian School in a Class 2A regional semifinal. In this case, there was more than a playoff victory at stake, too, with Lewis III on the verge of a county record.

    As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Lewis III ran for two touchdowns and threw for another to lead Lake Mary Prep to a 38-12 victory. His second rushing touchdown -- an impressive 72-yard gallop to the end zone in the third quarter -- accounted for the 89th rushing touchdown of Lewis III's career, one more than former Lake Howell (Fla.) High running back Marquette Smith, who held the Seminole County career rushing touchdown record until Lewis III arrived on the scene.

    While Lewis III still has opportunities to pad those stats in the weeks ahead, those won't be the final chance for fans in Florida to see the younger Lewis run with the ball. Lewis III has committed to his father's alma mater, Miami, where he hopes to leave as much of a mark as his father did.

    Read More »from Ray Lewis III sets new county career TD mark in playoff win, with father looking on
  • Critics of the UC Irvine basketball program can say what they will about Anteaters men's basketball coach Russell Turner, but his recruiting strategy is definitely outside the box. After all, it would be hard to find a box big enough to house one of his new recruits, let alone both of them.

    7-foot-5 Mamadou Ndiaye signs with UC Irvine — Brethren Christian High School7-foot-5 Mamadou Ndiaye signs with UC Irvine — Brethren Christian High School

    As noted by the Los Angeles Times, on Friday UC Irvine signed 7-foot-2 Greek center Giannis Dimakopoulos, who is currently attending Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral High. Dimakopoulos' commitment would normally be big news on its own (pardon the pun), but in this case he wasn't even the first 7-footer to sign with the Anteaters that week.

    That's because enormous, 7-foot-5 Huntington Park (Calif.) Brethren Christian School center Mamadou Ndiaye signed on to attend UC Irvine just two days earlier. In case you forgot, Prep Rally introduced Ndiaye to the masses in January thanks to a highlight reel that showcased the rather comical ease with which he was dominating the California prep scene.

    Three days, two highly regarded, international 7-footers? That's a heck of a recruiting class for a school that isn't exactly a Gonzaga or St. Mary's College in the West Coast collegiate basketball scene … at least not yet.

    That may change if Turner has his way, with the coach quick to credit his international scouting department for unearthing Dimakopoulos, a star of the Panathinaikos U-18 team in Athens that won the Greek U-18 title in 2011-12. The Greek center has not been cleared to compete in high school athletics yet, though Cathedral officials are hopeful he will eventually be given the green light by the California Interscholastic Federation.

    A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

    Meanwhile, Ndiaye cited the school's academics and his comfort in Irvine as primary motivators behind his decision to attend the school.

    Read More »from Out of nowhere, UC Irvine basketball team signs 2 foreign stars taller than 7 feet in 3 days
  • One of the most promising young football players in Virginia's Tidewater region may see his career dissipate before it ever truly got going because of a shortsighted alleged attack that may land him in a juvenile detention center.

    As reported by Virginia Beach NBC affiliate WAVY, Salem (Va.) High freshman quarterback Jarrel Lightbody, who has already started one game for the impressive Tidewater program, was arrested and charged with a late September robbery on November 14, with the athletic quarterback now facing charges of robbery and assault and battery for his role in a three-man robbery attempt of two other teenagers. The arrest was not made public and was only discovered when Lightbody was mysteriously absent from Salem's playoff matchup against Cheaspeake (Va.) Oscar Smith High.

    According to WAVY, Lightbody and two other teenagers allegedly chased another pair of teens, with Lightbody stealing a backpack and emptying its contents after one of the two teenagers who was trying to escape fell in the road.

    Salem head football coach Robert Jackson declined to comment about Lightbody or his status on the team before a Friday game against state powerhouse Oscar Smith, but the quarterback was not present for the game a week after starting in Salem's 17-14 playoff victory against Pulaski (Va.) High.

    Read More »from Top young Tidewater QB arrested for robbery, assault and battery in midst of playoff run
  • Davis Howell is a fairly off-the-radar wide receiver recruit from Knoxville, Tennessee who has yet to receive a single college scholarship offer. When you look at the senior's skinny, 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame, that lack of major conference attention may seem understandable. When you look deeper and discover the achievements Howell is racking up -- and the toughness he's showing in doing so -- the oversight of his talent and toughness is astonishing.

    Christian Academy of Knoxville wide receiver Davis Howell — DavisHowell.comChristian Academy of Knoxville wide receiver Davis Howell — DavisHowell.com

    In Knoxville (Tenn.) Christian Academy Of Knoxville's 38-36 Class 3A state quarterfinal victory Howell caught 13 passes for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns. Those 13 grabs pushed his career total to 333 receptions, just 16 short of an all-time national record.

    Reaching number 2 on the national career receptions list is an absolutely remarkable feat in itself, yet the injury that Howell is playing through now makes the achievement all the more incredible; he caught those 13 balls while playing with a broken thumb.

    As reported by MaxPreps, Howell is playing through intense pain with a broken thumb on his right hand in search of the all-time career receptions mark. He's also playing on defense, lining up at outside linebacker with a broken digit.

    The fact that Howell is playing any position with a broken thumb is notable in itself, though perhaps not completely unique. That he would insist on continuing as a receiver, where his hands and broken thumb face constant impact from passes sent his way, is another thing entirely.

    For his part, Howell's coach may have paid the finest tribute to his receiver's talent and toughness after his team's quarterfinal win.

    "[Howell] made a couple of catches that were just unbelievable," Christian Academy of Knoxville football coach Rusty Bradley told MaxPreps. "He is the toughest kid I've ever coached. He has no [scholarship] offers right now. It's crazy.

    "It probably was one of the finest games I've ever been a part of."

    Read More »from Tennessee WR closing in on national career receptions mark while playing with a broken thumb
  • One of Oregon's top Class 4A playoff contenders was forced to play its state quarterfinal playoff game without one of its defensive stalwarts for one of the more bizarre reasons imaginable: His cleats had been deemed too long … a week earlier.

    Philomath linebacker Trent Hardin, who was suspended from the team's playoff loss for long cleats — FacebookPhilomath linebacker Trent Hardin, who was suspended from the team's playoff loss for long cleats — Facebook

    As first reported by the Corvallis Gazette-Times, Philomath (Ore.) High linebacker Trent Hardin, a two-year starter for the Class 4A contender, was suspended for his squad's 35-28, season-ending loss to Turner (Ore.) Cascade High. As the final scoreline showed, the absence of Hardin was pivotal.

    Yet the legitimacy of Hardin's suspension was certainly up for debate. Hardin was kicked out of Philomath's first-round playoff victory against Sweet Home (Ore.) High at halftime when officials judged the studs on his cleats to be too long for use in a game.

    With a missed half already under Hardin's belt there was a valid question as to whether there was any reason for him to sit out another full game.

    The decision to ban Hardin came from the Oregon Scholastic Activities Association, which determined that the player's use of illegal, screw-in cleats warranted more than a one-half suspension. That's a harsh verdict for an athlete who had absolutely no idea he was doing anything wrong because even his coach didn't realize that the team couldn't use those elongated cleats.

    Read More »from Oregon LB suspended from football playoff loss because of length of cleats … from the week before
  • The Texas Class 5A football tournament, annually celebrated among the best in the nation (if not the best), hosted its first wild, improbable final-minute upset of the year, and boy was it a doozy.

    Facing fourth-and-goal from the 10-yard line with just 16 seconds remaining in the game and trailing 35-31, underdog Fort Bend (Texas) Travis High found itself at the last chance saloon juice bar (hey, this is high school sports, people) against Clear Springs (Texas) High. After the snap, Travis quarterback Teagan Nehls dropped back and found all of his receivers, from first looks through an entire progression of check-downs, utterly blanketed by Clear Springs defenders.

    As the pass rush closed in, Nehls was left with little option but to hurl the ball toward a corner of the end zone, where his leading receiver was double covered, on a hope and a prayer.

    That receiver was Cody Moncure. As he proved moments later, he has some reflexes.

    As the ball floated in, Moncure found himself boxed out by a pair of Clear Springs defensive backs. Yet the defenders in question made a classic mistake, tipping the deep pass up, keeping it alive, rather than knocking it directly to the ground.

    Whether the cornerback and safety tipped the ball up in an attempt at a glorious, game-clinching interception (of course, an incompletion would have been just as game-clinching) or out of sheer instinct may never be known. What is known is that by keeping the ball alive, the defenders inadvertently gave Moncure one final chance to save his squad's season, and he wasn't about to waste it. As the ball floated down, Moncure tapped it sideways, giving himself a final diving shot at a catch. Then he leapt out, away from the players who were on top of him, pulling in the ball with one open hand and sending his Fort Bend teammates into delirium.

    "We've won plenty of games just like that, but it happened so fast, and there was so much emotion on that play, I can't tell you what happened," Moncure told the Fort Bend Sun. "But this is where we dreamed we would be. We've been working on this since we were 7 years old."

    Blur or not, Moncure's catch earned the Tigers a victory, albeit one that still had tense moments in the closing seconds. Multiple celebration penalties from Moncure's touchdown pushed the subsequent Fort Bend kickoff all the way back to the Tigers 13-yard line, and the Clear Springs return got the ball all the way to the Fort Bend 41-yard line.

    Read More »from Texas team snatches major playoff upset with miraculous last ditch tipped TD catch
  • For 59 years, Ken Hall has lived as more than the most well-known man in Sugarland, Texas. He's also been the most celebrated high school running back in American history. Now, he'll finally have to move aside in the national record book thanks to a Florida running back who burst through his all-time record on a stylish 52-yard run to the end zone on Friday night.

    Derrick Henry acknowledges the crowd after setting the national career high school rushing record — Associated PressDerrick Henry acknowledges the crowd after setting the national career high school rushing record — Associated Press

    As reported by Rivals.com affiliate Florida Varsity (FlaVarsity.com), the Associated Press and other sources, Yulee (Fla.) High senior running back Derrick Henry broke Hall's national career rushing record on Friday night en route to a 482-yard, six-touchdown performance in a 41-26 playoff win against Perry (Fla.) Taylor County High. Fittingly, Henry broke the all-time mark on an impressive, 52-yard touchdown run on which he slipped through a hole in the line and then took off for daylight.

    Henry entered the game 102 yards behind Hall's legendary 11,232-yard, four-year total. By game's end he was up to 11,610 yards, with at least one more game to come -- and likely more -- to pad his newly set record.

    "My line did a great job," Henry told Florida Varsity. "Once I saw the crease I hit it. Gave a little stiff-arm and I was off to the races.

    "This is our team's record. We worked all summer long for this. We did it -- not me -- we."

    Henry's record-setting carry was his 13th of a very long night of work; he would go on to carry the ball a total of 58 times. He had already scored one touchdown, but his record-setting run pushed Yulee back into the lead at 14-7, an edge that Yulee never relinquished.

    You can see video of Hall's record-breaking carry via MaxPreps below.

    Just about everyone agrees that Henry's record is remarkable -- the Taylor County coach called the Yulee running back "the best athlete I've ever seen" -- and even Hall has finally had to face the fact that another prep athlete would surpass his record yardage, which had long been considered an unreachable equivalent to Roger Maris' 61 home runs in baseball before the Sammy Sosa-Mark McGwire chase topped that legendary sports mark.

    Still, Hall has been magnanimous about Henry's accomplishments, admitting that he was sad to see his nearly six-decade-long record disappear, but happy that the player who was breaking it seemed to be a player of character.

    "Seeing someone break the record, yeah you don't want to see it go," Hall told Jacksonville radio station 1010XL, which hosted Henry and fielded a call from Hall on Thursday. "But you'll always have it, and you'll have made a friend."

    As for his future, Henry is considered a very firm Alabama commitment, a note which should bring a bright spot to the end of a disappointment week for the Crimson Tide, whose national title hopes were dealt a major blow in a loss to Texas A&M [Editor's note: The Tide are already back in the title picture, as you might already know]. They can now rest assured that not only is the most accomplished running back in history heading their way for the 2013 season, but he's also trying to convince some of the nation's other top athletes to come with him.

    Read More »from Derrick Henry, star Florida prep RB, sets all-time national career rushing record
  • High schools and students across the New York-Connecticut-New Jersey corridor were profoundly affected by Hurricane Sandy, with a number of schools even relocating to different areas as damage and cleanup on their original sites continues.

    The Prudential Center, the home of the Devils and, for now, East Side High — Getty ImagesThe Prudential Center, the home of the Devils and, for now, East Side High — Getty Images

    The struggle for facilities has trickled down to high school sports, which have quite rightfully taken a backseat to safety, security and cleanup concerns in the aftermath of the storm's wreckage. At the same time, communities across the region are desperate to return to some sense of normalcy, and high school sports often play a big part of area residents' daily lives.

    Now one professional franchise is going to the limit to try and help bring back high school hockey, donating its home arena to a high school squad that was displaced by the storm.

    As reported by the Newark Star-Ledger, the New Jersey Devils have offered up the Prudential Center, the team's flagship arena and one of the most significant fixtures in downtown Newark, to the Newark (N.J.) East Side High hockey team.

    East Side would have been unable to begin its practice season on schedule without the help because its traditional arena, the Ironbound Recreation Center, remains without power following Hurricane Sandy.

    Now, Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek is saying that East Side can use the Prudential Center for practices and potentially games as long as it needs until the Ironbound Rec Center returns to full functionality.

    "It essentially saved our season," Keith Veltre, the co-founder of the Hockey in Newark program that helps run the East Side hockey team, told the Star-Ledger.

    Read More »from New Jersey Devils offer high school team displaced by Hurricane Sandy their arena to save their season
  • One of Randy Moss' children has already earned a high-profile college scholarship. Now another is moving closer to that mark by physically moving closer to Moss' own roots.

    As reported by the Charleston Daily Mail, high school freshman Thaddeus "Thad" Moss has officially transferred to Charleston (W.Va.) St. Albans School, where he will compete in the upcoming basketball season. Moss attended Florence (Ky.) Boone County High in the fall, emerging as a solid varsity tight end and linebacker for the Rebels.

    In his first high school sports action of any kind, Moss grabbed 12 receptions for 157 yards, finishing the campaign without a touchdown. Equally notably, he emerged as a solid contributor on defense, racking up 16 solo tackles, 16 assisted tackles, a blocked field goal and two forced fumbles.

    You can see video highlights from Thad's freshman football season in the video above via MaxPreps.

    That's a lot of action for a 14-year-old freshman, though perhaps no one should be surprised that Moss has been so prolific so soon, given his genes.

    In fact, the biggest change in Moss' transfer will be the loss of a major Moss presence at Boone County, where Sydney Moss starred on the basketball court for the previous four seasons. The oldest of four children by Randy Moss and his longtime girlfriend Libby Offut, Sydney Moss is currently a freshman on the Florida women's basketball team.

    Read More »from Randy Moss’ son transfers to NFL star’s former hometown in search of more hoops exposure
  • A Minnesota girls basketball coach was forced to serve a two-day suspension because of a lewd tweet that he sent in response to a student. While that suspension might seem light, it also obscures some of the bizarre gray area surrounding the tweet itself, which took the form of a bizarre quote taken directly from the movie "Mean Girls."

    As reported by Minnesota TV network KTSP and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, among other sources, Anoka-Hennepin (Minn.) High girls basketball coach James Fassett was suspended for just two days without pay for sending a tweet to a 15-year-old girl that read the following:

    "Do you need me to assign someone to butter your muffin …"

    Any big fan of the ever-evolving walking art project that is Lindsay Lohan's career will tell you that the concept of assigning someone to butter one's muffin is a reference to a scene from "Mean Girls" in which a male character asks a female counterpart, "Would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?"

    Naturally, Fassett's tweet wasn't a word-for-word copy, but it was pretty close. In "Mean Girls," the line is an oblique sexual reference, so there are plenty of things to be disturbed by in Fassett's tweet. Yet the fact that it was a movie reference may have moved the Anoka-Hennepin School District to show some leniency, perhaps believing that the lewd tweet was a misguided attempt at humor.

    If it was, that's pretty sick humor for a high school coach to use with a 15-year-old.

    Read More »from Minnesota girls basketball coach suspended for tweeting ‘Mean Girls’ quote to a student
  • Oregon QB passes for astounding 288 yards, 6 TDs in a single quarter

    Your typical high school football game is a bit higher scoring than most NFL games, and within the different classifications of high school football, 8-man football scores tend to be considerably higher than traditional 11-on-11 contests.

    Camas Valley QB Josh Maddox — YouTubeCamas Valley QB Josh Maddox — YouTube

    Still, the stats compiled by one quarterback in one quarter of an Oregon 8-on-8 playoff game go beyond the remarkable realm to the outright audacious. His final line? One quarter, 288 yards and six passing touchdowns, all part of a truly unbelievable 66-point first-quarter outburst.

    As reported by The Oregonian, Camas Valley (Ore.) High quarterback Josh Maddox played only one quarter during his team's 94-12 victory against Cove (Ore.) High, but he made that quarter well worth it. In the span of just 12 minutes, Maddox completed 9 of 10 passes for 288 yards and all six of his touchdowns. Then he left with the game well in hand, because Camas Valley had already scored a state-record 66 points in the first quarter.

    Among those 66 points were 22 in the first 46 seconds, as hard as that may be to believe.

    By halftime, Camas Valley led 88-6, meaning that the two teams actually tied 6-6 in the second half, yet Camas Valley still set a state record for most points scored in a playoff game. In total, 11 different Hornets scored in the playoff victory.

    If it seems like Camas Valley's explosion came out of nowhere, that's not quite the case. The Hornets set a national season-long scoring record in 2011, racking up 886 points during a 14-0, Class A 8-man state championship campaign, an average of 63.3 points per game.

    While no video from Camas Valley's victory against Cove has surfaced yet, you can see the Hornets' offense in action during a 64-6 victory against Powers (Ore.) High in the video directly above.

    Read More »from Oregon QB passes for astounding 288 yards, 6 TDs in a single quarter
  • It might have taken a bit longer than some might have expected, but Deion Sanders officially lost it. In the midst of an interview with a Dallas-Fort Worth radio station, Sanders was asked yet again about allegations that the charter school he co-founded, Prime Prep Academy, was engaging in illegal recruiting to bring players in for its football and basketball program. His response was to play the race card and blame all the negative attention the school has received on a white reporter whom he called an "African-American killer."

    Deion Sanders lashed out at a reporter who has been critical of his school — Associated PressDeion Sanders lashed out at a reporter who has been critical of his school — Associated Press

    As noted by the Dallas Morning News, Sanders shifted the focus from Prime Prep to an unnamed reporter, believed to be Brett Shipp, the excellent high school sports reporter for DFW TV network WFAA. You may remember Shipp from earlier this fall, when he was accosted by Prime Prep players and coaches when he attempted to watch practice across from the team's public practice facility.

    In that incident, Sanders was the lone figure who didn't approach Shipp. This time, he didn't hold back.

    "First of all, this all started mainly by a Caucasian reporter from a news station, Channel 8, you know who I'm talking about, and he seems like he's the African-American killer," Sanders told Dallas radio station KRLD. "It's always something against a brother. And that bothers me. I've never been accused of cheating with anything, in any sports, in any arena, in my life. Now to be accused of something as stupid and as simplistic as this and all I have is 30 kids out there. And the sad thing about it, Channel 8 and Dallas Morning News, they're partners."

    Just digest that for a moment. Sanders is accusing a reporter who has toed a fairly straight line of being an "African-American killer."

    Sanders didn't stop at attacking Shipp, though, going on to claim that Prime Prep was planning a lawsuit against the other schools in their would-be district in an attempt to earn their squads a competitive spot moving forward.

    Read More »from Deion Sanders calls ‘Caucasian’ reporter critical of his school an ‘African-American killer’
  • If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting Von Miller or listening to him speak off the field, you'd have known the Denver Broncos linebacker is one of the good guys. The former Texas A&M (and DeSoto (Texas) High) football player may play with a mean streak on the field, but off it, he's quite possibly one of the nicest around -- a humble guy who gives back to his community whenever he can.

    DeSoto's new helmets, compliments of former alum Von Miller. — RIddell

    With concussions on the rise in prep football, Miller figured it made sense to ensure DeSoto (Texas) High, his alma mater, had one of the safest helmets on the market for the season. So he teamed up with Riddell to donate brand new Riddell 360 helmets to the entire squad.

    "I wanted [DeSoto] to have the same protection I got, the Riddell helmet" Miller said in a video message to the team. "I got a couple coming out to you all. You can thank the guys at Riddell."

    Von Miller talking to DeSoto football players before the unveiling. — Riddell

    Miller was unable to make it back for the unveiling, but his parents were there on his behalf for the extremely generous donation. As you can see from the video, the players enjoyed trying on the new helmets, which happen to be the exact same version Miller uses every Sunday when he's on the field playing for the Broncos.

    Read More »from Denver Broncos LB Von Miller donates brand new helmets to his alma mater
  • Just when Prep Rally thinks it's seen every trick play in the book, it remembers that Canadians play football, too, and they do so a little bit differently. Enter the remarkable trick punt return touchdown you see below, which is more of a punt of a punt than it is a return.

    If you aren't well acclimated to Canadian football rules, don't worry, we're here to explain why the play you see above was perfectly legal in the Winnipeg High School Football League and not completely bonkers.

    Unlike American football, Canadian football holds that once a punt travels more than 10 yards downfield, the kicking team can recover the free ball and regain possession. In this way, Canadian punts are essentially just like American kickoffs.

    However, in a nod to rugby, Canadian football holds that on scrimmage kicks (i.e., punts and missed field goals), the returning team can respond by immediately punting the ball back to the other team, creating a free-for-all where whichever team gets to the ball first will retain possession. It's a strange rule, but hardly the only unique twist in Canadian football, as a two-point blocked return also showed during last weekend's CFL playoffs, as detailed by Yahoo! Canada's 55 Yard Line blog.

    [Also: Brian Kelly ready to 'go on Oprah' to plead Notre Dame's BCS case]

    You can get more details about the difference between scrimmage kicks in the two forms of "gridiron" football right here.

    Cue the wild scene in the video above, where the Winnipeg (Manitoba) Kelvin High squad was facing off against a Winnipeg High School Football League foe, preparing to receive a punt. The booming kick came in on cue, with a deep Kelvin receiver pulling it in. Everyone expected the return to start at that point — after all, nearly all punts are returned in the conventional fashion in Canada, too, as no one wants to throw away a possession with the other team holding a numerical advantage of players on the other side of the field.

    Read More »from Canadian football team scores TD by bizarrely returning a punt with a punt
  • Florida swimming team sets 6 national records in a single day

    Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles School has been the host of a powerhouse swimming program for years. Still, what the Dolphins accomplished at the Florida High School Swimming and Diving Championships might prove to be a meet for the ages.

    The Bolles swimming program had a record setting day at the Florida state championships — BeRecruitedThe Bolles swimming program had a record setting day at the Florida state championships — BeRecruited

    As reported by the Florida Times-Union, in a single day in Orlando, Bolles set six national records, including a remarkable sweep of all-time best marks in three different relays. In the process the Bolles boys team won its 25th consecutive Class 1A state title while the Bolles girls won a 22nd straight Class 1A crown.

    All six of the new national records were turned in by members of the Bolles boys team, with the 400-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard freestyle relay and 200-yard medley all falling on Saturday.

    One swimmer was particularly dominant, with senior and California-bound star Ryan Murphy playing a role in all three record-setting relay squads, setting a new mark in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 45.34 seconds and also setting an independent school record in the 50-yard freestyle during his leg of the school's record setting 200-free relay.

    Murphy was joined in all the relays by both Santo Condorelli and Joseph Schooling, with Schooling also setting a national mark in the 100-yard butterfly by finishing in 46.5 seconds.

    While Bolles undoubtedly has a significant advantage in raw talent, it also may have an edge when it comes to coaching. Former West Virginia University coach Sergio Lopez now leads Bolles, providing a college-level work ethic and expertise for an eager group of talented teenagers.

    The record-setting Bolles boys swimming team — Bolles.orgThe record-setting Bolles boys swimming team — Bolles.org

    Read More »from Florida swimming team sets 6 national records in a single day
  • Here's a riddle: When does a team finish in second place in its division, beat the third-place team and still miss out on the playoffs to that third-place team? The answer can be found in Georgia, though no one seems to be precisely sure how it happened.

    Whitefield Academy finished second in its league but missed out on the playoffs to a third-place team — BeRecruitedWhitefield Academy finished second in its league but missed out on the playoffs to a third-place team — BeRecruited

    As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mableton (Ga.) Whitefield Academy missed out on the 2012 Class A state football playoffs despite finishing in second place in Division B of Region 6-A. That in itself isn't necessarily a shock, as the state is using a new power-point weighted playoff-ranking system in 2012. What is surprising is that the third-place finisher in Region 6-A Division B, Johns Creek (Ga.) Mount Pisgah Christian School, did make the playoffs despite finishing with one league victory less than Whitefield and losing to Whitefield.

    How a team could beat a foe and win more games than that foe while playing essentially the same teams, then finish behind that foe on power points is completely befuddling.

    Interestingly, the Journal-Constitution's Chip Saye reported that Whitefield would have missed out on the playoffs in 2011 as well based on prior formats. The difference is that Mount Pisgah would have stayed home under those standards as well.

    Apparently the power point swing came in the final week, with Whitefield falling in a "play-in" game against Trion (Ga.) High, a foe which will be in the playoffs, by a score of 16-7 while Mount Pisgah also fell to Darlington (Ga.) High, 31-14. But Darlington's strength of schedule was apparently stronger than Trion's, helping push Mount Pisgah statistically ahead of Whitefield by less than 0.01 point.

    Read More »from Georgia team finishes in second, beats third-place team, loses playoff spot to third-place team
  • At the start of each basketball season, invitational tournaments cobble together teams for competitions that occasionally pit teams that are title contenders but more often create some desperate mismatches. One girls basketball tournament in Arkansas delivered more of the latter, with one game descending into an all-time blowout.

    As reported by Little Rock CBS affiliate THV, the Little Rock (Ark.) Hall High girls basketball team shut out it's Little Rock (Ark.) Fair High counterpart by the overwhelming score of 88-0 in the season's first game. Incredibly, the victory may have been even more one-sided than it appeared, too, with Hall pulling out its entire crew of starters after just four minutes with the Warriors already holding a 28-0 lead.

    With a hunch that a blowout might be in the offing, Hall also refrained from using any full-court press or pressure defense, giving the Fair team as long as it needed to get up a shot, provided it didn't lose the ball first.

    The scoreline was so remarkable when it was called in to the media when it occurred that both the Little Rock Gazette and THV called back to make sure they had heard correctly, with THV scrambling out to visit Hall's practice the following day once it was told the game did, in fact, finish 88-0.

    "It's exciting, but it was just another game," Little Rock Hall girls basketball coach Selita Farr told THV. "They just played hard. They did what they were supposed to do."

    Beyond the gap in quality between the two squads, part of the problem facing Little Rock Fair may have been just how much more experience Hall featured. The Warriors are comprised almost entirely of seniors and juniors, so even when the starters were pulled it's not like they were being replaced with players who were heading onto the court for the first time in their high school career.

    In fact, sometimes letting second and third-team players get on the court for such talented squads can be counterproductive. For Hall, the internal competition for playing time is such that whenever players relegated to the bench make it onto the floor they will look to impress to try and earn more time in the future.

    Read More »from Arkansas girls basketball team scores 88-0 shutout victory in season opener, raising sportsmanship concerns
  • Disturbing allegations have emerged against an Oregon man who is accused of using a youth gymnastics and photography business to secretly feed his own alleged desire for child pornography.

    As reported by the Mail Tribune and Medford ABC affiliate KDRV, Jeffrey Bettman was arrested Friday and arraigned on Monday on 30 child pornography charges in connection with photos he allegedly took while simultaneously running youth gymnastics organizations and a connected sports photography business. The photos in question allegedly document a number of then-young athletes changing for private photo sessions taken at different local gymnastics venues across Southern Oregon.

    The middle-aged man began coaching gymnastics in Oregon at the early part of this century, with police claiming that his illicit photographs could date back as far as 2003. A Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force detective told the Mail Register that young gymnasts appear to be Bettman's primary victim, but investigators looking into the case would not rule out further discovery of other victims who had used Bettman's photography services.

    Bettman had worked as a coach at no fewer than three youth gymnastics facilities in Oregon since 2003, most recently helping head up the gymnastics division at Unlimited Sports in Grants Pass, Oregon since 2008. According to Unlimited Sports owner Lisa Austin, Bowman's program at the facility included some 350 young gymnasts.

    There is no indication as of yet about how Bettman was able to capture the illegal photographs in question, but police have reached out to all of Oregon asking for any parents whose children had private photo sessions with the accused pedophile to come forward in hopes of identifying any prospective victims.

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  • Ever seen an interception where the ball was literally taken off the butt of the receiver for whom the pass was intended? Prep Rally hadn't either until it came across the video you see below.

    As first noticed by USA Today, the clip above comes from the Mattawan (Mich.) High junior varsity football team's matchup against Lakeshore (Mich.) High's JV squad. With Mattawan desperately clinging to a 28-25 lead, Lakeshore's quarterback dropped back and lofted a pass toward the end zone in the final 30 seconds, hoping to put a bow on a remarkable comeback.

    The pass downfield was a direct bullet and took a slight deflection near the line of scrimmage. Still, the Lakeshore wide receiver got to make a play for the ball, keeping it alive by tapping it directly up in the air with his left hand. The live ball then appeared to take a second deflection — off the receiver's helmet perhaps? It's hard to tell — popped back up in the air and then began one of the wilder bouncing ball routines in a while.

    [Related: Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel closer to Michael Vick or Tim Tebow?]

    First, it took a bounce up and landed on the receiver's back. It ricocheted back up and moved down toward the small of his back. Finally, it began to come to a rest on his rear end, at which point the receiver began to move up off the turf, seemingly sending the ball down to the turf in time to earn Lakeshore one final shot at the end zone or a game-tying field goal.

    Instead, the receiver's attempt to get up coincided with one quick-thinking defensive back's arrival on the scene. With the unknown DB already closing in on the loose ball, he simply scooped up the ball as it rolled off the receiver's back and straight into his hands, pulling in an interception that effectively ended the game.

    Read More »from Football game ends on unique interception stolen off receiver’s rear end
  • Manti kicker Carlo Garcia connects on a state record, state title-winning 54-yard field goal — Deseret NewsManti kicker Carlo Garcia connects on a state record, state title-winning 54-yard field goal — Deseret NewsIf timing is half the battle, then Manti (Utah) High senior place-kicker Carlo Garcia is more than halfway there. Not only does he have a knack for delivering in the biggest situations, he also has the talent to come through when no one could reasonably expect him to. He proved as much in the biggest game of the season, connecting on a state-record 54-yard field goal to hand Manti a 16-13, overtime Class 2A state title game victory against San Juan (Utah) High.

    The state title was the second straight for Manti, culminating with Garcia getting a ride off the field on his teammates' shoulders, all while trying to come to grips with what he had just accomplished.

    "This is the best feeling in the world," Garcia told the Deseret News. "It means a lot -- not only to me, but to my school and my team -- we're like a family."

    It's hard to overstate Garcia's accomplishment. There is no pressure like the stress that faces a place-kicker lining up for a game-winning kick. Time and time again across history kickers that routinely connect on efforts from similar distances have come up short -- or wide right or left -- with an entire contest or even a season on the line. It's one of the unique aspects of American football that a player whose role is rather limited overall can have the single largest impact on a key game.

    Still, those misses are much more understandable when they come from serious distances that extend a kicker's potential. Personal long attempts are more of a hope and a prayer than an expectation.

    Add to those challenges the fact that no one in state history had ever hit a 54-yarder before and the fact that the entire season was quite literally resting on Garcia's leg and it would be hard to find fault with the senior missing the kick.

    Read More »from Utah senior PK sets state record, wins state title with his final, 54-yard field goal