Prep Rally

  • 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
  • On Friday, North Carolina quarterback Will Grier achieved something almost unthinkable, setting a national record for passing yardage in a single game with 834 and tying existing marks with 10 touchdowns. There's now video highlights of Grier's game thanks to MaxPreps, too. In the days since his remarkable performance, there has been no debating the merits of Grier's incredible accomplishment.

    Nonetheless, it now appears that Grier's national-record performance may not end up in the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) record book after all, for truly unsatisfying reasons: The governing body that oversees Grier's team, Davidson (N.C.) Day School, isn't the officially recognized body for the state by the NFHS.

    The rather significant footnote to Grier's remarkable statline was first raised by News & Observer columnist Tim Stevens, who noted that the NFHS record book only tracks performances from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA). Davidson Day competes in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA). Because Grier's performance came in a game that was outside the umbrella of the officially recognized state body for sports, the NCHSAA would have to officially recognize that Grier's all-time best game occurred for it to then be recognized on a national level.

    Will Grier celebrates a touchdown pass — TwitterWill Grier celebrates a touchdown pass — Twitter

    The odds of that happening aren't good at all. John Gillis is the editor of the NFHS record book, and he told Stevens that he does not expect the NCHSAA to recognize Grier's feat.

    As a result, the most impressive quarterback performance in high school football history may not be remembered as officially happening in the years ahead.

    Before the world lashes out at the NFHS and Gillis in particular, the organization has valid reasons for hesitating to recognize Grier's record. Without standards over what constitutes a valid high school athletic association all sorts of wild records would probably be put forth for certification.

    There's little question that the NCISAA is a completely valid athletic body, but even that doesn't guarantee that it competes on a level playing field with the NCHSAA, which holds priority as the official NCHSAA member.

    According to Stevens, even the North Carolina High School Recordbook likely won't accept Grier's 10 touchdowns and 824 yards as official records.

    Nonetheless, it's hard to argue that Grier racked up the stats in anything but a truly competitive contest. His Davidson Day team pulled out a 104-80 playoff victory against Harrells (N.C.) Christian Academy. Both teams featured full squads with impressive records. The loss concluded Harrells' season at 9-3 while Davidson Day improved to 10-2.

    [Heisman Watch Week 11: Texas A&M's Johnny Football makes a strong case]

    Think about that: Grier tossed 10 touchdowns against a nine-win team!

    Read More »from Will Grier’s all-time national passing records may not be recorded because of a bureaucratic technicality
  • You will never see a more touching pregame speech than the one directly below. (Yes, the speech contains a touch of mild, well-meaning profanity, but it's well worth weathering for the emotional roller coaster)

    By now, even if you've been stuck under a very large rock for the past month, you know that New York City was struck by one of the worst storms in modern history, with Hurricane Sandy (or Superstorm Sandy, if you prefer) leaving a path of destruction and carnage that has left parts of the city's two most outlying areas -- Staten Island and the Rockaways section of Brooklyn and Queens -- completely devastated. Now, as people try to bring back some semblance of normalcy to an area still reeling from the natural disaster, every effort is being made to set up temporary schools and even resuscitate activities like high school football to bring back important creature comforts.

    In the wake of the storm, New York's Public Schools Athletic League served up a first-round football playoff game fraught with emotional connections to Sandy, with Queens (N.Y.) Beach Channel High, a school in one of the most affected sections of the Rockaways, facing off against Staten Island (N.Y.) Port Richmond High. Of all the boroughs, it would be hard to argue that any received as much proportional damage than Staten Island.

    The devastation that befell Beach Channel alone tells a truly compelling story. According to Gotham Schools, a New York City education blog, only 15 percent of Beach Channel's students showed up during their first official day back after the storm, with classes held at an emergency temporary location. The football team suddenly found itself without any equipment because the storm had washed it all away.

    Even more strikingly, the team wouldn't have had anywhere to practice even if the equipment were still around because Beach Channel's football field had been transformed into an emergency helipad for medical and supply flights.

    Despite those challenges, Beach Channel gathered a team together to compete in the playoffs. As first brought to Prep Rally's attention by Deadspin, before the Beach Channel Dolphins took to the field, Beach Channel football coach Victor Nazario gathered his squad around for a pregame pep talk, and delivered what may be one of the most touching, inspiring  and moving speeches in the annals of all pregame speeches.

    In the span of fewer than 3 1/2 minutes, Nazario provided a powerful coda to New York's resilience in the face of Sandy. In particular, two passages exemplify the attitude that New Yorkers have collectively shown to the storm, and why the nation has responded so resoundingly to that very public civic reaction.

    "Sandy took a lot of [expletive] from us. A lot. It did not take our courage. It did not take our will. It did NOT take our courage, it did NOT take our will. Because your will is what got you here today.

    "We handle our business and then we go home to deal with the dark and whatever else we're dealing with, because that's what we're dealing with. They're not doing that. They're not doing that. We're doing that. I'm willing to bet that it definitely has improved your character, and it definitely should make you hungry …"

    What Nazario lacks in efficient delivery he more than makes up for in passion and heartfelt, genuine admiration for a group of teenagers collectively thrown into life's deep end by circumstances they had absolutely nothing to do with.

    Unfortunately for Nazario and Channel Beach, a monumental upset was not in the cards, with Port Richmond running out 38-6 victors. Still, that was far less important than what was to come after the game, as the Channel Beach players testified to themselves in chilling but determined honesty.

    "I wouldn't have been able to live with that feeling of 'what if?'" Channel Beach senior wide receiver Justin Zemser told Gotham Schools. "At least now I know we had a shot at it. Now we gotta go fix this town up."

    You can see Nazario's speech in its entirety above -- please beware of a few sprinkled in expletives -- but a transcript of his comments also follows below.

    Read More »from NYC football coach delivers the most touching pregame speech you’ll ever see in playoff game after Hurricane Sandy
  • For years, Aquille Carr was the preeminent Baltimore kid. The Crime Stopper grew up in the Charm City, forged a tough as nails basketball identity in the city's gyms and outdoor playgrounds and eventually landed at Baltimore (Md.) Patterson High as a ready-to-roll  prodigy.

    The three years since Carr first started at Patterson have been a blur, with the point guard landing a remarkable professional contract offer from an Italian team while still an underclassman, starring in a series of prep all-star games and even fathering his first child.

    Yet the Seton Hall commit still found himself with academic issues, so he transferred to Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick School in the spring to try and improve his academic status. Unfortunately for Carr, he returned to Baltimore within two months of heading to New Jersey, putting his collegiate basketball future in doubt.

    Now, after finishing the 2011-12 school year back at Patterson, Carr is on the move again, enrolling at Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day School. The move was reported by USA Today, which spoke with Carr's uncle, Hilbert Hebron.

    "He's down there and he's settling in," Hebron told USA Today. "He's just ready to get to work.

    "He's got a bright future ahead."

    Teen hoops sensation Aquille Carr — Rivals.comTeen hoops sensation Aquille Carr —

    Read More »from Hoops phenom Aquille Carr, the Crimestopper, leaves Baltimore for Florida’s Arlington Country Day
  • Snow flurries in early November aren't necessarily a major surprise, particularly in the relatively northern climes across America. A full-out blizzard definitely is, unless you're living in Alaska. When such a huge snowstorm does set in somewhere, that area will usually face major lags in high school sporting events, waiting until the weather calms down and bus travel is safer again.

    That's not the case in Utah, where the state played at least one state semifinal football game in some of the snowiest football conditions in ages, with a sloppy, 14-6 game playing out on a canvas that looked ripped from history and New England's famous "tuck rule" playoff victory against the Oakland Raiders.

    Keep in mind, the tuck game occurred in late January in Massachusetts. The Mountain Crest (Utah) High vs. Highland (Utah) High state semifinal occurred in Utah in early November. Yet, as you can see from the videos above and below, the snow in Utah was certainly consistent with that New England blizzard back in 2002.

    While the conditions made for scenic photos, it also essentially undermined any preconceived game plans for either squad. As noted by the Deseret News, the teams combined for seven turnovers, five by Highland, with the weather playing a significant role in all of them. Snow shovels and snow plows were used to try and clear the white stuff from the field, or at least make the field lines visible enough to continue playing.

    Still, given the conditions that led to an eventual eight-point Mountain Crest victory, it's fair for one to ponder why the game went forward in the first place, particularly considering that a berth in a state championship game was on the line.

    "[The snow] changes everything. That's what I was saying to the Highland kids. You feel bad for them as well because neither team could really do what they've prepared to do all year long when you get in a situation like this," Mountain Crest coach Mark Wootton told the Deseret News.

    Read More »from Crazy Utah semifinal football game in blizzard sends team to state title game amidst 7 turnovers
  • The first game of the high school basketball season is usually reserved for knocking the offseason rust off and getting acclimated to playing against someone other than the guys on your own team.

    But for Arlington Country Day (Fla.) forward Dante Buford, his first game of the season wasn't about getting back to full speed. Nope, his first game was all about putting on an impressive show for the fans that showed up for Arlington Country Day's season opener against Faith Baptist Christian (Fla.).

    Normally one highlight-reel dunk per game is enough to get you noticed. Buford, however, prefers his in pairs, after he pulled off two of the best dunks of the early season with a reverse alley-oop and an eye-popping windmill putback that looked like something you'd see in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

    The 6-foot-6 junior clearly has some impressive hops, and based on the way he's been playing over the last couple of seasons, it's no surprise that N.C. State, South Carolina, Clemson, Illinois and Virginia Commonwealth are chasing his signature.

    Read More »from Florida hoops stars throw throws down two highlight-reel dunks in one game
  • In football terms, punters usually live fairly uneventful lives. Walk onto the field, catch football, kick football, trot off the field. That couldn't have been further from what one Michigan punter recently went through in one of the great whirlwind plays in recent memory.

    As USA Today put it, the play started like Saline (Mich.) High punter Gage Hammond's biggest nightmare and ended like his wildest dream.

    On the play in question, Hammond lined up in punt formation at his own 35-yard line in the fourth quarter of a district championship game against Ann Arbor (Mich.) Pioneer High with Saline nursing a 14-point lead. When the snap came in for Hammond to punt, it sailed far, far over his head, sending the senior scrambling back to his own 17-yard line to try and retrieve the ball and keep any Pioneer's onrushing defensive linemen from scooping it up and scoring.

    Yet, instead of pouncing on the ball and killing the play there, Hammond decided to trust his instincts and take off upfield. After escaping a crew of would-be tacklers with a slippery move while heading toward the right sideline, Hammond used a sharp cut upfield to create space in the middle of the field.

    By that point, Hammond had picked up a group of blockers, giving himself open field and a peek at daylight. He used all his speed to jet toward the left sideline, eventually alluded one final Pioneer tackler and cruised into the end zone to all put put away the game for Saline.

    Read More »from Magical scramble helps Michigan punter turn horrendous snap into unlikely TD
  • Veterans Day is usually reserved for honoring the American flag and those who fought to preserve the values it stands for. In Pennsylvania on Monday, it also oversaw ferocious debate over one of the least patriotic things possible: eliminating the playing of the national anthem from all high school hockey games.

    As first reported by Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League has issued a directive to 183 high school squads in central and western Pennsylvania banning the national anthem from being performed.

    "The national anthem should not be played only because of time constrains," PIHL commissioner Ed Sam told KDKA. "It's not that we're not patriotic, that's the furthest from the truth."

    While Sam's words might sound like bizarre lip service, there actually is some logic to the PIHL's decision to kick the national anthem out of high school hockey. Sam notes that ice time in western Pennsylvania is quite expensive, making every minute of rented time sacred in an era of cutbacks throughout interscholastic athletics.

    That became apparent when at least one arena halted a high school game even though the third period hadn't completed because the schools' rented ice time had expired. In the game where that recently happened, the pregame routine was marked by an "overly verbose rendition of the national anthem."

    "Ice is very, very hard to get and it's not cheap," said Sam. "We're talking $300 an hour sometimes or even higher than that."

    Read More »from Pennsylvania high school hockey league bans national anthem to save money on ice time
  • A disturbing incident may have sidelined a Dallas high school football coach for good after he allegedly pressured an eighth grader into having sex with him in his office, then tried to bribe her into silence with a hall note and $30.

    Lincoln football coach James Harper — Dallas County Sheriff's OfficeLincoln football coach James Harper — Dallas County Sheriff's Office

    As reported by the Dallas Morning News, Dallas (Texas) Lincoln High freshman football coach James Harper was arrested and charged with felonious second-degree assault for a sexual encounter he had with an eighth grade student at Dallas (Texas) Anderson Middle School, where he serves as a hall monitor during the day. Harper is reportedly being held in Dallas County Jail on $75,000 bond, with a future trial potentially sending him to jail for as long as 20 years.

    The entire disturbing incident was outlined in court papers which were uncovered by the Morning News on Friday, with the paper following up that discovery with an interview with the underaged student in question on Friday. She told the newspaper that she hesitated before alerting police about the sexual encounter because she feared the hall monitor and coach, noting that Harper had pursued her for weeks, trying to convince her to break up with her boyfriend in favor of the coach and pressuring her into the alleged sexual encounter which has now landed him behind bars.

    The teen also said that she planned to transfer to a new school now that she has alerted police about the incident, which may still not be public knowledge at Anderson. She told law enforcement officials that the sexual encounter occurred in late October.

    "He acted like [the in-school sex] wasn't a big deal," the unnamed minor told the Morning News. "[In following weeks] he [followed the teen during school hours and] was looking like he wanted to do it again."

    Read More »from Dallas high school football coach charged with felony for allegedly pressuring 8th grader into sex at school
  • If you're a sports fan, you've almost certainly seen a television cameraman get run over by a football player, basketball player or possibly even a diving first or third baseman in foul territory during a baseball game. That's all considered part of the hazards that come with the job. Meanwhile, print writers are buffered by the more posh surroundings that come with their positions, ensconced high up in the press box, out of the elements and away from the contact on the field.

    That's not the case in high school sports, where reporters typically keep their own statistics, often cover games at fields and fieldhouses without any press boxes at all and sometimes even take their own photos. Being on the front line of the action that way can also lead to some dangerous consequences, putting the reporters in the middle of the action.

    There was proof of that in the video above, from an Oklahoma football game, where an undisclosed local sports reporter thought he had lucked into the best highlight of the game, only to find that he had instead lucked into a real-time discovery of exactly what it feels like to get leveled by a prep defensive back.

    The collision occurred during the Edmond (Okla.) North High vs. Edmond (Okla.) Memorial High playoff game, a cross-town rivalry that doubled as a playoff eliminator in 2012. On the play in question in the video above, a North receiver ran a route to the right side of the end zone, setting himself up perfectly for a key touchdown grab from North quarterback Luke Hoskins' right-side rollout.

    Instead, Hoskins' pass sailed just past his fingertips, sending both the receiver and his defensive back cover hurtling into the unprepared double-timing reporter/photographer just past the right sideline.

    [Also: 'Johnny Football' is the same legend he was in high school]

    Though it didn't score on this play, Edmond North did go on to win the postseason face-off by a score of 34-7.

    Read More »from Oklahoma reporter gets flattened by WR and DB during playoff game, somehow emerges unscathed with camera untouched
  • In the hours after Texas A&M upset then top-ranked and perceived invincible Alabama, everyone and their grandparents took to the Internet to try and find as much as they could about Aggies freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel. This led to a series of pieces on news sites and blogs, (nearly) all expressing various degrees of shock over just how amazing "Johnny Football" was in Tuscaloosa.

    Then Tivy star Johnny Manziel scrambles during his senior high school season — Rivals.comThen Tivy star Johnny Manziel scrambles during his senior high school season —

    If you'd seen Texas A&M play earlier this year, Manziel's performance wouldn't have been such a surprise. Yet, if you've been following Prep Rally since the blog's inception, you probably would have had a sense of Manziel's penchant for highlights ripped straight out of a video game.

    Prep Rally first helped preach the gospel of Johnny Football early in Manziel's senior season at Kerrville (Texas) Tivy High in September of 2010. At the time, Manziel was an under-the-radar two-way QB talent, a rare Class 4A Texas talent who decided to commit to an out-of-state program (Oregon) rather than stay in-state at Texas or Texas A&M (not to mention TCU, Texas Tech, Baylor, Houston, SMU or any others). He later decommitted from Oregon after A&M offered him a scholarship because he wanted to play closer to home and the rest, as they say, is history.

    Manziel had racked up impressive numbers as a junior, but not impressive enough to slip in front of the likes of Braxton Miller, Teddy Bridgewater or Marcus Mariota higher up the ranking of dual-threat quarterbacks. In essence, Manziel was considered one of the best of the second tier of dual-threat quarterbacks (along with Everett Golson, interestingly), with his status held back by his diminutive stature (he stood just 6-foot-1 and 193 pounds during his senior season) and concerns about his durability and his ability to rise to the level of competition in major Division I football.

    Then he put up one of the more legendary performances in the recent history of Texas high school football, and all those doubts disappeared.

    In a remarkably back-and-forth, 54-45 Tivy victory against highly ranked Cibolo (Texas) Steele High, Manziel accounted for eight touchdowns, passing for six and running for two more. In the process he managed to outduel Steele running back Malcolm Brown, widely considered one of the top-two running back recruits in the country.

    The two stars, who now play for bitter rivals in different conferences, traded touchdowns back and forth, with each seemingly daring the other to outdo it the next time they got the ball.

    While Brown was impressive -- he ran for four touchdowns and a career-high 353 yards himself -- Manziel was otherworldly. The skinny country kid passed for 428 yards in a 34-for-42 night through the air. On the ground he ran for 145 yards. And, when all was said and done, Manziel had accounted for all but 14 of Tivy's total yards. No exaggeration.

    With stats like those there was little doubt that Steele knew exactly who was going to be handling the ball by game's end. The issue was simply that the Steele defense couldn't stop Manziel for its life.

    Read More »from Who is Johnny Manziel? He’s exactly the same football legend he was in high school
  • We've seen high school running backs and quarterbacks hurdle defenders in the middle of a game before. Rarely have we featured a more impressive and natural hurdle than the one you see below, as turned in by Tracy (Cal.) Kimball High star Zack Johnson.

    Unfortunately for Johnson and Kimball, his touchdown on the play didn't count, just like some past hurdling heroics that were called back for a penalty because of the apparently unsportsmanlike act of hurdling a defender (can't we get that rule changed, NHSA?)

    In the midst of Kimball's 28-20 victory against Lathrop (Cal.) High, the senior QB found himself trapped in the backfield with nowhere to go. Rather than go down, the quarterback scrambled to his right, worked toward the sideline and then turned upfield.

    A Lathrop defender was waiting for him, but Kimball had an answer for him, leaping directly over the defender and sprinting in along the edge for what appeared to be a key score.

    As MaxPreps notes, Johnson's form on the hurdle was impeccable, with the quarterback clearing the human stop sign in front of him without so much as any hint of contact. Yet that wasn't enough for the touchdown to count. Whether Johnson realized that an offensive player is not allowed to leap over a defender is unknown. If he only made the leap because he was unaware, Prep Rally is glad for his prior ignorance.

    Read More »from California QB Zack Johnson completely hurdles defender on TD run … that is then called back
  • Will Grier may only be a junior, but he's already establishing himself as one of the best high school passers to ever play the game. That status was cemented on Friday when he tied the national record for most touchdown passes in a game by throwing 10 in his Davidson (N.C.) Day School's stunning 104-80 victory against Harrells (N.C.) Christian Academy. Equally incredibly, he set a national record for most passing yards in a game at the same time.

    Davidson Day record-setting QB Will Grier — Rivals.comDavidson Day record-setting QB Will Grier —

    Pause for a moment to consider all those points, both for Grier and the game as a whole. Ten touchdowns and 60 points through the air for Grier. One-hundred-eighty-four total points between two teams. In football. Wow.

    "I don't know what to say," Davidson Day football coach Chad Grier told the Charlotte Observer. "It was crazy. I don't think I'll ever live to see something like that happen again. It was just nuts."

    The total yardage for Grier, the son of the coach, is as impressive as one might expect when considering that he threw for 10 scores. The junior finished with 834 yards through the air, a national record for most passing yards in a single game. In fact, Grier's 35-for-42 performance completely smashed the prior record of 764 yards by 70 yards. To think, some quarterbacks would be happy throwing for 70 yards in a game.

    [Also: Texas A&M, Manziel family seek trademark for 'Johnny Football']

    The 10 touchdowns also did wonders for Grier's single-season totals on that count as well. According to the Observer, he has now passed for 64 scores in 2012, two TDs short of the state record, with the 64 good for a tie for sixth all time nationally. Remember former Florida and Charlotte (N.C.) Independence High superstar Chris Leak? He's one of the other players to pass for 64 touchdowns in a season. He had already thrown for six touchdowns in a single game earlier in 2012, too.

    Will Grier celebrates a touchdown pass — TwitterWill Grier celebrates a touchdown pass — Twitter

    With Davidson Day still playing, the younger Grier is almost sure to top Leak and move up the national list.

    "I just focused on taking care of the ball and moving down field," Will Grier told MaxPreps' Dave Krider. "My line did an amazing job all night. We had 16 or 17 possessions. As the season progressed they have gotten better and better."

    As one might expect for a game that totaled 185 points, Grier wasn't the only player to put up preposterous statistics. Harrells Christian running back Russell Washington carried the ball 46 times, racking up 429 yards and eight touchdowns himself. Think about that: 46 carries! The eight rushing touchdowns also tied for the fourth most in a single game in national history.

    Read More »from Will Grier, N.C. QB, sets national marks with 10 TDs in preposterous 104-80 victory
  • Three teens at a Southern California soccer program are facing felony charges related to sexual assault in connection with a disturbing hazing incident in which four younger players were allegedly assaulted with a sharp-ended object in a routine known as the "pole tradition."

    As reported by the Los Angeles Times and L.A. ABC affiliated KABC, two 17-year-olds and one 16-year-old student at La Puente (Calif.) High were issued an aggregate 26 counts connected with the violent sexual assault of four of their teammates. According to the Times, one young athlete was sodomized with some sort of a pole while the other three were all sexually battered to different degrees.

    The lawyer representing the four teens who claim they were assaulted said that all four were hesitant to come forward with the charges out of embarrassment and fear of how news of their assault would be received.

    "These boys were ashamed and embarrassed," Bryan Claypool, the victims' attorney, told the Times.

    According to the counts brought by the victim, at least one of the attacks was filmed on cell phones by teammates who weren't directly involved in the assault itself. All four players were assaulted when entering the team's equipment room. In the days leading up to the attacks, each of the allegedly assaulted teens even expressed resistance to enter the room for fear of the "pole tradition."

    As one would hope, Hacienda La Puente Unified School District Superintendent Barbara Nakaoka expressed shock and outrage at the allegations that led to the charges against the three La Puente students.

    "This is intolerable, and our district cannot tolerate this," Nakaoka said at a press conference related to the charges. "There is a teacher coach involved, and we don't know the degree of involvement."

    Read More »from California soccer players face felony sexual assault charges for disturbing hazing incident
  • Much has been made of Oregon's custom change-every-week football uniforms, and Nike's penchant for using the Ducks as guinea pigs in the company's ongoing quest to constantly improve its products. As it turns out, that regional or alumni-favoritism isn't strictly reserved for the University of Oregon, either, with much ballyhooed football program Beaverton (Ore.) Aloha High receiving customized, beta-testing footwear to use for the remainder of the football season.

    The customized Nike hyperfuse cleats that Aloha will wear in the Oregon state playoffs — The OregonianThe customized Nike hyperfuse cleats that Aloha will wear in the Oregon state playoffs — The Oregonian

    As reported by the Oregonian, Nike came to Aloha and asked if the school was interested in using brand new shoes that feature Aloha's logo on it for free. The company was hoping to test a new dye that is being used to paint the shoes, and Aloha provided a nearby option for Nike to keep close notes on how the shoes respond to the elements throughout the Oregon playoffs.

    Aloha won't pay for the shoes, provided that the sneakers are returned to Nike technicians once the season ends.

    Naturally, that's an easy sale for Aloha officials.

    "The agreement with Nike was that our kids would wear them and really test them," Aloha coach Chris Casey told the Oregonian. "We have a great relationship with Nike, and it's been that way since I've been here."

    Read More »from Nike gives beta testing shoes to Oregon high school squad for playoff run
  • It's not very often that a football player lets the football be stripped from his hands for strategic reasons. Somehow that move actually made sense during a game between Bergen (N.J.) Catholic High and Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate Academy. Even more incredibly, that very decision led to a touchdown, possibly avoiding an interception or fumble in the process.

    You can see the play that led to that remarkable duality above, but here's essentially how it unfolded: Bergen Catholic quarterback Jonathan Germano dropped back and lofted a pass down the left sideline for star receiver J.J. Kulcsar. Yet Germano's pass was a bit underthrown, forcing Kulcsar to get a bit physical to ensure he would be the man to come down with the ball.

    In the end, he was the one to pull in the reception … or so it appeared. Yet that wasn't necessarily determined when the ball first landed in Kulcsar's hands, with a Friendship Collegiate defender wrapping him up. Kulcsar was left with one option: Bear hug the defender and the pass to hold on for a reception. It worked, and he was able to maintain control of the ball, as unlikely as that may have seemed.

    Nine-year-old girl outruns defense in tackle football (video)]

    Yet the Friendship defender wasn't giving up yet, continuing to try to drag the receiver down and potentially separate him from the ball. Instead, Kulcsar held on for his life, all while inching his way toward the end zone. In fact, the progress toward the goal line was so glacial that it allowed one of his teammates and a second Friendship defender to arrive on the scene right around the 1-yard line.

    At that point, the outcome of the play was anyone's guess. Kulscar could have been brought down at the 1. Equally, he could have been stripped of the ball, leaving a mad scramble for a loose ball. Instead, the star receiver avoided both of those outcomes with a rather innovative move, essentially handing off the ball to teammate James Dawson, who came in behind the defender's back as well.

    Dawson trotted into the end zone for a touchdown while both Germano and Kulcsar received credit for the pass and catch, part of a 355-yard, school-record performance from the quarterback.

    Read More »from Receiver pulls off incredible bear hug handoff while being tackled to create unique touchdown
  • An Iowa football player is fighting for his life after suffering from a blood clot near his brain stem and other head injuries. Yet, in this case, football may not actually be the culprit that leaves his life at risk. Rather, his mother is claiming that his injuries were likely caused by bullying from his football teammates.

    Bedford Iowa football player Kacey Strough — OutSports.comBedford Iowa football player Kacey Strough —

    As reported by the Des Moines Register, Omaha ABC affiliate KETV and other area outlets, 16-year-old Bedford (Iowa) High freshman Kacey Strough underwent brain surgery after suffering from complications related to a blood clot that had formed near his brain stem. That intensive surgery lasted for more than eight hours and led to an induced coma, which the freshman will have to endure for as long as a month to try and help him stabilize physically.

    Rather than traditional football contact, Strough's injury may have been caused by in-team bullying. According to Strough's step-grandmother, Chris Strough, the teenager was repeatedly hit in the head with a football by teammates in mid-October. The freshman reportedly complained about the attacks to a coach, but the coach failed to intervene, leaving an opening for the bullying to continue.

    Days later, Strough began to show signs of significant head trauma. First he allegedly began suffering from severe headaches, with speech problems and, finally, significant paralysis of the left side of his body following. Throughout it all, the younger Strough was repeatedly taken to the doctor, but nothing improved his condition until he finally reached a threshold where the surgical procedure became necessary.

    Read More »from Iowa football player fights for his life following brain surgery, and his family blames in-team bullying for his injuries
  • Occasionally balls take odd bounces in sporting contests. Sometimes they even strike people awkwardly, either on the field or in the stands. The resulting videos are nearly always both wince-inducing and borderline hilarious.

    Two ridiculous strikes from a single ball? That's almost unheard of.

    Incredibly, that's precisely what happened in a key Iowa volleyball match that earned one squad a berth in the state playoffs. With Forth Madison (Iowa) Holy Trinity Catholic High hosting Winfield-Mount Union (Iowa) High with a trip to the state tournament on the line, Holy Trinity set up to return a Winfield-Mount Union serve.

    A Trinity backliner did just that, using a perfect set to create a powerful spike back over the net … and right into the face of a Winfield-Mount Union player. Yet, the volleyball wasn't done yet. As it turns out, the Trinity strike was so powerful it ricocheted off the player's face and directly into the stands at a roughly 45-degree angle, pitch perfect to trip up an unsuspecting fan who just happened to be headed to the concessions stand (or bathroom, or somewhere else outside of the gym).

    While the first strike was legitimately scary -- the player remained down on the ground for moments afterward -- the second was worthy of a Benny Hill soundtrack, with the unsuspecting teen quickly getting to his feet and sprinting out of the gym.

    Luckily, Prep Rally can report that the player that was struck by the ball is also fine. Her coach, David Pieart, confirmed via email that she didn't suffer a broken nose, concussion or any other serious malady, though there was some bleeding from her impact with the floor.

    Read More »from Crazy volleyball spike takes out foe, then richochets to drop a fan, too
  • Tragedy struck a Montana high school football player in October, when Koni Dole suffered a gruesome compound fracture in a football game that eventually required the amputation of the lower portion of his right leg. Less than two weeks later, that same teen is in the midst of an inspiring recovery, already back in the weight room and inspiring football players at a higher level in the process.

    As the Billings Gazette reported, less than two weeks after he lost the lower half of his right leg, Billings (Mont.) Huntley Project teen Koni Dole was in attendance at the Rocky Mountain College football game against Carroll College. He was there to support his strength and development coach, Adam Husk, who also serves as the defensive line coach at Rocky Mountain.

    Huntley Project football player Koni Dole, wearing number 7, before his injury — FacebookHuntley Project football player Koni Dole, wearing number 7, before his injury — Facebook

    Rocky didn't just show up and go through the motions in the game either, with the Bears pulling out a 31-28 victory in a hard fought game that Husk called "the best game I've ever seen Rocky play." There's a good reason why the victory was so notable, too: Entering the game, Rocky Mountain had lost 24 straight matchups with Carroll.

    "I had a gut feeling Rocky was going to win, and wasn't going to miss it," Dole said. "I wanted to be there to support Coach Husk."

    After the monumental win, Dole was introduced to the RMC team, which presented him with a Bears football jersey signed by every member of the team. According to the Gazette, the teen was also awarded the team's victory spear, handed out to the most influential player of the week. Dole hadn't competed in the Carroll win, but the team universally agreed that his presence on the sideline had helped push the squad to victory.

    Incredibly, Dole didn't wait long to get back in the gym after the huge RMC win. Hours later, the teen was back in the weight room with Husk and his younger brother, Kai Dole. The Dole brothers plan to play together on the Huntley Project team in fall 2013, and both know that rigorous weight training will be a key to the elder Dole being able to be on the field next fall.

    Read More »from Shortly after horrific amputation from football injury, teen inspires area college to snap 24-game rivalry losing streak