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Cameron Smith

Instant Replay: Celebrations and upsets galore

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Ladies and gentlemen, we've come to a sad day: The final edition of "Instant Replay" for the 2010 high school football season. Yet, all good things must come to an end, and with the knowledge that Batesville (Miss.) South Panola High is the new RivalsHigh 100 national champion, we can rest assured that all the mysteries of the 2010 campaign have been sufficiently solved. With that in mind, it's time to look back on one final, glorious week of high school football championships, upsets and all.

No. 3 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) 29, No. 49 Plant (Fla.) 7: The Sunshine State's Class 5A title game was even more of a whitewash than anyone could have expected. After falling behind 7-6 -- the first deficit Aquinas has faced all season -- the Raiders bounced back with a vengenance, routing nationally-ranked Plant in a final audition for why they deserve a national title. In the end, Aquinas didn't get that title, but they did get plenty of respect from all corners but putting dominant victories week after week.

Palo Alto (Calif.) 15, No. 13 Corona Centennial (Calif.) 13: In all honesty, no one saw this coming. Yet despite being unranked and playing a team vying for a spot in the season-ending RivalsHigh 100 Top-10, Palo Alton preyed on a host of Corona Centennial miscues to steal a season-defining victory when a 42-yard field goal attempt with just 35 seconds left fell short for Centennial.

No. 35 Tampa (Fla.) Jefferson 44, Miami (Fla.) Norland 34: Quentin Williams set a new state record for single season passing yards and Jefferson used its explosive offense to hold off a hard-charging, upset-minded Miami Norland squad. By game's -- and season's -- end, Williams owned records as Florida's all-time leader in passing yardage (10,384) and passing touchdowns (109).

Allentown Central Catholic (Penn.) 28, Bishop McDevitt (Penn.) 27: The best title game on Friday night may have been the one between two teams which weren't ranked in the RivalsHigh 100. Led by all-everything quarterback Brandon Nosovitch, who ran for three touchdowns and completed a huge 70-yard pass on the go-ahead drive late in the fourth quarter, Central Catholic squeaked by a resilient McDevitt squad that was victimized most by its own special teams, with a missed extra point in the fourth quarter providing the margin of victory for Central Catholic.

No. 12 Concord (Calif.) De La Salle 48, No. 9 Anaheim (Calif.) Servite 8: The fact that De La Salle, a traditional California power, won this game wasn't a stunner. What was shocking was the manner in which De La Salle dispatched with a Servite team seen as one of the nation's best. Lucas Dunne finished with 242 yards and four touchdowns as the state champions dominated the Open Division Bowl on the ground and chewed up clock and Servite yardage in an overwhelming performance.

No. 21 Miami (Fla.) Central 42, No. 6 Dr. Phillips (Fla.) 27: Dr. Phillips finally found a foe it couldn't overpower, with Central turning the tables quite completely in a 42-27 whitewash that the Rockets led throughout. The victory was made all the more impressive by the fact that Miami Central rallied from an early 17-point deficit to thwart a team that absolutely expected to win and was making a late charging for national title consideration.

No. 37 Pearland (Texas) 28, No. 5 Euless (Texas) Trinity 24: Trinity, considered by some to be the best team in the nation, had been playing with fire all playoffs. Week after week the Trojans flirted with disaster before finding ways to win in the dying moments of big games. Well, that tendency finally caught up with the Trojans, who couldn't complete a potential game-winning pass near the goal line on a fourth down with seconds remaining, giving Pearland a memorable state title victory and position in the season's final Top-10 thanks in no small part to a magnificent trick play.

No. 47 Folsom (Calif.) 48, No. 28 Junipero (Calif.) Serra 20: First, Folsom shocked Grant, and did so decisively. Then the new state champions won a sectional title. Well, Folsom capped off a memorable playoff run with a Division II title, dominating Junipero Serra with a record-setting performance from quarterback Dano Graves, who ran for three touchdowns and passed for three more.

No. 80 Cibolo (Texas) Steele 24, No. 33 Denton (Texas) Guyer 21: Texas recruit Malcolm Brown showed everyone why he's regarded as one of the nation's top backs in the fourth quarter, putting together an amazing, acrobatic run to convert a key third down on his team's game-winning drive, then punching in a two-yard power sweep for the touchdown itself, handing Steele the Clas 5A Division II state crown over a powerful Guyer team.

No. 72 North Allegheny (Penn.) 21, No. 62 La Salle (Penn.) 0: What was supposed to be a tight contest ended up being a coronation march to the Class AAAA crown, with the Explorers left stunned that they couldn't even mount an offensive drive against the new state champions, a year after landing the title trophy themselves.

No. 74 Lake Travis (Texas) 27, Denton (Texas) Ryan 7: Three-peat is a well-established term for the rare occasions when a team wins three-straight titles, but is there even a regular term for taking four straight crowns? The Lake Travis Cavaliers are searching for one after claiming a fourth-straight Class 4A Division I crown. Quarterback Michael Brewer picked up nearly 300 yards and ran for four touchdowns as the Cavaliers became just the third team in state history to capture four straight crowns.

Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln 17, No. 11 Armwood (Fla.) 14: This was supposed to be a stroll to a state title for Armwood, but it ended in a lot more heartbreak than any could have imagined, with the Trojans stunning a team bent on finishing among the top 10 in the nation, thanks to a 37-yard field goal from placekicker Carlos Gaston with only nine seconds remaining on the clock.

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