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Cameron Smith

Instant Replay: League showdowns help separate contenders

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

The Weekend Watch dubbed this "Put up or shut up" weekend, with a handful of key games set to determine whether early season hype was truly warranted with the measuring stick of tough intra-state matchups. Who really deserved the accolades? See for yourself.

No. 65 East Grand Rapids (Mich.) 44, No. 64 Lowell (Mich.) 40: Guess Dallas Jackson picked the right Game of the Week, huh? Somehow, EGR pulled together a spirited rally to overturn a 40-24 deficit and top the state's defending 2A champions. Add to that the fierce rivalry between the two schools, and there's little that could have topped the excitement and drama from this Western Michigan tussle on Friday.

DeMatha (Md.) 31, No. 91 Good Counsel (Md.) 28: Good Counsel's run in the RivalsHigh 100 might have come to an end when DeMatha kicker Michael Branthoven nailed a 33-yard field goal with fewer than two minutes remaining in what would become an upset victory for DeMatha. The winning field goal help Branthoven atone for a rare miss on an extra point earlier in the game, handing a key WCAC victory to the Stags.

Moeller (Ohio) 26, Elder (Ohio) 20: While fellow Cincinnati power Colerain may be the city's best team, Moeller made its case for why it may be set to peak at the right time, rallying twice to push past a key Greater Catholic League South rival. If nothing else, that miraculous 49-yard touchdown run on a broken play by Moeller's Monty Madaris in the first quarter has to be a serious contender for play of the week.

No. 89 The Woodlands (Texas) 49, No. 56 Lufkin (Texas) 33: Sometimes undefeated teams can just maintain a certain sense of mojo that helps them push past teams that might even be more talented. On Friday, The Woodlands had 11,000 fans to help aid that cause, and they used plenty of crowd energy to mount a fourth quarter push in response to Lufkin's third quarter rally. That eventually paved the way to a surprising 16-point win for the Highlanders despite an impressive performance by Lufkin's Deauntre Smiley.

No. 6 Mission Viejo (Calif.) 42, East Valley (Calif.) 14: This game turned out to be the biggest of the weekend's mismatches, with the Diablos rolling East Valley's defense early and often in an old fashioned rout. East Valley did get on the board early, but Mission's characteristic stingy defense stiffened after yielding an early touchdown, and it was a one-way street to a blowout from there.

No. 20 Miami Central (Fla.) 25, No. 57 Miami Northwestern (Fla.) 22: Another week, another thrilling game between intra-city rivals in Florida, with this faceoff going down to the game's final play. Northwestern quarterback Teddy Bridgewater found a way to get a last-second pass to the end zone, where it was headed for his Bulls teammate Eli Rogers. Unfortunately for Northwestern fans, Central's Charles Gaines stepped in front of that attempt and knocked it down, sealing a signature victory for Central and sending Northwestern to their first loss of the season.

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