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Cameron Smith

Instant Replay: Separating the best from the nearly best

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

RivalsHigh's national analyst Dallas Jackson said it best last week: At this point in the season, all the teams still playing football are good, and all the games are worth watching. Still, some are even better than others, particularly with the dramatic reshaping of the RivalsHigh 100 each week, based on playoff results. Here's how this past weekend's best games turned out:

No. 38 Hilliard Davidson (Ohio) 13, No. 34 Pickerington Central (Ohio) 6: This game was just one of a handful that standas a testament to just how brutal Ohio's Division I state tournament is. The Region 2 final lived up to its billing as the national game of the week, with Davidson using a dominant defense and just enough big plays down the stretch to get past one top-50 team in the RivalsHigh 100 and advance to play another, Wayne, and then could get a possible state final matchup against No. 17 St. Edwards, which notched a win over a fellow RivalsHigh 100 top-50 team itself.

No. 93 Wayne (Ohio) 28, St. Xavier (Ohio) 24: Last week, St. Xavier stunned a number of Cincinnati-area onlookers by knocking out Colerain (Ohio), the highest ranked team in south Ohio's region.Unfortunately for fans of the Bombers, St. X ran out of magic in the regional finals, rallying from a 21-7 third quarter deficit to take a fourth quarter lead. That's when Wayne pulled itself together for one more offensive push, capped by a 19-yard touchdown run by Anthone Taylor that sent the Bombers home and the Warriors getting ready for a state semifinal matchup against Hilliard Davidson, a fellow RivalsHigh 100 team coming off a win in the national game of the week. Did we mention the Ohio Division I tournament is tough this year?

No. 3 Trinity (Texas) 37, No. 72 Allen (Texas) 35: This game was a lot closer than most expected, but given the history between the foes and the pride within the Allen program, perhaps we shouldn't have been so surprised. What was truly unprecedented was Trinity's reliance on placekicker Tyler Orwig, who connected from 39, 41 and -- most impressively -- 47 yards to help the nation's No. 3 team stay alive and able to do the Haka for another week, if only barely.

Mater Dei (Calif.) 26, Long Beach Polytechnic (Calif.) 10: Long Beach Poly has been a consistently terrific program on both the state and national level based largely on their defensive strength and fantastic athleticism. Yet in the Pac-5 playoffs, Poly had that script turned against them by Mater Dei, which used three interceptions, three sacks and safe offense to advance.

North Allegheny (Penn.) 17, No. 35 Central Catholic (Penn.) 7: Like we said, all the teams remaining are really good teams, even if they aren't currently ranked among the nation's top-10. In the case of North Allegheny, that might not be true for long. The Tigers used a dominant defense and an enormous dose of running back Alex Papson to run down Central Catholic and end the Vikings' season short of the WPIAL finals. From the looks of it, we're betting North Allegheny felt a lot like their band sounded like after the win

No. 66 Miami Northwestern (Fla.) 27, No. 60 Miami Columbus (Fla.): The latest battle for Miami -- star-studded Miami Central (Fla.) High aside -- was as back-and-forth as one could imagine, with star Northwestern quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a University of Miami commit, taking full advantage of the spotlight to lead a late game-winning drive that sent the Bulls on to the Class 6A regional semifinals.

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