Instant Replay: Fabulous finishes and playoff pressure

We've finally reached the point in the season where the annointed Game of the Week and other Weekend Watch contenders are almost guaranteed to be great tussles, purely because only the best teams are still playing football. Well, Friday and Saturday night lived up to their billing, with a handful of top games in the Midwest bracketing a Florida showdown and another between a Bay Area power and a surgining new contender. Here's how the action shook out, and be sure to see how it all affected this week's RivalsHigh 100.

No. 22 St. Edward (Ohio) 42, No. 24 Cleveland Glenville (Ohio) 22: Cleveland Glenville entered the season as one the nation's top teams, with plenty of motivation from last year's state final setback to help it get over the top. Instead, it was stopped in the second round of one of the nation's toughest tournaments by a ball control rushing attack and steady defensive pressure that forced all-everything quarterback Cardale Jones into more mistakes than he made all year.

No. 89 Iowa City (Ia.) 21, Bettendorf (Ia.) 7: Iowa City used a healthy dose of tough defense and one of the luckiest bounces you'll ever see to advance to the state finals. Nursing a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter, a punt bounced off the arm of return man Connor Alberhasky ... and directly into the waiting hands of teammate Jasper Washington, who not only kept Alberhasky from suffering the indignity of a game-changing fumble, but also turned an apparent mishap into a game-icing touchdown. Sometimes lady luck really is more important than skill.

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No. 36 Central Catholic (Penn.) 10, Gateway (Penn.) 0: A young Gateway proved it had a top notch defense with a huge win a week earlier, but it couldn't quite shut out the Vikings ... who did exactly that to the Gators. Central Catholic got an early touchdown by Damion Jones-Moore and then held on for dear life to advance in the second round of the WPIAL 4A playoffs.

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No. 20 Wheaton Warrenville South (Ill.) 40, No. 73 Glenbard West (Ill.) 20: Reilly O'Toole and his Tiger teammates may have seen more of a test than they've endured all season, but in the end the star quarterback and WWS's speed attack was again too much for an opponent to match, with O'Toole's 239 yards and a touchdown through the air pacing WWS to its 12th-straight win. After 40 points, we're pretty sure that Glenbard West had heard quite enough of this song, too.

No. 25 De La Salle (Calif.) 31, California (Calif.) 17: De La Salle is the staid, steady state power, California the brash upstart. For a half, the two teams played to those expected roles, with De La Salle pushing out to a convincing 23-3 halftime lead. Then California struck back with a vengeance, cutting De La Salle's lead as close as a single touchdown before a late missed onside kick set up a game-clinching touchdown for the state's No. 4-ranked team.

No. 27 Miami Central (Fla.) 17, No. 61 Booker T. Washington (Fla.) 0: Talk about making a statement with defense. The Rockets, who have yo-yoed in the RivalsHigh 100 rankings all season, seem to be making a big push for further elevation after handing the Tornadoes what is believed to be the program's first shutout since it was re-started in the '90s. Of course, with the gauntlet of the Florida state playoffs still lying in wait, that doesn't mean Central is a shoo-in for anything more than a first round berth, but it does mean they should be prime contenders for a deep run -- and maybe even a state title -- if they can keep playing the way they did Friday.

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