Thursday night drama for FAB 50 teams

October, 24, 2008

 Tom Hauck
 Corey Brown led Gateway to a hard-fought win.
There was high drama in Western Pennsylvania last night, as FAB 50 No. 4 Gateway was pushed to the brink by McKeesport. After streaking out to a 28-0 first half lead, the Gators needed a late defensive stand to survive with a 31-27 win, reports The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Ohio State-bound WR/DB Corey Brown caught two scoring passes in the first half for Gateway, now 9-0, as the Gators raced out to a 28-0 lead with just over three minutes left in the first half, but McKeesport (7-2 with its only other loss versus Cincinnati power Colerain) slowly chipped away and pulled within four (31-27) with 7:44 left in the fourth quarter. The Gateway defense was able to stem the tide late however, as Christopher Lammie and Jeff Parrish sacked McKeesport QB Ty-Meer Brown on fourth down with 2:16 remaining to preserve the slim four-point win. Gateway now awaits the announcement of the WPIAL playoff brackets Monday.

FAB 50 No. 17 Phoebus moved to 9-0 with a 48-0 rout of Kecoughtan, reports The Newport News Daily Press. While the margin of victory was big, Phantoms' coach Bill Dee still had the starters in until late in the fourth quarter, trying to get them prepared for the playoffs. "I told their coaches after the game, we had to play four quarters," Dee told The Daily Press. "We've only played four quarters, what, probably the Hampton game? And not even then. We needed to start doing that. I told the kids, we have to get a good four quarters in. We've got to get ready." One of the reasons Dee kept his starters on offense in for longer was a funky first half, which saw Phoebus grab a 20-0 lead, mostly through defense and special teams. The offense had just 53 yards and under six minutes of time of possession. Phoebus did get it going in the second half, racking up 291 yards and 14 first downs, and has now outscored its nine foes 444-26.

• The Miami Herald's Larry Bluestein, a knowledgeable veteran of the South Florida football scene, takes a look at the resurgence at Miami Killian under coach Steve Smith. Also included is a nice rundown of all the players from South Florida currently on SEC rosters.

• The Chattanoogan has the latest state top 25 power poll in Tennessee, with FAB 50-ranked Maryville still sitting pretty at the No. 1 spot with a 69-game winning streak.

• A story of courage and determination from John Branch of The New York Times: The football program at Avella High in Pennsylvania had to recruit the captain of the cheerleading squad to put on pads to have 11 to play last week. The Eagles have lost 26 in a row and 50 in 51 games dating to 2003, but are now drawing national attention because they continue to compete every Friday night, despite limited numbers. "Some of the other students think it's ridiculous that we're getting attention," the junior quarterback Jesse Noble said. "But the adults think that we're the best thing ever."

• More inspiration from Athens High in Georgia, where senior Darin "Doogie" Weiks, Jr. will play his first and only varsity football game tonight, kicking for the Bluejays. Wells has a liver condition that has prevented him from playing the game he loves, but has served as the team's manager the past four years. The Athens High team captains went to the coaching staff with their idea to get him on the field for one game, as a kicker, so he could suit up but avoid any contact that could potentially harm his liver. So tonight, Weiks will kick for the Bluejays against Abbotsford High, whose coach has already instructed his team to make no contact with the kicker.

• Moving or changing high schools is always tough for an athlete, especially heading into your senior year, but running back Bryce Johnston in Florida is making the best of it, as The Herald-Tribune reports. Johnston, a 5-foot-11, 200 pounder, had a pair of impressive Nike Combine showings this offseason, clocking a 4.68 40 and a 4.00 shuttle, and ran for 612 yards as a junior at Lakewood Ranch before moving to North Port before his senior season. He is currently leading North Port with 514 yards on the ground and even helped his new team to a 14-13 victory over his old team, Lakewood Ranch, a few weeks back.

• From Illinois comes the bizarre story of a Cahokia High athlete, who has reportedly been commuting from prison to school and practice since August. Cahokia Principal Pamela Manning said Thursday that Briran Blake, 17, "isn't playing football," but declined further comment. According to SportStats, an online service showing performance of area high school football players, Blake has not played all year. He is being held in connection with two robberies that occurred in late August.



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