Monday, November 8, 2010

weekend review

Today you'll see something you haven't seen for well over three months: a new addition to the orange section of the recruiting board. Hard to believe it's been that long, but the staff can't just take the first commitment that comes along any more. Quite a week for movement; here are the changes:

- LB D.J. Hill is your 22nd member of the class, and moves to orange.

- As a result, LB Troy Gray drops to yellow from green. I have serious doubts the staff would take a commitment from him any more, with Hill on board and two more linebacker prospects they're trying like hell to get.

- WR Darius Jennings moves from yellow to green as UVA makes a top six.

- DE Norkeithus Otis is removed after committing to UNC. He was in the red section; any removals from the red section caused by commitments usually are dudes that dropped UVA long ago.

There's no guarantee of any early enrollees, so the yearly limit of 25 could come into play here. (Anyone who enrolled early would count toward last year's wide-open class for NCAA purposes.) The total limit of 85 is another concern, of course, and it's the latter limit that's causing the staff to take it very, very slow. For that reason, anyone on the yellow section should be thought of as having at least a foot in the red. It would neither surprise me nor bother me much if, until there were some changes, the only players the staff would accept a commitment from right now are those bolded in orange.


Euro-football! The reason soccer doesn't get the coverage I want to give it is because college soccer gets no TV coverage whatsoever and it's really damn hard - in fact, it's basically a totally fruitless exercise - to offer any kind of opinion based only on the stat sheet. Which in soccer is very slim.

Really, ESPNU is a great channel, except in the fall where it's little more than another football outlet. This makes it totally useless for all but about six of a 168-hour week. During the ACC soccer tournament, ESPNU will be showing "SEC Weekly," for the college football fan that can't get enough gasbagging about Auburn's chances of going undefeated.

Anyway, maybe you wouldn't want very much coverage of the team, as the title defense campaign hasn't gone smoothly for the young roster. Though highly ranked, they haven't fared well against other ranked teams, beating only St. John's in the early going and losing to or tieing every ranked ACC foe. The result is a 6-seed in the ACC tournament, which starts Wednesday, and a date with an extremely familiar foe: Wake Forest. Wake won the regular season meeting 1-0 at Klockner.

The ACC championship is every other day; the final is Sunday. The ladies team has a second-seed draw in the NCAA and will play on Friday against Lehigh. Unlikely that the men's team will have as favorable a seeding unless they make a serious ACC run. As with usual, the only actual broadcast TV won't be til the semifinals.


November brings high school playoffs, or at least the end of the regular season. Time to check in on the commitments, including the first new addition of the whole season:

L.C. Bird 19, Manchester 13: Anthony Harris threw for one of Bird's touchdowns and caught a 79-yarder for another one. Harris normally quarterbacks Bird and throws about five or six passes a game; handing off to his running back is his primary job.

Petersburg 34, Colonial Heights 26: Could've been a better defensive effort against a 2-7 team, but Kevin Green is the quarterback and the offense did its thing. Green ran for three touchdowns and two 2PC's in the win.

St. Christopher's 35, Collegiate 28: Just one catch for 12 yards for Thompson Brown, but St. Christopher's got a huge win over a longtime tormentor. There'll be a rematch next week in the playoffs.

Cox 10, First Colonial 7: Ross Burbank runs for Cox's lone touchdown. Burbank's stints at running back have helped propel Cox into the playoffs, where they'll likely be slaughtered but hey.

St. Albans 31, St. S/St. A 7: Darius Lee catches a 35-yarder for his team's only touchdown in the season finale.

Damascus 39, Kennedy 0: Brandon Phelps catches two passes for 48 yards and a touchdown; Damascus finishes the regular season unbeaten.

Hermitage 54, Thomas Jefferson 15 (Diamonte Bailey)
Booker T. Washington 41, I.C. Norcom 39 (Kameron Mack)
Phoebus 60, Bethel 7 (Caleb Taylor)
Hampton 54, Menchville 0 (David Watford, Clifton Richardson)
Stone Bridge 49, South Lakes 13 (Rob Burns)
Good Counsel 42, Archibishop Carroll 0 (Vincent Croce)
DeMatha 48, Bishop McNamara 6 (Kelby Johnson/Jordan Lomax)
H.D. Woodson 46, Anacostia 0 (Darius Redman)
Boys' Latin 28, St. Paul's 12 (Marco Jones)
Butler 61, Independence 6 (Adrian Gamble)
Mt. Lebanon 35, Plum 14 (Tim Cwalina - playoff game)
Newton 28, Luella 20 (D.J. Hill)

Now for the playoffs. The season is over for five of our players:

David Dean (Green Run): Finished 5-5.
Adrian Gamble (Independence (NC)): Independence is normally one of Charlotte's powerhouses, but not this year.
D.J. Hill (Newton (GA)): Newton started on a long win streak, and then went on a long losing streak. The end-of-year win wasn't enough.
Darius Lee (St. Stephen's & St. Agnes): Finished 1-8.
Clifton Richardson (Menchville): One of the 757's weakest programs, Menchville's coach stepped down after this season ended, their fifth straight two-win season.

Three of our commits play in the Richmond area and thus have one more game before the regular season is over. That'd be Diamonte Bailey at Hermitage, Kevin Green at Petersburg, and Anthony Harris at Bird. All three will make the playoffs.

Here's how the playoff matchups look for everyone else:

In Pennsylvania:

Mt. Lebanon and Tim Cwalina play in Western PA's highest level, Quad-A, and their first playoff game in the WPIAL was this weekend - a win over Plum. Three more weeks of WPIAL playoffs will be followed by the playoffs in Pennsylvania at large; Mt. Lebanon is the second-seeded team in the WPIAL Quad-A bracket and stands as good a chance as anyone of getting there.

In DC:

- H.D. Woodson has a make-up game to play on Tuesday, but they needed to lose this past weekend in order to miss out on a bye in the DCIAA playoffs. They get the weekend off and then the loser of the Dunbar/Coolidge game this weekend.

In Maryland:

- Marco Jones and Boys' Latin are in the MIAA's B Conference, the middle of three. Their playoffs are a three-team bracket of eastern Maryland private schools; Boys' Latin will have to beat Archbishop Curley to get to the championship game. Boys' Latin beat Curley 21-7 way back in September.

- The WCAC four-team bracket is a beast every year. DeMatha beat Good Counsel earlier in the year and so wins the tiebreaker for top seed; they'll face St. John's, whom they beat 21-14 in October. Good Counsel has a tougher road, facing Gonzaga in the semis. That was a 50-38 win for Good Counsel earlier, but Gonzaga did upset DeMatha earlier this season and they have Kevin Hogan at quarterback, whom UVA recruited hard but lost to Stanford.

- Brandon Phelps is UVA's lone public-schooler from Maryland. Damascus is undefeated and starts their journey through the 3A bracket (MD's second-highest classification) in the 3A West regional semis against Linganore.

In Virginia:

- In the Eastern Region, Division 5 sees Phoebus (Caleb Taylor) seeded #1, Hampton (David Watford) seeded #2, and I.C. Norcom (Kameron Mack) seeded #3. Phoebus plays Warwick (a 49-6 win in September), Hampton plays Lake Taylor, and Norcom plays Churchland (a 20-14 win in October.) Churchland stands between a Watford/Mack matchup in the second round; Phoebus is easily the favorite of the bracket.

- Division 6 of the same region features Ross Burbank and Cox, who'll take first crack at upsetting unbeaten Bayside.

- Rob Burns and undefeated Stone Bridge drew JEB Stuart in the first round of their Northern Region bracket.

- St. Christopher's gets a rematch with Collegiate in the VIS Division I semis.


Another week means another round of AP poll postings. Not many changes or surprises, with the notable exception of voters overvoting the hell out of their regional teams this past week. Over one-third of overvotes came from home-region voters this week; if that were a trend, I'd say it's pretty significant, but it's more of an outlier. I don't expect it to last, but this week at least, the vast majority of the "also receiving votes" section of the poll got them from overenthusiastic regional voters.

Basketball season. Friday. Yeah. William & Mary. How about that? Even though having six freshmen in the rotation makes it really friggin' tough to try and make any sense of how the season will shake out, we'll make some attempt at that this week anyway. ACC team previews come later, after football is done but before the real ACC season begins in January.

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