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A Look Back at Week 7 in the Eastern District
A look back at week 7 in the Eastern District
By Jeff Cunningham | firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, for the second straight week I picked Maury to win.
And yes, for the second straight week I was wrong.
But give credit to Booker T. Washington for its thrilling 29-27 upset over the Commodores Thursday night. The Bookers played well on both sides of the ball, even if they had a little luck on their side.
Early in the fourth quarter, quarterback Desmond Lee leaped into the end zone for what would become the game-winning touchdown. As he flew through the air, the ball came loose and Maury's Ricky Nichols wound up with it.
Instead of initially making a call, the officials huddled the goal line and talked for several moments. Eventually, Lee was awarded the touchdown.
But thanks to some excellent photos right here on HRvarsity.com (thanks to user batmanphoto), we know Lee fumbled before crossing the line.
That's not to say, though, that the Bookers wouldn't have found another way to win the game.
Maury coach Dealton Cotton said it looked like a fumble from where he was standing, but refused to point to that as the reason his team dropped its second straight game.
Fact of the matter is, Booker T. played a good game. Lee threw for 271 yards and two scores, while Jayvon Smith added a rushing touchdown despite only running for 38 yards. The defense held Lorenzo Branche in relative check in his return, and the end result was a big win for a program rebounding from last year's 2-8 effort.
Now 4-3, the Bookers have a shot at the Division 5 playoffs (Booker T. sits 10th in the standings, with games against Wilson, Churchland and I.C. Norcom remaining). This team is probably a year away from being playoff-bound, but the Bookers have already doubled 2006's win total and I think Ron Bolton is a shoe-in for Eastern District Coach of the Year.
Branche started Thursday night against Booker T., going 5-for-10 for 119 yards. He also ran for two touchdowns.
So while Maury lost its second straight, the offense looked much better than it did the week before when Lake Taylor romped the Commodores 62-0. For the record, that was with back-up Keenan Lambert behind center for the first time.
Maury, the defending Eastern District champion, now sits at 3-4, 2-2 in the district. But with the team still 11th in the Division 6 playoff standings, there's a real shot the Commodores could be on the outside looking in once the playoffs actually begin in three weeks.
The Commodores have winnable games left with Churchland and Norview, but the season-ender against Granby could wind up being a win-and-in depending on how things go.
And for the record? Granby won last year's rivalry game, 16-15.
I haven't heard anyone say this, but my gut tells me Maury doesn't want its playoff hopes riding on its biggest rival.
How decisive was Lake Taylor's 43-0 win over Wilson on Friday? The Titans were up 14-0 before the offense even took to the field.
But once the offense did, it picked up where it left off against Maury. Lenny Paiva ran for three touchdowns and Mike Jackson ran for another. Add in two defensive scores and a safety on a botched punt snap, and you've got another convincing blowout.
Not to mention Lake Taylor held Wilson to minus-20 rushing yards and none in the air. The Titans, meanwhile, had 244 yards of offense to follow up the 438 they put up the week before.
An offense that was once sputtering has found its groove.
The Titans are now 7-0 and appear poised to, at the very least, win the district regular-season title. I said prior to the Maury game that whichever team took that one would win the district, which put Lake Taylor in prime position. But with I.C. Norcom, Granby and Norview left on the schedule, it's possible the Titans could finish 10-0.
Lake Taylor was the last Eastern District team to do so, accomplishing the feat in 1992.
But again, the issue for coach Hank Sawyer is success in the playoffs; more speficially, the fact that the Titans have had none in his tenure. Sawyer is 0-5 in the playoffs with Lake Taylor, but if the Titans continue playing the way they have the last two games, that might just change this year.
Marquez Fields might've ran Churchland out of the playoffs.
The Truckers were already in a tenuous position in the Division 5 playoff race. but Friday's 6-0 loss to Norview dropped Churchland to 11th in the power ratings. With Maury and Booker T. Washington left, the Truckers will need a lot of things to go right to sniff the postseason.
But more importantly, a week after rushing for 323 yards, the Truckers were held to 15 yards on the ground. Churchland also lost two costly fumbles, negating a solid 15-for-23, 116-yard passing effort from Craig Brooks.
This has pretty much been the story of Churchland's season: one step forward, one step back.
This is a young, talented team, but every time the Truckers make a little headway, they turn right around and stumble again. Maury has lost two straight but will give Churchland trouble, and Booker T. is easily the district's most underrated team, so the 4-3 Truckers have their work cut out for them.
And if Churchland does in fact miss the playoffs? The team will likely cross Fields, who ran for 185 yards, off its Christmas card list.
Granby matched its win total from a year ago, blocking a late extra-point attempt to hold off I.C. Norcom 22-21 Friday night. It was the Comets' second win of the season, singaling somewhat of a turnaround from a team that opened the year with back-to-back shutout losses.
Dayzonte Williams ran 12 times for 131 yards and a score, but more importantly the Comets got back in the win column heading down the stretch. Not really a playoff contender, Granby does still have something to play for:
The Nov. 2 match-up with archrival Maury. The Comets won last year's game, 16-15.
But before the Comets play the Commodores, they have a winnable game this week against Norview and a tough tilt with Lake Taylor. A season that once looked bleak, while still likely to finish below .500, could produce a promising end.
And with such a young team on the field this year, and getting better each week, it's no wonder long-time coach Dave Hudak wants to come back in 2008.
Last edited by Jeff Cunningham : 10-15-2007 at 10:39 PM.