"Mr. High School Sports" – Spanning the States
One of the headlines of the local high school football season was another devastating injury to senior quarterback Wayne Capers of Chartiers Valley. Wayne is the son of Wayne Capers Sr., who was a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers. On the West Coast there’s another hobbled QB with a dad named Wayne who made quite a name for himself in a different sport. However, this kid actually received some good news this week, and I’m going to tell you all about it right here.
Meanwhile, one of the most prolific passers in PA history continued to re-write the record books in what was a big weekend for quarterbacks abroad…folks in New Jersey and Texas can attest to that. With some help as usual from our friends at MaxPreps.com, here are some of the latest high school football storylines from all over the greatest (sports) country in the world:
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA – One of the things I did at my college radio station once upon a time was a variety show in which I basically followed the lives of celebrities, which I guess explains why following the offspring of famous people in the world of sports has always been one of my favorite pastimes. For example, I’ve been keeping an eye on Trevor Gretzky (pictured left), son of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. It’s been the best and worst of times for the younger Gretzky, who began the 2010 football season as the starting quarterback for Oaks Christian High School (Westlake Village, California), which has the No. 2 team in the state according to MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25. Through three games he completed 30 of 49 passes (61.2 percent) for 338 yards and one touchdown, and was ranked among the top 25 pro-style QB’s in the nation by CBS College Sports recruiting expert Tom Lemming, but a shoulder injury put him on the shelf. However, there is another side to Trevor: he plays baseball just like his old man once did (little-known fact: The Great One was once drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays). So Trevor’s senior year took a turn for the better this week when, according to the Los Angeles Daily News, he accepted a baseball scholarship offer from San Diego State. As a junior Trevor batted .341 with 33 RBI and 20 runs scored in 27 games for the Lions, playing first base and catcher.
FARMINGDALE, NJ – I’ve told you about an epic performance by a local running back (Rushel Shell of Hopewell) last weekend, so how about two epic performances by out-of-state quarterbacks on the same night? Howell (Farmingdale, New Jersey) quarterback Ryan Davies hurled eight touchdown passes in a 54-19 victory over Middletown North (Middletown, New Jersey) last Friday, completing 17 of his 19 attempts for a staggering 399 yards, but believe it or not, that was not necessarily the best QB performance in the state last week. In Old Tappan, New Jersey, Northern Valley signal-caller Devin Fuller scored eight touchdowns of his own, throwing five scoring strikes and adding three on the ground in a 61-34 slugfest over Wayne Valley (Wayne, New Jersey).
BROCKWAY, PA – It’s time for another Derek Buganza update…last week the senior quarterback for your Brockway (Brockway, Pennsylvania) Rovers of PIAA District 9 completed six of 14 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown in a 41-26 decision over the visiting Curwensville (Curwensville, Pennsylvania) Golden Tide in Allegheny Mountain-Southern play. It wasn’t the most productive night for Buganza, who continues to play through a nagging thumb injury, but it was enough to make him the second-leading passer in state history. Buganza now has 1,534 passing yards on the campaign, giving him 8,290 in his three-plus seasons as Brockway’s starter. Just to refresh your memory, Kyle Wilson of Lancaster Catholic set the all-time PIAA record in 2009 with 8,545, and Buganza will have at least three more opportunities, barring further injury, to tie or beat that by netting 255 pass yards or more.
FLOWER MOUND, TX – With a name like Flower Mound, it’s got to be good…and as long as we’re on the subject of great quarterbacks, let’s look at two more who fired on all cylinders last weekend…so much, in fact, that they each topped 400 yards in the same game. Plano (Plano, Texas) quarterback Connor Michelsen, completed 22 of 38 passes for 408 yards and four touchdowns last weekend, while Flower Mound (Flower Mound, Texas) QB Paul Millard threw for 406 yards and four scores of his own in a 30-of-47 outing. Millard did not quite outdo Michelsen on the stat sheet, but he did so on the scoreboard, as Flower Mound enjoyed a playground-style 61-52 win over Plano. For Millard it was his fourth 400-yard game of the year (he actually had a 500-yard game several weeks ago), while for Michelsen it was his first, and his best night of the season.
MIAMI, FL – Florida is a hotbed for high school football just the same as western Pennsylvania, and at FIU Stadium, home of the same Florida International Golden Panthers team that played Pitt two weeks ago, a crowd of 15,000 and change showed up for a meeting of two of the state’s top teams last Friday. Central (Miami, Florida), the second-ranked 6A team in the state, upset top-ranked Northwestern (Miami, Florida) in a 25-22 thriller at “The Cage,” a game that featured four lead changes in the fourth quarter. Central running back Devonta Freeman (pictured left) amassed 226 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score, and Charles Gaines deflected a Teddy Bridgewater pass to the end zone on the last play of the game to make it stand up. Bridgewater connected on 22 of his 40 passes for 261 yards and scored all three Northwestern TD’s in a losing effort.
For more of the latest news and views on and off the gridiron, be sure to check out The Post-Gazette High School Football Show Presented by First Commonwealth Bank with the Post-Gazette’s Mike White and MSA’s Don Rebel. Due to Pitt’s noon kickoff against Syracuse, catch us at a special time this week: Saturday morning 7:00-9:00 on SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan and 937thefan.com!