By Matt Popchock
Another week of high school football is about to commence, but with the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks coming Sunday, the minds of Americans young and old will be on patriotism, and in my humble opinion, one of the most patriotic things one can do is exercise his or her First Amendment rights.
So why was a journalist who came to a high school football game intent on filming a Patriot Day remembrance asked to leave? Read on to find the answer…and, in addition, to find the latest on a pair of players recruited by arch-rivals Pitt and West Virginia.
With the help of our friends at MaxPreps.com, among others, we bring you this look at the most intriguing prep football headlines from all over this great nation of ours…
*We’ll pick up where we left off last Friday after Mr. High School Sports’ trip to The Wolvarena, when a wide receiver from Indiana enjoyed a historic night that has put him on pace for a historic season.
Gehrig Dieter of Washington High School in South Bend, Indiana set a new state record with 373 yards in the Panthers’ season opener, and last Friday, Dieter set a new single-game national mark with 447 receiving yards in Washington’s rout of Elkhart Central.
The previous record (421) belonged to J.D. Felice of Rose Bud High School (Rose Bud, Arkansas) in 2008.
Dieter has already received offers from Purdue and a number of MAC schools, in case you didn’t see our Friday night blog.
Through three games, he has already amassed 1,158 yards receiving. Dieter is on pace to destroy the national single-season record (2,427) set by Cody Cardwell of Stephensville High School (Stephensville, Texas) in 1998. To put it into further perspective, the top receiver in the PIAA last year, unofficially, was Bryce Brawley of Cambria Heights with 1,318 yards.
*A lot of 9/11 remembrances are being staged this weekend; in fact, the good folks here at CBS Pittsburgh are working on a video montage of their own. A similar remembrance was filmed at a high school football game in Booker, Texas. Well, almost.
Someone who showed up at the stadium to interview fans about their 9/11 memories was denied access and ordered to leave the premises because the reporter in question works for Al-Jazeera.
This is why sports and politics should be kept as far apart from one another as church and state: because people don’t always know how to carry themselves when the two are meshed together. The simple fact that this reporter works for a Middle Eastern television network is not an automatic endorsement of the horrific acts perpetrated that day. Alas, you know what they say about messing with Texas…
Anyway, you can check out Bud Kennedy’s full account in the Kansas City Star, as originally published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
To me the best part is the final sentence: “Booker beat Hooker, 46-27.” This may be the one and only time I can get away with writing something like that.
*I’m the first to admit I can be superstitious, so I truly hope this isn’t an omen for Sunday:
In the latest Super 25 regional football rankings by USA Today, a team from the Baltimore area is ahead of two from the greater Pittsburgh area. Gilman High School enters Friday’s action ranked third in the newspaper’s East region, followed by No. 4 Pittsburgh Central Catholic and No. 5 North Allegheny. Gilman features senior offensive lineman and Penn State recruit Brian Gaia.
Despite the fact it still hasn’t played a game, Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, New Jersey) remains the top team in the East region…and also remains atop MaxPreps’ “Xcellent 25” (human) national rankings.
*A couple recruiting tidbits of local significance:
Pitt recruit Marchez Coates transferred to McDonough High School (Pomfret, Maryland) for his senior season, and has made an immediate impact with his new team. Coates, who plays multiple positions, including defensive back, registered a game-high nine tackles in the Rams’ season-opening win over Northern last Friday.
WVU recruit Ford Childress, a senior quarterback at Kinkaid High School (Houston, Texas), and the No. 17 pro-style QB in America according to CBS Sports’ Tom Lemming, has already racked up 11 TD passes in just two games. He threw four of them last Friday in the Falcons’ shutout win over Westbury Christian, and has completed over 70% of his passes.
(Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mpopchock)