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Five things to watch this weekend

12/8/2011

RB clash: J. Gray vs. C-Dub

One of Texas’ most anticipated matchups between quality running backs will take place Friday, as Aledo (Texas) will face Corsicana (Texas) in a Class 4A Division II state semifinal on Friday.

On one side, you have Aledo’s Johnathan Gray, the two-time Texas Gatorade Football Player of the Year who was just named the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year on Tuesday. A five-star running back headed to Texas, Gray has rushed for 3,446 yards and 59 touchdowns and needs just one more to not only break his own state rushing touchdowns record but also have 200 for his high school career.

On the other side, you have Corsicana’s Cameron Washington, a lesser-known back with comparable numbers to Gray. Washington, an all-purpose back who has shown his durability, eclipsed the 3,000-yard mark with a 40-rush, 244-yard performance last week in a win against Kilgore (Texas). Washington has an offer from Lamar but nothing else as of yet.

June Jones: Will he or won’t he?

Wednesday proved to be a roller-coaster ride of sorts for SMU coach June Jones. By early afternoon, he was thought to be the next Arizona State coach. Later that day, it was reported his deal fell through.

The confusion has made some wonder how long Jones will be at SMU, and if he leaves the Mustangs, how will that affect recruiting? Currently, the Mustangs have 21 commits, five of whom are in California -- much closer to Arizona State -- if Jones can work something out with the Sun Devils.

Of the 21 commits, 10 are from Texas. Three-star players such as athlete Shakiel Randolph (Waco, Texas/Midway) and defensive end Lincoln Richard (Everman, Texas) will be monitored if Jones decides to leave. For the time being, however, Jones is the coach at SMU.

Star juco receiver to visit UGA

One of the top junior college recruits will visit Georgia this weekend, as Cordarrelle Patterson (Hutchinson, Kan./Hutchinson Community College) will take his third official visit of the year.

Patterson, who holds more than a dozen records at Hutchinson, helped Hutchinson dominated Lackawanna College (Scranton, Pa.) in last week’s Salt City Bowl. With an eight-catch, 188-yard, three-touchdown day, he set new teams records in career receiving yards (1,832), single-season receptions (61), single-season touchdowns (24) and single-season scoring (150).

Patterson, who already has visited Auburn and Tennessee, was named the Jayhawk Conference Offensive Player of the Year, as well as the NJCAA Region VI Player of the Year for 2011.

Cascia Hall deserves utmost respect

Cascia Hall (Tulsa, Okla.) may not have the household-name players – such as four-star receiver and Oklahoma commit Sterling Shepard or four-star running back Barry Sanders from Heritage Hall (Oklahoma City, Okla.) – but there’s one thing that seems to keep its program relevant.

Wins. Lots of wins. And very few losses.

In the last five years, Cascia Hall has compiled a 66-2 record. The team’s latest win, a 14-7 decision against Heritage Hall, has given it a shot at the Oklahoma Class 3A state championship. Cascia Hall will face Anadarko in a battle of undefeated teams Friday night at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla.

Defense fuels Cascia Hall, as it is allowing less than eight points per game and has recorded five shutout victories. Linebacker Connor Sherwood verbally committed to Tulsa in June.

Fab 50 teams collide at SMU

Two of the nation’s top 12 teams, according to the Fab 50, will play for a spot in next week’s Texas Class 5A Division I state championship game. No. 8 Skyline (Dallas, Texas) will line up against No. 12 Carroll (Southlake, Texas) Saturday at SMU.

Of the two teams, Carroll has the playoff pedigree. The Dragons have seven state championships in the last 20 years, including four consecutive titles from 2004-07. Carroll is led by junior quarterback Kenny Hill, the son of former Texas Rangers pitcher Ken Hill. The Dragons also feature FBS-bound players in three-star cornerback Sabian Holmes (Baylor), three-star receiver Peyton Williams (Colorado) and two-star linebacker Will Davis (Kansas State).

While Carroll has the pedigree, Skyline may have the slight edge when Saturday approaches. The Raiders feature several BCS-caliber players, including Under Armour All-Americans in linebacker Peter Jinkens and receiver Thomas Johnson, both of whom are Texas commits. The offense features UNLV commit David Greene at running back, as well as the highly recruited junior tandem of quarterback Devante Kincade and receiver Ra’Shaad Samples.