1. Brett Favre is rubbing off on Kirk McCarty.
The former NFL quarterback is working as an unpaid assistant at Oak Grove (Hattiesburg, Miss.). One of the players he's tutoring is McCarty, a 6-foot, left-handed senior quarterback. Though McCarty has said he intends to play baseball, not football, next season at Southern Miss, he has completed 143 of 230 passes (62%) this season for 2,137 yards and 21 touchdowns, a big reason the Warriors are 8-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state going into their game this week with powerful Brandon. On Friday, he threw four touchdown passes, all in the first half of a 43-7 defeat of Terry.
2. The high school football season is a week away from being over -- in Alaska.
Service (Anchorage) came from behind Saturday with a wild fourth quarter to defeat Dimond (Anchorage) 47-27 in the state large-school semifinal. After Dimond took a 21-14 lead early in the quarter, the Cougars outscored the Lynx 34-6. Service, which faces West (Anchorage) on Saturday in the state title game at Anchorage Football Stadium, has won seven state football titles and is headed to the state final for the fourth consecutive time. It won the state title in 2011 but was runner-up the other three times.
3. It was a sad weekend for two coaching legends with high school starts.
Though Bum Phillips and Don James are better known for, respectively, their pro and college coaching resumes, they got their feet wet as high school coaches. Phillips, 90, best known for his days in the late 70s and early 80s as the coach of the Houston Oilers, died on Friday. He coached at four Texas high schools: Jacksonville; Amarillo; Nederland; and Port Neches-Groves (Port Neches) and there are streets named for him in Nederland and Port Neches.
James, 80, the University of Washington's most successful coach, died on Saturday after a long bout with cancer. Before he got into college coaching, he coached for two seasons at Southwest Miami (Miami, Fla.) in 1957 and 1958.
4. Two traditional powers with so-so seasons pulled off big upsets.
The biggest surprise of the week was pulled on by Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.). The Ironmen, who have won eight state titles since 2002, were 2-3 this season before they defeated No. 3 Paramus (N.J.) Catholic 20-13 on Friday. The Paladins (5-1) had five turnovers and running back and defensive back Jabrill Peppers, considered the No. 3 player in the country by 247sports.com, limped throughout the second half and was held to 65 yards rushing, though he did catch one touchdown pass.
St. Ignatius (Cleveland) defeated No. 29 St. Edward (Lakewood) 23-17 Saturday in the second-biggest upset of the week. St. Ignatius, which has played a difficult schedule that included a 44-10 loss to Paramus Catholic, was 4-3 going into the game. St. Edward was held to three fourth-quarter points. Michelle Knight, who was held captive more than a decade by Ariel Castro, was honored at halftime. It was her first high school football game.
5. It was a big weekend for state rushing records.
Arkeel Newsome of Ansonia set the Connecticut career rushing record. He ran for 396 yards and six touchdowns in a 56-21 defeat of Masuk (Monroe), giving him a record 8,385 yards in his career. He surpassed the old mark of 8,279, set by former Ansonia running back Alex Thomas from 2004-07.
In Iowa, Tri-Center (Neola) running back Ben Wellman rushed for 484 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-27 loss to Panorama on Friday. That broke the old record of 455 yards, set by Don Larson of Alden (Iowa Falls) against Renwick in 1954.