It's hard to believe that high school football season is already here. While teams in many parts of the country begin playing regular-season games this coming weekend, two states, Hawaii and Alaska are already underway. A quick look at five things we learned in high school football:
1. Jace Daniels of Kenai, Alaska, is off to a great start. The senior running back rushed for 485 yards and seven touchdowns in his team's 51-16 defeat of Nikiski in the season-opener for both teams. Daniels, who only had 600 yards last season, averaged a touchdown every three carries and had runs of 76 and 81 yards among his scores. While the final score wasn't close, Nikiski led 16-15 at halftime. Daniels and Kenai next face Wasilla, better known as Sarah Palin's alma mater.
2. Usually, defenses are ahead of the offenses, but that wasn't the case for two Hawaii teams as Leilehua (Wahiawā) opened its season with a 56-35 defeat of Iolani (Honolulu) 56-35 on Saturday with the teams amassing 828 yards of total offense. Ikaika Piceno ran for 146 yards and two touchdowns for Leilehua. Both teams used a no-huddle offense and Iolani led 21-14 early in the game.
3. It's not wise to read a lot into scrimmages, but there were a few telling results from around the country. Camden County (Kingsland), traditionally one of the top teams in Georgia, have a new coach this year in Welton Coffey. The Wildcats appeared sharp with a 40-7 defeat of Milton as Harrison Poole ran for touchdowns of 80 and 42 yards. Gaffney, S.C., which is the defending 4A state champion, struggled to defeat Woodruff 36-35 on Saturday. The Indians, who were No. 43 in the USA TODAY Preseason Super 25 rankings, are replacing 10 defensive players. Avon, Ind., looked good in its scrimmage with Ben Davis (Indianapolis), which is considered one of contenders for the 5A state title. No. 15 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) showed a strong defense in its scrimmage with Westfield (Chantilly, Va.), a team that went 12-1 last season.
4. North Pole, Alaska, which plays in the state's medium-size classification, should have success if numbers mean anything. Though the school has only 700 students, 100 of them have come out for football.
5. It's hard to believe that this will be the last season for Brother Rice (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) football coach Al Fracassa. He's been coaching 57 years, including 54 as a head coach and 45 at Rice and is the state's winningest coach at 416-121-7. His Warriors have won the past two state Division II state titles. While Fracassa is stepping down, the nation's winningest coach, John McKissick of Summerville, S.C., who turns 87 next month, has not talked about retiring. McKissick is 601-148-3 and has been coaching since 1952, with 10 state titles and has 10 returning starters this season.