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November 30, 2004

State titles involve top prospects

Superstar quarterback Greg Paulus and wide receiver Lavar Lobdell helped pace Syracuse (N.Y.) Christian Brothers to a 41-35 win in the NYSPHSAA Class AA Championship game. Paulus passed for 375 yards and three touchdowns at the Carrier Dome to knock off defending champion New Rochelle. Lobdell provided the game winning score, a 27-yard touchdown run with 2:50 remaining in the game. Paulus was named the game's most valuable player and Lobdell finished with three catches for 90 yards and the touchdown run.

Paulus ended his season as the most prolific passer in Christian Brothers history. In his senior season, Paulus has passed for more than 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. Winning the state title marks the completion of Paulus' year-long goal, and also a moratorium on reconsidering which sport to play in college.

Paulus has committed to Duke to play basketball for Coach Mike Krzyzewski, but he may be mulling a college football career as well. He has yet to sign his basketball letter-of-intent to Duke, which leaves open the possibility he could return to football. Lobdell is weighing scholarship offers from Arizona State, N.C. State, Pittsburgh, Southern Cal, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin. A 6-foot-3 receiver, Lobdell is expected to set official visits in the coming weeks now that his senior season is over.

In other New York games, Johnson City (N.Y.) quarterback Shane Connolly threw three touchdown passes, including the game-winner with 19 seconds left, to lead Maine-Endwell over Wallkill in the Class A game. Connolly played with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, but finished with 332 yards through the air in the 39-36 win. A sleeper athlete prospect, Connolly is said to be considering Iowa, Boston College, Iowa State, Maryland, Notre Dame, Penn State and Syracuse.

In the Class C title game, Dobbs Ferry beat LeRoy, 14-6, and in the Class D championship, Weedsport defeated Tuckahoe 22-21. Chenango Forks won the Class B game 48-0 against Rye.

MICHIGAN

Detroit (Mich.) St. Martin DePorres was unable to mount a final comeback, falling to Unionville-Sebewaing, 14-7, in the Division 7 state championship game. David Grimes, a wide receiver and defensive back, had DePorres' lone score on a 36-yard fumble return. Wide receiver and defensive back Talonnie Russell had three catches for 36 yards and had an interception, which he returned 26 yards. Defensive back Brandon Cooper also had a strong game for DePorres in the loss.

Grimes, a wide receiver prospect, has committed to Notre Dame. Rusell, projected as a wide receiver, is still considering a number of scholarship offers and will visit Wisconsin on December 17. He also has offers from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and North Carolina. Cooper's recruiting is still taking shape, though he is said to be very interested in Kansas State, Boston College and Minnesota, among other schools.

In the Division 2 game, Muskegon topped Orchard Lake St. Mary's, 31-7. Muskegon defensive tackle Terrance Taylor had two tackles and made his presence felt throughout the game. He helped Muskegon dominate St. Mary's, which has two strong defensive prospects itself. Defensive end Chris McLaurin finished with six total tackles and Malcolm Arrington, a linebacker prospect, had eight.

Taylor has committed to Michigan, along with McLaurin. Arrington is still weighing scholarship offers from Indiana, Northwestern, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Bowling Green and Toledo.

The Division 8 Champion is Climax-Scotts, a 42-8 winner over Crystal Falls Forest Park. Constantine took the Division 6 title with a 34-13 win over Sutton's Bay, and Jackson Lumen Christi defeated Midland Bullock in the Division 5 final. The Division 4 champion was also from Muskegon, with Muskegon Orchard View defeating DeWitt, 31-14, for the title. Lowell won the Division 3 final, 38-17, over St. John's, and Rockford beat Sterling Heights Stevenson, 31-6, in the Class 1A game.

KANSAS

Quinn Cunningham led Salina (Kan.) South to the Kansas 5A state title. Cunningham, playing at running back, finished with 112 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries as Salina South won, 21-14, in overtime, denying Olathe North a fifth-consecutive 5A state title. Cunningham is interested in Colorado State, Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State.

Hutchinson defeated Olathe South, 30-13, for the 6A state title, and Topeka-Hayden won the Class 4A game, 31-13, against Rose Hill. Conway Springs blanked Silver Lake, 28-0, for the Class 3A crown, and Smith Center defeated St. Mary's Colgan, 36-14, in the Class 2-1A game.

MISSOURI

Outside linebacker Stephen Davis helped lead Florissant (Mo.) McCluer North to the Missouri Class 5A title game, but couldn't get his team a championship. Raymore-Peculiar defeated McCluer North, 37-18, behind a second-half offensive surge that Davis and his teammates couldn't keep in check. Davis is weighing scholarship offers from Missouri and Northwestern, with considerable interest from Indiana and Wisconsin as well.

In Class 6A, Hickman defeated Hazelwood East, 34-7, while Clayton won the 4A crown with a 27-26 victory over Webb City. MICDS won a double overtime thriller, 45-42, to take the 3A championship, while Blair Oaks edged Cameron, 27-26, in the 2A title game. St. Vincent was an easy victor in the 1A game, defeating East Buchanan, 21-0.

MINNESOTA

Minnetonka used a strong game from quarterback Jesse Nelson to defeat a talented Wayzata team, 23-14, in the Minnesota Class 5A title game Friday in the Metrodome. Wayzata was led by its outstanding linebackers, James Laurinaitis and Quinn Hendel. Hendel also provided Wayzata's offense, scoring on two first-half runs to keep his team close. Two-star offensive lineman Sam Laudner helped Hendel's running by throwing some big blocks along the line. Laurinitis is weighing scholarship offers from Minnesota and Ohio State, with visits scheduled to both schools in the next three weeks. Laudner has a scholarship offer from Wyoming but is still considering Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri as well. A number of schools are still talking to Hendel, who could play as a fullback or an outside linebacker. He is considering Minnesota, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.

The Class 4A Championship was won by Totino-Grace, which knocked off Sartell-St. Stephen, 27-6. In Class 3A, the 2004 champion is East Grand Forks, a 31-14 winner over Becker. Pierz won the 2A title with a 39-14 victory over Eden Valley-Watkins, and Rushford-Peterson took the 1A crown with a commanding 20-6 win over Otter Tail Central.


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