Kirk Herbstreit Challenge III: Canton

Kirk Herbstreit will be out in full force at the Kirk Herbstreit Challenge this weekend. We will have myself, Greg Powers and Bill Greene in Canton, Ohio on Saturday and then on Cincinnati on Sunday. Dave Berk, Allen Trieu and Josh Winslow will be covering the action in Cincinnati on Saturday and Sunday as we get ready to preview some great match-ups and great players we will see in Canton.

Grove City (Ohio) vs. Buford (Ga.) 11:30 A.M.

The Greyhounds struggled last year as they finished 4-6. Grove City opened up the season last weekend against Worthington Kilbourne and they found themselves on the wrong end of a 28-0 score. Quarterback Elijah Smurthwaite completed 23 of 40 passes for 305 yards. His main target was Robbie Grooms who caught eight balls for 135 yards in a losing effort.

Buford won 12 straight games last season prior to losing in the third round of the state playoffs and they should be a serious contender to win it all this year. The Wolves defense is led by defensive tackle Omar Hunter a Notre Dame commitment and linebacker T.J. Pridemore who is headed to Georgia Tech. The offense is led by running back Demtrius Murray a South Florida pledge and Tyler King his lead blocker at full back.

Prediction: Buford 35, Grove City 7

Glenville (Ohio) vs. Long Beach Poly (Cal.) 2:15 P.M. West Coast Analyst Brandon Huffman gives us his take on Long Beach Poly: Not since 2004, when DeSean Jackson was leading the Jackrabbits offense, has Long Beach Poly ended the season with a win. That's a long time at the "Home of Scholars and Champions". The Jackrabbits dropped a heart-breaking in the Pac-5 semifinals a year ago, losing to eventual D-II state champion Orange Lutheran in the final minutes. While some of their key prospects on defense have graduated, the offense looked sharp all summer long and a young, but underrated offense looks to rejuvenate Raul Lara's squad, one of the top five teams in the preseason in California. Poly won the prestigious Nike 7-on-7 Passing Tournament this summer, and are looking to restake their claim in Southern California. Junior Morgan Fennell will run the Jackrabbits offense, and he's their best passing prospect since former national player of the year Chris Lewis. His primary targets will be Kevin Norrell and Randall Cox and he'll be protected by Marcus Falani and Jordan Gross. Defensively, three-star tackle Jurrell Casey, one of the best run-stuffers out West, anchors the line, with Kenny Rowe at Oregon. And with Donovan Warren at Michigan, Vaughn Telemaque, who had his coming out party this summer, leads the secondary, and he can play either safety or cornerback.

Glenville continues to put out college prospects like nobodies business, now the Tarblooders need to turn all that individual success into a championship. Ted Ginn has worked wonders for this Cleveland squad not only on the field, but off as well. The Tarblooders open the 2007 season with a bang as they defeated a national powerhouse Warren Central of Indianapolis, Ind. The offense is led by Cordale Scott, a talented wide receiver with a number of offers from schools such as Ohio State and Louisville. Terrance Owens is the Tarblooders quarterback this season. The talented junior has brought back memories of Arvell Nelson. The offensive line is anchored by senior Larry Simmons and junior Marcus Hall.

The Tarblooders are very talented on defense and it all starts up front with massive defensive tackle Shawntel Rowell. Junior linebacker Travis Freeman is one of the top underclassmen in the state. Glenville is led in the secondary by ballhawk Donnie Fletcher. Torieal Gibson and Berchard Hines also provide depth for Ginn's squad.

Prediction: Glenville 20, Poly 14

Gateway (Pa.) vs. Cardinal Mooney (Ohio) 5:00 P.M.

This has all the makings of a great one and most of us have been anticipating it since it was scheduled. Mooney has a number of weapons including quarterback/safety Dan McCarthy, fullback/linebacker Mike Zordich, running back/linebacker Brandon Beachum and defensive end/linebacker Taylor Hill. Class of 2009 prospect Johnny Simon anchors the offensive and defensive lines.

Mooney has won three state titles and they opened up the 2007 season with a win over Mentor, This game will be a big test for both teams, but especially so for Mooney against a AAAA school from Pennsylvania.

Gateway is coming off of a disappointing 6-5 season a year ago, but the Gators are stacked. The offense is led by senior running back Cameron Saddler. Saddler is also one of the most dangerous return men in the nation as well. The Gators also have an exciting duo at wide receiver with junior sensation Corey Brown and senior Jonathan Pryor. Along the offensive front the Gators may have their best collective group that Terry Smith has had during his tenure led by senior Eric Warning and junior Colin Rodkey.

The defense will fly to the ball and rarely make a mistake but it starts off up front with the unheralded, but consistent Bill Kemp. The linebacking corps at Gateway may not get the notoriety that Mooney does but it is a very solid group led by five-star prospect Shayne Hale and one of the nation's top juniors Dorian Bell. The secondary is very solid with a number of players contributing such as Saddler, Brown and Pryor. The Gators also have a D-I prospect in Eric Livsey who plays safety and running back. The wildcard is Leon Green. The talented athlete transferred from West Mifflin where he was the star quarterback and now plays a little bit of everything for the Gators.

Prediction: Gateway 21, Mooney 17

Union (Okla.) vs. Canton McKinley 7:45 P.M.

Midlands recruiting analyst Greg Powers breaks down The Union Redskins as they enter the Herbstreit Classic under the tutelage of a new head coach, Kirk Fridrich, who was hired after the school parted ways with 2006 head coach Kevin Wright after a somewhat tumultuous season on and off of the field. Last year the Redskins experimented with an option attack, but will be returning to their roots by running a pro-style offense under Fridrich. There are some questions to be answered along the offensive and defensive lines, as they must replace Army All-American Matt Romine, but the team is poised to be a serious contender for the State Championship.

Union should have a strong offensive unit led by senior quarterback Brandon Rogers. The offensive attack will also feature two tremendous juniors in tight end Tracy Moore and running back Jeremy smith. Both figure to be division one level recruits. Junior offensive lineman Brian Deshane will help anchor an offensive line that will be looking to form a new identity. Linebacker Dylan Troutman and defensive back Jonathan Ameen head up a defensive unit that is very pesky. A strength that is almost an afterthought on the high school level is the kicking game, and Union boasts a good one in Oklahoma Sooner commitment Tress Way, who is also an equally effective punter.

Canton McKinley was once one of the states biggest powers with ten national championships to their credit and they are eager for a return to prominence. It's been nine years since the Bulldogs have won a championship trophy, could this be the year? The Bulldogs are led by a talented junior linebacker Jewone Snow. Another returning standout for the Bulldogs is defensive back Brandon Mingo.

The Bulldogs got a lift by adding St. Thomas Aquinas transfer Christian Griffin. But, Griffin has big shoes to fill with the departure of superstar tailback Morgan Williams. Griffin and the Bulldogs should get a better challenge from Union then they did from their week one opponent Detroit Pershing. Pershing went back to Detroit on the losing end of a 66-6 score.

Prediction: McKinley 21, Union 13

**All of Saturday's games at Fawcett Stadium will be aired via tape delay on NFL Network on Sept. 8

Stay logged on to for pictures, video interviews, news and notes all weekend from the Herbstreit Challenge. Recommended Stories

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