November 10, 2009

Inside the Metroplex: Players to watch

The final week of the regular season brought about a hard fought, emotional match up Friday night in Plano, Texas. One team was fighting for a playoff spot while the other looked to finish a disappointing season on a strong note. Flower Mound Marcus came out on top to earn that playoff spot, but the Hebron Hawks displayed loads of young talent that have the potential to lead the team back to its winning ways next season and beyond.

The Game

The strength and experience of the Marcus Marauders proved to be the deciding factor Friday night. Senior running back, and Michigan commit, Stephen Hopkins pounded the Hebron defense all game long and sealed the victory with a 22-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter making the score 35-21 with four minutes left.

The three-star back was dominant all night long using a good balance of power and quickness to pick up chunks of yards at a time. He ended the night with 171 yards on 28 carries and scored on touchdown runs of 37 and 22 yards. However, Hebron's young offensive playmakers kept the game close, and the Hawks actually led at halftime. Junior quarterback Kyle Aubuchon showed he's a tough competitor and helped guide his offense to an early lead.

After Hopkins put the Marauders up 7-0 in the first quarter on his first touchdown run, Aubuchon was able to get the ball into the hands of one of his most dynamic playmakers in sophomore wide out Kiante' Griffin. Griffin made multiple catches on the drive leading up to his 8-yard touchdown reception to tie the game up at seven half way through the first quarter.

Griffin continued his stellar play on Hebron's next drive as he wowed the crowd with a highlight reel catch and run for a 65-yard score. The gifted sophomore did an excellent job of fighting off defenders and then using his great break away speed to get into the end zone.

Marcus would tie the game on an impressive 27-yard touchdown run by its big second-string running back Rufus Mason, but Aubuchon gave the Hawks a 21-14 lead at the break on a one-yard quarterback sneak.

The Marauders took control in the second half by wearing down the Hebron defense with superior size and power. Marcus only needed two minutes to tie the game at 21 with a nine-yard pass from senior quarterback Brode Boyd to his talented tight end Rhett Butler, then Hopkins and Mason followed with one more touchdown each.

Aubuchon and Griffin showed a ton of heart when against the ropes in the fourth quarter and the two teamed up to lead the hawks on a final scoring drive with two minutes left in the game, but Marcus ran out the clock and will head to the playoffs after a 35-28 victory.

Top Prospects

2012 WR Kiante' Griffin, Hebron (6-0/195)

I want to start with Griffin because I have the feeling he may be developing into something special and was as impressive as anyone on Friday night. First of all, he's just a sophomore, and at 16 years old he is starting to excel on the 5A level. He's a precise route runner and has great hands. I really like how physical he plays as a receiver. He's dangerous with the ball in his hands and has above average speed. He definitely has the potential to be an elite prospect next season.

He ended the game against Marcus with eight catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns (8, 65). This season he caught 31 passes for 732 yards (23.6 yards per catch) and had 10 touchdowns.

2010 TE Chris Summers, Hebron (6-2/215) LSR Top 100 Rank: NR (Uncommited)

Summers is a very high-energy player and showed he is a great senior leader. He's an intense kid, and also has some good athleticism. He's easily able to get open against linebackers and is tough to bring down after the catch. He also did a great job as an outside linebacker on defense. He seemed to be in on practically every tackle and showed he may have the ability to contribute on either side of the ball on the next level. Summers has a great chance to be successful at a school like SMU or North Texas.

2011 QB Kyle Aubuchon, Hebron (5-9/190) LSR Top 100: NR

This first thing you notice about Aubuchon is his size, which does not suit the quarterback position well. But he makes up for that with his great decision making and quick feet. He really knows how to run an offense and get the ball to his playmakers, and also has the ability to create plays on his own with his legs. I think the jury is still out on whether or not he is a D1 prospect, but he sure can excel on the high school level.
Aubuchon completed 16 of 28 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns. He also picked up 118 yards on 13 carries and added two rushing touchdowns. This season he completed 170 of 292 passes for 2,505 yards, 18 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He was also Hebron's leading rusher with 820 yards on 146 carries for12 touchdowns.

2013 RB Dezmond Wortham (5-11/175)

Not many freshmen make varsity rosters on the 5A level, but to take over as the starting running back is very rare. Wortham is young, but he already has a decent running back frame and has the ability to make big plays. He has a way to go with his footwork and strength, but he is way ahead of most his age. He needs to work at getting up field without hesitation, and is still learning how to recognize running lanes, but his ceiling seems to be quite high.

He picked up 40 yards on 11 carries against Marcus. This season he was not far behind Aubuchon in rushing with 797 yards on 130 carries for five touchdowns.
2010 DT Daniel Noble, FM Marcus (6-4/275) LSR Top 100 Rank: No. 73 (Oklahoma commit)

Noble is a huge presence in the middle for Marcus, and he does a good job of jamming up the running lanes and absorbing double teams. After the first quarter, Hebron ran outside and off tackle to get away from Noble. He's very strong and really explodes off the ball. He has the potential to be a dominant tackle for the Sooners.

2010 RB Stephen Hopkins, FM Marcus (6-0/235) LSR Top 100 Rank: NR (Michigan commit)

Hopkins is a physical, punishing back. He never hesitates and that's why he goes for positive yardage on practically every carry. He's also got some speed to go along with his big frame so when he gets in the open he's hard to catch. He impressed me more than Michigan's other Texas running back commit Tony Drake of Skyline.

Hopkins picked up 171 yards on 28 carries for two touchdowns against Hebron. This season he has a total of 1,115 yards on 185 carries and has gotten into the end zone 16 times.

2011 RB Rufus Mason (6-2/220) LSR Top 100 Rank: NR

Mason is similar to Hopkins and can also be a punishing runner. He doesn't get many chances backing up Hopkins, but he has made the most of his carries this season. He was very impressive on his 27-yard touchdown run in the second quarter as he blew through the line and easily out ran every defender. He will take over as the number one back next season and could be yet another 2011 running back making some noise.

He ended the game with 57 yards on nine carries with two touchdowns. This season he has rushed 83 times for 598 yards and 11 touchdowns.

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