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November 25, 2002

National stars shining in playoffs

It's playoff time all throughout the nation and that's when the nation's top prospects step forward to prove that they are indeed the nation's top prospects.

Two of the top players in Florida have showcased their talents and proven why they're members of the Rivals100 team.

Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas linebacker Tavares Gooden has propelled his team into the third round of the playoffs with two unforgettable performances.

"I've earned player of the week in the city both of the first two games," he said. "I just came to play and made the big plays. I had a really big sack in both of them and I basically did everything a person can do - sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles."

Everything but score a touchdown.

"And I almost had that," he said. "I had an interception and was running it back, but the guy had an angle on me. I should have just ran over him and gotten into the end zone, but he tackled me."

Dee Webb, the nation's No. 2 cornerback from Jacksonville (Fla.) Ed White, has also stepped up when it counted.

"We were down 13-7 going into the fourth quarter," Webb said.

"I scored on a touchdown to tie the game up, and they got the ball back with like 15 seconds. They were just trying to run the clock out, but the running back fumbled it and I picked up and ran it back 30 yards for the game winning score."

So has he come off the high of the last-second victory?

"Not quite yet," he said. "I want to enjoy this one a little bit."

And out West, the streak continues as Concord De La Salle handled Antioch 62-13 behind the play of its stars - running back Maurice Drew and cornerback Damon Jenkins.

De La Salle now faces Hayward Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Diablo Valley College. If things go as planned, De La Salle will likely battle San Leandro and star quarterback Dennis Dixon in the 4A North Coast Section finals.

Down in Texas, the stars of the Lone Star State continue to shine brightly in the state playoffs.

Tyler Lee quarterback and LSU pledge Matt Flynn (left)has sparked the Rebels Class 5A Division I regional finals against BYU linebacker commit David Nixon of College Station (Texas) A&M Consolidated. But it's the play of the Rebel defense led by A&M pledge Justin Warren and Texas Tech commit Paul Williams that might make the difference in this one.

And if fans in the Houston area want to see the top two players in action this upcoming weekend, they'll be able to.

Tight end Tony Hill, the state's top ranked player, and his Alief (Texas) Elsik squad will battle Aldine Eisenhower at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Spring Branch's Tully Stadium. But you could make it a true daily double as Jorrie Adams and his Jasper Bulldogs will battle Bridge City in the Class 3A Region III finals at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Astrodome.


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