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Booker, Browning serve notice with breakout games


Akia Booker, a senior wide receiver at Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.), the No. 5 team in the Super 25 high school football rankings, caught two touchdown passes and ran for three Saturday night in a 42-21 win at No. 17 Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.). With the win, the Rebels are likely to move up in the first regular-season rankings, out Tuesday.

It doesn’t hurt Booker that the game was on ESPN. Though he’s listed as a no-star, a two-star or a three-star athlete on various recruiting services, Booker’s status likely will rise quickly if that effort isn’t an outlier performance.

“He’s a guy I could see making a move,” 247sports.com recruiting analyst Chris Nee said. “He’s always been a very productive player, and he has legitimate size (5-11, 185). If he continues to play like that, he’ll move up.”

Nee said a player’s recruiting ranking was a combination of factors, but game play still was the most important.

“You have to take it all into account,” Nee said. “It’s only one game, 48 minutes of football. You take everything you see, camps, combines and especially how they do in games. But they have to have consistency.”

Booker at least was on recruiters’ radar. No recruiting service had Folsom, Calif., sophomore Jake Browning listed. That will change after he threw 10 touchdown passes in a 68-28 defeat of Woodcreek (Roseville, Calif.) on Friday.

“Not too many coaches have called me yet, but they will,” Folsom co-head coach Kris Richardson said.

While Browning’s game was only three shy of the national record for touchdown passes thrown in a game — shared by Ricky Lanier of Hayes (Williamston, N.C.) in 1967 and Elvin McCoy of Haven, Kan., in 1927 — it’s not that surprising when you look at the success Folsom’s quarterbacks have had in the team’s no-huddle spread-gun offense.

The Bulldogs won the state Division II title in 2010. Their quarterback last year, Tanner Trosin, is at Cal Poly after passing for more than 4,000 yards last season. His predecessor, Dano Graves, who threw for 85 touchdowns in one season, is at Air Force. His older brother, David Graves, started last season as a sophomore quarterback for Hawaii. His predecessor, Cary Grossart, is a senior starter at Northern Arizona.

“Jake has been a guy who’s been in our junior program and has seen all those guys play,” said Folsom co-head coach Troy Taylor, who handles the team’s quarterbacks.

“We’ve had a pretty good run of it. He’s the first sophomore who’s started in our system, but he’s a real level-headed kid who has great anticipation and accuracy.”

One reason Browning was able to score at will was his uniform was nearly as clean at the end of the game as it was at the start. He stayed in the game until early in the fourth quarter.

“We throw it quickly and we have a pretty talented offensive line this year, so our quarterbacks don’t get hit,” Taylor said.

Said Richardson: “Woodcreek tried to blitz us whenever we went to our five-receiver set,” Richardson said. “But we were able to either protect him or he was able to get rid of it quickly enough. It’s hard to throw it 51 times and not give up a sack.”

Iacovone leads Moeller: Moeller (Cincinnati) senior quarterback Spencer Iacovone threw two touchdown passes and ran for two 1-yard touchdowns as No. 14 Moeller defeated No. 16 Gilman (Baltimore) 35-14 Sunday in Cincinnati. Keith Watkins added a 4-yard touchdown run for Moeller and Gus Ragland and Max Foley were on the receiving end of Iacovone’s touchdown tosses.

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