BENSALEM, Pa. – Well, it’s officially autumn season and that means the serious portion of the campaign is upon us. Went the clock struck 4 o’clock Eastern Time last Friday (September 22nd), it was the Autumn Equinox, meaning three months of serious high school football weather.
That means high drama for the Blue Star Media Elite 25 high school football rankings.
You be smiling because in some states (think Indiana) there are three weeks left in the regular season. Other states are just warming up while others in the Southland Region are still managing as hurricane season has wreaked havoc. The four weeks will set the course for the remainder of the season as power-points (in some state) will be calculated and the brackets will be forged depending on district or league play.
This week the Elite 25 is static; there are no additions or movement.
As we exit the month of September, there are three games involving Elite 25 teams that you need to monitor.
First, No. 24 Trinity (Louisville) plays its bitter rival St. Xavier (Louisville) Friday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in a game known as the Vatican Bowl. Simply it’s a rivalry between Kentucky’s top two all-male Catholic high schools. On the same night, No. 23 John Curtis Christian (River Ridge, La.) hosts Louisiana’s top-ranked Class 4A team Warren Eastern (New Orleans). Both teams enter the game undefeated. No. 4 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) plays No. 13 Northwestern (Miami) Saturday in another interesting matchup from the Sunshine State. IMG is aiming for a 32nd straight triumph.
The table is set, so enjoy the upcoming weekend. You’ll notice several ranked teams are coming off and heading into their bye weeks. After the next two weeks, it disappears for the most part as the stretch run in some states is on the horizon. There’s still plenty of football to be played, head out and support your local schools.
Hope to see you at a game soon. – Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Football Rankings Sept. 26, 2017
1. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (5-0)
Previous rank: 1.
Recap: Defeated St. Mary’s (Stockton, Calif.), 52-14. You know it’s your day when the defense scoops up a fumble and returns it for a touchdown on the game’s first play. Now the Monarchs have a week off before kicking off the Trinity League season with one of the state’s top teams. Circle Oct. 13 for the ballyhooed matchup with No. 5 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.).
Next: Oct. 6 vs. Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita).
2. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (3-0)
Recap: Shut out Stranahan (Fort Lauderdale), 44-0, on Monday night in a rescheduled game.
Next: Friday at Centennial (Peoria, Ariz.).
3. Allen, Texas (3-0)
Next: Friday vs. Boyd (McKinney).
4. IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (3-0)
Recap: Defeated No. 7 Central (Miami), 24-15. Trailing 15-10, Alabama-bound RB Trey Sanders rescued the Ascenders with a 65-yard TD jaunt, sending IMG to a 31st straight win.
Next: Saturday vs. No. 13 Northwestern (Miami).
5. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (4-1)
Recap: Rallied in the second half to defeat St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.), 21-17. Backup QB DJ Uiagalelei engineered two TD drives inside the final 6 minutes when the Braves came back from a 17-7 deficit.
Next: Oct. 6 vs. Orange Lutheran.
6. Grayson, Loganville, Ga. (4-0)
Recap: Defeated International School of Broward (Hollywood, Fla.), 74-0. This one got out of hand early as the Rams put up 66 points by halftime.
Next: Friday vs. Ramsay (Birmingham, Ala.).
7. Central, Miami (3-1)
Recap: Lost at No. 4 IMG Academy (Bradenton), 24-15. The Rockets begin district play this weekend. It’s been a topsy-turvy, two-week stretch for the Rockets, who were stranded for a week in Las Vegas during the Hurricane Irma aftermath. In spite of the loss, the Rockets won’t drop in the Elite 25.
Next: Thursday vs. Norland (Miami).
8. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (3-2)
Recap: Defeated Bonanza (Las Vegas), 58-0. The Gaels tallied 41 points in the first quarter. UCLA-bound QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson ran 40 yards for a score and then passed for two more. The defense chipped in with two pick-sixes complements of Micah Bowens and Jordan Lee—both in the frenetic first period.
Next: Thursday vs. Spring Valley (Las Vegas).
9. Katy, Texas (2-0)
Recap: The Tigers blanked Cinco Ranch (Katy), 30-0. It was a happy Homecoming in Katy.
Next: Saturday vs. Katy Taylor.
10. Converse (Texas) Judson (4-0)
Recap: Defeated New Braunfels, 49-7. QB Julon Williams accounted for five TDs, running for three (from 6, 26 and 14 yards), and throwing for two. This weekend’s game is another Friday night showdown.
Next: Friday vs. Steele (Cibolo).
11. St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia (4-0)
Previous rank: 11.
Recap: Defeated Archbishop Carroll (Radnor, Pa.), 38-6. The Hawks head into the bye week having recorded a key league win. Five different players scored TDs.
Next: Oct. 7 vs. Roman Catholic (Philadelphia).
12. American Heritage, Plantation, Fla. (3-0)
Recap: Defeated Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood), 41-13. The Patriots didn’t miss a beat after an unscheduled respite during the hurricane layoff.
Next: Oct. 6 vs. Stranahan (Fort Lauderdale).
13. Northwestern, Miami (3-0)
Recap: Defeated Booker T. Washington (Miami), 14-7. A stout Bulls’ defense came up with four interceptions, including Jermaine Williams’ to seal it late. Louisville-bound QB Tutu Atwell rushed for two TDs.
Next: Saturday at No. 4 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.).
14. Bingham, South Jordan, Utah (6-0)
Recap: Crushed Westlake (Saratoga Springs), 56-7. The Miners scored 28 points in the first quarter and were leading 56-0 after three quarters.
Next: Friday vs. Lone Peak (Highland).
15. DeSoto, Texas (3-0)
Recap: Idle. The Eagles’ biggest challenge to date is days away.
Next: Friday vs. Cedar Hill.
16. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (4-1)
Recap: The Spartans had a major scare, but wound up beating Central (Fresno), 49-30. It was a 21-7 second-half scoreline that sealed it in the East Bay.
Next: Friday vs. Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland).
17. Ben Davis, Indianapolis (6-0)
Recap: Defeated Lawrence North (Indianapolis), 41-8. The Giants looked unbeatable.
Next: Friday vs. Carmel.
18. South Pointe, Rock Hill, S.C. (5-0)
Recap: Defeated Shelby (N.C.), 25-0. The Stallions scored with seconds left in the first half for a 13-0 lead, marking a key moment in the game. It was the team’s second shutout of the season.
Next: Friday at Ridge View (Columbia).
19. Corona (Calif.) Centennial (3-1)
Next: Oct. 6 at Roosevelt (Eastvale).
20. St. Xavier, Cincinnati (5-0)
Recap: Defeated Moeller (Cincinnati), 30-7. Wisconsin-commit QB Chase Wolf completed 16 of 26 passes for 202 yards and an 8-yard TD to RB Matthew Fox (25 carries, 166 yards), and rushed for another score. Key moment in the game, Moeller took a 7-0 lead in the first period, but on the ensuing kickoff, Jared Kreimer returned it 95 yards to even the score at 7. After that it was game over.
Next: Friday vs. Elder (Cincinnati).
21. DeMatha, Hyattsville, Md. (4-1)
Recap: Defeated Friendship Collegiate (Washington, D.C.), 42-18. The Stags have the weekend off in preparation for a rivalry game with serious Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title ramifications.
Next: Oct. 6 vs. Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.).
22. Hoover, Ala. (4-1)
Recap: Easily beat Tuscaloosa County (Northport), 63-0. The Bucs coasted into their bye week.
Next: Oct. 6 vs. Oak Mountain (Birmingham).
23. John Curtis Christian, River Ridge, La. (3-1)
Recap: Shut out Brother Martin (New Orleans), 34-0. The Patriots open the District 9-5A slate with an impressive victory.
Next: Friday vs. Warren Easton (New Orleans).
24. Trinity, Louisville, Ky. (6-0)
Recap: Defeated Jeffersontown (Louisville), 40-6. Rivalry week is here! The Vatican Bowl is considered one of the nation’s top schoolboy rivalries.s
Next: Friday vs. St. Xavier (Louisville) at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville.
25. Mission Viejo, Calif. (5-0)
Recap: Edged Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita), 28-23. Junior QB Joey Yellen fired a 28-yard TD to Ojaijah Griffin Griffin with 10:40 left in the game for a 28-17 lead and the Diablos held off a late rush.
Next: Friday vs. El Toro (Lake Forest).
High-Fives by Region
- Cathedral Prep, Erie, Pa. (5-0)
- Pine-Richland, Gibsonia, Pa. (5-0)
- Wise, Upper Marlboro, Md. (4-0)
- St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (2-2)
- St. Joseph Regional, Montvale, N.J. (2-1)
Geography: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
- Kimberly, Wis. (6-0)
- Lincoln-Way East, Frankfort, Ill. (5-0)
- Omaha (Neb.) Burke (5-0)
- Eden Prairie, Minn. (4-0)
- Belleville, Mich. (5-0)
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Lowndes County, Valdosta, Ga. (5-0)
- Central, Phenix City, Ala. (4-0)
- Union, Tulsa (4-0)
- Pearl, Miss. (6-0)
- Oakland, Murfreesboro, Tenn. (5-0)
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Saint Louis, Honolulu (5-0)
- Valor Christian, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (4-0)
- Mountain Pointe, Phoenix (4-1)
- Chaminade, West Hills, Calif. (4-1)
- Camas, Wash. (4-0)
Geography: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
About: The Blue Star Media Elite 25 High School Football Rankings are released weekly from September until the conclusion of the high school season. Criteria considered are the quality of the team and its players, strength of schedule, tradition, and quality of the team’s league, conference, region or district. The rankings are compiled by Blue Star Media’s Christopher Lawlor, who consults with a national network of coaches, talent evaluators and prep sports writers. The final rankings will be released in late December. Follow him on Twitter at #clawlor.