BENSALEM, Pa. – Now that Thanksgiving is over, we steam full speed ahead into December. That’s the month where dreams do come true but sometimes they die. It’s a month that serious contenders from the Blue Star Media Elite 25 football rankings relish.
After nearly four months, there are four weekends left in the schoolboy football postseason. There were a number of upsets nationally plus matchups between Elite 25 schools that won’t penalize the losing side. Well, at least initially.
No. 23 McGill-Toolen (Mobile, Ala.) replaces then-No. 6 Archer (Lawrenceville, Ga.) in the Elite 25 rankings. McGill-Toolen won at Phenix City Central in the Class 7A semifinals and will play defending champions Hoover in the Alabama Class 7A final on Dec. 6.
In California, No. 24 Mission Viejo and No. 25 Corona Centennial both lost in the CIF-Southern Section Division I semifinals to ranked team but remain ranked. That sectional bracket was the toughest in the nation. All four semifinal teams deserve to be ranked until further notice. Which leads us to the game of the week: No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) vs. No. 12 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) for the Southern Section Division I title this weekend.
Last weekend No. 8 Ben Davis (Indianapolis) completed one of Indiana’s greatest and most dominant seasons ever in any classification by crushing Penn (Mishawaka), 63-14, in the Class 6A final at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Indiana-bound QB Reece Taylor had an MVP game with seven TDs, six in the air and one on the ground. Kudos to the Giants!
This week state champions will be anointed in prominent states such as Nevada, Washington, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, Arizona, Mississippi and Tennessee while California has the sectional championships.
We’ll be back on Dec. 5 and the following week on Dec. 12. After that a brief respite and then the final Elite 25 rankings on Dec. 26. The advent season is upon us, so get your holiday shopping done early and so you can head to a championship game in your area.
Hope to see you at a game soon. — Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Football Rankings Nov. 28, 2017
1. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (13-0)
Previous rank: 1.
Recap: Defeated then-No. 15 Mission Viejo, 49-21, in the CIF-Southern Section Division I semifinal. USC-bound QB J.T. Daniels passed for 199 yards on 10 of 18 accuracy and two touchdowns and ran for another and sophomore RB Chris Street scored two TDs. The Monarchs put the game away in the second quarter with 21 points and a 35-7 lead at the break.
Next: Saturday vs. No. 12 St. John Bosco (Bellflower) in the Division I final to be played at Cerritos College in Norwalk.
2. Allen, Texas (12-0)
Recap: Defeated South Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie), 28-14, in the Class 6A, Division I Area playoff game. Junior QB Grant Tisdale passed for a TD and rushed for two more.
Next: Friday vs. Arlington Martin in Class 6A, Division I Region 1 semifinals to be played at Dragon Stadium in Southlake.
3. IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (8-0)
Recap: The Ascenders do not compete for a state championship. Season complete.
4. Katy, Texas (10-0)
Recap: Defeated Cypress Ranch (Houston), 55-7, in the Class 6A, Division I Area playoff game.
Next: Friday vs. Atascocita Class in Class 6A, Division I, Region 3 semifinals to be played at NRG Stadium in Houston.
5. American Heritage, Plantation, Fla. (11-0)
Recap: Rallied to beat Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale), 58-57, in three overtimes in the Class 5A, Region 4 final. QB Cameron Smith threw for five TDs and ran for a pair of scores. The Patriots trailed 27-6 in the second period but tallied 35 unanswered points.
Next: Friday vs. Immokalee in the Class 5A state semifinals.
6. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (12-2)
Recap: Defeated Liberty (Henderson, Nev.), 35-13, in the Class 4A semifinals. UCLA-bound QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson hit on 24 of 26 passes for 242 yards and three scores. Brevin Jordan, a Miami pledge, caught seven balls for 57 yards and a score. The Gaels go for a ninth straight state championship this weekend.
Next: Saturday vs. Reed (Sparks) in Class 4A final at University of Nevada’s Mackay Stadium in Reno.
7. St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia (12-0)
Recap: Defeated Parkland (Allentown), 49-14, in PIAA Class AAAAAA quarterfinals. The Hawks rolled to their 26th straight win as QB Marquez McCray rushed 10 times for 88 yards and a score and threw for 186 yards and two TDs, including one to WR Brandon Sanders, who finished with 4 receptions for 101 yards. RB Kolbe Burrell ran for three TDs but a 94-yard kickoff return for a score by Marques Mason turned the game in favor of coach Gabe Infante’s crew.
Next: Friday vs. Coatesville in the Class AAAAAA semifinals to be played at Downingtown West High School.
8. Ben Davis, Indianapolis (14-0)*
Recap: Won Class 6A state championship, pummeling Penn (Mishawaka), 63-14 in the final. Indiana-bound QB Reece Taylor had a game for the ages, tossing six TD passes and rushing 76 yards for another in the first quarter. WR Broc Thompson snagged three TD balls. It was the Giants’ ninth overall title and second in 6A (2014 was the first). Season complete.
9. South Pointe, Rock Hill, S.C. (14-0)
Recap: Defeated Greer , 67-21, in the Class 4A semifinals. The Stallions recaptured the Upper State title as Clemson-bound QB Derion Kendrick rushed for a five scores and 162 yards and completed 16 of 21 passes for two TDs. The win streak is 25 games heading into this weekend.
Next: Saturday vs. Hartsville in Class 4A state championship to be played at University of South Carolina’s Wiliams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.
10. Bingham, South Jordan, Utah (13-0)*
Recap: Won inaugural Class 6A state championship. The Miners could be chosen for a second straight year for the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series next month in Phoenix. Season complete.
11. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (10-1)
Recap: Idle. A week off before playing for another sectional title.
Next: Saturday vs. Pittsburg in the CIF-North Coast Section Open Division final to be played at Dublin High School.
12. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (11-2)
Recap: Defeated then-No. 20 Corona (Calif.) Centennial, 62-34, in CIF-Southern Section Division I semifinals. Sophomore quarterback DJ Uiagalelei accounted for five TDs, three rushing and two in the air. Now the rematch everyone in southern California has been waiting for and fitting it is for the title.
Next: Saturday vs. No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana) in CIF-Southern Section Division I final.
13. Trinity, Louisville, Ky. (14-0)
Recap: Defeated Central Hardin (Cecelia), 49-3, in the Class 6A semifinals. The Rocks have put up 70, 51, 49 and 49 points in four postseason games and average nearly 42 points per game this season. They will need that effort against a bitter rival this weekend for the state title.
Next: Sunday vs. St. Xavier (Louisville) in Class 6A final at University of Kentucky’s Kroger Field in Lexington.
14. Northwestern, Miami (10-2)
Recap: Defeated Carol City (Miami Gardens), 23-15, in Class 6A, Region 4 final. QB Tutu Atwell ran for a TD and passed for two more and added 266 yards of offense as the Bulls are in the state semifinals for the first time since 2008 when they won the title.
Next: Friday vs. Naples in the Class 6A state semifinals.
15. Westlake, Austin, Texas (12-0)
Recap: Defeated Smithson Valley (Spring Branch), 51-31, in the Class 6A, Division II Area playoff game. Junior QB Taylor Anderson scored three TDs in the second quarter when the Chaps took a 28-24 lead into the break.
Next: Friday vs. Edinburg Vela in Class 6A, Division II Region 4 semifinal to be played at Wildcat Stadium in Portland.
16. Pine-Richland, Gibsonia, Pa. (14-0)
Recap: Routed State College, 49-21, in PIAA Class AAAAAAA quarterfinals. QB Phil Jurkovec, a Notre Dame recruit, threw for 252 yards and three TDs, two to Dawson Goltz and one to Ben Jochem, and rushed for 119 yards and two more six-pointers. Jurkovec moved into fourth place on the WPIAL all-time passing list with 7,871 yards.
Next: Saturday vs. Manheim Township in the Class AAAAAA semifinals to be played at Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona.
17. Pearl, Miss. (15-0)
Recap: Defeated Meridian, 52-12 in the Class 6A semifinals. The Pirates are one game from perfection.
Next: Friday vs. Starkville in 6A final in to be played at University of Mississippi’s Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford.
18. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (11-2)
Recap: Defeated Doral Academy (Miami), 48-6, in the Class 7A, Region 4 final. Junior RB Daniel Carter rushed for a pair of TDs, Tavares Kelly added a 38-yard punt return for a score and DT Coleman Crozier had a 4-yard fumble return for six points. Tricky road game ahead for the reigning state champions.
Next: Friday at Venice in Class 7A semifinals.
19. North Gwinnett, Suwannee, Ga. (12-1)
Recap: Outlasted Marietta, 51-41, in the Class AAAAAAA quarterfinals. RB Tyler Goodson rushed for 293 yards and three scores.
Next: Friday vs. McEachern (Powder Springs) in Class AAAAAAA semifinals.
20. St. Frances Academy, Baltimore (12-0)*
Recap: Won second straight MIAA A Conference championship. The Panthers are eligible for the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series, but await an invite. Season complete.
21. John Curtis Christian, River Ridge, La. (11-1)
Recap: Defeated Scotlandville (Baton Rouge), 29-8, in Division I semifinals.
Next: Dec. 9 vs. Catholic (Baton Rouge) in Division I final at Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
22. Klein Collins, Spring, Texas (11-0)
Recap: Defeated Stony Point (Round Rock), 48-14, in the Class 6A, Division II Area playoff game.
Next: Saturday vs. Longview in the Class 6A, Division II, Region 2 semifinals at Baylor University’s McLane Stadium in Waco.
23. McGill-Toolen, Mobile, Ala. (13-0)
Previous: Not ranked.
Recap: DB Bryceson Massey blocked an extra-point in overtime and the Yellow Jackets edged Phenix City Central, 27-26, in the Class 7A semifinals.
Next: Dec. 6 vs. Hoover in the 7A final at University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
24. Mission Viejo, Calif. (12-1)
Recap: Lost to No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana), 49-21, in CIF-Southern Section Division I semifinals. Coach Bob Johnson retires with an Orange County-record 342 wins at three schools, third most in California state history. Season complete.
25. Corona (Calif.) Centennial (10-2)
Recap: Lost to No. 12 St. John Bosco (Bellflower), 62-34, in CIF-Southern Section Division I semifinals. The Wolves played without star QB Tanner McKee, who was held out of the game for concussion protocol. They are an Elite 25 team. Season complete.
Dropped: No. 6 Archer, Lawrenceville, Ga.
High-Fives by Region
- Cathedral Prep, Erie, Pa. (12-0)
- Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (9-2)
- Wise, Upper Marlboro, Md. (13-0)
- St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (9-2)*
- St. Peter’s Prep, Jersey City, N.J. (9-2)
Geography: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
- Kimberly, Wis. (14-0)*
- Lincoln-Way East, Frankfort, Ill. (13-0)*
- Eden Prairie, Minn. (13-0)*
- Dowling Catholic, West Des Moines, Iowa (12-1)*
- Mentor, Ohio (13-1)
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy (11-0)
- Wake Forest, N.C. (13-0)
- Union, Tulsa (12-0)
- West Monroe, La. (13-0)
- Colquitt County, Moultrie, Ga. (10-3)
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Saint Louis, Honolulu (10-0)*
- Chandler, Ariz. (11-2)
- Folsom, Calif. (13-0)
- Perry, Gilbert, Ariz. (12-1)
- Richland, Wash. (13-0)
Geography: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
* Won state, sectional or conference/league postseason championship
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.