BENSALEM, Pa. – What makes high school football so compelling nowadays are the multiple national games. Teams are traveling great distances and even crossing state lines with frequency. In the last 15 years, the sport has taken a page from basketball, where seeking the best competition is paramount. Teams want to showcase talent and prepare for a run at a national championship but mostly a state title.
That’s a good for the Blue Star Media Elite 25 football rankings. We released the preseason rankings in early August and allowed the opening three weekends of the season to unfold; allow the national matchups to be played and now the first set of rankings are here for your review.
The biggest news starts at the top with Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) ascending to No. 1 after handling two-time defending national champions Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) last weekend. The Monarchs won 35-20 and assume the bull’s-eye on their jerseys. Mater Dei has a loaded schedule with ranked teams St. John Bosco (Bellflower) and Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) in the coming weeks. Holding onto No. 1 won’t be easy but coach Bruce Rollinson’s club might have the top offense in the nation.
Four teams enter the Elite 25 rankings—No. 15 Colquitt County (Moultrie, Ga.); No. 16 Northwestern (Miami); No. 17 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.); and No. 20 Bingham (South Jordan, Utah). Two each are from the Southland and Far West Regions. All four are familiar with the Elite 25 rankings, most notably De La Salle.
Speaking of those national matchups, six Elite 25 teams were nicked in the opening three weeks but remained ranked for taking games against nationally ranked opponents. We have stated that strength of schedule is a deciding factor in ranking teams.
This weekend the schedule is stoked with at 10 games with national implications but the top three are No. 5 Gorman vs. Central (Miami) on Friday, and No. 21 St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) at No. 23 St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia) and No. 7 Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) at No. 13 John Curtis Christian (River Ridge, La.) both on Saturday. Another intriguing game is No. 6 St. John Bosco hosting regionally ranked Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.) on Friday.
Finally, here’s a quick item from the state of Washington.
A huge shout out goes to coach Joe Kennedy, formerly of Bremerton (Wash.), who lost his job because he took a stance when he prayed on the field after games. That’s what a federal appeals court said on August 23, according to published reports.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. District Court of Appeals said Kennedy’s prayers “did not constitute protected free speech because he was acting as a public employee, not a private citizen, when he conducted them,” wrote the Associated Press. This mess started in 2015 when the school district asked him to stop the practice after games, citing the separation between church and state. Kennedy sued to be re-hired but obviously blind judgment ruled. Yikes!
Moving forward, the Elite 25 rankings will appear on Sept. 12 and will reflect several inters-sectional games between nationally ranked programs. Get out to a game this weekend or if you can’t games are shown on national sports networks and streamed live on the Internet. Hope to see you at a game soon. – Christopher Lawlor
[Editor’s Note: The status of games this weekend involving Florida Elite 25 teams were updated on Sept. 6 at 11:30 p.m. EDT to reflect postponement or cancellation due to a pending hurricane.]
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Football Rankings Sept. 5, 2017
1. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (2-0)
Previous rank: 3.
Recap: Defeated then-No. 1 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), 35-21, as QB JT Daniels completed 19 of 32 passes for 315 yards and two touchdowns to WR Nikko Remegio (6 receptions for 144 yards). Also defeated Bishop Amat (La Puente, Calif.), 31-7
Next: Friday La Mirada.
2. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (2-0)
Recap: Defeated Piper (Sunrise, Fla.), 40-0 and then-No. 2 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), 9-3, in overtime.
Next: Friday vs. Flanagan (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) is postponed by the hurricane.
3. Allen, Texas (1-0)
Recap: Defeated Cedar Hill, 23-8, as QB completed 7 passes for 107 yards and a TD and he also ran for a score.
Next: Friday vs. Evangel Christian Academy (Shreveport, La.).
4. IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (2-0)
Recap: Defeated then-No. 8 Chandler (Ariz.), 27-14, and Corona (Calif.) Centennial, 40-20.
Next: Friday vs. St. Frances Academy (Baltimore) is postponed by hurricane.
5. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (1-1)
Recap: The Gaels had their win streak halted at 55 games in a 35-21 loss at then-No. 3 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.). Also defeated then-No. 13 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), 35-23
Next: Friday vs. Central (Miami).
6. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (1-1)
Recap: Rebounded to take down Garces Memorial (Bakersfield), 63-0. Lost at then-No. 5 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), 9-3, in overtime on opening night.
Next: Friday vs. Chaminade (West Hills).
7. Grayson, Loganville, Ga. (2-0)
Recap: Defeated No. 14 Hoover (Ala.), 35-26, and McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.), 12-7.
Next: Saturday at No. 13 John Curtis Christian (River Ridge, La.).
8. St. Joseph Regional, Montvale, N.J. (1-0)
Recap: Crushed Deerfield Beach (Fla.), 44-21.
Next: Saturday at St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.).
9. Katy, Texas (0-0)
Recap: Friday’s game vs. Westlake (Austin) was cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey.
Next: Friday vs. Klein Collins.
10. Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (1-0)
Recap: Defeated De Paul Catholic (Wayne), 48-27. QB Johnny Langan threw for 306 yards and five TDs.
Next: Saturday vs. Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.).
11. Poly, Long Beach, Calif. (2-0)
Recap: Defeated Narbonne (Harbor City), 14-10, as QB Matt Corral capped a nine-play, 59-yard drove with a 5-yards TD pass to Darius Kryger with 5:35 left in the game. Also beat Los Alamitos, 28-10, as the Florida-bound Corral threw for two TDs.
Next: Sept. 15 vs. Mission Viejo.
12. Converse (Texas) Judson (1-0)
Recap: Defeated Lake Travis, 65-45. QB Julon Williams accounted for 478 yards and five TDs.
Next: Saturday at San Antonio Brennan.
13. John Curtis Christian, River Ridge, La. (1-0)
Recap: Defeated Landry-Walker (New Orleans), 27-18.
Next: Saturday vs. No. 7 Grayson (Loganville, Ga.).
14. American Heritage, Plantation, Fla. (2-0)
Recap: Defeated Bishop Sullivan Catholic (Virginia Beach, Va.), 14-7, and Liberty (Henderson, Nev.), 31-0.
Next: Friday vs. Miramar is postponed by the hurricane.
15. Colquitt County, Moultrie, Ga. (3-0)
Previous: Not ranked
Recap: The Packers reeled off three straight wins, including last weekend’s 35-21 triumph over Tucker.
Next: Friday vs. Roswell.
16. Northwestern, Miami (2-0)
Previous: Not ranked
Recap: The Bulls enter the Elite 25 after toppling American (Miami), 47-0, and Columbus (Miami), 24-7. They still have hometown rivalry games against Central, Booker T. Washington and Carol City (Miami Gardens).
Next: Saturday vs. South Dade (Homestead, Fla.) is postponed by hurricane.
17. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (2-0)
Previous: Not ranked.
Recap: Trailing 31-14 in the third quarter, the Spartans pulled out a 35-31 victory over ranked St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.). QB Erich Storti scored from 1 and 11 yard(s), the latter score gave his team the lead for good with 9:14 left. The Spartans opened with a 42-7 blowout of Amador Valley (Pleasanton).
Next: Friday vs. St. Francis (Mountain View).
18. Chandler, Ariz. (2-1)
Recap: Defeated Pinnacle (Phoenix), 35-28, in overtime and Red Mountain (Mesa), 42-14. Lost to No. 4 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), 27-14.
Next: Friday vs. Mountain Pointe (Phoenix).
19. Corona (Calif.) Centennial (1-1)
Recap: Lost to No. 4 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), 40-20. Also beat Pittsburg, 63-21, as QB Tanner McKee threw for 315 yards and three scores
Next: Friday vs. Etiwanda.
20. Bingham, South Jordan, Utah (3-0)
Previous: Not ranked.
Recap: The Miners hammered three instate opponents, including then-No. 22 East (Sat Lake City), 48-17, but now have a gargantuan task this weekend in the south Pacific.
Next: Saturday at Kahuku (Hawaii).
21. St. Peter’s Prep, Jersey City, N.J. (1-0)
Recap: Defeated Union City, 48-0. Junior QB Maasai Maynor threw for two TDs and ran for another.
Next: Saturday at No. 23 St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia).
22. DeSoto, Texas (1-0)
Recap: Defeated Jesuit (Dallas), 41-36. LB Jaylond Dorris intercepted a pass at the 1-yard line with 30 seconds left to preserve the win for the defending Class 6A, Division II state champions.
Next: Thursday at Guyer (Denton).
23. St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia (1-0)
Recap: Defeated Tampa (Fla.) Jesuit, 22-7, on the road last weekend.
Next: Saturday vs. No. 21 St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) to be played at Widener University’s Quick Stadium in Chester, Pa.
24. DeMatha, Hyattsville, Md. (1-1)
Recap: The Stags rebounded after an opening day loss to blank Avalon (Gaithersburg, Md.), 28-0. Lost to preseason No. 1 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), 35-23.
Next: Friday at Franklin (Reisterstown).
25. Hoover, Ala. (1-1)
Recap: The Bucs righted the ship with a 42-7 whipping of Meridian (Miss.). Lost to then-No. 7 Grayson (Loganville, Ga.), 35-26, on opening night.
Next: Friday at Mountain Brook (Birmingham).
Dropped: No. 16 Carol City, Miami Gardens, Fla.; No. 18 Cass Tech, Detroit; No. 20 Lake Travis, Texas; and No. 22 East, Salt Lake City, Utah.
High-Fives by Region
- Paramus (N.J.) Catholic (1-0)
- Cathedral Prep, Erie, Pa. (2-0)
- St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (1-1)
- Pine-Richland, Gibsonia, Pa. (2-0)
- Wise, Upper Marlboro, Md. (1-0)
Geography: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
- St. Xavier, Cincinnati (2-0)
- Ben Davis, Indianapolis (3-0)
- Kimberly, Wis. (3-0)
- Prairie Ridge, Crystal Lake, Ill. (2-0)
- Omaha (Neb.) Burke (2-0)
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Central, Miami (2-0)
- South Pointe, Rock Hill, S.C. (3-0)
- Trinity, Louisville (3-0)
- Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy (3-0)
- Cibolo (Texas) Steele (1-0)
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Mission Viejo, Calif. (2-0)
- Jesuit, Portland, Ore. (1-0)
- Saint Louis, Honolulu (3-0)
- Chaminade, West Hills, Calif. (2-0)
- Kahuku, Hawaii (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.