BENSALEM, Pa. – It was moving day in the Blue Star Media Elite 25 high school football rankings. Two games in particular necessitated the shift as five teams in the top-10 flipped slots and 17 overall.
Yes, there are weekends such as these in the regular season and sometimes necessary to set up the Elite 25 as the playoffs approach in late October and November.
The two critical games that reshaped the Elite 25 saw top-ranked Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) defeat league rivals St. John Bosco (Bellflower), 31-21, and in Georgia, then-No. 4 Grayson (Loganville) lost to unranked Archer (Lawrenceville), 6-3. Games in southern California and Georgia were the reasons why the rankings have a refined look.
After surviving the defensive struggle in suburban Atlanta, No. 8 Archer zooms into the Elite 25 after that win over Grayson. The victory all but assured Archer of the Region 8-AAAAAAA title. No. 19 Grayson tumbled 15 spots with the loss. The Rams dropped because other ranked teams are playing at a high level and have maintained excellence. One such team is No. 18 Lowndes County (Valdosta, Ga.), which slides ahead of Grayson. Think of it, three teams from Georgia’s Class AAAAAAA reside in the Elite 25 and all deserve it. Once the playoffs start, it should be a collision course between the three. Perhaps a meeting between two of them in the semifinals. We’ll see how the brackets shape up.
No. 20 St. John Bosco absorbed its second loss of the season against Trinity League rival Mater Dei, but the two could meeting again in the CIF playoffs in December. Last year Mater Dei won the regular season matchup but Bosco flipped the script in the playoffs en route to the state championship.
The toughest decision this week was dropping then-No. 21 Hoover (Ala.). The Bucs only loss was to Grayson. In fact Grayson has beaten two Elite 25 teams (No. 24 John Curtis Christian of Louisiana). The Bucs were moved to the Southland Region and will have a chance to reenter the Elite 25 as the postseason progresses. They won’t have an easy ride in the Class 7A playoffs start. Teams such as Pinson Valley, Phenix City Central, Thompson, Hewitt-Trussville and Austin are serious contenders.
There are two games of interest this week.
In Miami, it’s No. 9 Central playing unranked Northwestern in a District 16-6A showdown on Friday. Central missed the playoffs last year and are on the road to redemption. In Ohio, two of the top Division I schools face off Saturday when No. 17 St. Xavier (Cincinnati) travels to St. Ignatius (Cleveland). Last week St. Ignatius lost to Moeller (Cincinnati), 41-20, in a bit of a shocker. St. Xavier has already beat Moeller in a Greater Cincinnati League South encounter. It would have been a meeting of two undefeated Jesuit school powers, but the rematch of the 2016 Ohio Division I state final (won by St. Xavier) remains must-see football.
The playoffs are underway in Hawaii and Indiana gets going this weekend. So get out and attend a game and support your favorite teams.
Hope to see you at a game soon. — Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Football Rankings Oct. 17, 2017
1. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (7-0)
Previous rank: 1.
Recap: Defeated No. 8 St. John Bosco (Bellflower), 31-21. The ballyhooed matchup started out fast at 28-21 but only three points were scored after halftime. WR Amon-Ra St. Brown caught 8 balls for 201 yards and two touchdowns and returned a punt 51 yards for another score. Junior QB JT Daniels threw for 321 yards and two TDs. Another big-time game is on tap this weekend.
Next: Friday vs. JSerra (San Juan Capistrano).
2. Allen, Texas (6-0)
Recap: Defeated Plano, 38-10. QB Grant Tisdale threw for 251 yards and three TDs.
Next: Friday at Denton Guyer.
3. IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (5-0)
Next: Friday at East (Salt Lake City, Utah).
4. Katy, Texas (4-0)
Recap: Defeated Seven Lakes (Katy), 41-3.
Next: Friday at Morton Ranch (Katy).
5. Converse (Texas) Judson (6-0)
Recap: Shut out East Central (San Antonio), 69-0.
Next: Friday vs. Wagner (San Antonio).
6. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (5-1)
Recap: Defeated Fort Lauderdale, 49-7.
Next: Friday at Boyd Anderson (Lauderdale Lakes).
7. American Heritage, Plantation, Fla. (5-0)
Recap: Edged Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale), 23-19. Vanderbilt-bound Miles Jones had a 97-yard kickoff return for a score and Tyler Jones added 115 rushing yards and a 30-yard TD on 9 carries to spark the Patriots.
Next: Friday vs. Jackson (Miami).
8. Archer, Lawrenceville, Ga. (7-0)
Previous: Not ranked.
Recap: Upended then-No. 4 Grayson (Lawrenceville), 6-3, before more than 10,000 at Archer Community Stadium. Michael Johnson kicked two field goals and the defense did the rest, including two interceptions from Andrew Booth. The win essentially clinched the Region 8-AAAAAAA title and No. 1 seed in the playoffs for the Tigers.
Next: Friday vs. Rockdale County (Conyers).
9. Central, Miami (7-1)
Recap: Blanked Hialeah (Miami Lakes), 59-0. The Rockets have a key district game with their archrivals.
Next: Friday vs. Northwestern (Miami).
10. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (6-2)
Recap: Defeated Desert Oasis (Las Vegas), 64-0. UCLA-commit QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw for 247 yards and three TDs, including a pair to Jalen Nailor. Two games remain in the regular season.
Next: Friday at Durango (Las Vegas).
11. St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia (6-0)
Previous rank: 11.
Recap: Defeated Father Judge (Philadelphia), 42-7. The league championship is on the line.
Next: Friday vs. La Salle College (Wyndmoor, Pa.) to be played at Widener University’s Quick Stadium in Chester, Pa.
12. DeSoto, Texas (6-0)
Recap: Defeated Grand Prairie, 56-9.
Next: Thursday at Irving.
13. Ben Davis, Indianapolis (9-0)
Recap: Defeated North Central (Indianapolis) 58-14.
Next: Friday at Lawrence Central (Indianapolis) in Class 6A, Sectional 6 first round.
14. South Pointe, Rock Hill, S.C. (8-0)
Recap: Defeated Lancaster, 45-10.
Next: Friday at Richland Northeast (Columbia).
15. Bingham, South Jordan, Utah (9-0)
Recap: Defeated American Fork, 48-21.
Next: Oct. 27 vs. Cyprus (Manga) in Class 6A first round.
16. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (7-1)
Recap: Defeated Foothill (Pleasanton), 42-0. For the second straight week, the Spartans recorded a shutout by the identical score.
Next: Friday at Monte Vista (Danville).
17. St. Xavier, Cincinnati (8-0)
Recap: Defeated Mississauga (Ontario, Canada) North Prep/Clarkson Secondary, 48-17. This weekend is a rematch of last year’s Ohio Division I state final.
Next: Saturday at St. Ignatius (Cleveland).
18. Lowndes County, Valdosta, Ga. (8-0)
Recap: Outlasted Tift County (Tifton), 51-38. The Vikings play their toughest two games to close the regular season.
Next: Friday at Camden County (Kingsland).
19. Grayson, Loganville, Ga. (6-1)
Recap: Lost to Archer (Lawrenceville), 6-3. Expect the Rams to rebound after a narrow road loss.
Next: Friday at Newton (Covington).
20. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (5-2)
Recap: Lost to No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana), 31-21. The Braves were at a disadvantage playing without injured QB Re-al Mitchell.
Next: Friday vs. Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita) to be played at El Camino College in Torrance.
21. Trinity, Louisville, Ky. (9-0)
Recap: Defeated Seneca (Louisville), 42-0. The Shamrocks close out the regular season this weekend after posting a third straight shutout.
Next: Friday at Ballard (Louisville).
22. Mission Viejo, Calif. (8-0)
Recap: Defeated San Juan Hills (San Juan Capistrano), 35-7.
Next: Friday at Trabuco Hills (Mission Viejo).
23. Corona (Calif.) Centennial (5-1)
Recap: Defeated Santiago (Corona), 61-14. Since a loss on Sept. 2, the Huskies have scored 258 points in four games.
Next: Friday vs. Corona.
24. John Curtis Christian, River Ridge, La. (6-1)
Recap: Defeated St. Augustine (New Orleans), 31-22.
Next: Friday at Holy Cross (New Orleans).
25. Centennial, Peoria, Ariz. (7-0)
Recap: The game versus Sierra Linda (Phoenix) was cancelled. Only two games remain in the regular season.
Next: Friday vs. Willow Canyon (Surprise).
Dropped: No. 21 Hoover, Ala.
High-Fives by Region
- Pine-Richland, Gibsonia, Pa. (8-0)
- St. Frances Academy, Baltimore (7-0)
- Gonzaga, Washington, D.C. (7-1)
- Cathedral Prep, Erie, Pa. (8-0)
- Wise, Upper Marlboro, Md. (7-0)
Geography: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
- St. Edward, Lakewood, Ohio (8-0)
- Kimberly, Wis. (9-0)
- Lincoln-Way East, Frankfort, Ill. (8-0)
- Eden Prairie, Minn. (7-0)
- Belleville, Mich. (8-0)
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Westlake, Austin, Texas (7-0)
- Central, Phenix City, Ala. (7-0)
- Hoover, Ala. (6-1)
- Pearl, Miss. (9-0)
- Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy (7-0)
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Saint Louis, Honolulu (7-0)
- Chaminade, West Hills, Calif. (6-1)
- Poly, Long Beach, Calif. (6-1)
- Valor Christian, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (7-0)
- Camas, Wash. (7-0)
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.