BENSALEM, Pa. – Four more state champions were crowned last weekend as the Blue Star Media Elite 25 high school football rankings continue to gain fortification as the season takes a final lap.
Champions from Pennsylvania, Florida and Alabama earned the spotlight and took home the hardwood. No. 10 Pine-Richland (Gibsonia, Pa.) bumped up five spots after winning the Class AAAAAA title over ranked St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia). Meanwhile, No. 22 Hoover (Ala.) moves back into the Elite 25 after annexing the Class 7A for the second straight year.
No. 16 St. Joseph’s Prep stays in the rankings based on strength of schedule and easily passes the eyeball test. They simply belong and have demonstrated a clear thirst to schedule national-type games and must navigate one of the nation’s toughest brackets.
No. 23 Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) also re-enters the Elite 25 rankings following a regional championship and a berth in the state semifinals. The Cavaliers still need two wins for a state title and have perhaps the toughest road ahead in Class 6A, Division I.
This weekend California will conclude the season with championships and two title games will be played in Georgia after heavy snowfall hammered the Atlanta area last weekend postponing them, while Texas holds its penultimate round of games. That means we are off this weekend. Just a handful of Elite 25 teams are still going plus two GEICO State Champion Bowl Series games to be played on Dec. 23 in Phoenix, Ariz.
We’ll be back at on Dec. 26 to wrap up another high school football season with the final Elite 25 rankings. Next week we’ll update the boys and girls’ basketball rankings before a majority of the major holiday tournaments are played. So check them out. There will be plenty of early season movement on the hardwood.
With two weekends left in the high school football postseason, those of you in California and Texas are still in play. So that will be your final time to witness a live game and soak up the atmosphere as state champions are anointed.
Until then Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukkah to you and your family and friends.
Hope to see you at a game soon. — Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Football Rankings Dec. 12, 2017
1. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (14-0)
Previous rank: 1.
Next: Saturday vs. No. 11 De La Salle (Concord) in CIF Open Division final to be played at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium.
2. Allen, Texas (14-0)
Recap: Defeated Euless Trinity, 41-20, in the Class 6A, Division I, Region 1final. The Eagles were up 21-20 at halftime but rolled in the second half. Junior QB Grant Tisdale asserted himself again accounting for three TDs, including two rushing.
Next: Saturday vs. Cedar Ridge (Round Rock) in Class 6A, Division I state semifinals to be played at Baylor University’s McLane Stadium in Waco.
3. IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (8-0)
Recap: The Ascenders do not compete for a state championship. Season complete.
4, Katy, Texas (12-0)
Recap: Defeated North Shore (Galena Park), 31-3, in Class 6A, Division I, Region 3 final. RB Deondrick Glass ran for 93 yards and two scores and QB Austin Marshall fired a pair of TD passes.
Next: Saturday vs. Lake Travis (Austin) in the Class 6A, Division I state semifinals to be played at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio.
5. American Heritage, Plantation, Fla. (13-0)*
Recap: Won Class 5A state championship, defeating Baker County (Glen St. Mary), 44-15. The Patriots carry a 27-game win streak into next season and become Broward County’s first team to capture back-to-back titles while going unbeaten. QB Cam Smith ran for two TDs and threw for two more in the first half when Heritage seized control. Season complete.
6. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (13-2)*
Recap: Won Class 4A state championship. It was the Gaels’ ninth straight state title. That’s an amazing feat. Season complete.
7. Ben Davis, Indianapolis (14-0)*
Recap: Won Class 6A state championship and ninth overall state crown. Season complete.
8. South Pointe, Rock Hill, S.C. (15-0)*
Recap: Won fourth consecutive Class 4A state championship. The Stallions carry a 26-game win streak into next season. Season complete.
9. Bingham, South Jordan, Utah (13-0)*
Recap: Won inaugural Class 6A state championship. The Miners were chosen for the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series on Dec. 23 in Phoenix. Regular season is complete.
10. Pine-Richland, Gibsonia, Pa. (16-0)*
Recap: Defeated then-No. 7 St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia), 41-21, in the Class AAAAAA final. QB Phil Jurkovec, a Notre Dame recruit, helped beat the defending state champions completing 15 of 27 passes for 200 yards and a TD but rushed for 88 yards and four scores. The Rams took a 41-14 lead and cruised to the title. Season complete.
11. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (11-1)
Recap: Idle. The Spartans are back in the state final and will have their hands full with the nation’s top team.
Next: Saturday vs. No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana) in CIF Open Division final in Sacramento,
12, Trinity, Louisville, Ky. (15-0)*
Recap: Won Class 6A state championship, recording a second straight 15-0 mark. Season complete.
13. Northwestern, Miami (12-2)*
Recap: Won Class 6A state championship, defeating Armwood (Seffner), 21-16, for the program’s first title since 2007. QB Tutu Atwell, a Louisville recruit, sprinted 51 yards to give the Bulls their first lead late in the third quarter and then hit Kiaryn Davis for a 46-yard TD to make it 21-9. Season complete
14. Westlake, Austin, Texas (14-0)
Recap: Defeated Cibolo Steele, 28-14, in the Class 6A, Division II, Region 4 final.
Next: Saturday vs. Cy-Fair (Cypress) in Class 6A, Division II state semifinals to be played at NRG Stadium in Houston.
15. Pearl, Miss. (16-0)*
Recap: Won Class 6A state championship. Season complete.
16. St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia (13-1)
Recap: Lost to No. 10 Pine-Richland (Gibsonia), 41-21, in the Class AAAAAA final. Sophomore RB Kolbe Burrell ran 13 times for 158 yards, including a 56-yard TD jaunt, but it wasn’t enough. Season complete.
17. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (11-3)
Recap: Advanced to CIF-Southern Section Division I final. Season complete.
18. North Gwinnett, Suwanee, Ga. (13-1)
Recap: The Class AAAAAAA final against Colquitt County (Moultrie) was postponed by heavy snowfall in the Atlanta area. The game will be played this weekend at North Gwinnett.
Next: Friday vs. Colquitt County (Moultrie) in Class AAAAAAA final.
Defeated then-No. 14 Grayson (Loganville, Ga.), 35-28, in the Class AAAAAAA second
19. St. Frances Academy, Baltimore (12-0)*
Recap: Won second straight MIAA A Conference championship. The Panthers were invited to play in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series against No. 9 Bingham (South Jordan, Utah) on Dec. 23 in Phoenix. Regular is season complete.
20. Chandler, Ariz. (12-2)*
Recap: Won 6A state championship. The Wolves were invited to play in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series on Dec. 23, facing Venice (Fla.) in nearby Phoenix. Regular season is complete.
21. Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (10-2)*
Previous: Not ranked.
Recap: Won Non-Public Group 4 championship. Season complete.
22. Hoover, Ala. (11-3)*
Previous: Not ranked.
Recap: QB Jalen Parker three for 264 yards and four TDs, including three in the first half, as the Bucs successfully defended their Class 7A state title with a 48-20 win over then-No. 23 McGill-Toolen (Mobile, Ala.) Parker was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. It is the program’s 13th overall state title and the seventh for coach Josh Niblett at two schools. Season complete.
23. Lake Travis, Austin, Texas (12-2)
Previous: Not ranked.
Recap: Defeated San Antonio O’Connor, 38-17, in the Class 6A, Division I, Region 4 final. Garrett Wilson caught two TD passes pushing his postseason total to 12 in four games.
Next: Saturday vs. No. 4 Katy in Class 6A, Division I state semifinals to be played at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio.
24. Mission Viejo, Calif. (12-1)
Recap: Advanced to CIF-Southern Section Division I semifinals. Season complete.
25. Corona (Calif.) Centennial (10-2)
Recap: Advanced to CIF-Southern Section Division I semifinals. The Wolves played in the nation’s toughest playoff bracket. Season complete.
Dropped: No. 21 John Curtis Christian, River Ridge, La.; and No. 23 McGill-Toolen, Mobile, Ala.
High-Fives by Region
- Cathedral Prep, Erie, Pa. (14-0)*
- Wise, Upper Marlboro, Md. (14-0)*
- St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (9-2)*
- Westfield, Chantilly, Va. (15-0)*
- Troy, N.Y. (13-0)*
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)*
- Pickerington (Ohio) Central (14-1)*
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Covington Catholic, Park Hills, Ky. (15-0)*
- Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy (12-0)*
- Wake Forest, N.C. (15-0)*
- Venice, Fla. (14-1)*
- Colquitt County, Moultrie, Ga. (11-3)..SA/FR?
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Saint Louis, Honolulu (10-0)*
- Folsom, Calif. (15-0)
- Saguaro, Scottsdale, Ariz. (12-2)*
- Richland, Wash. (14-0)*
- Clackamas, Ore. (14-0)*
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.