BENSALEM, Pa. – Well, top-ranked Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) passed their latest test, just one more final remains for football immorality.
We’re down to three weekends left in the season and the Blue Star Media Elite 25 high school football rankings are taking shape. Or, will there be a ginormous shakeup before the final rankings are posted? Please, stay with us.
Six teams joined the state championship list as schools from New Jersey, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arizona, Nevada and Mississippi earned their crowns.
This week Elite 25 teams from Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Louisiana, Virginia and North Carolina seek state titles. California and Texas (until Dec. 23) are still going beyond this week.
Two teams re-enter the Elite 25 after winning state championships last weekend.
No. 20 Chandler (Ariz.) returns after holding off Perry (Gilbert), 49-42, in the wild Arizona 6A final. The Wolves (12-2) won their third title in four years and are rumored to be headed to a bowl game.
No. 22 Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) clawed its way back into the Elite 25 after capturing the Non-Public Group 4 state championship, hammering St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City), 44-7. It was the Crusaders first state title since 2004 when Brian Cushing (now with the Houston Texans) was an All-American linebacker. BC (10-2) started the season 1-2, losing a huge intersectional game at top-ranked Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), yet endured the rigors of North Jersey Super Football Conference United Red Division (one of the nation’s strongest) and a challenging postseason slate.
After dropping a third game this season, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) was dropped from the Elite 25. Expect the Raiders to be preseason ranked next August.
OK, that it’s it for another week.
We’re back on Dec. 12 and after that the final Elite 25 rankings will be released on Dec. 26. With three weekends remaining, get out to a playoff or state championship game. The clock is ticking!
Happy Holidays! Hope to see you at a game soon. — Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Football Rankings Dec. 5, 2017
1. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (14-0)
Previous rank: 1.
Recap: USC-bound QB J.T. Daniels put on a show staking the Monarchs to 49-24 victory over No. 12 St. John Bosco (Bellflower) in the CIF-Southern Section Division I championship before nearly 12,000. For coach Bruce Rollinson it was his program’s first sectional crown since 1999. Daniels was clutch throwing for 299 yards and five touchdowns. Junior Bru McCoy caught three of those scoring strikes.
Next: Dec. 16 vs. No. 11 De La Salle (Concord) in CIF Open Division final to be played at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium.
2. Allen, Texas (13-0)
Recap: Defeated Arlington Martin, 48-25, in Class 6A, Division I, Region 1 semifinals. The Eagles only led 21-16 at halftime but scored twice on the first three drives of the third quarter to move on. RB Brock Sturges rushed for 205 yards and three TDs.
Next: Saturday vs. Euless Trinity in the Class 6A, Division, Region 1 final to be played at University of North Texas’ Apogee Stadium in Denton.
3. IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (8-0)
Recap: The Ascenders do not compete for a state championship. Season complete.
4. Katy, Texas (11-0)
Recap: Wiped out Atascocita, 44-0, Class in Class 6A, Division I, Region 3 semifinals. The Tigers rolled up 353 yards of offense and the defensive had four INTs, including a pick-six by LB Matthew Kissamis. QB Austin Marshall rushed for 95 yards and two TDs.
Next: Saturday vs. North Shore (Galena Park) in Class 6A, Division I, Region 3 final to be played at NRG Stadium in Houston.
5. American Heritage, Plantation, Fla. (12-0)
Recap: Defeated Immokalee, 28-21, in the Class 5A state semifinals. Mike Jones’ 73-yard TD run broke a 21-all tie.
Next: Friday vs. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) in the Class 5A championship game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
6. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (13-2)*
Recap: The Gaels coasted to a ninth straight state championship, crushing Reed (Sparks), 48-7, in Class 4A final. Against Nevada foes, the Blue and Orange outscored them, 574-33. UCLA-bound QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson contributed in all facets of offense by catching and running for a TD and throwing for two more. Season complete.
7. St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia (13-0)
Recap: Rallied to beat Coatesville, 53-49, in the PIAA Class AAAAAA semifinals. Trailing 35-32 lead after three quarters, the Hawks and put distance after QB Marquez McCray and RB Kolbe Burrell ran for scores to make it 53-35.
Next: Saturday vs. No. 15 Pine-Richland (Gibsonia) in the Class AAAAAA final to be played at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey.
8. Ben Davis, Indianapolis (14-0)*
Recap: Won Class 6A state championship. Season complete.
9. South Pointe, Rock Hill, S.C. (15-0)*
Recap: Won Class 4A state championship, beating Hartsville, 38-14. The Stallions are the sixth team in state history to capture four straight titles. Clemson-bound QB Derion Kendrick went 14 of 17 for 124 yards and three TDs and ran for 119 yards an 11-yard scoring run. Season complete.
10. Bingham, South Jordan, Utah (13-0)*
Recap: Won inaugural Class 6A state championship. The Miners were chosen for the GEICO High School Bowl Championship Series on Dec. 23 in Phoenix. Regular is season complete.
11. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (11-1)
Recap: Defeated Pittsburg, 24-7, in the CIF-North Coast Section Open Division final. The Spartans have captured 26 straight sectional titles starting in 1992.
Next: Dec. 16 vs. No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana) in CIF Open Division final in Sacramento.
12. Trinity, Louisville, Ky. (15-0)*
Recap: For the second straight season, the Shamrocks are perfect in 15 games and bagged a state title. Texas-bound Rondale Moore closed out a stellar prep career with 288 yards of offense and three scores in a 38-21 win over rivals St. Xavier (Louisville) in the Class 6A final. Moore rushed for 174 yards and TDs from 3 and 93 yards and caught 5 balls for 119 yards and a score. QB Nick Bohn was 19 of 26 for 174 yards and three TDs. Interesting footnote—Bohn set a new state-record for completion percentage of 79.7% (290 of 364), eclipsing the mark of 75.1 (by Tim Couch of Leslie County in 1994). Amazingly this program has 26 state titles! Season complete.
13. Northwestern, Miami (11-2)
Recap: Routed Naples, 42-7, in the Class 6A state semifinals. The Bulls are back to the title game for the first time since 2008.
Next: Friday vs. Armwood (Seffner) in the Class 6A final at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
14. Westlake, Austin, Texas (13-0)
Recap: Defeated Edinburg Vela, 70-14, in the Class 6A, Division II, Region 4 semifinals. The Chaps hung 56 points in the opening half and coasted.
Next: Saturday vs. Cibolo Steele in the Class 6A, Division II, Region 4 final to be played at San Antonio’s Alamodome.
15. Pine-Richland, Gibsonia, Pa. (15-0)
Recap: Defeated Manheim Township, 28-7, in the Class AAAAAA semifinals. QB Phil Jurkovec, a Notre Dame recruit, hit on 19 of 31 passes for 242 yards and two scores and ran 15 times for 75 yards and a TD.
Next: Saturday vs. No. 7 St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia) in the Class AAAAAA final at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey
16. Pearl, Miss. (16-0)*
Recap: Defeated Starkville, 21-17, to capture the Class 6A state championship. RB Tylan Knight’s 4-yard TD run with 66 seconds left in the game rallied the Pirates from 17-15 hole. Season complete.
17. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (11-3)
Recap: Lost to No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana), 49-24, in CIF-Southern Section Division I final. The Braves trailed 21-10 at halftime. Sophomore quarterback DJ Uiagalelei tossed a pair of TD passes. Two of the losses were to the top-ranked Monarchs. Season complete.
18. North Gwinnett, Suwannee, Ga. (13-1)
Recap: Defeated McEachern (Powder Springs), 38-17, in Class AAAAAAA semifinals. The Bulldogs scored the game’s final 17 points to avoid the upset.
Next: Saturday vs. Colquitt County (Moultrie) in the Class AAAAAAA final at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
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 on Dec. 23 in Phoenix. Regular is season complete.
20. Chandler, Ariz. (12-2)*
Previous: Not ranked.
Recap: Won 6A state championship, defeating Perry (Gilbert), 49-42. Junior QB Jacob Conover hit on 21 of 29 passes for 446 yards and four TDs as three receivers caught passes for more than 100 yards on a 6A record-setting night for most combined points. The Wolves annexed their second consecutive and third in four years. Season complete.
21. John Curtis Christian, River Ridge, La. (11-1)
Recap: Idle. The Patriots have a weekend off before playing for the state title.
Next: Saturday vs. Catholic (Baton Rouge) in Division I final at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
22. Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (10-2)*
Previous: Not ranked.
Recap: Won Non-Public Group 4 championship, crushing regionally ranked St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City), 44-7, for the program’s first state title since 2004.
The Crusaders left little doubt as Boston College-bound QB Johnny Langan tossed a pair of TDs and scooted for two more, but it was his scoring pass to Tyler DeVera with 3 seconds left in the first half that made it 31-0. With 3:33 left in the first, BC led built a 14-0 when Rahmir Johnson took a screen-and-lateral 19 yards to the house. The Crusaders closed on a nine-game win streak. Season complete.
23. McGill-Toolen, Mobile, Ala. (13-0)
Recap: Idle. The Yellow Jackets have a state final rematch midweek.
Next: Wednesday vs. Hoover in the 7A final at University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
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. 18 St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and No. 22 Klein Collins, Spring, Texas.
High-Fives by Region
- Cathedral Prep, Erie, Pa. (13-0)
- Wise, Upper Marlboro, Md. (14-0)*
- St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (9-2)*
- Westfield, Chantilly, Va. (14-0)
- 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. (14-0)
- Mallard Creek, Charlotte, N.C. (15-0)
- Colquitt County, Moultrie, Ga. (11-3)
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Saint Louis, Honolulu (10-0)*
- Folsom, Calif. (14-0)
- Saguaro, Scottsdale, Ariz. (12-2)*
- Richland, Wash. (14-0)*
- Perry, Gilbert, Ariz. (12-2)
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.