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CAC Top 25

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Santa Ana’s Monarchs are the Inaugural Winners of the Catholic Athletes For Christ Top 25,
Presented by Siena Heights University and Global Football

Occasionally teams will tap destiny on the shoulder and this time Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Calif.) did so in emphatic fashion.

Congratulations to the No. 1 Monarchs, they are officially the Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School Football National Champions presented by Siena Heights University and Global Football.  Coach Bruce Rollinson’s team rolled through one of the nation’s toughest schedules and capped the season with a CIF Open Division state championship.  The Monarchs went a perfect 15-0 and left no doubt they were the nation’s top schoolboy football team in 2017.

Three of the CAC Top 25 teams that rose to the Top Ten did so from being ranked just outside our preseason poll, including No. 3 Cathedral Prep (Erie, Pa.).  Mater Dei took over the No. 1 spot after their first week of action, while our preseason leader Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) finished in second place.

After a few weeks off, we hope you enjoyed Christmas and spent quality time with family and friends and perhaps a few new friends were gathered along the way.  We’re also sending our best wishes for a prosperous New Year in 2018!

Even though it is officially the offseason, fans are encouraged to follow the CAC Top 25 through social media at on Twitter @CACTop25 and at

This inaugural season with the CAC Top 25 with truly a blast!  It is our sincerest hope that the CAC Top 25 provided some stimulating conversations and raised awareness to Catholic education and football programs nationwide.  It also gave teams another platform and barometer to see where they sit amongst their Catholic brethren.

To all the clergy, players, coaches, cheerleaders, band members, moms and dads, booster club members, team managers, volunteers, students, fans, teachers, members of law enforcement, and first responders – we salute you for making this happen.  It takes a family to pull it all together weekly and that you did

Well, until next August, God Bless. – Christopher Lawlor

2017 Catholic Athletes for Christ Final Top 25, Jan. 3, 2018
Presented by Siena Heights University and Global Football

  1. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (15-0) * !
    Previous rank: 1.
    Preseason rank: 2.
    In the Huddle: The Monarchs are the inaugural Catholic Athletes for Christ National Champions!  They jumped to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter en route to a 52-21 victory over then-No. 11 De La Salle (Concord) in the CIF Open Division final.  USC-bound QB J.T. Daniels hit on 20 of 20 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two more scores.  WR Amon-Ra St. Brown had eight receptions for 137 yards and two TDs.  After the season ended, Daniels reclassified to the Class of 2018, thus heading to USC in the fall.
  1. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas, Nev. (13-2) *
    Previous rank: 2.
    Preseason rank: 1.
    In the Huddle: Won a ninth straight state championship by capturing the Class 4A title.
  1. Cathedral Prep, Erie, Pa. (14-0) *
    Previous rank: 3.
    Preseason rank: Not ranked.
    In the huddle: The Ramblers won the PIAA Class AAAA state championship for the second straight season.  Record setting QB Joe Mischler (7,719 career passing yards, 98 career TD passes) is off to Ohio.  Prep rose from being a team to consider in the CAC Top 25 preseason ranking to a third-place finish.
  1. Trinity, Louisville, Ky. (15-0) *
    Previous rank: 5.
    Preseason rank: 23.
    In the Huddle: Won the Class 6A state championship while compiling their second straight 15-0 record.
  1. St. Frances Academy, Baltimore, Md. (13-0) *
    Previous rank: 7.
    Preseason rank: 24.
    In the Huddle: Won a second straight MIAA A Conference championship.  Also defeated Utah’s Class 6A champion Bingham (South Jordan, Utah), 41-3, in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series on Dec. 23 in Phoenix, Ariz.  QB Jalon Jones did most of his damage in the second half, finishing with 15 carries for 178 yards and two TDs and passed for 128 yards and another score.  Game MVP Kwincy Hall scored two electrifying TDs in the first half blow open the contest.
  1. Saint Louis, Honolulu, Hawaii (10-0) *
    Previous rank: 7.
    Preseason rank: Not ranked.
    In the huddle: The Crusaders completed their first undefeated season since 1996, capturing the Division I-Open Division.
  1. St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, Pa. (13-1)
    Previous rank: 8.
    Preseason rank: 8.
    In the Huddle: 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 for the Hawks – the Philadelphia Catholic League champions.
  1. Covington Catholic, Park Hills, Ky. (15-0) *
    Previous rank: 12.
    Preseason rank: Not ranked.
    In the Huddle: Won the Class 5A state championship.
  1. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (11-2)
    Previous rank: 4.
    Preseason rank: 9.
    In the Huddle: For the second straight year, the Spartans advanced to the CIF Open Division final, where it lost 52-21 to a southern California powerhouse, this time top-ranked Mater Dei (Santa Ana).  However, the Spartans captured their 26th straight sectional title.
  1. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (11-3)
    Previous rank: 9.
    Preseason rank: 4.
    In the Huddle: Advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Division I final.  Two of the Braves’ three losses were to No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.).
  1. Archbishop Wood, Warminster, Pa. (12-2) *
    Previous rank: 10.
    Preseason rank: 13.
    In the Huddle: The Vikings won the PIAA Class AAAAA state championship for the second straight season.
  1. Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (10-2) *
    Previous rank: 11.
    Preseason rank: 7.
    In the huddle: Won the Non-Public Group 4 state championship.  The Crusaders captured their first title since 2004 and closed the season on a nine-game winning skein.
  1. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (9-2) *
    Previous rank: 13.
    Preseason rank: 18.
    In the Huddle: Won the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship for the first time since 1989.
  1. Christian Brothers College, St. Louis, Mo. (13-1) *
    Previous rank: 18.
    Preseason rank: 17.
    In the Huddle: Won the Class 6 state championship.
  1. Dowling Catholic, West Des Moines, Iowa, (12-1) *
    Previous rank: 16.
    Preseason rank: Not ranked.
    In the huddle: Won a fifth straight Class 4A state championship.
  1. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (11-3)
    Previous rank: 17.
    Preseason rank: 3.
    In the Huddle: Advanced to the Class 7A state semifinals, where it lost to the eventual state champions.
  1. Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic (16-0) *
    Previous rank: 18.
    Preseason rank: Not ranked.
    In the Huddle: The Cougars won the Class 3A state championship.  It was Charlotte Catholic’s fourth overall state title and first since 2015.
  1. St. Ignatius, Cleveland, Ohio (11-2)
    Previous rank: 19.
    Preseason rank: 16.
    In the Huddle: Advanced to the Division I, Region 1 final.  The Wildcats play in the one of the best top state’s and toughest regions in the country.
  1. Archbishop Hoban, Akron, Ohio (14-1) *
    Previous ranked: 20.
    Preseason rank: Not ranked.
    In the Huddle: Won the Division II state championship.  The Knights annexed the last two Division III titles before moving up a division in 2017.
  1. McGill-Toolen Catholic, Mobile, Ala. (13-1)
    Previous rank: 21.
    Preseason rank: Not ranked.
    In the Huddle: Lost to Hoover, 48-20, in the Class 7A final.
  1. Blessed Trinity, Roswell, Ga. (13-2) *
    Previous rank: Not ranked.
    Preseason rank: Not ranked.
    In the Huddle: The Titans enter the CAC Top 25 after winning the program’s first-ever state championship, knocking off rivals and then-No. 14 Marist (Atlanta, Ga.), 16-7, in the Class AAAA final.  Blessed Trinity avenged a regular-season loss to Marist, 25-24.  QB Jake Smith passed for 111 yards and a TD in the second quarter and the defense did the rest.  Coach Tim McFarlin became Georgia’s 15th coach to capture state titles at two schools (he did it in 2016 at Roswell).
  1. St. Xavier, Cincinnati, Ohio (11-2)
    Previous rank: 22.
    Preseason rank: 10.
    In the Huddle: Advanced to the Division I, Region 4 final.
  1. De La Salle, Warren, Mich. (12-2) *
    Previous rank: 23.
    Preseason rank: Not ranked.
    In the Huddle: Won the Division 2 state championship.
  1. Bishop Miege, Shawnee Mission, Kan.(13-0) *
    Previous rank: 24.
    Preseason rank: Not ranked.
    In the Huddle: Won the Class 4A-Division I state championship.  The Stags have won four consecutive state crowns.
  1. Serra, San Mateo, Calif. (13-2) *
    Previous rank: Not ranked.
    Preseason rank: Not ranked.
    In the Huddle: Won the CIF Division 2-AA state championship, defeating Cajon (San Bernardino), 38-14.  RB Isiah Kendrick scored three TDs, including three on the ground.  Coach Patrick Walsh’s squad completed a memorable campaign capturing the first-ever state crown and the first outright West Catholic Athletic League title in 48 years.

Dropped out: No. 14 Marist, Atlanta, Ga., and No. 25 Chaminade, West Hills, Calif.

* Won state, sectional or conference/league postseason championship

! Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 National Champions

Special Consideration: Catholic (Baton Rouge, La.)*; DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.)*; St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.); Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)*; Bishop Carroll Catholic (Wichita, Kan.)*; Columbus (Miami, Fla.); Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.); Marist (Atlanta, Ga.); Benedictine Military School (Savannah, Ga.); Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.); O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.)*; Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.); Bishop McGuinness Catholic (Oklahoma City, Okla.); Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Ill.); Mount Carmel (Chicago, Ill.); Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood, Fla.)*; Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.); St. John Vianney (Kirkwood, Mo.); St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio); Juan Diego Catholic (Draper, Utah)*; Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.)*; Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.); St. Peter’s Prep, (Jersey City, N.J.); Bishop Lynch (Dallas, Texas); St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.); St. Pius X (Houston, Texas); Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.); St. Francis (Mountain View, Calif.)* and Bishop Diego (Santa Barbara, Calif.)*.