It’s hard to believe but we’re heading into the month of November and that means playoffs for the Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School Football rankings.
Playoff fever is already spreading in Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa and Indiana while states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California and Ohio kick off this weekend. Expect the CAC Top 25, presented by Siena Heights University and Global Football, to have some reshuffling and additions in the coming weeks.
This week there’s one addition from Florida.
No. 24 Clearwater (Fla.) Central Catholic joins the CAC Top 25 after completing a perfect regular season and essentially locked up the top seed in the Class 3A Region 3 playoffs that get underway next week. The Marauders knocked off previously-unbeaten Cardinal Mooney (Sarasota) last weekend, unleashing an aggressive brand of defense in a 55-20 road win.
There’s a chance CCC could play No. 22 Chaminade-Madonna College Prep (Hollywood) in the 3A state semifinals in December. That sounds like a dream matchup in the making.
A few weeks ago, we mentioned the Chicago Catholic League and East Suburban Catholic League would merge in time for the 2019 season. Here’s the lineup by division.
Blue: Marist, Loyola Academy, Mount Carmel and Brother Rice. Green: Notre Dame, St. Rita, Montini Catholic and Providence. Orange: Nazareth Academy, Benet Academy, De La Salle and St. Laurence. White: Fenwick, St. Ignatius, Marmion and Joliet Catholic. Purple: St. Patrick, Marian Central, St. Viator and Carmel. Red: Leo, St. Joseph, Marian Catholic and DePaul Prep.
The Blue Division looks like a real winner with great rivalries and matchups.
Additionally, Global Football had special announcement last week.
High school American football will return to Ireland in 2020 with multiple games taking place in and around Dublin on August 28.
Global Football will celebrate almost a quarter of a century as the world’s leading exporter of the sport outside of the United States, by again organizing the showcase spectacular as a partner event of the 2020 Aer Lingus College Football Classic. The University of Notre Dame and Navy will play at Aviva Stadium on August 29, the day following the high school games extravaganza, with all the prep school players enjoying the big NCAA contest. Anthony Travel, the longtime travel partner of Global Football, and Irish American Events Limited are again serving as the overall event producers. The three groups will team up again to plan and execute all travel logistics for each team and fan groups.
A total of 12 schools will venture across the Atlantic Ocean to experience the Irish culture and to compete in a series of games, with multiple venues in Greater Dublin hosting single, double or triple-headers of Friday Night American football games.
Global Football has established a web page dedicated to the 2020 event, which includes tour options for travelers, pricing, and how high school coaches can request an invitation and commit to joining the celebration in Dublin at www.GlobalFootball.com/Ireland-2020.
Further details of traveling schools, host venues, kickoff times will be announced during the two-year build up to the 2020 high school American football event.
That’s great news and here’s more.
This week we introduce a player, coach and some of the top games that could impact the CAC Top 25 rankings. Last Saturday a young man rewrote his school’s record book in suburban Philadelphia. There’s a coach from Cleveland that is a flat-out winner. The feature games are spread out.
Player of the Week: Running back Patrick Garwo of Conwell-Egan (Fairless Hills, Pa.). When a program dreams for nearly 50 years of a league championship that’s quite a wait. Well, the wait is finally over for Conwell-Egan Eagles after shutting out Cardinal O’Hara (Springfield, Pa.), 39-0, last Saturday for the Philadelphia Catholic League Blue Division title.
Garwo was at the center of the Eagles’ title clinching win, rushing for 207 yards and three touchdowns on runs of 24, 2 and 51 yards on 23 carries or 9 yards per attempt. Conwell-Egan is 10-0 as the playoffs get underway this week. He is the school’s top scorer with 436 points. He has 1,575 yards and 25 TDs in 10 games.
The Boston College-bound running back put himself on the map last fall rushing for a school single-season record 1,879 yards (he broke the standard set by Steve Slaton, who eventually had a standout career at West Virginia and later played in the NFL) and had 24 TDs as the Eagles advanced to the PIAA Class AAA semifinals.
Garwo (5 feet 10 inches, 200 pounds) chose Boston College following a June visit over such programs as Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Syracuse, Rutgers, Wisconsin and Virginia. Most recruiting websites have Garwo listed as a Top 20 running back from the Class of 2019.
Coach of the Week: Chuck Kyle of St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio). Kyle is one of the nation’s top coaches and that’s exactly who you want in a big game. Take last weekend when the Wildcats outlasted rival St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio), 21-7, before 14,000 at FirstEngery Stadium—home of the Cleveland Browns.
It was the fourth straight victory for the Jesuit school over St. Edward. Kyle’s teams are rooted in discipline, pay close attention to details and come well prepared for the task at hand.
After an uncharacteristic 0-2 start this season (first time since 1960), the Wildcats (8-2) have won eight straight and earned a spot in the Division I, Region 1 playoffs that open Friday against St. Edward at Byers Field in Parma.
Kyle is Cleveland born and bred. Essentially he’s a local, living legend. He graduated from St. Ignatius (Class of 1969), where he was a 1,000-yard rusher, and later attended nearby John Carroll University and played ball and majored in English. But he returned to St. Ignatius to coach while he was in college and is an English teacher while also coaching the track and field team.
Kyle took over at his alma mater in 1983 and his headed to 400 career wins. He enters the postseason with an overall record of 354-91-1.
Kyle was twice named national coach of the year and has guided the Wildcats to three mythical national titles (1989, ’93 and ‘95) and an Ohio-record 11 state football championships, most recently in 2011.
Games of the Week (All times are Eastern): Here are games that may shake the CAC Top 25.
No. 23 Chaminade-Madonna College Prep (Hollywood, Fla.) at University School (Fort Lauderdale), Friday, 7 p.m.: Two of Florida’s top teams meet this weekend at AutoNation Field. Chaminade-Madonna is the top-ranked Class 3A team while University is unbeaten and the favorite to win Class 4A.
St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) at St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio), Friday, 7 p.m.: For a second straight week these rivals lock horns but this time it’s in the Ohio Division I, Region 1 playoffs. Last weekend St. Ignatius won the matchup 21-7 but this time the loser goes home. The game will be played at Byers Field in Parma, Ohio.
Philadelphia Catholic League playoffs, Friday: There are four semifinal games from the league. In Class AAAAAA, it will be No. 8 St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia) hosting Roman Catholic (Philadelphia) at Widener University at 8 p.m. That winner plays Father Judge (Philadelphia) who travel to La Salle College (Wyndmoor, Pa.) at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School at 7.
In Class AAAA, the pairing is Archbishop Carroll (Radnor, Pa.) at Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast (Drexel Hill, Pa.) to be played at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, Pa., with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
No. 3 St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.) at No. 19 Gonzaga (Washington): Saturday, 3 p.m.: This crosstown rivalry will have Buchanan Field rocking. SJC is unbeaten and look to lock up the top seed in the upcoming Washington Catholic Athletic Conference playoffs.
Fans, coaches, players and parents are encouraged to follow the CAC Top 25 through social media at www.Facebook.com/CACTop25 and on Twitter @CACTop25. If you want to nominate a player or coach for CAC recognition get us the information no later than each Monday morning during the season by 11 a.m. ET.
The CAC Top 25 rankings will return on November 7. In the meantime, keep those who have faithfully departed tomorrow or November 1 on All Soul’s Day, which a day or remembrance. We all have special people that have affected our lives whether it is a parent, sibling, relative, friend, priest, nun, coach, or teammate. Just say a prayer and remember the good.
Thank you for your dedicated readership we cannot do it without you. God Bless and enjoy the games this weekend and keep the congregants of the Tree of Life synagogue and those who lost their lives last weekend in Pittsburgh in your thoughts and prayers. – Christopher Lawlor
2018 Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25, October 31, 2018
1. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (10-0)
Previous rank: 1.
In the Huddle: The Trinity League champions were flawless in the regular season after defeating Servite (Anaheim), 56-0, for the third shutout of the campaign and first since Week 2 in August. QB DJ Uiagalelei threw three TDs and ran for one in the first half when the Braves were up 35 points. Kristopher Hutson caught a TD pass and rushed for another score. The Braves are top seed in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs that open Friday against Serra (Gardena).
2. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (8-2) #
Previous rank: 2.
In the Huddle: Junior QB Bryce Young took control in the first half and the Monarchs rolled to a 45-7 victory over Orange Lutheran. Young threw for 207 yards and two TDs and RB Sean Dollars added a pair of running scores. The defending state champions open the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs on Friday at Valencia.
3. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (8-0)
Previous rank: 3.
In the Huddle: RB Ronald Cook was the difference in the Cadets’ 13-7 win over then-No. 10 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.). Cook carried 17 times for 117 yards and two TDs, including the decisive one in the second quarter in a game played in a quagmire. The Cadets, who have won 15 straight contests, finish up Saturday at No. 19 Gonzaga (Washington).
4. Archbishop Hoban, Akron, Ohio (10-0)
Previous rank: 4.
In the Huddle: The Knights completed their first-ever unbeaten regular season, shutting out Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (Chardon), 31-0. DeaMonte Trayanum’s 11-yard TD run in the first quarter opened the scoring. Tyris Dickerson added two short scoring runs in the second and the Knights pulled way. Next is the home game with Mayfield in the Division II, Region 5 quarterfinals.
5. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (10-0)
Previous rank: 5.
In the Huddle: The Spartans made quick work of defeating California High (San Ramon), 49-0. The focus shifts to the playoffs, where they open the CIF-North Coast Section Open Division on Nov. 9 with the semifinals.
6. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (8-1)
Previous rank: 6.
In the Huddle: The Raiders clinched the District 14-7A after overwhelming Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach), 58-0. Ohio State-bound Jordan Battle returned a free kick 68 yards for a TD and Darius Daniel took the second-half kickoff 89 yards to the house and the rout continued. The regular season closes Friday at Miramar.
7. St. Frances Academy, Baltimore, Md. (6-0)
Previous rank: 7.
In the Huddle: For the third straight week, the defense played at a high level and the Panthers blanked Northeast (Philadelphia, Pa.), 35-0. Three games remain in the season for the SFA, starting with Friday against Silver Oak Academy (Keymar, Md.).
8. St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, Pa. (7-0)
Previous rank: 8.
In the Huddle: The Hawks defeated Archbishop Ryan (Philadelphia), 48-17. Sophomore QB Kyle McCord threw three TD passes from 26, 20 and 14 yards and ran 1-yard for another. Next is Roman Catholic (Philadelphia) in the Philadelphia Catholic League (or PIAA District 12) Class AAAAAA semifinals on Friday.
9. Saint Louis, Honolulu, Hawaii (9-0)
Previous rank: 9.
In the Huddle: QB Jayden de Laura accounted for four TDs, throwing for two and running for another pair in a 45-21 victory over Punahou School (Honolulu) in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu Open final. It was the Crusaders’ fourth consecutive ILH crown and 24th straight win. Next is an undetermined opponent on Nov. 16 in Hawaii Open Division semifinals.
10. Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (8-1)
Previous rank: 11.
In the Huddle: The Crusaders ended the regular season with a bang, hammering then-No. 24 DePaul Catholic (Wayne), 42-7. Junior QB Andrew Boel passed for 212 yards and four TDs. Nebraska-bound RB Rahmir Johnson’s 57-yard TD gallop in the fourth quarter put the finishing touches on the victory. Next is Seton Hall Prep (West Orange) or Paramus Catholic on Nov. 10 in the Non-Public Group 4 quarterfinals.
11. Blessed Trinity, Roswell, Ga. (9-0)
Previous rank: 12.
In the Huddle: Ethan Chauvin booted a field goal in the third and it was the difference in a 10-7 win over archrivals Marist (Atlanta). The Titans captured the Region 7-AAAA championship. Trailing 7-0 in the quarter, QB Jake Smith fired a 26-yard TD pass to JD Bertrand to tie it. The teams could meet again for the second consecutive year in the Class AAAA state final in December. The regular season finale is Friday against White County (Cleveland).
12. Covington Catholic, Park Hills, Ky. (10-0)
Previous rank: 13.
In the Huddle: Four different players found the end zone and the Colonels completed an unbeaten regular season, stopping Campbell County (Alexandria), 28-0. RB Casey McGinness’ 21-yard TD run in the first quarter opened the scoring, QB Caleb Jacob threw for 192 yards and a TD and added another from 1 yard. McGinness rushed for 167 yards on 31 carries. Next is the Class 5A first round against Woodford County (Versailles) on Friday.
13. JSerra Catholic, San Juan Capistrano, Calif. (8-2)
Previous rank: 14.
In the Huddle: Defeated Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita), 42-17. RB Chris Street carried 13 times for 125 yards and two TDs and QB Caden Bell completed 8 of 11 passes for 171 yards and two scores. Street accounted for 225 yards of offense. The Lions travel Friday to Poly (Long Beach) in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 first round.
14. Columbus, Miami, Fla. (10-0) @
Previous rank: 15.
In the Huddle: The Explorers are District 14-8A champions after defeating Coral Park (Miami), 36-21. Last week, the Explorers were awarded a forfeit win after it was discovered that nationally ranked Carol City (Miami Gardens) used two ineligible student-athletes during that 35-0 non-district victory in September. The Florida Class 8A playoffs start next weekend.
15. Christian Brothers College, St. Louis, Mo. (8-1)
Previous rank: 16.
In the Huddle: RB Bryan Bradford blasted off for scoring runs of 69 and 7 yards in the first quarter during 63-0 pasting of St. Louis University High in the Class 6 district playoffs. WR Nikolas Hea had three catches for 142 yards, including a 59-yard TD. The Cadets scored 28 points in each of the first two quarters versus their crosstown rivals,
16. Charlotte (N.C.), Catholic (9-1)
Previous rank: 17.
In the Huddle: Defeated Cuthbertson (Waxhaw), 42-7. The Cougars raced to 35-0 lead at halftime. The regular season finishes up Friday against Marvin Ridge (Waxhaw).
17. DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, Md. (6-2)
Previous rank: 10.
In the Huddle: Lost to No. 3 St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.), 13-7, a game that was played in heavy rains. The Stags are off to league rivals Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) Saturday and then the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference playoffs commence a week later.
18. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas, Nev. (6-3)
Previous rank: 18.
In the Huddle: A punishing running attack churned out 334 yards in a 63-13 rout of Spring Valley (Las Vegas), improving to 5-0 in Southwest Legion play. RBs Amod Cianelli rushed for 148 yards and two scores and Ikaika Ragsdale added 138 yards and two more scores on seven carries. The regular season finale is Friday at Clark (Las Vegas).
19. Gonzaga, Washington, D.C. (7-2)
Previous rank: 19.
In the Huddle: Idle. The regular season concludes Saturday afternoon against No. 3 St. John’s College (Washington). The Eagles looking to play spoiler ruining the rival’s perfect season.
20. Brother Rice, Chicago, Ill. (10-0)
Previous rank: 20.
In the Huddle: The Crusaders blitzed Zion-Benton, 49-0, in the Class 8A first round. QB Johnny Bean threw for three TDs and rushed for another. Earlier in the week, Bean was named the Tom Lawless Award Winner as the Chicago Catholic League Blue Division’s Most Valuable Player. Next is Oak Park in the second round
21. St. Joseph Regional, Montvale, N.J. (7-2)
Previous rank: 22.
In the Huddle: QB Michael Alaimo hit Gavin Sharkey for a TD and RB Audric Estime rumbled over from two yards out as the Green Knights held off then-No. 21 St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City), 16-7, amid heavy rains. SJR is back at it on Nov. 10 versus St. Augustine (Richland) or Notre Dame (Lawrenceville).
22. Chaminade-Madonna College Prep, Hollywood, Fla. (7-2)
Previous rank: 23.
In the Huddle: The win streak hit seven games as the Lions crushed Flanagan (Pembroke Pines), 51-0. The regular season winds down with a playoff-type contest with undefeated University School (Fort Lauderdale).
23. Xavier, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (10-0)
Previous rank: 25.
In the Huddle: The Saints hurdled a big rival in the Class 3A playoffs opener, stopping Pella, 14-6. QB Quinn Schulte found WR Kyle Moeder for a 51-yard TD in the first quarter and the lead held up. Moeder wound up with four catches for 144 yards. Next is Decorah on Friday in the quarterfinals back at Saints Field.
24. Clearwater (Fla.) Central Catholic (10-0)
Previous rank: Not ranked.
In the Huddle: The Marauders debut in the CAC Top 25 after demolishing previously unbeaten Cardinal Mooney (Sarasota), 55-20, closing out the program’s second undefeated season in four years. The defense spearheaded the attack with three pick-sixes and the regular season win streak hit 23 consecutive victories.
25. St. Peter’s Prep, Jersey City, N.J. (6-3)
Previous rank: 21.
In the Huddle: Lost to No. 21 St. Joseph’s Regional (Montvale), 16-7. QB Maasai Maynor tossed a 74-yard TD pass to Ben Silver for Prep’s lone score. Next is St. Joseph (Metuchen) in the Non-Public Group 4 first round on Nov. 9.
Dropped out: No. 24 DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.).
Special Consideration: St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio); Marist (Chicago, Ill.); St. Pius X Catholic (Atlanta, Ga.); De La Salle Collegiate (Warren, Mich.); Bishop Chatard (Indianapolis, Ind.); St. Anthony’s (South Huntington, N.Y.); DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.); McGill-Toolen (Mobile, Ala.); St. Pius X (Houston, Texas); Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg, Pa.); Memorial (Evansville, Ind.); Salpointe Catholic (Tucson, Ariz.); Central Catholic (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Bishop Dwenger (Fort Wayne, Ind.); Marist (Atlanta, Ga.); Aquinas Institute (Rochester, N.Y.); Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.); Bishop Amat (La Puente, Calif.); Central Catholic (Toledo, Ohio); Malvern (Pa.) Prep; Catholic (Baton Rouge, La.); Mount Carmel (Chicago, Ill.); Strake Jesuit (Houston, Texas); Nazareth Academy (LaGrange Park, Ill.); Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.); Cathedral Prep (Erie, Pa.); Xaverian Brothers (Westwood, Mass.); Good Counsel (Olney, Md.); St. Thomas Aquinas (Overland Park, Kan.); Catholic Memorial (Waukesha, Wis.); St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio); Iona Prep (New Rochelle, N.Y.); and Conwell-Egan (Fairless Hills, Pa.); Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, Calif.).
# Includes a forfeit loss
@ Includes a forfeit win