There is a week each football season that signifies “game on.” It’s a simple phase that means everyone eligible from the Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School Football rankings knows the next loss is the last loss.
A check of the CAC Top 25, presented by Siena Heights University and Global Football, shows nine teams won playoff games last weekend; 15 teams who will open in the next two weekends in their state or conference tournaments, and one (No. 7 St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, Md.) that does not participate as of now in the postseason or a sanctioned prep bowl game. From that 15, four teams had byes last weekend.
Confused? Don’t be. This weekend a full slate of meaningful games will be contested from coast to coast and there is surely some movement in the works for the CAC Top 25.
That brings us to update the CAC Top 25 rankings with two newbies breaking in this week, one from Louisiana’s state capital and the other all the way down in San Diego.
Debuting is No. 20 Catholic (Baton Rouge, La.), which enters with a 9-1 record and earning the No. 2 seed and first-round bye in the upcoming Louisiana High School Athletic Association Division I championships. The Bears need four wins to walk away with the hardware in early December inside the famed Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. It’s always rough sledding in Louisiana’s playoffs and Bears have a week to prepare for the rigorous run.
Here’s a quick remainder from Global Football about an opportunity for high schools to play a game on August 28, 2020 in Dublin, Ireland.
Global Football will celebrate 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.
Notre Dame and Navy will play at Aviva Stadium in Dublin 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.
A total of 12 schools will 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 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. Visit www.GlobalFootball.com/Ireland-2020 for more information.
OK, now for this week’s superlatives.
First there’s a dynamic two-way back in Texas that tore it up last Friday. A coach who is embarking on a journey for a second-straight Florida state title in a loaded field and playoff games that could bring change. Four of those games involve five CAC Top 25-eligible schools that reside outside the CAC Top 25 rankings.
Player of the Week: Running back Charles Crawford III of Bishop Lynch (Dallas, Texas). Meaningful performances are turned in every week but for the second week, it did not involve a school from the CAC Top 25. Take last Friday in the Metroplex with the Bishop Lynch Friars heading into their game with private-school powerhouse and defending TAPPS Division I champion Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano) with a 3-4 record. Prestonwood was undefeated but Crawford and his teammates were undeterred. Crawford’s monster game of 312 yards and four touchdowns on 37 carries sparked a wild 50-40 upset win over PCA in Dallas.
PCA scored the first 20 points of the game before Crawford scored the first of his TDs from three yards out and it was 20-13 at halftime. The Friars (4-4) took over in the third, exploding for 37 points, as Crawford blasted off for scoring runs of 51, 1 and 61 yards en route to a 50-28 lead. Crawford’s downhill running style is punctuated by a combination of a quick burst and a strong upper body that stiff-arms even the strongest defender. For the season, Crawford has rushed for 883 yards and scored 16 TDs.
At 5 feet 10 inches, Crawford is a junior and also plays cornerback. According various recruiting websites, Colorado and Boston College are interested but more are expected to follow. Lynch closes the regular season Friday hosting John Paul II (Plano).
Coach of the Week: Dameon Jones of No. 22 Chaminade-Madonna College Prep (Hollywood, Fla.). The Lions’ season started 2-2 before peeling off six straight wins, including last weekend’s 35-0 blanking at previously undefeated University School (Fort Lauderdale). The Lions enter the postseason as the favorite in Class 3A but won’t play until Nov. 16 in the Region 4 semifinals. If Jones’ team reaches the 3A final, it could meet No. 24 Clearwater (Fla.) Central Catholic on Dec. 8 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
Jones came to Chaminade-Madonna in time for the 2016 season after spending two seasons at nearby Hallandale, where he went 21-4 and reached the Class 5A quarterfinals in 2015. Jones planned to take a year off when he stepped down at Hallandale in 2015, but was persuaded to take over the Lions’ program.
In 2016, he guided the Lions to the 3A final, but last year completed the deed taking home the 3A state championship hardware during an 11-2 campaign.
Games of the Week (All times Eastern): Instead of solely concentrating on teams from the CAC Top 25, there are five games that should be noted. Our travels will take us from New England to the dairy lands of Wisconsin to the West Coast.
No. 23 Xavier (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) vs. Lewis Central (Scott Bluffs, Iowa), Thursday, 9:15 p.m.: Weather won’t be a concern inside the University of Northern Iowa’s UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls for the Class 3A semifinal matchup between a pair of 11-0 teams. Some feel this is the de facto 3A title game. Don’t tell that to Sergeant Bluff-Luton or Western Dubuque (Epworth), who open the semifinal doubleheader at 6:30 p.m. Earlier on Thursday morning in the Dome, an Iowa eight-player semifinal doubleheader will be played. That’s four games in one dome for pigskin aficionados.
Catholic Memorial (West Roxbury, Mass.) at Xaverian Brothers (Westwood, Mass.), Friday, 7 p.m.: One of the top New England brackets annually is MIAA South Division 1 (not to mention North Division 1) and this year’s final is played at Xaverian’s Varsity Stadium. Last weekend the Xaverian Hawks (7-1) edged Franklin, 37-29, in overtime while CM (7-2) topped Needham, 35-32, also in the semifinals. The Hawks won the previous meeting this season 25-17 on Sept. 28. In a playoff twist, CM’s legendary coach John DiBiaso guided powerhouse Everett (Mass.) to the Division 1 title a year ago, beating Xaverian en route to a perfect 12-0 campaign. Surely more great drama is in store for Boston schoolboy football!
Bishop Moore Catholic (Orlando, Fla.) at Jones (Orlando), Friday, 7:30 p.m.: In one of Florida’s loaded playoff brackets (Class 5A, Region 4), this is rematch from the regular season when Jones won 50-14. The Moore Hornets (6-4) enter the region quarterfinals having won four of their last five while Jones ride a nine-game win streak. The winner gets Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale) or Merritt Island in the semifinals on Nov. 16.
Catholic Memorial (Waukesha, Wis.) vs. Eisenhower (New Berlin), Friday, 8 p.m.: The WIAA Division 3 semifinal contest is slated for Kettle Moraine High School in Wales—just west of Milwaukee. Catholic Memorial (11-1) has won eight straight with three blowouts wins in the playoffs. Eisenhower is 12-0. The winner advances to the Wisconsin Division 3 final against Rice Lake (10-2) or West De Pere (12-0) on Nov. 16 at University of Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.
Carlsbad (Calif.) at Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, Calif.), Friday, 10 p.m.: The CIF-San Diego Section often gets overlooked by their big brother (Southern Section) to the north but the Open Division four-team bracket kicks off this weekend with two games. The Cathedral Catholic Dons (9-1), coached by Sean Doyle, are on the verge of cracking the CAC Top 25 and have won nine straight since on opening night loss and host a semifinal game at Manchester Stadium. The winner plays San Marcos or top-seeded Torrey Pines (San Diego) in the final on Nov. 17.
There’s nothing like playoff fever.
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 14. In the meantime, we’d like to give special thanks on Sunday November 11 or Veterans Day. We honor and remember all those who have served in the United States Armed Forces—Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines. You’ve made American proud!
The clock is ticking on the high school season so enjoy a game this weekend. God Bless America! – Christopher Lawlor
2018 Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25, November 7, 2018
1. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (11-0)
Previous rank: 1.
In the Huddle: Junior QB DJ Uiagalelei threw for 255 yards and four TDs as the Braves overwhelmed Serra (Gardena), 49-0, in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 first round. RB George Holani chipped in with two rushing scores. Coach Jason Negro’s team hits the road for a quarterfinal matchup at San Clemente on Friday night.
2. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (9-2) #
Previous rank: 2.
In the Huddle: The Monarchs put up 14 points in each of the opening two quarters and went on to a 44-6 victory over Valencia in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 first round. RB Glenn Harper scored the game’s initial three scores, rushing for two and snatching a 50-yard aerial from junior QB Bryce Young. The sectional quarterfinals could be a classic trap game with powerhouse Mission Viejo on Friday night.
3. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (9-0)
Previous rank: 3.
In the Huddle: QB Sol-Jay Maiava accounted for four TDs, including three in the air, as the Cadets posted a perfect regular season with a 34-17 victory over then-No. 19 Gonzaga (Washington). In a repeat of last weekend’s game, the Cadets and Gonzaga (Washington) hook up in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference semifinals on Saturday afternoon.
4. Archbishop Hoban, Akron, Ohio (11-0)
Previous rank: 4.
In the Huddle: The Knights took the first step to a fourth consecutive Ohio state championship, stopping Mayfield, 49-0, in the Division II, Region 5 quarterfinals. It was 42-0 at halftime as the Knights relied on three rushing TDs from Tyris Dickerson and three TD aerials from QB Shane Hamm, including a pair to Alabama-bound TE Caden Clark. Next is undefeated Garfield Heights in the region semifinals on Friday.
5. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (10-0)
Previous rank: 5.
In the Huddle: Idle. The Spartans play Pittsburg on Friday in CIF-North Coast Section Open Division semifinals.
6. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (9-1)
Previous rank: 6.
In the Huddle: Defeated Miramar, 48-6. The Raiders warmed up for the playoffs with 21 points in the first quarter and 20 more in the second. Now the focus shifts to the playoffs and a home game against South Miami on Friday in the Class 7A, Region 4 quarterfinals.
7. St. Frances Academy, Baltimore, Md. (7-0)
Previous rank: 7.
In the Huddle: The Panthers defeated Silver Oak Academy (Keymar, Md.), 69-0.
The next scheduled game is Friday versus COP Academy (Columbus, Ohio).
8. St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, Pa. (8-0)
Previous rank: 8.
In the Huddle: The Hawks blanked Roman Catholic (Philadelphia), 38-0, in the Philadelphia Catholic League Class AAAAAA semifinals. Sophomore QB Kyle McCord connected for three TD passes, including a pair to Johnny Freeman. Next is La Salle College (Wyndmoor, Pa.) on Friday in the Catholic League final to be played at Northeast High School in Philadelphia.
9. Saint Louis, Honolulu, Hawaii (9-0)
Previous rank: 9.
In the Huddle: Idle. Junior QB Jayden de Laura has completed 109 of 159 passes for 1,885 yards and 18 TDs and WR Roman Wilson has 20 catches for 545 yards and seven scores. Next is rivals Kahuku on Nov. 16 in Hawaii Open Division semifinals at Aloha Stadium.
10. Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (8-1)
Previous rank: 10.
In the Huddle: Idle. The Crusaders are back at it Saturday afternoon with Seton Hall Prep (West Orange) in the Non-Public Group 4 quarterfinals. The playoff run is fast and furious as the Crusaders are the favorite to defend their state title.
11. Blessed Trinity, Roswell, Ga. (10-0)
Previous rank: 11.
In the Huddle: The Titans closed out the regular season with a convincing 42-7 victory over White County (Cleveland). Ohio State-bound Steele Chambers ran for 110 yards and two TDs. Next is a Class AAAA first round contest at home against Northwest Whitfield (Tunnel Hill) on Friday.
12. Covington Catholic, Park Hills, Ky. (11-0)
Previous rank: 12.
In the Huddle: RB Casey McGinness made the most of his touches, carrying eight times for 97 yards and three TDs of 16, 7 and 9 yards during a 49-0 rout of Woodford County (Versailles) in the Class 5A first round. The second round is Friday versus Montgomery County (Sterling).
13. JSerra Catholic, San Juan Capistrano, Calif. (9-2)
Previous rank: 13.
In the Huddle: The Lions opened the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs with an easy 42-9 victory over Poly (Long Beach). Junior RB Chris Street ran for 132 yards and two TDs on 23 carries and QB Caden Bell passed for 168 yards and two scores. The postseason intensifies Friday with a sectional quarterfinal matchup with nationally ranked and unbeaten Oaks Christian School (Westlake Village).
14. Columbus, Miami, Fla. (10-0) @
Previous rank: 14.
In the Huddle: Idle. The Explorers entertain Coral Gables in the Class 8A, Region 4 quarterfinals on Friday.
15. Christian Brothers College, St. Louis, Mo. (9-1)
Previous rank: 15.
In the Huddle: For the second straight week, the Cadets produced offensive fireworks during the district playoffs in a 69-8 victory over Hazelwood West (Hazelwood) in the semifinals. RB Bryan Bradford carried four times for 88 yards and two scores while QB Brett Gabbert threw for 178 yards and four TDs—all in the second quarter—when the Cadets carried a 49-0 lead. Next is crosstown rival DeSmet Jesuit (St. Louis) on Friday in the Class 6 District 1 final.
16. Charlotte (N.C.), Catholic (10-1)
Previous rank: 16.
In the Huddle: Defeated Marvin Ridge (Waxhaw), 39-24. The Cougars led 25-10 at the break and held off a late rally. The Class 3A playoffs start on Nov. 16.
17. DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, Md. (7-2)
Previous rank: 17.
In the Huddle: Coach Elijah Brooks’ team exploded for 20 unanswered points in the first quarter to defeat Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.), 42-14. The Stags play Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference semifinals on Friday night.
18. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas, Nev. (7-3)
Previous rank: 18.
In the Huddle: QB Micah Bowens completed 4 of 6 throws as three of them went for TDs in the regular season finale 52-0 win over Clark (Las Vegas). Bowens added two rushing scores as the Gaels were up 28 points after one quarter. The Gaels enter the Class 4A Desert Region playoffs with a first round contest against Basic (Henderson) on Friday.
19. Brother Rice, Chicago, Ill. (11-0)
Previous rank: 20.
In the Huddle: QB Johnny Bean rushed for two TDs and threw for another during a 27-9 win over Oak Park in the Class 8A second round. The Crusaders march on in the playoffs, tangling with Warren (Gurnee) in the Class 8A quarterfinals this weekend.
20. Catholic, Baton Rouge, La. (9-1)
Previous rank: Not ranked.
In the Huddle: Earned the No. 2 seed and first-round bye in the upcoming Louisiana High School Athletic Association Division I championships with a 55-20 win over Broadmoor last week. The Bears are idle this week, so have a week to prepare for the rigorous playoff run.
21. St. Joseph Regional, Montvale, N.J. (7-2)
Previous rank: 22.
In the Huddle: Idle. The Green Knights host St. Augustine (Richland) Saturday in the Non-Public Group 4 quarterfinals.
22. Chaminade-Madonna College Prep, Hollywood, Fla. (8-2)
Previous rank: 22.
In the Huddle: Sophomore Thaddius Franklin, a Miami recruit, ran for a career best 279 yards and two TDs on 26 carries in a 35-0 pasting of previously undefeated University (Fort Lauderdale). QB Daelen Menard hit Penn State-bound WR John Dunmore for two scores and the Lions head into the postseason on a roll. The Lions have a bye and won’t play again until Class 3A, Region 4 semifinals, where they’ll meet Westminster Christian (Miami) or Palmer Trinity (Miami) on Nov. 16.
23. Xavier, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (11-0)
Previous rank: 23.
In the Huddle: The Saints crushed Decorah, 42-6, in the Class 3A quarterfinals. QB Quinn Schulte ran and passed for scores and Nathan Skala returned a punt 53 yards for a TD. The road to the state title get bumpy with a semifinal date versus undefeated Lewis Central (Council Bluffs) on Thursday at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.
24. Clearwater (Fla.) Central Catholic (10-0)
Previous rank: 24.
In the Huddle: Idle. The Marauders earned a bye to the Class 3A, Region 3 semifinals, where they face Tampa Catholic or Lakeland Christian on Nov. 16.
25. St. Peter’s Prep, Jersey City, N.J. (6-3)
Previous rank: 25.
In the Huddle: Idle. Next is St. Joseph (Metuchen) in the Non-Public Group 4 quarterfinals on Friday.
Dropped out: No. 19 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)
Special Consideration: Dowling Catholic (West Des Moines, Iowa); Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.); 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.); 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; 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.); Conwell-Egan (Fairless Hills, Pa.); and Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, Calif.).
# Includes a forfeit loss
@ Includes a forfeit win