We’re only three days from the month of December and that means a cornucopia of state championships. It also bears asking: Will this be a December to remember?
Simply put those that claim trophies will wholeheartedly file it under great times for all and that includes teams from the Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School Football rankings.
The CAC Top 25, presented by Siena Heights University and Global Football, has a new No. 1. For the first time this season there’s someone other than St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) at top and it’s a familiar name: the 2017 champion Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.).
Mater Dei and Bosco flip-flopped rank as the Monarchs avenged a regular season loss to the Trinity League brethren. Mater Dei defeated Bosco, 17-13, in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 final are one win from an overall state title.
Last weekend, teams from Illinois, Missouri, Hawaii and New Jersey were the latest from the CAC Top 25 to carry the hardware home. There were victory rides for coaches, tears of joy, hugs, and heartache on the losing sidelines and in the stands.
That’s what makes high school football a special sport.
There is one addition to the CAC Top 25 from Illinois. A hearty welcome goes out to No. 23 Nazareth Academy (LaGrange Park, Ill.) after winning the Class 7A state championship, beating St. Charles (Ill.) North, 31-14. The Roadrunners finished 13-1 and claimed the program’s third state crown.
In this week’s Triple Option, there’s a junior running back from south Florida that is gaining attention. In New Jersey, a coach won his second state championship, topping a fellow CAC Top 25 team in the process. Heading into the month of December, state championships will be played in Ohio, Nevada, Kentucky, Arizona, Massachusetts and Washington.
Player of the Week: Running back Henry Parrish of No. 11 Columbus (Miami, Fla.): A year ago, the Explorers lost in the Class 8A, Region 4 final to Miami Senior, 28-22, leaving Tropical Park in Miami with a bitter taste. Last week, the Explorers exorcised that demon defeating South Dade (Homestead), 54-28, in the Region 4 final back at Tropical Park. Parrish carried 18 times for 216 yards and three touchdowns and caught three passes for 27 yards and another score.
Parrish’s TD runs were 12, 12 and 60 yards. The latter run was on his final carry of the day. In the second quarter, he caught a 21-yard TD from quarterback Brandon McDuffey on a quick slant. Now the Explorers are two wins from the elusive state title, having lost in the final three times, most recently in 2014. Columbus travels to Deerfield Beach this weekend for the 8A semifinals.
Parrish’s big game also produced a big-time offer last weekend from the hometown Miami Hurricanes. He also has interest from FIU, Indiana, Florida Atlantic, Pittsburgh, Toledo and Iowa.
Coach of the Week: Augie Hoffmann of No. 17 St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.). Entering last weekend’s game with rivals and then-No. 9 Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.), Hoffmann’s team were underdogs. But things didn’t shake out that way and the Green Knights put forth a masterful effort in defeating Bergen Catholic, 13-0, in the New Jersey Non-Public Group 4 final at rainy MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. The Green Knights shut out the defending state champions for the first time since the 1989 season.
Hoffmann and his staff devised a defensive game plan that stifled BC, which had been averaging nearly 30 points per game with a punishing attack that played one of the nation’s toughest schedules. Hoffmann, who played at Boston College and in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints, is no stranger to Bergen Catholic. He played against them as lineman for SJR in the late 1990s and lost to the Crusaders, 24-20, on Oct. 6 in league play. Last weekend’s game featured four sacks, two interceptions and a kaleidoscope of looks that gave Bergen Catholic fits all night.
After falling in last year’s Non-Public Group 3 final, Hoffmann annexed the program’s 19th state championship, including his second since taking over for legendary coach Tony Karcich.
Games of the Week (All times Eastern): This weekend there’s a heavy flow of state championship games nationwide. That’s the case for the next two weeks. Sit back and enjoy as it unfolds.
This weekend there are three interesting state championship contests in Ohio.
Massillon (Ohio) vs. No. 3 Archbishop Hoban (Akron), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.: There’s three days of state title games in the shadows of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Tom Benson Stadium in Canton. Both teams enter the game undefeated.
Archbishop Alter (Kettering, Ohio) vs. Kenston (Chagrin Falls), Friday, 3 p.m.: The Division III state title is contested between two teams that are 13-1.
St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) vs. Colerain (Cincinnati), Friday, 8 p.m.: The St. Edward Eagles (10-3) might be the underdogs but don’t tell that to Ohio’s Division I top-ranked Cardinals (14-0).
Saguaro (Scottsdale, Ariz.) vs. Salpointe Catholic (Tucson, Ariz.), Friday, 10 p.m.: This is a rematch of last year’s Conference 4A final won by Saguaro, 28-7. The game will be played at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. Salpointe is 13-0 and Saguaro is 12-1 with the lone loss to Liberty (Henderson, Nev.), 22-12.
O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.) vs. Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.), Friday, 10:30 p.m.: These Seattle area rivals met in the regular season with Eastside Catholic winning, 31-13. This time the Class 3A final shifts inside the Tacoma Dome, where O’Dea captured last year’s Washington Class 3A state title.
Bishop Manogue (Reno, Nev.) vs. No. 14 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.), Saturday, 3:10 p.m.: Nevada’s Class 4A state final will be played at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. Gorman (11-3) opened the season with three losses to three nationally ranked teams, including top-ranked Mater Dei, but has steamrolled the in-state competition with the closest margin of victory at 14 points in last week’s semifinal win over Liberty (Henderson). Manogue is 11-3 with eight straight wins. Gorman is aiming for a 10th consecutive Nevada state title.
St. John’s Prep (Danvers, Mass.) vs. Catholic Memorial (West Roxbury, Mass.), Saturday, 8 p.m.: This is the eighth and final Massachusetts state final at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. St. John’s Prep won the regular season game 27-20 on Oct. 6. Since that loss, Catholic Memorial has peeled off six straight wins. The MIAA Division I Superbowl title is at stake this weekend.
It’s a smorgasbord of state championship games this weekend and that will continue for until the third weekend in December.
The CAC Top 25 rankings will return on December 4 and we’ll continue to monitor the results from state championship games.
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.
A reminder: 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 on August, 29, 2020. Twelve high schools can experience the Irish culture and to compete in a series of games, with multiple venues in Greater Dublin, Ireland hosting 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. Visit www.GlobalFootball.com/Ireland-2020 for more information.
Enjoy the games and God Bless. – Christopher Lawlor
2018 Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25, November 28, 2018
1. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (11-2) #
Previous rank: 2.
In the Huddle: Upended then-No. 1 St. John Bosco (Bellflower), 17-13, in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 final. The Monarchs are back atop the CAC Top 25 after winning their second straight sectional title. They split their two games with Bosco this season. Bru McCoy caught a 22-yard TD pass from junior QB Bryce Young in the third quarter for a 14-7 lead and a fourth-quarter field goal from 42 yards by Nick Lopez closed out the scoring and coach Bruce Rollinson’s team is one win from the repeat state championship. Next is the CIF Open Division final at Cerritos College on Dec. 8 in nearby Norwalk..
2. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (13-1)
Previous rank: 1.
In the Huddle: Fell to then-No. 2 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), 17-13, in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 final. The Braves’ high-powered offense never got on track. Season complete.
3. Archbishop Hoban, Akron, Ohio (14-0)
Previous rank: 3.
In the Huddle: The backfield trio of RBs DeaMontae Trayanum and Tyris Dickerson and QB Shane Hamm supplied all the TDs and the Knights routed Avon, 42-7, in the Division II semifinals. Trayanum and Dickerson ran for two TDs apiece and Hamm ran 2 yards for a score and tossed an 18-yard scoring pass to Matt Blanchard. The Knights play unbeaten Massillon Washington this weekend for the Division II crown in Canton.
4. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (11-0)
Previous rank: 4.
In the Huddle: Idle. The Spartans meet Liberty (Brentwood) Saturday in the CIF-North Coast Section Open Division final to be played at Dublin High School.
5. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (12-1)
Previous rank: 5.
In the Huddle: Junior WR Marcus Rosemy caught four balls for 134 yards and two TDs as the Raiders rolled over Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens), 35-0, in the Class 7A, Region 4 final. Next is a rematch with Venice in the semifinals on Friday, a team that knocked them out of the playoffs in 2017.
6. St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, Pa. (11-0)
Previous rank: 6.
In the Huddle: The Hawks flew past Freedom (Bethlehem), 42-14, in the Class AAAAAA quarterfinals. Sophomore QB Kyle McCord continued to have the hot hand, throwing for three TDs, including two to Johnny Freeman. He has thrown for 2,299 yards and 30 TDs this season. Zach Bouggess returned a kickoff 91 yards to the house in the second quarter and Samir Hagans scored two TDs. Prep faces Pine-Richland (Gibsonia) in the Class AAAAAA semifinals at Manson Park Stadium in Altoona.
7. Saint Louis School, Honolulu, Hawaii (11-0)*
Previous rank: 7.
In the Huddle: Won a third straight Hawaii Open Division championship, defeating Mililani (Honolulu), 38-17. It was a the defense setting the tone with CB Korvin Feagins posting nine tackles and three interceptions and LB Jordan Botelho with six tackles, 2.5 sacks and a 74-yard fumble return for a score. This was the program’s 18th state title under coach Cal Lee. Regular season complete.
8. St. Frances Academy, Baltimore, Md. (9-0)
Previous rank: 8.
In the Huddle: Season complete.
9. Blessed Trinity, Roswell, Ga. (13-0)
Previous rank: 10.
In the Huddle: Ohio State-bound Steele Chambers and Jackson Hamilton each rushed for a pair of TDs in the first half, building a 35-0 lead en route to a 42-15 triumph over Eastside (Covington) in the Class AAAA quarterfinals. The Titans play Troupe County (LaGrange) Friday in the semifinals.
10. Covington Catholic, Park Hills, Ky. (14-0)
Previous rank: 11.
In the Huddle: The Colonels scored all their points in the opening 14 minutes of the contest and coasted by Pulaski County (Somerset), 36-14, in the Class 5A semifinals. Sophomore QB Caleb Jacob threw for three TDs and ran for another while RB Casey McGinness scored twice. Coach Eddie Eviston’s takes his team back to the Class 5A final this weekend against South Warren (Bowling Green) in Lexington.
11. Columbus, Miami, Fla. (13-0) @
Previous rank: 12.
In the Huddle: RB Henry Parrish scored four TDs and the Explorers stopped South Dade (Homestead), 54-28, in the Class 8A, Region 4 final. Next is the Class 8A semifinals at Deerfield Beach on Friday.
12. Christian Brothers College, St. Louis, Mo. (12-1)*
Previous rank: 13.
In the Huddle: The Cadets scored the game’s final 17 points to open up a tight battle during a 45-21 victory over cross-state rivals Rockhurst (Kansas City) in the Class 6 state final. Two of CBC’s main offensive weapons closed their prep careers on a high note. RB Bryan Bradford rushed for 230 yards and two TDs on 22 carries and Miami (Ohio)-bound QB Brett Gabbert hit on 18 of 26 passes for 311 yards and four TDs. It was CBC’s third state title in five seasons. Season complete.
13. Charlotte (N.C.), Catholic (12-1)
Previous rank: 14.
In the Huddle: A stout defense propelled the Cougars over Monroe, 42-0, in the Class 3A second round. It was the team’s sixth shutout of the season. Next is Hunter Huss (Gastonia) this weekend in the third round.
14. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas, Nev. (10-3)
Previous rank: 15.
In the Huddle: QB Micah Bowens did it all with his right arm and legs, tossing two TDs and speeding for two more, as the Gaels topped Liberty (Henderson), 42-28, in the NIAA Class 4A Desert Region final. Next is the Class 4A final on Saturday afternoon against Bishop Manogue (Reno) at UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium.
15. Catholic, Baton Rouge, La. (11-1)
Previous rank: 19.
In the Huddle: Cole Casenave’s 35-yard field goal with :07 left provided the Bears with the winning points in a 13-10 decision over Archbishop Rummel (Metairie) in the Division 1 semifinals. QB Cameron Dartez tossed a 24-yard TD strike to Solomon Singleton to tie with 6:57 left in the fourth. The Bears play a state final rematch from a year ago against nationally ranked John Curtis Christian (River Ridge) on Dec. 8 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
16. Gonzaga, Washington, D.C. (9-3)*
Previous rank: 17.
In the Huddle: Won the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship for the first time since 2004. Season compete.
17. St. Joseph Regional, Montvale, N.J. (10-2)*
Previous rank: 20.
In the Huddle: In heavy a downpour, the Green Knights defense and special teams grounded their rivals, then-No. 9 Bergen Catholic (Oradell), 13-0, winning the Non-Public Group 4 championship before 13,000 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. RB Audric Estime ran 3 yards in the second quarter for the game’s lone TD and Angelo Guglielmello booted field goals from 35 and 19 yards in the opening half. Guglielmello netted seven points in the game, giving him a state career record 253 points and 62 career field goals. It was SJR’s 19th state championship and second under coach Augie Hoffmann. Season complete.
18. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (9-1)
Previous rank: 18.
In the Huddle: The Cadets captured the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference regular season title. Season complete.
19. Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (10-2)
Previous rank: 10.
In the Huddle: Upended by then-No. 20 St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.), 13-0, in the Non-Public Group 4 state final. The Crusaders beat their rivals, 24-20, in the regular season. Season complete.
20. Chaminade-Madonna College Prep, Hollywood, Fla. (10-2)
Previous rank: 21.
In the Huddle: Defeated American Heritage (Delray Beach), 14-3, in the Class 3A, Region 4 final. The Lions travel to No. 22 Clearwater Central Catholic Friday for the Class 3A semifinals.
21. Xavier, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (13-0)*
Previous rank: 22.
In the Huddle: Won a second consecutive Iowa Class 3A state championship. Season complete.
22. Clearwater (Fla.) Central Catholic (12-0)
Previous rank: 23.
In the Huddle: The Marauders defeated Berkeley Prep (Tampa), 35-7, in the Class 3A, Region 3 final. Next is No. 20 Chaminade-Madonna College Prep (Hollywood) in the Class 3A semifinals.
23. Nazareth Academy, LaGrange Park, Ill. (13-1)*
Previous rank: Not ranked.
In the Huddle: Four different players scored TDs and the Roadrunners won the Class 7A state championship, beating St. Charles (Ill.) North, 31-14. Sophomore QB JJ McCarthy completed 15 of 24 passes for 201 yards and a TD while Dylan Smith, Derrick Strongs, Jr., and Michael Love all added scores. Coach Tim Racki’s squad annexed their third state title and first since 2014. A year ago, the Roadrunners lost in the Class 6A final. Season complete.
24. Dowling Catholic, West Des Moines, Iowa (11-2)*
Previous rank: 24.
In the Huddle: Won Iowa’s Class 4A championship—the Maroons’ sixth straight state title. Season complete.
25. Cathedral Catholic, San Diego, Calif. (11-1)
Previous rank: 25.
In the Huddle: Idle. The Dons host Narbonne (Harbor City) in the CIF-Southern Region Division 1-AA Bowl Game on Friday night. The winner advances to the state final versus the Northern Region champion on Dec. 14.
Dropped out: No. 16. Brother Rice, Chicago, Ill. (13-0)
Special Consideration: Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)*; St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio); Catholic Memorial (Waukesha, Wis.)*; Skutt Catholic (Omaha, Neb.)*; Calvert Hall College (Baltimore, Md.)*; Bishop Dunne (Dallas, Texas); Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg, Pa.); St. Thomas Aquinas (Overland Park, Kan.)*; De La Salle Collegiate (Warren, Mich.)*; Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Ill.)*; Cathedral Prep (Erie, Pa.); JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.); McGill-Toolen (Mobile, Ala.); Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.); Catholic Memorial (West Roxbury, Mass.); DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.); Memorial (Evansville, Ind.); Salpointe Catholic (Tucson, Ariz.); Bishop Dwenger (Fort Wayne, Ind.)*; Marist (Atlanta, Ga.); Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.); Malvern (Pa.) Prep; Strake Jesuit (Houston, Texas); Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic*; Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.); Xaverian Brothers (Westwood, Mass.); Marist (Chicago, Ill.); St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.); Conwell-Egan (Fairless Hills, Pa.); Aquinas Institute (Rochester, N.Y.)*; Bishop Amat (La Puente, Calif.); Mount Carmel (Chicago, Ill.); Bishop Chatard (Indianapolis, Ind.); St. Anthony’s (South Huntington, N.Y.); Brother Rice (Chicago, Ill.) and St. Pius X Catholic (Atlanta, Ga.).
* Won a state or conference postseason championship
# Includes a forfeit loss
@ Includes a forfeit win