St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) held serve for the first three weeks of the young season and are No. 1 in the opening week of Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School Football rankings.
Three of the top-five preseason teams in the CAC Top 25, presented by Siena Heights University and Global Football, stay put. There was an interesting development during opening week in southern California as No. 2 and defending CAC Top 25 National Champions Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) forfeited a 42-14 blowout win over Bishop Amat (La Puente) on Aug. 17 for the use of an ineligible player. The situation has cleared up and the Monarchs are simply hammering opponents and are 2-1 overall but undefeated on the field. Coach Bruce Rollinson’s team is worthy of the ranking and will settle things on the field.
Since the top two teams, Bosco and Mater Dei, meet on Oct. 12 at Santa Ana Stadium. That will likely decide the Trinity League champion and a second meeting could occur in the CIF-Southern Section Open Division playoffs. Mater Dei swept both games in 2017.
After three weeks of action, the CAC Top 25 has an injection of new blood with five teams added after the preseason ranking. Joining the CAC 25 are No. 6 Columbus (Miami, Fla.); No. 10 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.); No. 16 McGill-Toolen Catholic (Mobile, Ala.); No. 18 JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Covington Catholic (Park Hills, Ky.). All five are highly rated and are building momentum in the early going. Columbus is Florida’s top-ranked team in Class 8A. Gonzaga is the preseason favorite to capture the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title, while JSerra is a Trinity League member with tough dates against Bosco and Mater Dei looming.
No. 15 St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) makes the biggest leap of the preseason ranked team, skyrocketing 10 slots. The Marauders have a big-time game this weekend, the first of many. Several other schools that absorbed losses in August remain in the CAC Top 25, but more slipups do not bode well.
In Year Two of the CAC Top 25 rankings, there’s a new wrinkle. Drum roll, please!
We’re proud to announce the Coach of the Week. In addition to a national player of the week, top games for the upcoming weekend and notes of CAC interest, we’ll celebrate the men who roam the sidelines and make the big decisions.
So, here’s where we hand out game balls and mention the superlatives and top games involving the CAC Top 25 brethren.
Player of the Week: Sometimes there are great performances and then there are great performances. This one comes out of the Pacific Northwest where quarterback Sam Huard of Kennedy Catholic in Burien, Washington, threw for an eye-popping 10 touchdowns – that’s right count ‘em 10! Huard tossed nine of his six-pointers in the opening half when Kennedy bounced Chief Sealth (Seattle), 72-20. Huard exited the game in the third quarter. The 10 TDs passes tied a state record and Huard became the 18th player to throw for 10 or more in a game. According to the National High School Record Book, the national record is 15, set in 1921 by Arthur Smith of Cozad, Neb.
Huard clicked on 19 of 31 passes for 552 yards and five of his 10 scoring tosses in the second quarter. His yardage is the fourth all-time for a single-game in Washington history. Last season, Huard passed for 3,432 yards and 34 TDs in 10 games and had a single-game best 535 (fifth all-time in the state). If Sam’s name is familiar, you aren’t dreaming. His dad, Damon, and his uncle, Brock, both quarterbacked the Washington Huskies and played in the NFL. Another uncle, Luke, was a QB at North Carolina while his grandfather, Mike Huard, was a legendary coach at Puyallup (Wash.).
He is rated as the No. 13 player in the nation for the Class of 2021, according to 247Sports.com. He’s the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in his class.
Games of the Week (All times Eastern):It’s a busy weekend for football showcases in Louisiana and New Jersey. There are six games and three games involving CAC 25 teams at the Landers Dodge Battle of the Border at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. In central New Jersey, two stellar matchups will be played at Rutgers University’s HighPoint.com Stadium in New Brunswick
Battle of the Border, Thursday-Saturday: The event kicks off Thursday (7 p.m.) with Bishop Lynch (Dallas, Texas) versus John Curtis Christian (River Ridge, La.). Lynch advanced the TAPPS Division I semifinals last December, finishing 12-1. Coach Chuck Faucette will prepare for the Curtis Patriots, a storied New Orleans area program with a record 25 state championships. On Friday (7 p.m.), No. 16 McGill –Toolen (Mobile, Ala.) plays West Monroe (La.). The Yellow Jackets are 2-0 and went 13-1 last year in reaching Alabama’s Class 7A final. West Monroe is again one of Louisiana’s top programs this season and has captured eight state titles.
The final game is the third of Saturday’s bill, pitting Bishop Dunne (Dallas, Texas) against Byrd (Shreveport). S Brian Williams (Texas A&M recruit) and Marquez Benson (Illinois) lead Dunne.
The New Jersey event features the New Jersey Super League vs. Philadelphia Catholic League.
Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) vs. No. 8 Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.), Saturday, 4 p.m.: Saturday’ late afternoon doubleheader pits two reigning state champions from two of the nation’s top Catholic leagues. Wood, ranked third in Pennsylvania’s Class 5A rankings, is 0-1 and coming off an early bye. BC (1-0) chalked up impressive 34-22 win at nationally ranked Grayson (Loganville, Ga.).
No. 19 St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia, Pa.) vs. No. 15 St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.), Saturday, 7 p.m.: The battle of the Preps and a meeting between two storied Jesuit schools. St. Joseph’s is currently ranked No. 1 in Pennsylvania’s Class 6A. St. Peter’s (1-0) opened with an easy 35-6 at Millville (N.J.) last weekend. These are two teams that will be in the mix for state titles in December.
Coach of the Week:Vito Campanile of No. 8 Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.). In his BC debut, Campanile’s Crusaders defeated nationally ranked Grayson (Loganville, Ga.), 34-22, in Buford, Ga. The rub here is simple. Campanile, who previously coached at Seton Hall Prep (West Orange), inherited the head job when his brother, Nunzio, was hired as an assistant at Rutgers. Vito took his team on the road in his first game against a powerhouse program. The Crusaders moved up two spot in the CAC 25 Top this week.
A year ago, BC won the Non-Public Group 4 state title and keeping the Crusaders at the top of New Jersey’s rankings won’t be easy, but Vito pushed the emotions of a new gig aside and the recent injury loss of senior RB John McKenzie (a Yale commit) to record the win. Bravo!
OK, so the month of August is done and we move into September. This weekend all states will be in full swing and the games will be coming at a breakneck pace. We’ll keep you abreast of the CAC Top 25 teams and the schools that are eligible for the rankings.
Fans, coaches, players and parents are encouraged to follow the CAC Top 25 through social media at www.Facebook.com/CACTop25and on Twitter @CACTop25. The CAC Top 25 rankings will return on Sept. 12.
God Bless and enjoy the games. – Christopher Lawlor
2018 Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25, September 5, 2018
- St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (3-0)
Previous rank: 1.
In the Huddle: The results keep coming for the Braves, who wiped out three opponents from three different states while allowing 14 points with two shutouts. Last weekend, junior QB DJ Uiagalelei completed 26 of 32 passes for 373 yards and six TDs in a 52-14 win over Mililani (Hawaii). They also blanked Timpview (Provo, Utah), 49-0, and Garces Memorial (Bakersfield), 56-0. This weekend they play Paramount.
- Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (2-1) #
Previous rank: 2.
In the Huddle: The big news out of southern California is the Monarchs forfeited their 42-14 win over Bishop Amat (La Puente) having used an ineligible player. They then rebounded to defeat then-No. 3 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), 42-0, and La Mirada, 49-0. The Monarchs host St. Mary’s (Stockton) on Friday.
- St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (2-0)
Previous rank: 5.
In the Huddle: The Raiders crushed then-No. 13 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville. Md.), 38-0, and Piper (Sunrise), 35-6. Next up Flanagan (Pembroke Pines) on Friday.
- St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (2-0)
Previous rank: 6.
In the Huddle: Coach Joe Casamento’s team needed a signature win over a national opponent and it arrived last weekend at Alabama powerhouse Hoover, 49-14. The game started on Friday night before lightning forced the resumption on Saturday morning, where the Cadets rolled. They also beat Johns Greek (Ga.), 49-0. Saturday’s home game with national ranked Central (Miami, Fla.) is another test.
- St. Frances Academy, Baltimore (0-0)
Previous rank: 4.
In the Huddle: The season opener was called off when lightning struck outside of Washington (D.C.) last weekend. St. Frances led No. 19 St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia, Pa.), 13-7, with 6:05 left in the third quarter but a third delay gave officials no other choice to halt the game. The Cougars host Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) on Friday.
- Columbus, Miami, Fla. (2-0)
Previous rank: Not ranked.
In the Huddle: The Explorers enter the CAC Top 25 after impressive wins over Northwestern (Miami), 23-14, and Mater Academy Charter (Hialeah Gardens), 35-0. This weekend’s game is a humdinger against Florida’s top-ranked team – regardless of classification – Carol City (Miami Gardens).
- Archbishop Hoban, Akron, Ohio (2-0)
Previous rank: 8.
In the Huddle: Trailing by seven points early, Ohio’s defending Division II state champions rallied for a 21-7 lead at the break en route to a 42-13 victory over Cardinal Mooney (Youngstown). Tyris Dickerson rushed for two TDs and sophomore QB Shane Hamm threw for two more scores. In the season opener, the Knights edged St. Ignatius (Cleveland), 21-14, as RB DeaMontae Trayanum ran for scores of 21 and 43 yards to snap a third-quarter tie.
- Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (1-0)
Previous rank: 10.
In the Huddle: The Crusaders were quite impressive last Friday, defeating nationally ranked Grayson (Loganville, Ga.), 34-22. Leading 13-3 at halftime and capitalizing on three first half turnovers, the Jersey boys put it away in the second half as Nebraska-bound RB Rahmir Johnson carried 28 times for 130 yards and two scores. Next up is Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) Saturday at Rutgers University’s HighPoint.com Stadium in New Brunswick.
- De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (3-0)
Previous rank: 11.
In the Huddle: The offense exploded for 38 points in the third quarter of a 58-16 trouncing of Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) last weekend. The Spartans also blanked Folsom, 14-0, as a stingy defense shut down a powerful attack that is known to score in bunches and Central Catholic (Modesto), 35-7. The Spartans hit the road this weekend for a date with St. Francis (Mountain View).
- Gonzaga, Washington, D.C. (1-0)
Previous rank: Not ranked.
In the Huddle: Back-to-back shutouts were posted against Bishop Sullivan Catholic (Virginia Beach, Va.), 38-0, and Gilman School (Baltimore, Md.), 47-0. The Purple Eagles travel north this weekend for a meeting with Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.).
- DePaul Catholic, Wayne, N.J. (1-0)
Previous rank: 12.
In the Huddle: Penn State-bound QB Ta’Quan Roberson accounted for nearly 300 yards from scrimmage and tossed three TDs as when the Spartans beat Pope John XXIII (Sparta), 48-7. Teddy Afful made five receptions for 77 yards and two scores and the defense sacked the quarterback five times. Coach John’s McKenna’s squad visits Seton Hall Prep (West Orange) on Saturday afternoon.
- Saint Louis, Honolulu, Hawaii (2-0)
Previous rank: 14.
In the Huddle: After two easy wins to open the season, the two-time Open Division champions had a rare three-week layoff thanks to Hurricane Lane that cancelled all games on weekend of August 24th. Eerily it was the third time in five years the game between the Oahu schools was disrupted (twice by Mother Nature). However the Crusaders did beat Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.), 47-7, and Waianae, 69-6. In two games, QB Jayden de Laura has passed for 384 yards and six TDs. Next up is a donnybrook with rivals Kahuku on Friday at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
- DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, Md. (1-1)
Previous rank: 13.
In the Huddle: Defeated Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.), 27-8, after dropping an opening night 38-0 decision at No. 3 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). The Stags won’t kick off play in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference until Oct. 12.
- Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (0-2)
Previous rank: 3.
In the Huddle: The growing pains are obvious during losses to No. 2 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), 42-0, and nationally ranked Centennial (Peoria, Ill.), 13-7. The regional portion of the Gaels’ schedule closes over the next two weekends, starting with Orem (Utah) Friday and No. 9 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) on Sept. 14. The Gaels remain in the CAC Top 25 despite the slow start and remain the favorites to capture a 10thstraight Nevada state championship.
- St. Peter’s Prep, Jersey City, N.J. (1-0)
Previous rank: 25.
In the Huddle: The Marauders opened with a 35-6 victory at Millville. QB Maasai Maynor hooked up with WR Ayir Asante for TD passes of 15 and 57 yards when the visitors took a 12-6 lead at the break. Kyree Parker, Bryon Shipman and Paul Lefkowitz scored TDs in the second half to clinch it.
- McGill-Toolen, Mobile, Ala. (2-0)
Previous rank: Not ranked.
In the Huddle: Defeated Spanish Fort, 48-13, and Murphy (Mobile), 30-3. The Yellow Jackets have won 27 straight regional games. In the latter triumph, third-string QB Spencer Arceneaux threw for two TDs. The stakes are raised Friday with a trip to Louisiana powerhouse West Monroe in Shreveport, La.
- Blessed Trinity, Roswell, Ga. (3-0)
Previous rank: 18.
In the Huddle: Georgia’s top-ranked Class AAAA team captured their ninth straight game dating back to last season in 43-21 victory over Woodward Academy (College Park). Steele Chambers ran for 179 yards and four TDs. Also defeated St. Pius Catholic (Atlanta), 35-13, and South Forsyth (Cumming), 35-6. The Titans entertain Benedictine Military (Savannah) on Friday before heading into their bye week.
- JSerra Catholic, San Juan Capistrano, Calif. (3-0)
Previous rank: Not ranked.
In the Huddle: Edged Bishop Amat (La Puente), 21-20, as Chris Street ran for 117 yards and two TDs. That means the Lions have outscored their three foes, 119-48.
This weekend the rugged schedule continues with Arizona’s top-ranked team Pinnacle (Phoenix).
- St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, Pa. (0-0)
Previous rank: 19.
In the Huddle: Game with No. 4 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.) was called off due to lightning. There is no makeup date. So the Hawks will face fellow Jesuit school, No. 15 St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.), on Saturday at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
- Covington Catholic, Park Hills, Ky. (3-0)
Previous rank: Not ranked.
In the Huddle: Kentucky’s top-ranked team opened district play last weekend, shutting out Cooper (Union), 27-0. The Colonels also drilled Henry Clay (Lexington), 41-0, and Ryle (Union), 40-7. The defense has picked up where it left off last year, recording a second shutout after posting three in 2017.
- Dowling Catholic, West Des Moines, Iowa (1-1)
Previous rank: 22.
In the Huddle: The five-time Iowa Class 4A champions split their opening two games, beating Waukee, 48-14 before stumbling against crosstown rivals Valley (West Des Moines), 20-6. The Maroons are out to regain that winning feeling on Friday at Johnston.
- St. Pius X, Houston, Texas (1-0)
Previous rank: 23.
In the Huddle: QB Grant Gunnell, an Arizona commit, carved up Beaumont United, 55-21. Gunnell hit on 33 of 40 passes for 414 yards and five TDs and carried eight times for 46 yards and two scores. Gunnell’s favorite receivers were Trenton Waggonner and Tate Jernigan – both of whom nabbed two TD balls apiece. This weekend La Marque visits.
- Chaminade-Madonna College Prep, Hollywood, Fla. (1-1)
Previous rank: 9.
In the Huddle: Lost to Deerfield Beach, 13-10, but rebounded to defeat Muscle Shoals (Ala.), 28-21. Next up are local rivals Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach) Friday.
- Charlotte (N.C.), Catholic (2-1)
Previous rank: 17.
In the Huddle: Defense has been the theme this season in Charlotte. The Cougars lost to Charlotte Christian, 6-0, on opening night. Yet they rallied the next two weekends to shut down South Mecklenburg (Charlotte), 37-0, and Charlotte Country Day School, 20-3. Next up is Ardrey Kell (Charlotte) Friday.
- Serra, San Mateo, Calif. (1-1)
Previous rank: 24.
In the Huddle: The defending CIF Division 2-AA state champions lost to Serra (Gardena), 41-22, before stopping Elk Grove, 41-17.
Dropped out: No. 7. Cardinal Gibbons, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; No. 15 Trinity, Louisville, Ky.; 16. Trinity Catholic, St. Louis, Mo.; No. 20. Eastside Catholic, Sammamish, Wash.; and No. 21 St. Joseph Regional, Montvale, N.J.
# Includes a forfeit
Special Consideration:St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.); Xavier (Cedar Rapids, Iowa);Central Catholic (Pittsburgh, Pa.);Good Counsel (Wheaton, Md.); St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio);Bishop Dwenger (Fort Wayne, Ind.);St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio);Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.);Catholic (Baton Rouge, La.); Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Ill.); Strake Jesuit (Houston, Texas);O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.);Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio);Elder (Cincinnati, Ohio); Cathedral Prep (Erie, Pa.);Bishop Dunne (Dallas, Texas); Serra (Gardena, Calif.);Nazareth (Orland Park, Ill.); Marist (Atlanta, Ga.); Jesuit (Portland, Ore.); Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.); Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.) and Creighton Prep (Omaha, Neb.).