All season long, teams in New Jersey’s Big North United Division have been beating-up on each other while playing some of the top high school football programs in America. That competition has led to overall records, that on the surface appear to be subpar when compared against a team with a undefeated record from another state.
However, records are only part of the story when producing a national poll, and that’s why High School Football America created its proprietary algorithm in 2013 — to try to identify the best high school football teams in the country, beyond records. We believe that our algorithm does an excellent job of fairly measuring teams against each other, especially as we get deeper-and-deeper into the season.
With that as a backdrop, New Jersey’s St. Joseph Regional (Montvale), Don Bosco Prep and Bergen Catholic move into this week’s Top 25 en masse. All three teams own 7-3 records and have reached the semifinal round of the New Jersey Non-Public Group 4 playoffs, which means there is some great football on the horizon in the Garden State.
On Friday, arch-rivals #23 Don Bosco Prep and #24 Bergen Catholic will square-off for the second time in three weeks. Bosco beat Bergen Catholic 24-19 on October 31st, which denied the Crusaders an outright Big North United Division title. Bergen Catholic shared the crown with St. Joseph.
BC’s re-entry into the national rankings is pretty impressive, considering the Crusaders lost their 4-star quarterback Jarrett Guarantano midway through the season. Head coach Nunzio Camanile turned to sophomore QB Johnny Langan, who has led the team to a 4-1 record with the only loss coming to Don Bosco.
Should #23 St. Joseph Regional get past two-time defending Group 4 champ St. Peter’s Prep for a second time this season in Friday semifinals, that would set-up a great rematch in championship game against the BC/Bosco winner. The Green Knights, who had climbed as high as #15 in the national rankings earlier this year, opened the season beating Bosco 17-7, but lost to Bergen Catholic 16-13 in overtime.
The New Jersey invasion was made possible by three Top 25 teams — #5 Euless Trinity (Texas), #10 South Panola (Mississippi) and Gonzaga (Washington, DC) — losing over the weekend. All three dropped out of the Top 25 and will be in the running for The Other 25 (teams #26 through #50) that will be released on Monday.
Taking advantage of two Top 5 teams losing were Katy (Texas) and Center Grove (Indiana), who move into the Top 10 at #9 and #10 respectively.
Two teams that were in the Top 5 at the start of the season — DeMatha (Maryland) and St. Thomas Aquinas (Florida) — are the big movers this week with both moving-up five spots each. DeMatha, which will play Good Counsel (Maryland) in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship on Saturday, moved-up to #13 from #18. St. Thomas Aquinas, which had been as high as #5 this year, moves from #22 to #17.
Ohio’s Colerain, which continues to impress on the field, moves up four places to #11 after its second win this season over a very good St. Xavier team. This week, the Cardinals will face Elder, which was ranked #42 in last week’s The Other 25.
The Buckeye State’s two other Top 25 teams also moved-up. Defending Division 1 champ St. Edward moves from #8 to #6, while defending Division 2 champ La Salle jumped from #25 to #21.
In Kentucky, all eyes will be on #12 Male, which plays crosstown rival Trinity for a second time this year in the Class 6A playoffs on Friday. Male beat Trinity 42-13 earlier this season. Trinity was ranked #41 in last week’s The Other 25.
And speaking of repeat performances, the eyes of Texas will be upon top-ranked Allen Friday night when it faces DeSoto. Allen, which has won three straight Texas state titles and three straight High School Football America “mythical” national titles, has eliminated DeSoto from the playoffs for the past three seasons, twice in the state semifinals.
Last year, Allen beat DeSoto 25-22 on a field goal as time expired in the regional quarterfinals.
With tons of talent returning, DeSoto began the season ranked #5, but a 1-3 start dropped the Eagles far out of the national rankings. DeSoto brings a 6-5 record into Friday night’s game at AT&T Stadium, while Allen has won 54 straight.
Texas’ third Top 25 team, Cibolo Steele moves-up four spots to #20 this week.
High School Football America Top 25
#1 Allen Eagles (Texas)
Previous Rank: #1
Rewind: beat Byron Nelson (Texas) 50-14
Fast Forward: vs. DeSoto (Texas), Friday
#2 Bishop Gorman Gaels (Nevada)
Previous Rank: #2
Rewind: beat Centennial (Nevada) 63-13
Fast Forward: vs. Arbor View (Nevada), Friday
#3 St. John Bosco Braves (California)
Previous Rank: #3
Rewind: beat Corona (California) 72-7
Fast Forward: vs. Loyola (California), Friday
#4 Corona Centennial Huskies (California)
Previous Rank: #4
Rewind: beat Chaminade (California) 70-29
Fast Forward: at Orange Lutheran (California), Friday
#5 Colquitt County Packers (Georgia)
Previous Rank: #6
Rewind: beat North Paulding (Georgia) 48-16
Fast Forward: vs. Central Gwinnett (Georgia), Friday
#6 St. Edward Eagles (Ohio)
Previous Rank: #8
Rewind: beat Mentor (Ohio) 34-10
Fast Forward: vs. Euclid (Ohio), Saturday
#7 IMG Academy Ascenders (Florida)
Previous Rank: #7
Fast Forward: Season Completed
#8 De La Salle Spartans (California)
Previous Rank: #9
Fast Forward: vs. California (California), Friday
#9 Katy Tigers (Texas)
Previous Rank: #11
Rewind: beat Westside (Texas) 77-0
Fast Forward: vs. Cypress Ranch (Texas), Friday
#10 Center Grove Trojans (Indiana)
Previous Rank: #13
Rewind: beat Avon (Indiana) 35-34 OT
Fast Forward: vs. Penn (Indiana), 6A championship game, November 28th
#11 Colerain Cardinals (Ohio)
Previous Rank: #15
Rewind: beat St. Xavier Coffman (Ohio) 42-14
Fast Forward: vs. Elder (Ohio), Saturday
#12 Male Bulldogs (Kentucky)
Previous Rank: #12
Rewind: beat Manual (Kentucky) 36-0
Fast Forward: vs. Trinity (Kentucky), Friday
#13 DeMatha Stags (Maryland)
Rewind: beat St. John’s (Washington, DC) 42-21
Fast Forward: vs. Good Counsel (Maryland), Saturday
#14 American Heritage Patriots (Plantation, Florida)
Previous Rank: #14
Rewind: beat Westwood (Florida) 43-0
Fast Forward: vs. Hallandale (Florida), Friday
#15 Gilman Greyhounds (Maryland)
Previous Rank: #16
Fast Forward: Season Completed
#16 Clay-Chalkville Cougars (Alabama)
Previous Rank: #17
Rewind: beat Homewood (Alabama) 40-39
Fast Forward: vs. Minor (Alabama), Friday
#17 St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders (Florida)
Previous Rank: #22
Rewind: beat Royal Palm Beach (Florida) 29-0
Fast Forward: vs. Dwyer (Florida), Friday
#18 Maryville Rebels (Tennessee)
Previous Rank: #20
Rewind: beat Cookville (Tennessee) 49-10
Fast Forward: vs. Blackman (Tennessee), Friday
#19 Chandler Wolves (Arizona)
Previous Rank: #21
Rewind: beat Desert Vissta (Arizona) 34-14
Fast Forward: vs. Desert Ridge (Arizona), Friday
#20 Cibolo Steele Knights (Texas)
Previous Rank: #24
Rewind: beat San Antonio MacArthur (Texas) 62-13
Fast Forward: vs. San Antonio Brennan (Texas), Friday
#21 La Salle Lancers (Ohio)
Previous Rank: #25
Rewind: beat Lima Senior (Ohio) 49-13
Fast Forward: vs. King’s (Ohio), Friday
#22 St. Joseph Regional Green Knights (Montvale, New Jersey)
Previous Rank: #29
Rewind: beat St. Augustine Prep (New Jersey) 28-0
Fast Forward: St. Peter’s Prep (New Jersey), Friday
#23 Don Bosco Prep Ironmen (New Jersey)
Previous Rank: #30
Rewind: beat Paul VI (New Jersey) 33-17
Fast Forward: vs. #24 Bergen Catholic (New Jersey)
#24 Bergen Catholic Crusaders (New Jersey)
Previous Rank: #31
Rewind: beat Seton Hall Prep (New Jersey) 49-20
Fast Forward: vs. #23 Don Bosco Prep (New Jersey), Friday
#25 Mainland Buccaneers (Florida)
Previous Rank: #23
Rewind: beat Sebastian River (Florida)
Fast Forward: vs. Heritage (Florida), Friday
Dropped-out: #5 Euless Trinity (Texas), #10 South Panola (Mississippi), #19 Gonzaga (Washington, DC)
Jeff Fisher’s Editor’s Note: For the third straight year, High School Football America is using its propriety algorithm for its in-season Top 25 national rankings.