One of the greatest dynasties in prep football history hopes to hold serve against one of the nation's up-and-coming powers this weekend.
De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), the nation's 19th ranked team and winners of six national poll championships since 1994, hosts defending Nevada 4A champion Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) Saturday night. The Spartans have lost their last three games against out-of-state opponents. Gorman began the year in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 presented by the Army National Guard but lost in the opening week to nationally ranked Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.).
The MaxPreps Top 10 Games of the Week slate also includes a huge rivalry clash in the Cincinnati Greater Catholic League between Moeller and St. Xavier and an early season battle for supremacy in Boston between Xaverian Brothers (Westwood, Mass.) and Brockton (Mass.). There's also a nationally televised matchup in Steubenville, Ohio, between programs that have won prep poll championships with No. 17 Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) playing St. Ignatius (Cleveland).
MaxPreps National Football Editor Stephen Spiewak (37-13 overall) holds a two-game advantage on Top 10 Games of the Week author Jamie DeMoney in the season-long prediction contest. Steve Montoya is now six games back and in third place. MaxPreps Projections – the two-time defending season predictions champion – trails the leader by seven games and holds fourth place. Kevin Askeland and Mitch Stephens are nine games behind the pace and tied for last place. You can track the season-long standings and all the weekly results here
Here's a look at this week's Top 10 games along with predictions from MaxPreps staff writers and contributors Mitch Stephens, Steve Montoya, Stephen Spiewak, Kevin Askeland, Jamie DeMoney and projections for the games by the MaxPreps computer rankings:Woodland Hills (Pittsburgh) at Central Catholic (Pittsburgh) - Final: Central Catholic 24, Woodhill Hills 7.
Woodland Hills was preseason favorite in the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League but has lost two of its first three. The Wolverines were humbled 39-16 on their home field by Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.) in the opener and lost 7-0 the following week to North Hills (Pittsburgh). They picked up their first win last week, 21-0, over Plum (Pittsburgh) with senior quarterback Jevonte Pitts leading the way with three touchdown passes.
Central Catholic was expected to be good (as usual) but just how good the Vikings are is catching some people by surprise. They are 3-0 and have outscored their opponents by an average of 28 points. Standout junior running back Damion Jones-Moore ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries and Central Catholic scored six touchdowns in its first 16 plays in last week's 48-14 rout of Kiski Area (Vandergrift, Pa.). Mitch Stephens:
Central Catholic 28, Woodland Hills 21Steve Montoya:
Central Catholic 35, Woodland Hills 17Stephen Spiewak:
Central Catholic 28, Woodland Hills 17Kevin Askeland:
Woodland Hills 21, Central Catholic 14Jamie DeMoney:
Central Catholic 28, Woodland Hills 20MaxPreps Projection:
Central Catholic 21, Woodland Hills 10Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati) at St. Xavier (Cincinnati) - Final Moeller 17, St. Xavier 7.
Moeller would love to open the Greater Catholic League season with a win against rival St. Xavier, a team it has lost to in four of the last five meetings. The Crusaders improved to 4-0 with a 49-31 win over Findlay last week that wasn't as close as the score would indicate. Senior
ran for 91 of the team's 224 rushing yards in the game.
St. Xavier has won three straight after opening the season with a nationally televised loss to Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.). The Bombers are coming off back-to-back wins against the top two teams in Kentucky: St. Xavier (Louisville) and Trinity (Louisville). Senior running back Conor Hundley
had more than 200 rushing yards in both games. Mitch Stephens:
St. Xavier 17, Moeller 14Steve Montoya:
St. Xavier 21, Moeller 17Stephen Spiewak:
St. Xavier 21, Moeller 14Kevin Askeland:
St. Xavier 28, Moeller 14Jamie DeMoney:
St. Xavier 23, Moeller 14MaxPreps Projection:
St. Xavier 27, Moeller 26Abilene (Texas) vs. Longview (Texas) at Plano (Texas) - Final, Longview 32, Abilene 31.
Abilene is in the Top 10 Games of the Week a third straight time – an indication of how tough of a non-district schedule the defending 5A champion is playing. Two weeks ago, the Eagles' 17-game winning streak was snapped by last year's Florida 2A champ Cocoa. They bounced back last Thursday to defeat two-time defending Florida 5A titlist Plant (Tampa), 27-17, on national television. Senior quarterback Ronnell Sims
carried the load with 148 rushing yards, 91 passing yards and four total touchdowns. His cousin Herschel Sims
, an Oklahoma State commit and MaxPreps' 18th-ranked recruit in the country, was held in check with only 35 yards as he continued to nurse a separated shoulder.
Longview is off to 1-3 start but had chances to win every game. The Lobos totaled nearly 450 yards of offense in a 28-21 loss last week to state-ranked Lufkin. The week before, they lost in the final minute to state-ranked Allen. The team is led by Texas Tech-bound athlete Ladarrin Robertson
at quarterback. He had more than 250 yards of total offense and accounted for all three Longview touchdowns against Lufkin. Longview is in a 5A district again this season after playing the last two years in 4A. Both seasons ended with the Lobos playing in the state championship game. Mitch Stephens:
Abilene 29, Longview 28Steve Montoya:
Abilene 28, Longview 14Stephen Spiewak:
Abilene 30, Longview 20Kevin Askeland:
Longview 21, Abilene 14Jamie DeMoney:
Abilene 33, Longview 21MaxPreps Projection:
Abilene 27, Longview 14Staley (Kansas City North, Mo.) at Kearney (Mo.) - Final: Kearney 21, Staley 3.
This is a huge conference matchup in the K.C. suburbs with last season's Class 4 champion Kearney hosting Staley, one of this year's top contenders in Class 5. Staley (4-0) opened its doors only three years ago but has won 25 of its first 29 games. The Falcons are led by one of the state's most successful coaches in Fred Bouchard and have one of the top running backs in the state of Missouri in senior Evan Campbell
Kearney lost to Staley during the regular season last year but avenged that defeat during the playoffs en route to a state title. The Bulldogs (3-0) are led by senior quarterback Shane Hartzler
, who engineered a 67-14 blowout of Grandview last week. Eight different Kearney players scored touchdowns in that game. Mitch Stephens:
Kearney 27, Staley 24Steve Montoya:
Kearney 24, Staley 7Stephen Spiewak:
Kearney 40, Staley 28Kevin Askeland:
Kearney 32, Staley 14Jamie DeMoney:
Staley 27, Kearney 14MaxPreps Projection:
Kearney 28, Staley 20 Mission Viejo (Calif.) at Long Beach Poly (Calif.) - Final, Mission Viejo 37, Poly 7. Story.
This is the first meeting between these Southern California stalwarts since 2004, when Mission Viejo stunned the Jackrabbits in a 41-14 blowout. Last week, Mission Viejo's defense was dealt a major blow when USC-bound linebacker Tre Madden
fractured his foot in a 56-34 win over Corona. Madden also takes some snaps at quarterback, but now all those duties will be handled by Alex Bridgford
. The junior has completed 68 percent of his passes for more than 500 yards and eight touchdowns this season.
Poly got back on the winning track with a narrow 23-20 defeat of Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.) last week to improve to 2-1. Senior Keltain Malveaux
came off the bench to aid Poly's sluggish running game with 161 yards and two touchdowns. The Jackrabbits were expected to return to their usual spot atop the heap in the Southern Section but didn't look the part in a 32-7 loss to St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.) in week two. Mitch Stephens:
Long Beach Poly 21, Mission Viejo 20Steve Montoya:
Mission Viejo 24, Long Beach Poly 17Stephen Spiewak:
Mission Viejo 21, Long Beach Poly 7Kevin Askeland:
Mission Viejo 35, Long Beach Poly 14Jamie DeMoney:
Mission Viejo 29, Long Beach Poly 21MaxPreps Projection:
Mission Viejo 42, Long Beach Poly 20Centennial (Corona, Calif.) at Chaparral (Temecula, Calif.) - Final, Centennial 45, Chaparral 12.
Centennial showed superior speed, skill and muscle up front in a dominating 44-13 win last week over Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.). The Huskies might need to ratchet their game up yet another notch this week when traveling to face Chaparral, the team that beat them in last year's section semifinals. A pair of offensive stars have emerged: Quarterback Michael Eubank
– who had 386 passing yards and 188 yards on the ground and was responsible for five touchdowns in the first two games – and running back Barrinton Collins
, who is averaging 9.6 yards per carry and has scored six touchdowns.
Despite returning 15 starters from the CIF-SS Inland Division championship team, Chaparral is off to a disappointing 0-2 start. The Pumas were their own worst enemy in last week's 27-12 home loss to Fresno Central, fumbling away the opening kickoff and committing 11 penalties. Highly touted 6-foot-5 receiver Antoine Arnold
will probably need to emerge from an injury-plagued start to the season if Chaparral has any hopes of keeping up with Centennial. Mitch Stephens:
Centennial 42, Chaparral 28Steve Montoya:
Centennial 35, Chaparral 14Stephen Spiewak:
Centennial 45, Chaparral 20Kevin Askeland:
Centennial 45, Chaparral 14Jamie DeMoney:
Centennial 28, Chaparral 17MaxPreps Projection:
Centennial 38, Chaparral 21Issaquah (Wash.) at Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.) - Final, Skyline 35, Issaquah 6.
This is a huge test for Issaquah, which is ranked No. 1 in Washington by the MaxPreps Freeman Rankings while Skyline is No. 2. The Eagles (3-0) haven't beaten the Spartans in their last four meetings dating back to 2007 and were throttled 42-0 when the teams met last season. Their best hope is to keep the ball away from Skyline's high-powered offense with a ball-control rushing attack led by senior Taylor Wyman, who has scored eight touchdowns in the team's first three games.
Skyline is 2-1 this season with its only loss coming to Liberty (Issaquah), a team Issaquah defeated in double overtime. Last week, the Spartans were impressive in a 38-14 win against Lake Oswego, a top-10 team in Oregon. Sophomore quarterback Max Browne
completed 17 of 21 passes for 283 yards and two touchdown strikes – both to MaxPreps' No. 2-rated receiver Kasen Williams
. Mitch Stephens:
Skyline 28, Issaquah 20Steve Montoya:
Issaquah 31, Skyline 20Stephen Spiewak:
Skyline 28, Issaquah 27Kevin Askeland:
Issaquah 28, Skyline 14Jamie DeMoney:
Skyline 31, Issaquah 24MaxPreps Projection:
Skyline 34, Issaquah 26Brockton (Mass.) at Xaverian Brothers (Westwood, Mass.), Saturday
Without question, this is the biggest game of the season so far in the Bay State. Brockton is ranked No. 2 in Eastern Massachusetts by the Boston Globe and Xaverian is No. 1. The Boxers, who are led by Miami-bound safety/receiver Albert Louis-jean
, have allowed only 12 points in two wins.
Xaverian has a 15-game winning streak entering the game and has won three straight in this series. The Hawks beat the Boxers by seven points on two different occasions last season, including a 21-14 win in the Eastern Mass. Division I semifinals. They have won their first two games this season by a cumulative score of 59-0. Mitch Stephens:
Xaverian Brothers 24, Brockton 20Steve Montoya:
Xaverian Brothers 37, Brockton 21Stephen Spiewak:
Xaverian Brothers 21, Brockton 14Kevin Askeland:
Xaverian Brothers 30, Brockton 7Jamie DeMoney:
Brockton 27, Xaverian Brothers 20MaxPreps Projection:
Xaverian Brothers 17, Brockton 13Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) vs. St. Ignatius (Cleveland) at Steubenville (Ohio), Saturday
The defending national champion Don Bosco is 2-0 and ranked No. 17 in this week's MaxPreps Xcellent 25 rankings. It was expected to be a rebuilding season for the Ironmen, who returned Pittsburgh-bound quarterback Gary Nova
under center but lost eight FBS/FCS recruits to graduation. So far, however, they haven't lost a beat. Senior running back Paul Canevari
has rushed for 479 yards and five touchdowns and the Don Bosco defense hasn't allowed a first-half score. This program has played 13 out-of-state opponents since 2005 heading into this contest and is 12-1 in those games.
There truly does appear to be a rebuilding job underway at St. Ignatius this season for veteran coach Chuck Kyle, who has led the Wildcats to a record 10 state playoff championships as well as National Prep Poll titles in 1993 and ’95. This year's squad is 2-2 and licking its wounds after a 31-7 loss to Centerville – its most lopsided defeat since 2007. Ignatius allowed 484 rushing yards to the Elks while mustering only 80 yards of its own. The Wildcats will need a big day from senior running back Bobby Grebnec
. Mitch Stephens:
Don Bosco Prep 31, St. Ignatius 21Steve Montoya:
Don Bosco Prep 31, St. Ignatius 10Stephen Spiewak:
Don Bosco Prep 42, St. Ignatius 7Kevin Askeland:
Don Bosco Prep 35, St. Ignatius 30Jamie DeMoney:
Don Bosco Prep 23, St. Ignatius 13MaxPreps Projection:
Don Bosco Prep 42, St. Ignatius 7Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) at De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), Saturday
Bishop Gorman already has proven it is the best team in Nevada and is now measuring itself against nationally ranked competition for the second time this season. The Gaels, who have 16 consecutive in-state wins by an average margin of 46 points, lost the opener to Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.), 24-17, despite getting 199 rushing yards from Shaquille Powell
. The junior has 724 yards on only 59 carries (12.2 average) and 10 touchdowns this season. Gorman coach Tony Sanchez was previously at California (San Ramon, Calif.), where he led the Grizzlies to the 2007 North Coast Section 4A championship game – a 37-0 loss to De La Salle.
Being challenged by powerhouse programs from outside California is nothing new for the six-time National Prep Poll champion Spartans, who are 3-4 against out-of-state competition since 2002. Ranked No. 19 this week in the Xcellent 25 and 2-0, De La Salle had little trouble putting away its first two opponents. Junior quarterback Bart Houston
had 275 passing yards and three touchdowns while senior Lucas Dunne
contributed 116 yards rushing and two scores in a 40-14 win last week against St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.). Mitch Stephens:
De La Salle 21, Bishop Gorman 20Steve Montoya:
De La Salle 27, Bishop Gorman 21Stephen Spiewak:
De La Salle 35, Bishop Gorman 21Kevin Askeland:
De La Salle 44, Bishop Gorman 7Jamie DeMoney:
De La Salle 31, Bishop Gorman 23MaxPreps Projection:
De La Salle 41, Bishop Gorman 7 MaxPreps contributor Jamie DeMoney has covered high school sports and recruiting for more than 15 years. He is editor and founder of PrepNation.com. You can reach him at PrepNation@aol.com.