A pair of cross-country showdowns highlight this week’s Top 10 as De La Salle of Concord travels to the East Coast to face Don Bosco Prep and Bellevue of Washington heads to Texas to meet Katy.
Other big in-state matchups find Jenks and Union hooking up in the Backyard Bowl in Oklahoma and Cedar Hill and Trinity clashing in Texas.
All four predictors were 7-3 last week, leaving MaxPreps Projections in first place overall at 13-7 and Mitch Stephens, Kevin Askeland and Stephen Spiewak all tied at 12-8.
Top 10 Games of the Week
Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) at St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.)
It doesn’t happen very often, but the Poly Jackrabbits are on a two-game losing streak. Dating back to last year’s state championship game against Grant and its season-opening loss to Servite of Anaheim, the ‘Rabbits are 0-2 in their last two outings. Meanwhile St. Bonaventure has won 11 in a row since losing to Poly last year 12-7. Included in that streak was a second straight Div. 3 state championship win and a 34-10 victory over St. John Bosco in the season opener. Poly allowed 146 yards passing last week against Servite in a 30-7 loss. The Seraphs kept the ball on the ground against Bosco, getting 213 yards rushing and five touchdowns from Devon Blackledge.
Mitch Stephens: St. Bonaventure, 21, Poly 14
Steve Spiewak: St. Bonaventure 17, Poly 7
Kevin Askeland: St. Bonaventure 30, Poly 14
MaxPreps Projection: St. Bonaventure 24, Poly 7
Cedar Hill (Texas) at Trinity (Euless, Texas)
The Longhorns have risen to No. 2 in the state of Texas according to the MaxPreps Freeman Rankings following a 44-41 win over DeSoto and a 28-0 shutout of Rider. Mason Hayes and Ronnie Green have gained much of the yardage on the ground so far with Hayes gaining 172 yards and Green adding 108. Quarterback Driphus Jackson has thrown for 188 yards. Trinity, meanwhile, opened its season with an impressive 42-21 win over Bingham of Utah. Tevin Williams paced the offense with 210 yards on 22 carries. Willie Hubbard completed 10 of 12 passes for 157 yards in the win..
Mitch Stephens: Trinity 21, Cedar Hill,20
Steve Spiewak: Cedar Hill 42, Trinity 38
Kevin Askeland: Cedar Hill 36, Trinity 28
MaxPreps Projection: Cedar Hill 35, Trinity 24
Bellevue (Wash.) at Katy (Texas)
Bellevue has already shown that it can match the best from California, now it has its eyes set on Texas. Butch Goncharoff’s program has put together historic wins over De La Salle and Long Beach Poly in recent years and will head to Texas this week to take on Katy, the two-time defending state champions. Bellevue returns 13 starters from last year’s team and opened the season with a 62-0 win over a team from Canada. The line will be the Wolverines’ strength this year with Julious Moore and Jake Hilliard opening the holes for the running game. Katy has already stumbled a bit, falling to The Woodlands last week to end an 8-game win streak. Coach Gary Joseph returns 11 starters from last year’s squad that went 13-3 overall.
Mitch Stephens: Katy 28, Bellevue, 21
Steve Spiewak: Katy 28, Bellevue 27
Kevin Askeland: Bellevue 30, Katy 14
MaxPreps Projection: Bellevue 27, Katy 20
De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) at Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.)
The Ironmen made the long cross-country trip last year and surprised the host Spartans with a 23-21 victory in last year’s matchup. This year Don Bosco Prep hosts De La Salle in New Jersey. The game is the first of the season for Don Bosco Prep, which features an impressive offensive line that includes Brandon Sacco (6-4, 260) and James Kittredge (6-4, 265). The Spartans, meanwhile, are coming off a narrow 14-7 win over Serra of San Mateo. The Spartans managed only 156 yards rushing in the win and had just 82 yards through the air.
Mitch Stephens: De La Salle 15, Don Bosco Prep,14
Steve Spiewak: Don Bosco Prep 17, De La Salle 3
Kevin Askeland: De La Salle 28, Don Bosco Prep 21
MaxPreps Projection: Don Bosco Prep 24, De La Salle 21
Millard South (Omaha, Neb.) at Millard West (Omaha, Neb.)
It’s already been somewhat of a disappointing year for Millard West. Ranked No. 1 in the state by MaxPreps, the Wildcats dropped their second game of the season, 24-7, to Lincoln Southeast. The loss has dropped Millard West all the way to No. 28 in the MaxPreps Freeman Rankings. Millard South, meanwhile, started the season as the No. 3 team in the state but it has risen to No. 1 with big wins over Lincoln East and Omaha Westside. Millard West’s strong suit is a defensive line manned by Matt Longacre (6-3, 225) at defensive end and Brandon Yost (6-1, 235) at defensive tackle. Meanwhile Millard South returns Bronson Marsh, the team’s starting quarterback from last year. Millard South’s last loss was to Millard West in the A state playoffs.
Mitch Stephens: Millard South 31, Millard West 21
Steve Spiewak: Millard South 28, Millard West 10
Kevin Askeland: Millard South 35, Millard West 14
MaxPreps Projection: Millard South 24, Millard West 17
St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio) at St. Xavier (Louisville, Kent.)
This matchup got much more interesting following the Bombers’ performance the first two weeks of the season. Coming off a disappointing season in which they failed to make the playoffs one year after a 15-0 season, St. Xavier of Ohio knocked off the state’s No. 1 preseason team Colerain 16-0 in its opener. In then beat Indiana’s best team, Cathedral, 19-10 last week. This week, the Bombers will attempt to add a third state to the list of fallen foes when they play at Louisville against the St. Xavier Tigers. The Louisville club was ranked third in the state to start the season by MaxPreps and is 2-0 after convincing wins over Ballard and Lexington Catholic. The Tigers have a talented returning QB in Brian Buehner while Jermiah Neal is expected to take over as the team’s top rusher, a position held by last year’s Mr. Kentucky Deuce Finch.
Mitch Stephens: St. Xavier (Ohio) 28, St. Xavier (Kent.) 20
Steve Spiewak: St. Xavier (Ohio) 21, St. Xavier (Kent.) 17
Kevin Askeland: St. Xavier (Kent) 27, St. Xavier (Ohio) 21
MaxPreps Projection: St. Xavier (Kent.) 17, St. Xavier (Ohio) 15
Union (Tulsa, Okla.) at Jenks (Tulsa, Okla.)
One of the great rivalries in the country, the Backyard Bowl between Union and Jenks of Tulsa, Okla., will determine the favorite to win this year’s 6A state championship in the Sooner State. Union defeated the other top candidate, Broken Arrow, last week. The defending state champions now meet a Jenks team that won the state title two years ago and have won nine of the last 13 state titles. The Redskins, meanwhile, have won the other four during that span. Jenks is ranked No. 1 to start the season by MaxPreps. The Trojans have two of the state’s best linemen in Jake Alexander and Bob Graham while Jarrett Lake is one of the state’s best wideouts. Union counters with an outstanding passing game led by incumbent Chase Boyce at quarterback and talented Thomas Roberson at wide receiver..
Mitch Stephens: Jenks 31, Union 30
Steve Spiewak: Union 35, Jenks 32
Kevin Askeland: Jenks 28, Union 24
MaxPreps Projection: Jenks 27, Union 21
Blue Springs (Mo.) vs. Rockhurst (Kansas City, Mo.)
The Rockhurst Hawklets have been one of the pre-eminent teams in the state of Missouri over the years, posting a 55-12 mark the past six seasons and winning a state title in 2007. Blue Springs can make nearly the same claim, posting a 52-14 record over the same time span with a state title in 2003. Blue Springs starts the season the top-ranked team in Missouri by the MaxPreps Freeman Ratings after finishing 9-2 last year. The Wildcats have most of their skill players from last year returning including QB Jared Lanpher, RB Darrian Miller and WR Keeston Terry. The Hawklets, meanwhile, are still licking their wounds from a 55-27 drubbing by defending Kansas state champion Hutchinson. At 1-1 on the season, Rockhurst defeated Blue Springs South two weeks ago before falling last week to Hutchinson. Rockhurst has one of the state’s best defenders in linebacker Sal Belfonte.
Mitch Stephens: Blue Springs 35, Rockhurst 28
Steve Spiewak: Blue Springs 35, Rockhurst 24
Kevin Askeland: Blue Springs 14, Rockhurst 10
MaxPreps Projection: Blue Springs 40, Rockhurst 26
Chaparral (Temecula, Calif.) at Centennial (Corona, Calif.)
The Chaparral Pumas are hoping to stake their claim as the top team in the Inland Empire this year and a win over the defending Div. 1 state champions will help. Chaparral is ranked No. 4 by the MaxPreps Freeman Ratings in the Southern Section to start the season and it has 15 returning starters and a 9-1 JV group moving up to the varsity. Coach Tom Leach has a stellar group of running backs that includes Johnny Diaz and Darius Guillory. The Pumas are coming off a 12-2 season with their only losses coming against Centennial, including an Inland Division final defeat by a score of 23-17. Aside from De La Salle, Chaparral gave Centennial its toughest test of the season. The Huskies, however, return just eight starters from last year’s state championship team and will have to find a quarterback to replace Taylor Martinez, who was one of the top signal callers in the state last year.
Mitch Stephens: Centennial 21, Chaparral 20
Steve Spiewak: Chaparral 24, Centennial 14
Kevin Askeland: Chaparral 30, Centennial 14
MaxPreps Projection: Chaparral 28, Centennial 22
Milford (Del.) at St. Mark’s (Wilmington, Del.)
In a matchup between two of the top teams in Delaware, St. Mark’s looms as the favorite over the defending state champion Milford Buccaneers thanks to the return of 11 starters from a team that went 8-4 last year. The Spartans should be especially solid on the offensive line this year with Chaz Malewski (5-9, 210) at guard and junior Jake Quinn (6-4, 255) at tackle. Brandon Baker is the team’s top athlete. He passed for 713 yards last year and also rushed for 243 yards and six touchdowns. Milford includes several standouts from last year’s Div. II state championship team, including all-conference quarterback Marcus Jones and running back Brandon LeGrand.
Mitch Stephens: Milford 21, St. Mary's 20
Steve Spiewak: St. Mark’s 30, Milford 14
Kevin Askeland: Milford 28, St. Mark’s 21
MaxPreps Projection: St. Mark’s 21, Milford 20