In a surprising weekend filled with more upsets, Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Edison (Huntington Beach, Calif.), ranked Nos. 1 and No. 3, respectively, entering the weekend, both fell in playoff showdowns.
That paved the way for the Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) Ironmen to claim the No. 1 spot in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Rankings presented by the Army National Guard.
The Ironmen cleared every hurdle they faced. They handed De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) a 30-6 defeat to start the season, beating 6A runner-up Prattville (Ala.) and Garden State power St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) in the process. De La Salle has since received a bid to represent Northern California in the Open Division Bowl Game.
Checking in at No. 2 is Abilene (Texas), which continues to roll in the 5A-II playoffs. The Eagles will take on No. 19 Katy in the title game Saturday night in the Alamodome.
Butler (Matthews, N.C.) rounds out the top three after a lopsided victory in the state finals against Britt. The Bulldogs put up 726 points this season and kept getting better as the year went on. Junior Quarterback Christian LeMay will be back at the helm for coach Mike Newsome’s squad in 2010.
With Lakeland (Fla.) and Central (Miami, Fla.) losing, in addition to Aquinas, the Florida playoffs continue to be one of the most exciting and unpredictable in recent memory.
While Plant (Tampa, Fla.) and Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.) enter the rankings this week, Dwyer, Niceville, and DeLand are other teams from the Sunshine State making a strong push. Dwyer and Niceville will square off in the 4A finals, while DeLand will do battle with Miramiar in the 6A title game.
MaxPreps Xcellent 25
1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.), 12-0. Last Week: 2. Season complete. Non-public Group IV state champions.
2. Abilene (Texas), 15-0. Last Week: 5. The Eagles continue to soar as Abilene disposed of Klein 29-21. Abilene is one win away from a 5A-II state title, as well as an undefeated season. However, powerful Katy stands in its way.
3. Butler (Matthews, N.C.), 15-0. Last Week: 6. Butler completed a magical season, finishing 15-0 with a remarkable 48-17 thumping of previously once-beaten Britt. Junior quarterback Christian LeMay finished the season with 3,296 passing yards and 44 touchdowns with only two interceptions.
4. Memphis University (Memphis, Tenn.), 13-0. Last Week: 7. Season complete. Division II-AA state champions.
5. Davidson (Hilliard, Ohio), 13-1. Last Week: 8. Season complete. Division 1 state champions.
6. Servite (Anaheim, Calif.), 13-1. Last Week: NR. After appearing in the rankings earlier in the year, Servite’s loss to Edison knocked them out. That was only temporary, as the Friars avenged the loss by downing the Chargers 16-6 in the Pac-5 final. Servite also owns wins over Mission Viejo, Crespi, Orange Lutheran, and two wins against Long Beach Poly.
7. Hoover (Ala.), 15-1. Last Week: 15. Season complete. 6A state champions.
8. Union (Tulsa, Okla.), 13-1. Last Week: 12. Season complete. 6A state champions.
9.South Panola (Batesville, Miss.), 14-1. Last Week: 13. Season complete. 6A state champions.
10. Plant (Tampa, Fla.), 12-1. Last Week: NR. With Aquinas losing, Plant looks like it could be the top team in the Sunshine State after shutting out previously-ranked Lakeland in the 5A semifinal, 20-0. After suffering a two-point loss to Tampa Bay Tech in its opener, Plant has won 12 straight games. Junior James Wilder is an outstanding two-way player for the Panthers.
11. Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.), 13-1. Last Week: NR. Since losing to Venice in October, Manatee has been on a tear, winning six straight games, culminating with a stunning 28-0 win over previous No.1 Aquinas. They will battle Plant for a state title on Saturday.
12. Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), 13-1. Last Week: 1. Aquinas lost its first game of the season on Friday night, a 28-20 defeat at the hands of Manatee. The loss snapped the Raiders’ 37-game winning streak, as well.
13. Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.), 14-1. Last Week: 11. Season complete. 4A-I state champions.
14. Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olner, Md.), 11-1. Last Week: 14. Season complete. WCAC champions.
15. Maine South (Park Ridge, Ill.), 14-0. Last Week: 17. Season complete. 8A state champions.
16. Crenshaw (Los Angeles), 14-0. Last Week: 22. Crenshaw earned the chance to represent SoCal in the Open Division Bowl Game against De La Salle next weekend, after the Cougars pounded Narbonne 34-14 to capture a City Section title. Led by junior De’Anthony Thomas, Crenshaw defeated five Southern Section teams along the way.
17. Edison (Huntington Beach, Calif.), (13-1). Last Week: 3. A 16-6 loss to Servite ended Edison’s season before Chargers fans had hoped. The defeat cost Edison a bid to the CIF Bowl Games.
18. Highlands (Fort Thomas, Ky.), 15-0. Last Week: 19. Season complete. 5A state champions.
19. Hutchinson (Kan.), 13-0. Last Week: 20. Season complete. 5A state champions.
20. Katy (Texas), 14-1. Last Week: 17. Arguably the most dominant Texas program this decade, Katy enhanced its resume by beating New Braunfels 14-6, claiming a spot in the 5A-II title game. The Tigers will look to hand Abilene its first loss this season.
21. Lake Travis (Austin, Texas), 15-0. Last Week: 25. Lake Travis opened eyes over the weekend with a 57-12 blowout win against Dawson. Junior quarterback Michael Brewer accounted for seven total TDs as the Cavaliers clinched a spot in the state final for the third straight year.
22. Mullen (Denver, Colo.), 14-0. Last Week: 24. Season complete. 5A state champions.
23. Camden County (Kingsland, Ga.), 13-2. Last Week: NR. Camden County jumped on Northside quickly in the AAAAA final en route to a 31-3 win. It marks the Wildcats’ second straight championship. After struggling early in the season to replace players from last year’s title-winning squad, Camden County found its groove and finished the season as hot as any team in the country.
24. Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.), 14-0. Last Week: NR. The top team in Arizona this year, Hamilton claimed victories over Chandler and Brophy on its way to a 5A-I title.
25. West Monroe (La.), 14-0. Last Week: NR. With a 30-0 shutout of Archbishop Rummel in the 5A state finals, West Monroe proved its superiority in Louisiana this year.
Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.): Lost to Serra 42-41
Curtis (River Ridge, La.): Lost to Evangel Christian Academy 18-13
Northside (Warner Robins, Ga.): Lost to Camden County 31-3
Central (Miami, Fla.): Lost to Miramar 21-14
Lakeland (Fla.): Lost to Plant 20-0
Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.): Idle