CAC Top 25 High School Football Rankings (November 10, 2021)
November 10, 2021, 4:03 pm
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The top-four teams from the Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School football rankings presented by Global Football had rare byes in their respective postseason. In total, seven teams were off, including four teams from the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division 1.
As we move deeper into November, 24 teams have already played or are about to enter the playoffs. No. 8 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.) is the lone team that won’t participate in the postseason but do have one regular season game left on the schedule Coincidentally, the Panthers (7-1) won’t play until Nov. 19 at nationally ranked IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.).
There is one familiar back in the fold. No. 25 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) re-enters the CAC Top 25 after an 8-2 regular season mark. The Spartans received the top seed for the CIF-North Coast Section Open/Division I first round on Friday. Here’s a factoid that will blow you minds: De La Salle will go for a 30th consecutive section championship. We wouldn’t doubt the Spartans once the North Coast playoffs are played.
The CAC 25 had nine teams that remained ranked the same as last week. There were 12 teams that moved up at least one spot. One ranked team advanced two slots.
The biggest jump was No. 11 Catholic (Baton Rouge, La.), which earned the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Louisiana Division I playoffs. The Bears (9-1) have a first-round bye and will debut in the tournament’s quarterfinals on Nov. 19. Staying in the Bayou State, No. 16 Brother Martin (New Orleans) slipped seven positions. The Crusaders (3-5), who won all eight games on the field but forfeited five games, might have been the top seed in Division I. That didn’t happen and know the 11th-seeded Crusaders dipped and must play a first-round game.
No. 10 Archbishop Spalding (Severn, Md.) moves into the top-10 after claiming the MIAA A Conference regular-season championship. The Cavaliers (10-0) need two playoff wins to annex the title.
No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), No. 2 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) and No. 7 Servite (Anaheim, Calif.) were idle last weekend and kick off the CIF-Southern Section playoffs this weekend.
Nationally, CAC 25 teams from Maryland, New Jersey, California, Louisiana, Washington (D.C.) and Pennsylvania finally play in the postseason. The second season will go fast with the last possible date to settle state championships is Dec. 18.
Buckle up, it’s go time!
Before we reveal the updated CAC Top 25, we’ll revisit the weekly feature called the Triple Option.
The Triple Option identifies two student-athletes, a coach and the upcoming weekend’s must-see games. The players of the week are running backs from a CAC Top 25 teams that makes a habit of playing a top-notch competition to prep for the playoffs.
In Indianapolis, Ind., there is coach who saw his team trail a championship program by 10 points in the first quarter but stayed the course to record a postseason victory.
We’ve also selected games from Cincinnati and Cleveland and another one from Indianapolis. Plus, there are two playoff games from Maryland and one apiece from New Jersey and Washington, D.C.
Players of the Week: Running backs Charles Kellom of No. 20 St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Viliami Teu of No. 13 St. Francis (Mountain View, Calif.).
In playoff football, the team that plays defense and controls the clock, especially in tight games, advances to the next round. Last Friday, Kellom represented St. Xavier’s primary ball-carrier and controlled the ground game.
With the Bombers facing Greater Catholic League South of Cincinnati rivals Elder (Cincinnati) in the Ohio Division I, Region 4 quarterfinals, Kellom wasn’t ready for his team’s state title defense to end. Kellom was front and center when the Bombers scored the game’s final 35 points in the middle two quarters in a shock 42-7 win over the Panthers. Shock because playoff games are normally tighter in the scoreline, but the Bombers did win the regular season meeting 52-14 on Sept. 24.
Kellom, who rushed 15 times for 217 yards (14.5 yards a pop!) and two touchdowns, also caught his first of two scores early in the second quarter to break a 7-7 deadlock. Kellom then put away the Panthers with scoring runs from 4 and 97 yards, the latter six-pointer with 99 seconds left in the half made it 28-7. Game over.
Kellom closed out the scoring with 5:53 left in the third quarter nabbing a 1-yard toss from senior QB Brogan McCaughey, who threw for 249 yards and three TDs.
Kellom, a 5 feet 11 inch, 195-pound senior, has run for 1,322 yards and 23 TDs on 213 carries and has 30 receptions for 436 yards and six more scores. According to one recruiting website he has interest from FCS program such as Eastern Kentucky, Brown, Dartmouth and Lehigh.
St. Xavier (10-2) plays in the Region 4 semifinals against Lakota West (West Chester) Friday at the Jake Sweeney Auto Group Stadium in Cincinnati.
If the Bombers advance to the region final, they could face GCL rival Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati) the following weekend.
In Northern California, Teu smashed the single-game school record with 344 yards and two TDs on 45 carries as St. Francis beat previously-undefeated and then-No. 13 Serra (San Mateo), 44-21.
The victory clinched the West Catholic Athletic League for the Lancers (9-0). It also sealed the top seed in the upcoming CIF-Central Coast Section Division I playoffs.
Coach of the Week: Matt Geske of Brebeuf Jesuit (Indianapolis, Ind.). The scoreboard read Western Boone 10, Brebeuf 0 in the first quarter. Western Boone (Thorntown, Ind.) was an underdog and had won the last three Indiana Class 2A state championships before getting elevated to Class 3A (due to their success).
With Geske pushing the buttons and his unflappable play calling, the Braves gradually found their footing and stuck to the game plan during a 42-17 victory in the Class 3A Sectional 28 final. The Braves struck for the next 28 points to take a 28-10 lead. Brebeuf, No. 3 in Class 3A, improved to 10-2.
Geske told the Indianapolis Star, “Western Boone is the type of program where there’s not a player on that team that has ever lost a playoff game. They were able to come in and do some good things. But our guys showed some really good resilience and believed in each other.”
By the second half, Western Boone’s two-way players were spent. Brebeuf QB Nolan Buckman passed for 182 yards and three TDs. Brebeuf played local powers Roncalli, No. 19 Cathedral and Chatard and West Lafayette in the regular season to prepare for the playoffs.
Brebeuf trusted the progress and will play Friday in the 3A sectional round against Norwell (Ossian). After that it will take two more wins for Brebeuf’s ultimate goal of 3A state champions.
Games of the Week (All times are local and subject to change):
This week it’s a half-dozen game with playoff implications. Lose and you go home. The games that we’ve handpicked feature a championship game from Philadelphia. The semifinals from a private league in the Baltimore area. There’s a game in Chicago that is sure to whet the appetite of any serious fan. In suburban Cleveland, the region semifinals are a rematch from a memorable game played a year ago. In Northern New Jersey and our Nation’s Capital two rivalries are renewed with the stakes raised.
Medina (Ohio) vs. St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio), Friday, 7 p.m.: The St. Ignatius Wildcats (8-4) take on second-seeded Medina (12-0) in the Ohio Division I, Region 1 semifinals in Brunswick Auto Mart Stadium in Brunswick. The Wildcats stopped Stow, 42-12, in the quarterfinals. Medina’s QB Drew Allar, a Penn State recruit, accounted for six TDs (four passing, two rushing). A year ago, the Wildcats lost to Medina, 32-26, in the semifinals. The winner gets No. St. Edward (Lakewood) or Canton McKinley in region final.
Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinals, Friday and Saturday: The semifinals are scheduled to be played over two days in the Baltimore area. On Friday, No. 10 Archbishop Spalding (Severn, Md.) hosts McDonough (Owings Mills) at 7 p.m. Then it’s Calvert Hall College (Baltimore) traveling to Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore) on Saturday afternoon. The winners meet for the A Conference championship.
No. 24 St. Joseph Prep (Philadelphia, Pa.) vs. No. 23 La Salle College (Wyndmoor, Pa.), Saturday, 12 p.m.: It’s a high noon showdown between two Philadelphia Catholic League archrivals for the Red Division title (or PIAA District 12 semifinals) to be played at University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field in Philadelphia. La Salle won the regular-season crown and the meeting 28-21 on Oct. 2.
Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) at No. 9 St. John’s College (Washington), Saturday, 1 p.m.: The Cadets (9-0) and Gonzaga play for the second consecutive weekend but this time in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference semifinals. Last week, Montay Weedon had an 85-yard scoop-and-score for the Cadets. The winner gets No. 22 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) or Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) in the WCAC final.
Mount Carmel (Chicago, Ill.) at Brother Rice (Chicago), Saturday, 4 p.m.: The Chicago Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference rivals are back at it in the Illinois Class 7A quarterfinals. Last weekend, Mount Carmel (8-3) took down top-seeded Batavia, 16-14, on the final play of the game in the second round. Ninth-seeded Rice (9-2) crushed Yorkville, 45-7, in the second round. The Crusaders won in the regular season tussle, 43-36, on Oct. 1.
Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) at St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.), Saturday, 1 p.m.: There are few North Jersey rivalries that can match the intensity of the two all-males schools in the Non-Public A quarterfinals. SJR (6-2) won 21-14 in the regular season on Oct. 23. The winner gets St. Augustine (Richland) or Delbarton (Morristown) in the semifinals the following weekend.
We’re knee-deep into the playoffs with every state playing for keeps with the exception of Arizona. We’ll bring you all the results and state champions for the CAC eligible teams in our annual Honor Roll section. First, a chance to play internationally next season.
Here’s that reminder for the worthwhile travel opportunity.
So, you don’t have to have Irish ancestry to enjoy a trip to Emerald Island … with American football as a bonus next summer.
You ask might ask how? If you like high school and college football here’s your opportunity.
In conjunction with the 2022 Big Ten Conference opening game is the fifth High School Football Showcase organized by Global Football. The showcase game features Northwestern and Nebraska as part of the Aer Lingus College Football Series on Aug. 27, 2022, at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.
So, here’s what you need to know.
High school football athletic directors and coaches are invited to travel overseas with their teams for a competitive game against an American opponent. Schools are encouraged to bring their high school bands, cheerleaders and teams from other sports such as field hockey, rugby and lacrosse. It will be a memorable trip and cultural experience.
For more information contact Patrick Steenberge (817) 219-7274 or email him Patrick@globalfootball.com. Also visit this site for additional details, 2022 Kildare High School Showcase PPT.
It’s never too early to plan for the future and some schools already have.
We encourage fans, players, parents and coaches to follow the CAC Top 25 through social media at www.Facebook.com/CACTop25 and on Twitter @CACTop25. If there is a team, coach, player or story idea that we may have overlooked, we need to hear from you. Our readers are our greatest resource. Thank you.
The CAC Top 25 rankings will return on November 17. The following week is Thanksgiving. The fall is really moving quickly and before you know it’s Advent.
Stay safe and get out and attend a high school game in your town or area. The season is down to a few precious weeks and we’ll start highlighting the CAC eligible teams that annex state or conference championships in our Honor Roll section.
Don’t forget Thursday is Veterans Day. That’s a day we recognize all the men and women who served our great land. If you know someone or meet a person that was a member of the armed forces, please thank them for their service to our nation. That’s the ultimate living gesture you can pay them. Remember, it doesn’t cost you a dime but just a few seconds of your time.
Until next week, God Bless. — Christopher Lawlor
By CHRISTOPHER LAWLOR, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CATHOLIC ATHLETES FOR CHRIST
Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School Football Rankings, Nov. 10, 2021
1. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (7-0)
Previous rank: 1.
In the Huddle: Idle. Three big weekends lie ahead for the nation’s No. 1 team. The run starts with Norco Friday Norco in CIF-Southern Section, Division 1 quarterfinals. There’s a potential rematch with No. 2 St. John Bosco in the sectional final on Nov. 26 in Long Beach.
2. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (9-1)
Previous rank: 2.
In the Huddle: The Braves were idle. They host Los Alamitos Friday in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals.
3. Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (9-0)
Previous rank: 3.
In the Huddle: The Crusaders were idle. They host Donovan Catholic (Toms River) Saturday in the Non-Public A quarterfinals.
4. Loyola Academy, Wilmette, Ill. (11-0)
Previous rank: 4.
In the Huddle: QB Jack Stearney hit on his first 12 passes and finished with 150 passing yards and two scores and ran for 57 yards as the Rambler stopped Naperville Central, 36-7, in the Class 8A second round. Backup QB/LB James Kreutz came in to scored two TDs on goal line situations in the first frame and RB Kyan Gibbins scored on an 8-yard jaunt in the second quarter. So, it will be a Class 8A quarterfinal date with Lincoln-Way East (Frankfort) Saturday afternoon.
5. Jesuit, Tampa, Fla. (10-0)
Previous rank: 5.
In the Huddle: The Tigers blanked Tampa Catholic, 42-0. One of Florida’s top rivalries is officially one-sided with the Tigers capturing the latest edition for the 22nd consecutive time. Toledo-bound Junior Vandeross totaled two TDs and nearly 200 yards of offense in the rout. The defense allowed one first down and Caleb Williams added a 30-yard, pick-six in the third quarter. LB Troy Bowles recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a special teams score. RB Joquez Smith ran for two TDs. The Tigers host Boca Ciega (Gulfport) in Class 6A, District 3 quarterfinals.
6. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (9-1)
Previous rank: 6.
In the Huddle: Idle. The Raiders had a week off to prepare for their Class 7A title defense. They will entertain Atlantic (Delray Beach) in the Class 7A, Region 4 quarterfinals on Friday.
7. Servite, Anaheim, Calif. (8-2)
Previous rank: 7.
In the Huddle: Idle. Next is Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita) Friday in the CIF-Southern Section, Division 1 quarterfinals to be played at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.
8. St Frances Academy, Baltimore, Md. (7-1)
Previous rank: 8.
In the Huddle: The Panthers defeated St. Thomas More (Oakdale, Conn.), 24-7. They are off until Nov. 19 when they travel to nationally ranked IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) in showdown of independent programs.
9. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (9-0)
Previous rank: 10.
In the Huddle: The Cadets completed a perfect regular season after edging league rival Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), 20-17, in the 100th meeting between the two District of Columbia schools. The two rivals meet again in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference semifinals on Saturday.
10. Archbishop Spalding, Severn, Md. (10-0)
Previous rank: 11.
In the Huddle: The Cavaliers walloped Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore), 41-0, for their third shutout of the term and clinched the MIAA A Conference regular-season title with a 5-0 mark. The focus now shifts to the postseason as the Cavaliers host McDonough (Owings Mills, Md.) Friday in the A Conference semifinals.
11. Catholic, Baton Rouge, La. (9-1)
Previous rank: 16.
In the Huddle: A week after a shock loss, the Bears drilled Dutchtown (Geismar), 49-7, in the District 5-5A finale. The Bears received the top seed in the LHSAA Division I playoffs and have a bye until the quarterfinals on Nov. 19 and will meet St. Augustine (New Orleans) or Archbishop Shaw (Marrero).
12. Chaminade-Madonna College Prep, Hollywood, Fla. (7-1)
Previous rank: 12.
In the Huddle: Idle. The Lions open their Class 3A title defense on Nov. 19 with Edison (Miami) or Somerset Academy (Pembroke Pines) in the Region 4 semifinals.
13. St. Francis, Mountain View, Calif. (9-0)
Previous rank: 14.
In the Huddle: The Lancers are West Catholic Athletic League champions after pounding previously-unbeaten and No. 13 Serra (San Mateo), 44-21. RB Viliami Teu ran for two TDs and the pitch-and-catch combination of QB Josh Perry to junior WR Andrew Adkinson hooked up for two scores in the rout of Northern California’s top-ranked team. Next is Aptos Friday in the CIF-Central Coast Section Division I quarterfinals.
14. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (10-1)
Previous rank: 15.
In the Huddle: The Gaels overwhelmed Foothill (Henderson), 63-6, in the Class 5A Southern Region semifinal. After six straight games against in-state competition, the Gaels finally surrendered points. Sophomore QB Micah Alejado was an efficient 9-of-11 for 208 yards and four TDs covering 39, 62, 23 and 12 and ran for a 21-yard score in the first quarter when the Gaels led 28-6. Garrett Pomerantz added a 25-yard, pick-six and WR Elija Lofton caught two TD passes. Friday it will be rival Liberty (Henderson) in the Class 5A Southern Region final.
15. St. Edward, Lakewood, Ohio (11-1)
Previous rank: 17.
In the Huddle: Hammered Midpark (Berea), 56-14, in Division I, Region 1 quarterfinals. QB Christian Ramos accounted for three TDs, throwing for two and running for another, RB Danny Enovitch opened the scoring with a short TD run in the first quarter. Special teams contributed two kickoffs for scores with Kyan Mason and Carlton Landingham doing the honors. The Eagles have outscored two region opponents, 105-14. They meet Canton McKinley Friday in the Division I, Region 1 semifinals.
16. Brother Martin, New Orleans, La. (3-5) #
Previous rank: 9.
In the Huddle: The Crusaders mean business after having to forfeit five wins for the use of an ineligible player earlier this season. Last weekend, the Crusaders churned out 511 yards of offense and junior RB Torey Lambert rushed 25 times for 206 yards and two TDs in a 41-12 victory over John Curtis Christian (River Ridge) in the regular-season finale. RB Jordan Thomas added 110 rushing yards and a score. The No. 11 Crusaders didn’t get a favorable seed in the Division I playoffs and face Archbishop Rummel (Metairie) in the first round. The winner gets C.E. Byrd (Shreveport) in the quarterfinals on Nov. 19 or 20.
17. Cathedral, Indianapolis, Ind. (11-1)
Previous rank: 18.
In the Huddle: RB Seth Mencer jump-started the offense with 106 yards and scoring runs of 10, 4 and 1 yards on 10 carries and the Fighting Irish defeated Decatur Central (Indianapolis), 31-7, in the Class 5A, Sectional 13 final. Sophomore QB Danny O’Neil gave the Irish a 7-0 halftime lead with a 6-yard TD run in the first quarter. Mencer then scored once in third and two more in the fourth. Next is New Palestine Friday in the 5A Regional final.
18. Central Catholic, Pittsburgh, Pa. (8-2)
Previous rank: 19.
In the Huddle: Idle. The Vikings will play Seneca Valley (Harmony) Friday in the WPIAL 6A semifinals at Baldwin High School in Pittsburgh. If the Viking advance, they will likely meet Mount Lebanon (Pittsburgh) in the WPIAL 6A final.
19. De La Salle Collegiate, Warren, Mich. (10-0)
Previous rank: 20.
In the Huddle: The Pilots keep marching in the Division 2 playoffs after dusting Grosse Pointe (Mich.) South, 35-20. They face Roseville Friday in the Division 2, Region 4 final.
20. St. Xavier, Cincinnati, Ohio (10-2)
Previous rank: 21.
In the Huddle: QB Brogan McCaughey was an efficient 11-of-13 passing for 249 yards and three scores as the Bombers trounced GCL South rival Elder (Cincinnati), 42-7, in the Division I, Region 4 quarterfinals. The game was clinched in the second quarter as RB Charles Kellom (15 carries, 217 yards) scored all three TDs, rushing in from 4 and 97 yards and catching one from McCaughey from 2 yards. Kellom caught his second TD pass in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring. St. X faces Lakota West (West Chester) Friday in the Region 4 semifinals.
21. Joliet (Ill.) Catholic Academy (11-0)
Previous rank: 22.
In the Huddle: The Hilltoppers bounced Wheaton (Ill.) Academy, 48-14, in the Class 4A second round. JCA moved into the quarterfinal round with 27 unanswered points in the second quarter. Illinois-bound RB Jordan Anderson tallied three TDs in the quarter and Vinny Iannantone scored the other. Anderson finished with 136 rushing yards and four scores as JCA rolled up more than 500 yards of offense. Four players paced the attack with at least 100 rushing yads apiece. Coach Jake Jaworski’s squad plays Genoa-Kingston Friday in the 4A quarterfinals.
22. DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, Md. (7-2)
Previous rank: 23.
In the Huddle: The Stags churned out an impressive 28-0 victory over WCAC rival Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) in the regular-season finale. Now it’s time for a replay as the Stags and Falcons meet again Friday night in the WCAC semifinals. The WCAC championship is the following weekend.
23. La Salle College, Wyndmoor, Pa. (9-1)
Previous rank: 24.
In the Huddle: The Explorers showed no mercy in crushing Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.), 45-0, in the Philadelphia Catholic League Red Division (or District 12 ) semifinals. Last month, Roman upended the Explorers, 27-20, in the regular season. Now for the rivalry matchup with No. 24 St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia) Saturday in the PCL Red final at historic Franklin Field.
24. St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia (7-2)
Previous rank: 25.
In the Huddle: The Hawks trailed by eight points in fourth quarter but rallied to beat rival Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.), 17-14, in the Class 6A, District 12 (or Philadelphia Catholic League Red Division) semifinals. Senior Antonio Chadha was hero, booting a 34-yard field goal with 55 seconds remaining to win it. With 8:40 left, Dane Picariello’s TD run and a two-point conversion evened the score at 14. Next up is No. 23 La Salle College (Wyndmoor, Pa.) Saturday afternoon for PCL Red title and a berth in the 6A district final.
25. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (8-2)
Previous rank: Not ranked.
In the Huddle: The Spartans return to the CAC 25 after shellacking Clayton Valley (Concord), 42-21. RB Charles Greer scored three TDs for the Spartans, who are the No. 1 seed in the CIF-North Coast Section Open/Division 1 playoffs and face James Logan (Union City) Friday in the quarterfinals.
Dropped: No. 13 Serra (San Mateo, Calif.).
Special Consideration: Iona Prep (New Rochelle, N.Y.);Cathedral Prep (Erie, Pa.);Central Catholic (Portland, Ore.); Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.); Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, Wash.); Marist (Atlanta, Ga.);Central Catholic (Grand Rapids, Mich.); St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.); St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.);Catholic Memorial (West Roxbury, Mass.); DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.);Archbishop Hoban (Akron, Ohio);Roncalli (Indianapolis, Ind.);Catholic Memorial (Waukesha, Wis.); McQuaid Jesuit (Rochester, N.Y.); Serra (San Mateo, Calif.); St Francis (AtholSprings, N.Y.); Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.); Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio); St. Augustine Prep (Richland, N.J.); Seton Hall Prep (West Orange, N.J.); Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.); St. Thomas Academy (Mendota, Minn.); St. Joseph (Trumbull, Conn.); and Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.).
# Record includes five forfeits
About: The Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School Football Rankings, presented by Global Football are released on Wednesdays from late August until the conclusion of the high school season in January. Criteria include the quality of the team and its players, strength of schedule, tradition, and quality of the team’s league, conference, region or district. The rankings are compiled by Christopher Lawlor, who consults with Patrick Steenberge of Global Football in Granbury, Texas to coordinate the CAC Top 25. All Catholic high schools from the United States that feature only four-year players on 11-man teams are eligible for consideration. Fans are encouraged to follow the CAC Top 25 at www.Facebook.com/CACTop25 and on Twitter @CACTop25.