October 21, 2021, 1:53 pm
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — There was plenty of movement in the Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School football rankings presented by Global Football. In all 18 teams shifted slots and there were two additions from Midwest states.
No. 16 St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) took the biggest hit dropping 11 slots while No. 17 Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.) cratered 10 rungs after a hard-fought loss to Indiana’s top-ranked and reigning Class 6A champions Center Grove (Greenwood).
In Ohio, St. Edward was upended by previously unranked Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati), 28-21, in overtime. It was the third consecutive weekend the Moeller Crusaders (7-2) needed overtime to decide an outcome. They are 2-1 in those game, having beaten Cleveland area heavyweights St. Edward and St. Ignatius (Cleveland). St. Edward was Ohio’s No. 1 Division I team by the Associated Press. With one week remaining in the regular season, it will be interesting where the Eagles land.
The Cathedral Fighting Irish (8-1) were tripped up for the second straight year by Center Grove in the regular season finale. The Irish enters the Class 5A state playoffs as the favorite.
No. 21 St. Xavier (Cincinnati), the Greater Catholic League South Division champion, slipped eight spots following a shock 28-21 loss at St. Ignatius.
The top-4 teams held steady as did No. 25 St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia, Pa.), which won a key Philadelphia Catholic League Red Division showdown with rival Archbishop Wood (Warminster). That includes three teams from the Trinity League of southern California. Six teams advanced three positions, six more went up two and two hopped up one apiece.
As for the newcomers we alluded the two are from the Midwest. No. 20 De La Salle Collegiate (Warren, Mich.) is rolling with a sparkling 7-0 record and will play for the Detroit Catholic High School League Prep Bowl title this Saturday at Ford Field in Detroit against University of Detroit Jesuit (Detroit). The Pilots are Michigan’s No. 1 squad from Division 2.
No. 23 Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati) climbs aboard after knocking off then-No. 5 St. Edward in overtime. Moeller is catching fire at the right time with the Ohio Division I, Region 4 playoffs less than two weeks out.
One more thought as No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) hosts No. 4 Servite (Anaheim, Calif.) Saturday night. That’s as good as a game there is this weekend and it’s televised. Servite QB Noah Fifita has completed 139 of 207 passes for 2,242 yards and 29 TDs and only four INTs and RB Houston Thomas has rushed for 678 yards and notched 12 scores. At 6 feet 4 inches, WR Tetairoa McMillan is the primary target with 52 receptions for 911 yards (17.5 yards per catch) and 15 TDs. That gives you a taste of the Friars and Mater Dei has been gearing up for this one when both teams played in a truncated spring season when the Monarchs prevailed 24-17.
The game won’t start until 11 p.m. EDT if you live on the East Coast but worth staying up for.
It’s time for the Triple Option section and then a few notes before revealing the latest CAC Top 25 rankings.
The Triple Option identifies a student-athlete, coach and the upcoming weekend’s must-see games. In the Midwest, the cities of St. Louis and Cincinnati are known for strong Catholic League football and this week a pair of quarterbacks put on a show. Back in Cincinnati a coach for the second consecutive week knocked off Cleveland area powerhouse programs. Additionally, we have handpicked six games of national and local interest. The most talked about game this weekend is Saturday night from Orange County, California. We span from the East Coast into the Midwest and out to the Pacific Coast for key games that could reshape the CAC Top 25 rankings.
Players of the Week: Quarterbacks Chris Cotton of De Smet Jesuit (St. Louis, Mo.) and Noah Geselbracht of No. 23 Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio). Both players are deserving and pulled out big-time wins with the regular season on the cusp of expiration.
In Missouri, Cotton had a memorable night against a league rival. The junior signal-caller had his hand and legs on all of De Smet’s scores in a 48-21 victory over Saint Louis University High.
Cotton was simply unstoppable last Friday throwing for four touchdowns and running for three more as the Spartans won for the fifth consecutive game. De Smet opened the season with a 1-2 mark but have matured as the season progressed and are ready for the Class 6 playoffs that start later this month.
Cotton threw TDs from 14, 8, 15 18 yards as the Spartans jumped to a 28-7 lead at halftime. Cotton opened the scoring with a 14-yard strike to WR Demetrion Cannon. With the game knotted at 7 in the second quarter, Cotton ran for scores of 9 and 1 yards and then hit Gavin Bomstad from 8 yards for a 21-point edge. Cotton tossed a 15-yard TD pass to Keshawn Ford in the third and ran for one and threw for another to wrap up his big night.
With Cotton at the controls, the Spartans improved to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in Metro Catholic Conference but Christian Brothers College (St. Louis) clinched the championship with a perfect run in four games.
Meanwhile, in suburban Cleveland, Geselbracht was engineering a special afternoon himself. The senior hit on 23-of-33 passes for 268 yards and two TDs, including the game-winner in overtime as the Crusaders beat then-No. 5 St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio), 28-21.
At 6 feet 6 inches, 215 pounds, Geselbracht managed the game when St. Edward (8-1), which entered the contest as Ohio’s top-ranked Division I team according to the Associated Press, took a 14-6 lead in the second quarter and made sure things would not get out of hand. Geselbracht flipped a 5-yard TD pass to WR Tennel Bryant and then tacked on the two-point conversion late in the first half to tie the score at 14.
St. Edward regained the lead, 21-14, early in the fourth but Geselbracht led the Crusaders long drive to tie it again. On the first possession of the extra period, he connected with Bryant from 20 yards to close out the scoring. The Moeller (7-2) defense did the rest. The Crusaders finish up the regular season this weekend at Michigan power Martin Luther King (Detroit) on Friday night.
And Geselbracht will be ready for the challenge in the Motor City.
Coach of the Week: Mark Elder of No. 23 Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio). If you aren’t familiar with Moeller football, a program steeped in tradition, you might want to listen up. When Elder was hired after a long college coaching tenure, including the final four years at Eastern Kentucky University (2016-19), they looking to return to the glory years in the 1970s and 1980s under coach Gerry Faust. If you recall, Faust made the jump to Notre Dame head coach in 1981 but it didn’t work out.
Well, Elder really showed his mettle over the last three weekends as Moeller survived two of three games that went to overtime. His latest conquest was a 28-21 win at then-No. 5 St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio). St. Edward came into the game unbeaten ranked No. 1 in Ohio’s Division I. The previous weekend, Elder guided the Crusaders to a 29-28 win over St. Ignatius (Cleveland) on Oct. 9. Elder’s team pulled off the rare weekend of the Cleveland dynamic duo of Catholic schoolboy football.
Moeller (7-2), which went 1-2 in the mighty Greater Catholic League South Division, has a season finale this weekend at top-ranked in Division 3 Martin Luther King (Detroit, Mich.), and then it’s the Ohio Division I, Region 4 playoffs on Oct. 29 or 30. If anything the last three weekends will have the Crusaders battle tested for a rugged ride in the postseason.
Games of the Week (All times are local and subject to change): We’re headed to the latter stages of the month of October with the postseason on everyone’s mind. This week we feature six games from Long Island, N.Y., to suburban Washington, D.C. and then the national game of the week from southern California. There are also big games from the Midwest in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois.
No. 16 St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) at Archbishop Hoban (Akron, Ohio), Friday, 7 p.m.: St. Edward (8-1) saw their perfect season go by the wayside last weekend during a 28-21 overtime loss to Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati) and a trip to Dowed Field won’t be easy. The Knights (7-2) have won four straight and need to pull it together before the Division II playoffs open later this month.
Iona Prep (New Rochelle, N.Y.) at St. Anthony’s (Melville, N.Y.), Friday, 7 p.m.: Iona Prep (6-1), No. 1 in the New York Class AA rankings, must travel to Long Island for a game that will go a long way to determine the New York Catholic High School Football League AAA-AA1 final standing and playoff seeds. St. Anthony’s is 4-2 overall and 4-1 in the league and with a win would move into a tie for first place.
No. 12 St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.) at No. 18 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.), Friday, 7 p.m.: The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference regular season crown is up for grabs with the winner moving in pole position for the top seed in the playoffs. DeMatha is 6-1 and SJC Cadets are unblemished in six games.
No. 6 Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Ill.) at Mount Carmel (Chicago, Ill.), Friday, 7:30 p.m.: It’s Senior Night at Barda-Dowling Stadium for this Chicago Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference matchup in the Woodlawn neighborhood in Chicago. The Caravan (6-2) have won two straight following a 43-36 loss to Brother Rice (Chicago) on Oct. 1. Loyola Academy (8-0) goes a perfect regular season and are Illinois’ top-ranked Class 8A squad.
University of Detroit Jesuit (Detroit, Mich.) vs. De La Salle Collegiate (Warren, Mich.), Saturday, 4:30 p.m.: De La Salle (7-0), Michigan’s No. 1 in Division 2, meets U-D Jesuit in the Catholic High School League Prep Bowl at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. Last weekend, RB Brady Drogosh rushed for five TDs in a 47-26 win over Harper Woods. The Cubs are 4-4 and lost the regular season matchup 44-7 between the teams on Oct. 8.
No. 4 Servite (Anaheim, Calif.) at No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), Saturday, 8 p.m.: This one is clearly the national game of the week between two nationally ranked undefeated teams at the sold-out Santa Ana Bowl. The winner has the inside track to capturing the Trinity League title and the top seed in the upcoming California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section playoffs. It’s televised on Bally Sports SoCal.
Okay, we’re done for another week for the Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 rankings, but there’s always a weekly reminder.
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. Just send us an email or connect through the social mediums.
The CAC Top 25 rankings will return on Oct. 27. Only two weekends of football remain in October.
Stay safe and get out and attend a high school game in your town or area. We highlighted six games that are important but we’re sure there’s one closer to home. Remember, the regular season is over in some areas and the playoffs will be over before you know it. Alaska crowned its first state champions last weekend.
Until next week, God Bless. — Christopher Lawlor
By CHRISTOPHER LAWLOR
CATHOLIC ATHLETES FOR CHRIST
Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School Football Rankings, Oct. 13, 2021
1. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (6-0)
Previous rank: 1.
In the Huddle: The Monarchs downed Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita), 56-3. Sophomore quarterback Elijah Brown threw for five TDs and dashed 2 yards for another score. The Trinity League title could be on the line this weekend. Huge game this weekend with No. 4 Servite (Anaheim) on Saturday night.
2. Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (7-0)
Previous rank: 2.
In the Huddle: Beat St. Joseph Regional (Montvale), 21-10. The Crusaders fell behind 10-0 in the second quarter but rallied. Princeton-bound RB Ryan Butler (99 yards rushing) scored on runs of 2 and 1 yards. Notre Dame-bound QB Steve Angeli tossed a 16-yard TD pass to Christian Carti in the fourth quarter to wrap it up. The Crusaders visit 6-1 Seton Hall Prep (West Orange) Saturday in a Super Football Conference United Red contest.
3. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (7-1)
Previous rank: 3.
In the Huddle: Defeated Orange Lutheran, 49-25. The Braves jumped to a 21-6 lead at the break. Rayshon Luke scored three TDs and QB Pierce Clarkson passed and rushed for a TD.
Next is a Friday date at Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita) and then a regular season finale with No. 4 Servite (Anaheim) the following week.
4. Servite, Anaheim, Calif. (8-0)
Previous rank: 4.
In the Huddle: The Friars defeated JSerra (San Juan Capistrano), 53-0. Arizona-bound QB Noah Fifita completed 15 of 16 passes for 192 yards and six TDs. Fifita has 29 TD passes on the season. Oregon commit Tetairoa McMillan caught a touchdown pass and had two interceptions on defense. Keyan Burnett added two TD catches and a team-high 74 yards receiving.
Next is a showdown with No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana) on Saturday night.
5. Catholic, Baton Rouge, La. (7-0)
Previous rank: 6.
In the Huddle: The Bears dismantled McKinley (Baton Rouge), 66-6. It was the largest margin of victory this season. Up next is St. Amant Friday in a District 5-5A key matchup. The Bears average 40 points per game and have two district games left against Woodlawn (Baton Rouge) on Oct. 29 and at Dutchtown (Geismar) on Nov. 5.
6. Loyola Academy, Wilmette, Ill. (8-0)
Previous rank: 8.
In the Huddle: The Ramblers, No. 1 in Illinois’ Class 8A, remained perfect after defeating St. Patrick (Chicago), 35-6. RB Will Nimesheim gave the Ramblers a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard run and junior QB Jack Stearney threw a TD pass to TE Jack Fitzgerald to make it 14-0 after one quarter. The same combo hooked up in the second for a 21-0 lead. Stearney threw his third TD of the night for 19 yards to WR Peter Gilroy and added a 7-yard TD run late in the game. The regular season concludes Friday at rival Mount Carmel (Chicago).
7. Jesuit, Tampa, Fla. (7-0)
Previous rank: 9.
In the Huddle: The Tigers beat Jefferson (Tampa), 24-0. RB Joquez Smith opened the scoring with a 48-yard TD run in the first quarter. Junior WR Jarriett Buie caught a 25-yard TD in the second quarter to make it 14-0. WR Carter French closed out the scoring with a short scoring pass in the fourth quarter. Next is Blake (Tampa) Friday for Homecoming.
8. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (7-1)
Previous rank: 10.
In the Huddle: Junior RB Gemari Sands scored for three TDs as the Raiders stopped then-No. 21 Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale), 39-14. Sands’ 65-yard run in the fourth quarter closed out the scoring. This weekend’s undefeated crosstown foe has outscored the opposition, 320-7. The Raiders are up against it. Next is 7-0 Dillard (Fort Lauderdale) Friday.
9. St. Frances Academy, Baltimore, Md. (5-1)
Previous rank: 11.
In the Huddle: The Panthers crushed Life Christian Academy (Chester, Va.), 47-8. Next is a bye week before West Toronto Prep (Ontario) visits on Oct. 29.
10. St. Francis, Mountain View, Calif. (6-0)
Previous rank: 12.
In the Huddle: Shut out Archbishop Riordan (San Francisco), 33-0. The Lancers meet rival Bellarmine College Prep (San Jose) Friday on the campus of San Jose City College.
11. Brother Martin, New Orleans, La. (5-0)
Previous rank: 14.
In the Huddle: RBs Corey Lambert, Jordan Thomas and Jordan West all scored TDs as the Crusaders stopped Archbishop Shaw (Marrero), 47-15. The action continues this weekend at Carencro (Lafayette).
12. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (6-0)
Previous rank: 15.
In the Huddle: Idle. The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference regular season title could be decided at No. 18 DeMatha Catholic(Hyattsville, Md.) on Friday. The senior leadership of QB Wyatt Hagan, WR D.J. Linkins and RB Jamar Curtis will need to step up this weekend.
13. Archbishop Spalding, Severn, Md. (8-0)
Previous rank: 16.
In the Huddle: In a defensive battle, the Cavaliers held off McDonough School (Owings Mills), 14-3. RB Nick Gutierrez scored on runs of 7 and 6 yards. His first TD gave the Cavaliers a 7-3 lead after one quarter. Next is Gilman School (Baltimore) Friday afternoon in the MIAA A Conference.
14. Chaminade-Madonna College Prep, Hollywood, Fla. (5-1)
Previous rank: 17.
In the Huddle: The Lions, Florida’s top-ranked Class 3A squad, won for the fourth consecutive game, beating state power Gulliver Prep (Miami), 31-16. Next is Stranahan (Fort Lauderdale) Friday.
15. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (7-1)
Previous rank: 18.
In the Huddle: Sophomore QB Micah Alejado tossed three TDs, including two to WR Zachariah Branch of 42 and 37 yards during a 49-0 pasting of Palo Verde (Las Vegas). RB William Stallings rushed for scores of 2 and 33 yards. The Gaels have blanked their four Class 5A foes by a combined 214-0. The regular season concludes at Foothill (Henderson) Friday.
16. St. Edward, Lakewood, Ohio (8-1)
Previous rank: 5.
In the Huddle: The Eagles were shocked by Moeller (Cincinnati), 28-21, in overtime. RB Danny Enovitch carried 22 times for 119 yards and scored two TDs but it wasn’t enough. The Eagles close out the regular at Archbishop Hoban (Akron) Friday.
17. Cathedral, Indianapolis, Ind. (8-1)
Previous rank: 7.
In the Huddle: Lost to nationally ranked Center Grove (Greenwood), 21-6. Ben Gomez kicked two field goals in the setback. The Fighting Irish host Terre Haute North Friday in the Class 5A sectionals. The winner plays Plainfield on Oct. 29.
18. DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, Md. (6-1)
Previous rank: 20.
In the Huddle: Defeated Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.), 31-6. The Stags face No. 12 St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.) Friday in a game that could decide the WCAC championship. The Stags are 2-0 in league play.
19. Central Catholic, Pittsburgh, Pa. (6-2)
Previous rank: 22.
In the Huddle: The Vikings rebounded from a loss in the previous game to defeat Hempfield (Greensburg), 35-0. It was the team’s third shutout of the campaign. Sophomore QB Payton Wehner threw for 109 yards and two TDs to WRs Peter Gonzalez and Vernon Settles. RB Antonio Pitts carried 11 times for 140 yards and a score. Next is Baldwin (Pittsburgh) Friday and then the WPIAL Class AAAAAA playoffs.
20. De La Salle Collegiate, Warren, Mich. (7-0)
Previous rank: Not ranked.
In the Huddle: Michigan’s top-ranked Division 2 squad heads to the Catholic High School League Prep Bowl this weekend against University of Detroit Jesuit (Detroit) Saturday at Ford Field. Last weekend, the Pilots defeated Harper Woods, 47-26. Junior QB Brady Drogosh rushed for 220 yards and five TDs.
21. St. Xavier, Cincinnati, Ohio (7-2)
Previous rank: 13.
In the Huddle: Upset by St. Ignatius (Cleveland), 28-21. QB Brogan McCaughey threw an 11-yard TD pass to Duke-bound TE Max Klare in the first quarter. McCaughey tied the game at 21 with a 1-yard run. The Bombers close out the regular season hosting Eagle’s Landing Christian (McDonough, Ga.) this weekend.
22. Joliet (Ill.) Catholic Academy (8-0)
Previous rank: 23.
In the Huddle: The Hilltoppers beat Benet Academy (Lisle), 42-20. The game was tight, 21-20, in the third quarter when QB T.J. Schlageter fired a 22-yard scoring strike to Jake Feldman to made it 28-20. Feldman’s 75-yard punt return to the house upped the count to 35-20. Schlaget’s 4-yard keeper closed out the scoring with 7:21 left in the contest. JCA travels to Montini Catholic (Lombard) Friday in the regular season finale.
23. Archbishop Moeller, Cincinnati, Ohio (7-2)
Previous rank: Not ranked.
In the Huddle: The Crusaders played their third straight overtime game in beating then-No. 5 St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio), 28-21. QB Noah Geselbracht threw for 268 yards and two TDs of 5 and 20 yards to WR Tennel Bryant. The latter score occurred on the first possession of overtime and broke a 21-all tie. Kentucky-bound TE Josh Kattus had 11 receptions for 118 yards. Coach Mark Elder’s team has a regular season finale on Friday at Michigan power Martin Luther King (Detroit).
24. La Salle College, Wyndmoor, Pa. (6-1)
Previous rank: 23.
In the Huddle: Idle. The Explorers had a week off to think about a shock loss to league rival Roman Catholic (Philadelphia) in their previous outing. Up next is Father Judge (Philadelphia) on Friday.
25. St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia (4-2)
Previous rank: 25.
In the Huddle: The Hawks topped Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.), 38-20. Sophomore QB Semaj Jones scored the final three TDs of the game when the Hawks trailed 20-17 in the third quarter. Prep scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to pull away from a 24-20 scoreline. Next is Roman Catholic (Philadelphia) on Friday at the Northeast Supersite.
Dropped out: No. 19 DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.) and No. 21 Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).
Special Consideration: Iona Prep (New Rochelle, N.Y.);McQuaid Jesuit (Rochester, N.Y.); Central Catholic (Portland, Ore.); Archbishop Hoban (Akron, Ohio); Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, Wash.);Central Catholic (Grand Rapids, Mich.);St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.); De La Salle (Concord, Calif.); Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.); St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.);St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.);Catholic Memorial (West Roxbury, Mass.); DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.); Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.); Benedictine (Cleveland, Ohio); Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, Calif.); Roncalli (Indianapolis, Ind.);Serra (San Mateo, Calif.); Catholic Memorial (Waukesha, Wis.); Good Counsel (Olney, Md.); Marist (Atlanta, Ga.); Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.); St. Augustine Prep (Richland, N.J.); Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.);St. Thomas Academy (Mendota, Minn.);Nolan Catholic (Fort Worth, Texas); St. Joseph (Trumbull, Conn.); Cathedral Prep (Erie, Pa.); Aquinas Institute (Rochester, N.Y.); Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic and Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.
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.