Catholic Athletes for Christ
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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.

Triple Option

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

NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT

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.

By CHRISTOPHER LAWLOR

NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT

CATHOLIC ATHLETES FOR CHRIST

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Upsets were in the air last weekend in the Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School football rankings presented by Global Football.

Ultimately two of the four shocks cost teams their status in the CAC Top 25. When one door closes another one opens. Unfortunately, one of the biggest “shocks” occurred in North Jersey, where then-No. 14 St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City) lost for the second straight week. St. Joseph Regional (Montvale) fashioned a 21-14 win over the Marauders. It was tied at 14 heading into the third quarter when St. Joseph scored and the defense did the rest.

Prep (5-2) was dropped as was then-No. 24 O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.), which lost to rivals Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.), 24-14. O’Dea (3-2) could meet EC (4-1) in the Class 3A playoffs.

Entering the CAC Top 25 are teams from Florida and Illinois.

No. 21 Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), the defending FHSAA Class 5A state champions, are currently the state’s No. 1 Class 4A team. The Chiefs (5-1) have a huge rivalry game this weekend with No. 10 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale). It might be a short stay or another win for the Chiefs, who topped Aquinas last October.

No. 23 Joliet (Ill.) Catholic Academy is the state’s top-ranked Class 4A team and competes in the ultra-competitive Chicago Catholic/East Suburban Catholic Conference. Last weekend, the Hilltoppers (7-0) beat Class 7A powerhouse Brother Rice (Chicago), 56-49. JCA has two games left in the regular season and the quest for a state championship.

This week’s CAC Top 25 had 14 static teams, including the top-13. Seven teams moved up with five going up two slots and two ascending one. Two teams from Pennsylvania lost but remained in the CAC 25. In Philadelphia, No. 24 La Salle College (Wyndmoor) were shock losers to 3-4 Roman Catholic (Philadelphia).

No. 22 Central Catholic (Pittsburgh) cratered five spots in a 35-14 loss to Mount Lebanon (Pittsburgh) in a WPIAL Class AAAAAA showdown. It was not a shock loss but the Vikings (4-2) can expect to see their local rivals again in the postseason.

Bottom line: both stay as Class AAAAAA ranked teams that can make deep runs in the PIAA playoffs.

That’s a synopsis for early October in the CAC Top 25 rankings. Lots going on

We’re looking forward to this weekend and now that we’re in October, the regular season is winding down with the playoffs on the horizon.

It’s time for the Triple Option section and then a few notes before revealing the latest CAC Top 25 rankings.

Triple Option

The Triple Option identifies a student-athlete, coach and the upcoming weekend’s must-see games. In the Chicagoland area, there’s big, high-stepping running back that might remind you of a bespectacled Hall of Famer. In Los Angeles, he’s a coach with a plan and faced more opponents in the last four weeks that most will in three seasons. Additionally, there are eight games from Boston to upstate New York to south Florida to Honolulu. We’re going from the Eastern Time Zone to the Hawaiian spanning more than 5,000 miles and there several CAC 25 storylines to tell as the regular season winds down in most states.

Player of the Week: Running back Jordan Anderson of No. 23 Joliet (Ill.) Catholic. Normally, running backs are built closer to the ground. Lower center of gravity. A smaller target means tougher to tackle, tougher to separate the ball-carrier from the pill. Unless you are Jordan Anderson.

At 6 feet 3 inches, 215 pounds, Anderson is an anomaly in the backfield. He’s built like 6-3 Eric Dickerson (13,000-plus yards, NFL Hall of Fame) than 5-8 Barry Sanders (another Hall of Fame tailback), who featured legs akin kegs of dynamite. Anderson must have plucked a few attributes from both last Friday and thank goodness.

He needed the balance, sustainability and downhill running to overcome one of the state’s top teams in Chicago.

Just when the Joliet Catholic Academy Hilltoppers needed a top-notch performance in a statement-type game, Anderson delivered. Boy, did he ever. Try 319 yards rushing and six touchdowns on 29 carries when JCA turned back Brother Rice (Chicago), 56-49, in an entertaining Chicago Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference Blue game.

In a game that more than 1,300 yards of offense, the game it was a tied at halftime, 35-all. The Illinois-bound Anderson had done his part with four TDs and 215 yards on the ground. In the third, Anderson tacked on two more scores for a 49-35 lead but Rice charged back and closed out the scoring with two minutes remaining in the fourth.

The Hilltoppers, a double wing team, churned more rushing yards to put away the game. JCA (7-0), Illinois’ top-ranked Class 4A, knocked off a perennial league giant and one of the state’s top Class 7A (largest classification) teams. The Hilltoppers are back at it Friday at Benet Academy (Lisle) in league action.

JCA and Anderson, a perfect pairing, from one small package comes big things … ‘big’ meaning Anderson.

Coach of the Week: Scott Altenberg of Serra (Gardena, Calif.): The great coaches adapt to their personnel. Tweak the offense or defense and show a few different wrinkles to throw off the other team. Altenberg dug deep to pull out a 16-12 victory over Chaminade (West Hills) in the Mission League opener.

Serra (3-3) appeared down and out even prior to kickoff. His quarterback had a bum shoulder, barely able to throw, and others were out because of COVID contact tracing protocols. Well, QB Maalik Murphy started and passed for 52 yards, a triumvirate of running backs rotated handoffs and offense used time-consuming drives to shorten the game.

Serra’s magnus opus on the evening was a 13-play, 65-yard march capped by RB Cincere Rhaney’s 13-yard TD run for a 16-6 lead. Although the Eagles pulled within four points, Altenberg’s play calling and the ability to move the chains melted the final eight minutes off the clock. Serra, which had not played since Sept. 19 over COVID protocols by Los Angeles County, won and Altenberg can adjust with the cards dealt. That’s crafty coaching.

Games of the Week (All times are local and subject to change): It’s bonus week because we’ll preview eight games and we’re all over the place. We have the national game of the week in the Hoosier State, two rivals going at it in Rochester, New York and rare Saturday night game from Florida between crosstown foes.

Catholic Memorial (West Roxbury, Mass.) at St. John’s Prep (Danvers, Mass.), Friday, 6 p.m.: Nothing like Friday nights on a cool New England evening. It’s even better when the top-two heavyweights from the Catholic Conference, both 5-0, meet at Glatz Field. Livestream it here.

Center Grove (Greenwood, Ind.) at No. 7 Cathedral (Indianapolis), Friday, 7 p.m.: The national game of the week will be played at Arlington High School in Indianapolis. Everyone in Indiana will be eyeballing this one. It’s a duel between two 8-0 teams, defending state champions and the No. 1s in the top two classifications Center Grove (6A) and Cathedral Fighting Irish (5A). Center Grove handed the Irish their only loss last year, so it’s redemption time.

Aquinas Institute (Rochester, N.Y.) vs. McQuaid Jesuit (Rochester, N.Y.), Friday, 7 p.m.: Two bitter rivals, two unbeaten teams and two of the top teams in the New York Class AA rankings equal one great game. It will be played on the campus of St. John Fisher College on East Avenue in Pittsford. One suggestion: buy tickets in advance.

No. 19 DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.) at Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.), Friday, 7 p.m.: Don Bosco (3-3) is the hottest team in the Super Football Conference United Red after taking down previously ranked St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City) and Delbarton (Morristown) in successive weekends. DePaul (5-1), which clinched the SFC United White title, has not beaten the Ironmen since 2017. The Spartans are the favorite to capture the Non-Public B state title under fist-year head coach Nick Campanile in November.

Kamehameha School (Honolulu, Hawaii) at Saint Louis School (Honolulu), Friday, 7:30 p.m.: There’s reason why Hawaiian football isn’t soaring: the pandemic. Public schools aren’t playing for a second year but the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) is playing a limited schedule. Saint Louis (2-2) opened the season losing at No. 18 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) on Aug. 20 and did not play until Sept. 18. This is the second meeting between the private schools, Kamehameha won 23-21 on Sept. 24, and will be played at Aloha Stadium. The two could meet again in the ILH playoffs.

Benedictine (Cleveland, Ohio) at Archbishop Hoban (Akron, Ohio), Friday, 7 p.m.: Two of northeast Ohio’s top teams engage in a possible preview of the Ohio Division II Region 5 playoffs. Benedictine (6-0), No. in Division II, had its game cancelled last weekend by inclement weather. Hoban (5-2) is the reigning Division II state champions and will ride the hot hand of junior RB Lamar Sperling fresh off a 217-yard, four-TD effort last Friday.

Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) at Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), Saturday, 1 p.m.: It’s been a bizarre year in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference but it’s about to come back into focus, starting this weekend in the Nation’s Capital. Good Counsel (4-2) has won two-straight but still must play CAC 25 teams St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.) and DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville). Gonzaga (4-3) was thumped 30-6 at DeMatha last weekend.

No. 10 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at No. 21 Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale), Saturday, 7 p.m.: Last year, Cardinal Gibbons (5-1) shocked Aquinas, 17-10. Both teams went onto to win FHSAA state championships but Aquinas (6-1) wants redemption. The game is shifted 20 miles north to FAU Stadium in Boca Raton.

Okay, we’re done for another week for the Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 rankings but here’s a shoutout to a great coach, a special player from Philadelphia and a weekly reminder from Global Football for an international football event in 2022.

Call J.T. Curtis “Coach 600.” That’s because the John Curtis Christian (River Ridge, La) legend is only the second head football coach on any level to reach 600 victories after beating Archbishop Shaw (Marrero, La.), 37-16, last Friday for the milestone win.

J.T. Curtis is in an exclusive club of two, joining the all-time leader John McKissick (620-155-13 overall) of Summerville (SC). J.T. (600-72-6, 26 state titles) is roughly portions of the next three seasons or less from establishing a new national standard. Although he doesn’t coach at a CAC eligible school, Curtis does coach in Louisiana’s District 15-5A or the New Orleans Catholic League. His teams face weekly the likes of Jesuit, Archbishop Rummel, Catholic (Baton Rouge), Holy Cross, St. Augustine and Brother Martin.

All the best to an elite coach and Believer in Christ. Amen.

The 2022 All-American Bowl will continue the Road to the Dome tour tonight (Oct. 13) at 8 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports YouTube channel, honoring six All-Americans in the fifth installment of a 15-episode weekly digital series.

In this week’s episode, presented by adidas, the All-Americans will be virtually presented with their exclusive All-American jerseys provided by adidas. An interview South Carolina commit DB Keenan Nelson Jr. of No. 25 St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia, Pa.) will also be featured within the episode. Nelson’s coach, Tim Roken, was named the East’s head coach last week.

Only 100 football players receive the honor of wearing the All-American Bowl jersey each year. Players selected will culminate their high school careers during the 22nd East vs. West all-star matchup. NBC will present live coverage of the game from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Kudos to Keenan, it’s a tremendous honor.

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 the scoop.

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 Oct. 20.

Stay safe and get out and attend a high school game in your town or area. We’ve mentioned eight games that are noteworthy but we’re sure there’s one right around the corner from you.

Until next week, God Bless. — Christopher Lawlor

Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School Football Rankings, Oct. 13, 2021 

1. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (5-0)

Previous rank: 1.

In the Huddle: The Monarchs thrashed Orange (Calif.) Lutheran, 55-16. Sophomore QB Elijah Brown tossed a pair of touchdowns for the Monarchs, who opened up a 27-9 halftime lead. Quincy Craig scored three TDs, including the second-half kickoff 92 yards to the house. RB Ajon Bryant dashed for two scores. Coach Bruce Rollinson’s team entertains Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita) Friday.

2. Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (6-0)

Previous rank: 2.

In the Huddle: Wiped out Paramus Catholic, 63-0. This one was predictable and the Crusaders pumped out 35 points in the first quarter and coasted to an easy victory. RB Saaed St. Fleur tallied TDs on runs of 5, 7 and 10 yards in the first quarter and John Fiore added a 40-yard, scoop and score off a fumble recovery. This weekend it’s another bitter Bergen County rival with St. Joseph Regional (Montvale) back at Jack McGovern Field at Crusader Stadium or a.k.a., “The Jack.”

3. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (6-1)

Previous rank: 3.

In the Huddle: Defeated JSerra (San Juan Capistrano), 44-7. Six different players found the end zone during a comprehensive victory. When the Braves built a 20-0 halftime edge, QB Pierce Clarkson found TE Matayo Uiagalelei for a 25-yard reception, Michael Hayes scored on a short run and Rayshon Luke sped 48 yards for another score. Logan Booher, Khalil Warren and Raiden Brown scored in the second half with the clock running for the mercy rule. The Braves meet Orange Lutheran Friday in a game to be played at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.

4. Servite, Anaheim, Calif. (7-0)

Previous rank: 4.

In the Huddle: The Friars have one more Trinity League contest before running the gauntlet. Last weekend, they pounded Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita), 48-21. The Friars zoomed to a 21-0 edge after the first quarter but lead shrunk to 21-14 at the break. RB Houston Thomas celebrated his 19th birthday with a 193-yard, three-TD rushing night. The Friars close with JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) on Thursday before tackling Trinity heavyweights Mater Dei and St. John Bosco to round out the regular season.

5. St. Edward, Lakewood, Ohio (7-0)

Previous rank: 5.

In the Huddle: The Eagles defeated Clarkson Football North (Mississauga, Ontario), 38-7. QB Christian Ramos passed for two TDs and sped 44 yards for another against the Canadians. Ramos’ scoring strikes went to Jackson Miller and Rayshawn Manning Jr. for 21 and 8 yards, respectively. Defensively, junior DE Michael Kilbane had 2.5 sacks and six tackles and DE Wyatt Gedeon added one sack and seven tackles. The Eagles are top-ranked in Ohio’s Division I. Next up is Moeller (Cincinnati) Saturday.

6. Catholic, Baton Rouge, La. (6-0)

Previous rank: 6.

In the Huddle: The Bears outscored East Ascension (Gonzales), 48-29. The offense had its top output of the campaign but the defense allowed its season high. The defending Division I state champions are back at on Oct. 22 with St. Amant after much deserved weekend off. The regular season is down to three games.

7. Cathedral, Indianapolis, Ind. (8-0)

Previous rank: 7.

In the Huddle: Indiana’s top-ranked Class 5A squad won its penultimate regular season game topping Brebeuf Jesuit (Indianapolis), 45-21, setting this weekend’s meeting of the unbeatens. Sophomore Danny O’Neil continued his torrid pace to the start of his varsity career hitting on 14-of-31 passes for 237 yards and four TDs from 1, 30, 40 and 5 yards, including two to WR Michael Page. RB Seth Mencer paced the ground game with 60 yards and a score on 9 carries. So, it’s the national game of the week when the Fighting Irish host nationally ranked and Class 6A top dog Center Grove (Greenwood) Friday.

8. Loyola Academy, Wilmette, Ill. (7-0)

Previous rank: 8.

In the Huddle: Shut out Providence Catholic (New Lenox), 40-0. The Ramblers subbed freely in the contest that got out of hand in a hurry. Sophomore RB Will Nimesheim opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 35-yard TD run and then hooked with junior QB Jack Stearney on a scoring 40-yard pass play. The Ramblers look for a 14th consecutive victory at St. Patrick (Chicago) to be played at Triton College on Friday night.

9. Jesuit, Tampa, Fla. (6-0)

Previous rank: 9.

In the Huddle: The Tigers beatCentral Catholic (Clearwater), 35-21. RB Joquez Smith scored two TDs. The district play picks up at Jefferson (Tampa) Friday.

10. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (6-1)

Previous rank: 10.

In the Huddle: Blanked South Plantation (Plantation), 62-0. The defense recorded a second straight whitewashing. Next is a revenge game against a crosstown rival No. 21 Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale) on Saturday night at FAU Stadium in nearby Boca Raton.

11. St Frances Academy, Baltimore, Md. (3-1)

Previous rank: 11.

In the Huddle: Game with Academy of the New Church (Bryn Athyn, Pa.) was cancelled. The Panthers are scheduled to play at Life Christian Academy (Chester, Va.) Friday.

12. St. Francis, Mountain View, Calif. (5-0)

Previous rank: 12.

In the Huddle: Rallied to beat Valley Christian (San Jose), 41-27. The Lancers host Archbishop Riordan (San Francisco) Friday, but the biggest game is the last of the regular season with Serra (San Mateo) on Nov. 6 will likely settle the West Catholic Athletic League championship barring any upsets.

13. St. Xavier, Cincinnati, Ohio (7-1)

Previous rank: 13.

In the Huddle: Downed rivals La Salle (Cincinnati), 49-14. QB Brogan McCaughey hit on 13-of-19 for 333 yards and three scores and RB Charles Kellom carried 23 times for 108 yards and TD runs of 1, 8 and 8 yards. The Bombers, who were upset in the previous game, raced to a 35-14 lead after one quarter and officially clinched the GCL South Division championship with a 3-0 record. Next is a trip to St. Ignatius (Cleveland) Saturday in Strongsville.

14. Brother Martin, New Orleans, La. (4-0)

Previous rank: 15.

In the Huddle: Pummeled Archbishop Rummel (Metairie), 45-14, upping its mark to 3-0 in District 9-5A play. RB Torey Lambert rushed for 126 yards and a 2-yard TD jaunt. Jahron Manning returned the second-half kickoff 89 yards for a score and Jordan Thomas tacked on a pair of TD runs. The Crusaders are back at it Friday against Archbishop Shaw (Marrero).

15. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (6-0)

Previous rank: 16.

In the Huddle: The Cadets opened their Washington Catholic Athletic Conference account, blanking Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.), 35-0. QB Wyatt Hagan tossed a 9-yard TD pass for a 7-0 lead and RBs Jamar Harris added a short scoring run to double the score in the first quarter. Now it’s time out for the Cadets to enjoy a bye weekend before resuming with a WCAC donnybrook at No. 20 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) on Oct. 22.

16. Archbishop Spalding, Severn, Md. (7-0)

Previous rank: 18.

In the Huddle: Once again the Cavaliers remained cool in a close game, turning away Pennsylvania power Malvern Prep, 31-17. The game was tied early in the fourth when RB Jordan Harris ran 16 yards for the decisive score and a 24-17 lead. It’s back to MIAA A Conference play at McDonough School (Owings Mills) Friday.

17. Chaminade-Madonna College Prep, Hollywood, Fla. (4-1)

Previous rank: 19.

In the Huddle: Game withFort Lauderdale High was cancelled. The Lions host Gulliver Prep (Miami) Friday in non-district contest.

18. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (6-1)

Previous rank: 20.

In the Huddle: Overwhelmed Legacy (North Las Vegas), 62-0. The Gaels have shut out all three of their Desert Region opponents this season. RB Jonathan Brady scored three TDs, running for two and catching another, during the rout. Sophomore TE Elija Lofton added two TDs. The Gaels entertain Palo Verde (Las Vegas) on Friday.

19. DePaul Catholic, Wayne, N.J. (5-1)

Previous rank: 21.

In the Huddle: The defense earned the props after recording six sacks and did not allow a first down until the fourth quarter in defeating Irvington (N.J.), 21-0. The Spartans scored all their points in the first half as QB A.J. Rodriguez threw a 72-yard bomb to Jadin Johnson. Backup QB Patrick Grusser scored on a 1-yard plunge and Rodriguez then hooked up with TE Jake Kucera from 27 yards to close out the scoring. The Spartans visit quickly rising Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) Friday.

20. DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, Md. (5-1)

Previous rank: 22.

In the Huddle: It was a statement game for the Stags in trouncing archrivals Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), 30-6. Freshman QB Denzel Gardner accounted for three TDs, including two in the air, in his Washington Catholic Athletic Conference debut. The WCAC schedule rolls into Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) Saturday.

21. Cardinal Gibbons, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (5-1)

Previous rank: Not ranked.

In the Huddle: What a way to enter the CAC 25 for Florida’s No. 1 team in Class 4A. The Chiefs hammered Pine Crest (Fort Lauderdale), 56-7, on homecoming. They scored 21 points in each of the opening two quarters for a 42-7 edge. Next is No. 10 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) Saturday, a team they beat a year ago. The defending FHSAA Class 5A state champions will host the game at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton.

22. Central Catholic, Pittsburgh, Pa. (4-2)

Previous rank: 17.

In the Huddle: Lost to Mount Lebanon (Pittsburgh), 35-14. The game was played over two days. Lightning delayed the proceedings on Friday with the Vikings trailing 21-7. The Vikings drop to second place in the WPIAL Class AAAAAA standings and face Hempfield (Greensburg) on Friday. The Vikings are still one of the state’s top Class AAAAAA teams and could meet Mount Lebanon in the WPIAL final in November at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

23. Joliet (Ill.) Catholic Academy (7-0)

Previous rank: Not ranked.

In the Huddle: This is one of the smaller schools enrollment wise in the CAC 25 but there is quality in all classifications of the Chicago Catholic/East Suburban Catholic Conference Blue. Last weekend, the Hilltoppers defeated Brother Rice (Chicago), 56-49, in an offensive shootout. Trailing 14-0 early, RB Jordan Anderson took over with 319 rushing yards and six TDs. The Hilltoppers next test is at Benet Academy (Lisle) Friday.

24. La Salle College, Wyndmoor, Pa. (6-1)

Previous rank: 23.

In the Huddle: Go figure. A week after seizing control of the Philadelphia Catholic League Red Division, the Explorers were upset by sub-.500 Roman Catholic (Philadelphia), 27-20. That throws a wrench into the league standings with three weeks remaining. A week off will help them refocus. Up next following the bye is Father Judge (Philadelphia) on Oct. 22.

25. St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia (3-2)

Previous rank: 25.

In the Huddle: The Hawks made the 90-minute drive south to record a 24-6 victory over Middletown (Del.) in a game televised on ESPNU. RB Blaine Bunch rushed for two scores and sophomore RB Kahseim Phillips darted 16 yards for the third TD. Antonio Chadha kicked a 38-yard field late in the second quarter goal for a 10-0 lead at the break. Coach Tim Roken’s team visits Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) in a key Philadelphia Catholic League Red Division showdown Saturday.

Dropped out: No. 14 St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) and 24 O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.).

Special Consideration: Central Catholic (Portland, Ore.);Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, Wash.);De La Salle Collegiate (Warren, Mich.); Central Catholic (Grand Rapids, Mich.);St. John’s Prep (Danvers, Mass.);St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.); Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.); Iona Prep (New Rochelle, N.Y.).); St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.);St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.); Benedictine (Cleveland, Ohio);Archbishop Hoban (Akron, Ohio); Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, Calif.);Roncalli (Indianapolis, Ind.);Saint Louis School (Honolulu, Hawaii); Serra (San Mateo, Calif.);McQuaid Jesuit (Rochester, N.Y.);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.);Nolan Catholic (Fort Worth, Texas); St. Joseph (Trumbull, Conn.);Cathedral Prep (Erie, Pa.);Aquinas Institute (Rochester, N.Y.); Catholic Memorial (West Roxbury, Mass.) 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.

CAC recently lost a great friend, brother in Christ, and representative of CAC when Strength and Conditioning Coach John McKenna of Notre Dame High School in Trenton, N.J., passed away on June 21.  Click Here to read his obituary.

“He was a leader in everything he did including his tireless promotion of our CAC High School Cathletes chapters.  His passion and enthusiasm for sports and life, or more properly stated perhaps, a sports life centered on Christ was infectious.  I will always remember Coach’s specially-made t-shirt proclaiming, ‘Jesus Christ is my superhero.'”, said CAC President and Founder Ray McKenna.   

McKenna added, “Please keep coach, his family, and our CAC family in the Diocese of Trenton in your prayers.  Everyone who had the pleasure of knowing Coach McKenna will miss him terribly.  In a world with few heroes, we just lost a great one.  We look forward to seeing Coach in heaven leading the Saints in an arduous workout.”

Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC), and its MLB and NFL ministry programs, was featured in the Arlington (Va.) Diocese’s biweekly newspaper, The Arlington Catholic Herald. The article focuses on CAC’s work coming out of the global pandemic.

Click Here to read the article.

Black History Month Focus on Buck O’Neil

February 12, 2021, 1:16 pm

In recognition of Black History Month, Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC) wishes to recognize the contributions of Buck O’Neil to baseball and, more importantly, to racial recognition, understanding, and unity.

While Buck was an excellent player, manager, coach, and scout, his eight-decade legacy in the game extends well beyond these accomplishments. O’Neil was the driving force behind the establishment of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, which is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America. The Buck O’Neil Award is given by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. to honor his legacy to the game. As such it is awarded to individuals who emulate O’Neil in exhibiting a high degree of character, integrity and dignity. Additionally, the Buck O’Neil Professional Baseball Scouts and Coaches Association was founded in his honor.

Although Buck experienced significant racial prejudice and discrimination, he never succumbed to the natural human inclination toward anger and resentment. Instead he counseled love and forgiveness while working tirelessly to right the wrongs of racial discrimination. Much like Pope Francis, he urged a greater listening to older people and their stories. All of us would be well advised to listen to the life lessons of Buck O’Neil. He was fond of saying, “Hold hands with the person next to you. That way he can’t get away and neither can you.”

CAC President/Founder Ray McKenna offers condolences on the recent passing of CAC friend and Hall of Fame Manager Tom Lasorda:

“To the entire Lasorda family, the CAC community is praying for you during this difficult time of grieving and for the repose of Tommy’s soul. Tommy was a regular attendee at CAC’s Winter Meetings Masses and regularly arranged for Dodger Stadium Catholic Masses during his time as manager. His enthusiasm for life and the Catholic Church was infectious and he will be truly missed by the Dodgers Nation and the CAC community.”

Click Here to read a recent article by John Allen on Lasorda’s passing and his Catholic faith.

CAC’s virtual 33-Day Consecration to St. Joseph was featured in the Brooklyn Diocese newspaper, The Tablet. Click here to read about the consecration.

On November 23, 2020, CRAIG STAMMEN of the San Diego Padres and CAC’s Athlete Advisory Board was honored with the eighth annual Bob Feller Act of Valor Award. The award honors the legacy of National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, who made the selfless decision to put his career in the major leagues on hold so he could serve our country. Each honoree possesses the values, integrity, and dedication to serving our country that Bob Feller himself displayed. 

CAC President and Founder Ray McKenna proudly congratulates Craig on this honor. “Craig has been a leader on and off the field, both during his time with the Washington Nationals and now as a member of the San Diego Padres. The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award recognizes Craig’s strong conviction in living out his Catholic faith with continual selfless acts as well as his dedication to our Nation’s active military personnel and their families. Congratulations to Craig, his wife Audrey, and their family.”

Originally entering Major League Baseball with the Washington Nationals in 2009, Craig has been involved with many programs that support our military during his 11-year MLB career including a tour sponsored by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in which athletes travelled to Afghanistan to thank the troops deployed there. From this experience he partnered with the United Heroes League, in the support of giving back to military families. Through his leadership and this special and strong partnership with the San Diego Padres, Craig personally provides families with a fun night at the Ballpark. Military members have gone on field to watch batting practice and meet with Craig personally and those within the San Diego baseball community.

“I’m very humbled to receive the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award. I’m thankful for the opportunity given to me by the Community Service Department of the San Diego Padres in partnership with my favorite military charity, United Heroes League, to use my platform to serve military families in San Diego. Bob Feller is a great role model and I hope to live up to his standard of service, sacrifice and commitment to making the world a better place.”

CAC’s Mike Sweeney, former five-time All-Star of the Kansas City Royals, was recently interviewed by Trent Beattie for the National Catholic Register to discuss his role in the new film “Pray” and spoke about CAC, Phillip Rivers, and CAC’s Rosary CD featuring Vin Scully.

https://www.ncregister.com/interview/mlb-all-star-mike-sweeney-talks-family-playoffs-and-new-pray-documentary

From CAC founder/president Ray McKenna, “Our dear friend and renowned MLB scout Gary Hughes passed away on Saturday. Beyond his many contributions to scouting and the game, Gary was a devout Catholic and almost always the first attendee at our annual CAC Masses at the Baseball Winter Meetings. While Gary was one of the best scouts of all time who played a key role in the signings of Rondell White, Cliff Floyd, Delino DeShields, Marquis Grissom, and even NFL great John Elway, he was an even better human being.  Our CAC MLB priest-chaplains will offer Masses for the repose of Gary’s soul this week and please keep him and his family in your prayers.” 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/columnist/bob-nightengale/2020/09/19/gary-hughes-legendary-baseball-scout-dies-79/5842048002/?fbclid=IwAR2QSoTw4puhffCnWiTYjGsdi9xO3-gMvsaciXFwiEbjW8wNL0-g0MwHwhQ

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