Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic, Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco, and Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph's made a major statement this weekend with victories over Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas and Westwood (Mass.) Xaverian Brothers, respectively.
Detractors will still point to those three teams as always being the banner carriers for the state; but each proudly waved the flag in decisive victories, and the results added to the growing level of national respect given to New Jersey.
Using a 21-point second quarter, Bergen Catholic was able to build a lead that it would not relinquish on the road against Bishop Gorman.
Second-year quarterback Jonathan Germano completed 18 of 30 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target on the night, J.J. Kulsar hauled in six receptions for 103 yards and two of the touchdown passes. Helping the team to remain balanced was James Dawson, who rushed for 102 yards and two more scores.
The victory will push Bergen Catholic from No. 28 in the last week's RivalsHigh 100 to No. 13 and will cost Bishop Gorman its spot at No. 11 as it slides back to No. 21.
Don Bosco was able to use its suffocating defense and phenomenal special teams to knock off St. Thomas Aquinas, 20-10, in a battle of former RivalsHigh 100 National Champions that have each lost a little luster from the glory years.
Don Bosco, national champions in 2009, lost its first game since 2008 last week to Baltimore (Md.) Gilman. St. Thomas Aquinas, the 2008 national champion, was 5-2 in its last seven games after having lost only two games in its previous 40.
The nationally televised game did not show much offense as neither team was able to break through with significant drives. When St. Thomas Aquinas stalled it was the Don Bosco special teams that rose, forcing four turnovers in the kicking game.
Don Bosco played a bend-but-don't-break defense, allowing 295 yards but only two scores, while it was only able to grind out 114 yards on the evening.
With the loss, St. Thomas Aquinas will drop from No. 23 to outside of the poll, while Don Bosco will remain steady at its No. 67 position that it held last week.
St. Joseph's was able to do everything that it wanted to do in a 62-0 victory over Xaverian Brothers.
New Jersey has owned the relationship with Massachusetts in recent seasons, but the lopsided victory was as much a statement that the Green Knights may be ready to take the next step within their own state as well as nationally.
St. Joseph's scored 28 points in the first quarter of the contest and did not look back.
Junior quarterback Spencer Aukamp was 9-of-12 for 188 yards and two scores in his first half of action, and Ricky Jeune caught six passes for 81 yards and a touchdown.
The trio of victories will put season-opening losses by Don Bosco to Gilman and St. Joseph's to Olney (Md.) Good Counsel fast in the rearview and be major points of evaluation as the season continues.
BATTLE AT THE TOP: The most important part of the RivalsHigh 100 to many is which team is sitting on the top line. And following a stunning 22-7 loss by last week's No. 1 Loganville (Ga.) Grayson to Lilburn (Ga.) Parkview, there is one less contender to worry about.
Taking over the top spot this week will be River Ridge (La.) John Curtis, which was No. 2 last week.
Curtis has wins over Covington (La.) St. Paul's and Tampa (Fla.) Plant already this season, and it won 34-7 over Cohen (La.) East St. John this week.
The No. 1 team from the preseason, Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita will move to the No. 2 spot after a 72-0 victory over Carson.
The top teams from power states South Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Georgia round out the next four spots, followed by Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee, Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes, Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius, and Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County to fill out the Top 10. All are all threats to win a national title with undefeated seasons.
MOVING IN: For the third consecutive week, the national rankings will welcome a team with a spot inside the Top 40 as Norcross (Ga.) High jumps to the No. 4 spot in the state and No. 39 in the RivalsHigh 100.
Norcross benefited from the victory of Lilburn (Ga.) Parkview over Loganville (Ga.) Grayson because it holds a 20-0 win over Parkview just last week. The program won a 31-21 decision over Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett this week which also boosted its entry point as North Gwinnett was a team being considered for rankings as well with its season-opening victory over Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County.
North Gwinnet, Colquitt County, Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes, and Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek were four of the 20 teams that were just outside of the national rankings this week, and all could join the national list.
Norcross is joined this week by Parkview, Mesquite (Texas) High, Arlington (Texas) Bowie, Richmond (Vir.) Hermitage, Exton (Pa.) Downingtown East, Indianapolis (Ind.) Ben Davis, Lakeland (Fla.) High, Gardena (Calif.) Serra, Picayune (Miss.) High, Olive Branch (Miss.) High, and Eden Prairie (Minn.) High in the RivalsHigh 100.
ON THE SLIDE: This is a situation that will not change on the season as the state of Oklahoma is tied to the state of Texas and what happens to one will happen to the other.
This week, Tulsa (Okla.) Union and Jenks (Okla.) High were on the receiving end of bad news when Euless (Texas) Trinity fell to DeSoto (Texas) High, 42-21.
In the ever-flawed but still pervasive world of transitive football properties, Trinity defeated Union and Union defeated Jenks. The results will ensure that both stay behind Trinity as the season moves forward until the playoffs.
Union, which actually won a game of interest against Broken Arrow (Okla.) High, dropped from No. 50 to No. 74 with Trinity's setback.
Jenks, which also defeated a quality Owasso (Okla.) High program, held steady at No. 90.
Broken Arrow (Okla.) High was No. 92 entering the week but fell from the rankings with its defeat.
CHANGES AT THE TOP: Each week the RivalsHigh 100 reformulates the poll from the ground up, and a ranking earned one week can change the next depending on performance.
Top-ranked teams in four states this week got jumped by others despite winning their contests on the field.
Carmel (Ind.) High was leapfrogged by Indianapolis (Ind.) Ben Davis this week despite a 63-0 victory over Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence North. The two both settled into the high-80s with Ben Davis claiming the No. 88 position and Carmel falling back from No. 86 to No. 89. The two will settle this situation on the field in the last regular season game of the year, Oct. 12 at Carmel.
Eden Prairie (Minn.) High jumped over Plymouth (Minn.) Wayzata in spite of a 55-6 victory by Wayzata against Plymouth (Minn.) Robbinsdale Armstrong. Eden Prairie has been closing the gap in evaluations each week and broke through this week with a 49-12 victory over Circle Pines (Minn.) High. Like in Indiana, the two will meet on the field at the end of the season when Eden Prairie playing host to Wayzata on Oct. 17.
Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller fell from No. 16 to No. 20 nationally despite a quality win over Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier and was passed by Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius which went from No. 17 to No. 5 after blanking Erie (Pa.) Strong Vincent, 40-0.
Moeller has a sound resume with victories over Baltimore (Md.) Gilman, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian, and St. Xavier. It will have its chance to advance with one of the tougher remaining schedules in the country.
St. Ignatius has victories over Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle, and Mentor (Ohio). If the two were to meet on the field it would be in the state finals, likely for a spot in the national Top 10.
Texas saw Katy (Texas) High go from No. 19 to No. 5 in the nation and jump over Austin (Texas) Lake Travis which fell from No. 10 to No. 16 this week.
Katy used a dominating 63-10 victory over The Woodland (Texas) High, while Lake Travis escaped with a narrow 28-24 victory over a quality Round Rock (Texas) Westwood team. The two could meet in the Texas 5A Division II playoffs, which would be a dream matchup for high school football fans.
KEEP AN EYE ON ... : … how Southern California sorts itself out a little this weekend.
There are currently two Southern California teams inside the Top 15 nationally, and both will be taking on ranked teams this coming week. No. 2 Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita takes on No. 70 Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure, and No. 14 Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne squares off with No. 93 Gardena (Calif.) Serra.
The new format in California will have the best teams in each region battling to go to the state bowl games, and these are two major separation games in a weekly battle among the best in the state.
Already this season St. Bonaventure defeated Corona (Calif.) Centennial, and this past week Centennial defeated Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany, making some of the decisions on the selections committee easier. But this week will be another separation week.
ON HIS SHOULDERS: On his birthday, Aloha (Ore.) High running back Thomas Tyner piled up 643 yards and 10 touchdowns on 38 carries.
Aside from the astronomical 17 yards per carry and seven scores of 40 yards or more, Tyner pushed his team to the fringe of the RivalsHigh 100 during the third-greatest rushing performance in high school football history.
Aloha has been nationally ranked in the past and could fight for a spot again this year as it is currently behind Portland (Ore.) Jesuit and Lake Oswego (Ore.) High in the pecking order. But with a talent like Tyner, the sky is the limit.
Aloha will take on Jesuit on Oct. 19 and would have to go through Lake Oswego to win a state title.
Tyner, a former Rivals.com five-star player, is looking to rush his way back to a fifth star and push his team to a title while he is on campus.
ON TAP THIS WEEK: After three weeks of major out-of-state battles, the slate of games takes a bit of a rest in mid-September as only four games will be played with both teams being ranked inside the RivalsHigh 100.
The quartet of games does not have a signature matchup, but the highest-ranked battle will be between No. 2 Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita and No. 70 Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure.
The other three games will pit No. 13 Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic with No. 69 Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph's; No. 14 Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne and No. 93 Gardena (Calif.) Serra; and No. 20 Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller against No. 58 Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier.