We updated our statewide MIAA Top 25 football poll this morning. To view it, CLICK HERE.
A few notes and observations about this week's poll:
Everett back at No. 1
The Everett Crimson Tide's reign outside of the top spot in the state was very short-lived. After finishing No. 1 in the state the last three seasons, the Tide came into 2013 in the No. 2 spot. But by virtue of St. John's Prep's upset at the hands of Bridgewater-Raynham on Saturday, Everett takes back the top spot in the land.
But it wasn't exactly peaches and cream for the Tide, either. In their season-opener against No. 6 Springfield Central on Friday, they had to rally in the second half to escape with victory, thanks to a nifty touchdown catch from Mike Lopes. It was a rusty start, and the road won't get any easier this week for the Tide, who host No. 15 Xaverian on Friday.
A number of preseason Top 25 selections fell victim to upsets last weekend. Preseason No. 12 selection Barnstable took the biggest drop, falling all the way out of the Top 25 after getting scorched 37-9 by previously-unranked Dennis-Yarmouth, which comes in at No. 17 this week. Meanwhile Longmeadow (Preseason No. 17), BC High (19) and Needham (21) all fell out of the poll following losses to Agawam, North Attleborough and Westwood, respectively.
Big, Bold Statements
On a national level, No. 3 Mansfield made one of the biggest statements for the Bay State in years, taking down three-time defending Maryland state champs Dunbar, 29-26, on their own turf in Baltimore. On a state level, Bridgewater-Raynham made quite the statement in knocking off previous No. 1 St. John's Prep, going up 20-0 at the half and holding on for the win. With the win, B-R moves up six spots to No. 4 while Prep falls four spots to No. 5.
Elsewhere, was there any team in Western Mass. making a bigger statement than Westfield? The Bombers thrashed Amherst 60-14 -- the most points they've scored since putting up 64 on Thanksgiving in the late 1990's -- behind 183 yards and three touchdowns from fullback Ben Geschwind. For their efforts, Westfield debuts this week at No. 21.
MVC Makes It Four
Tewksbury (19) and Haverhill (23) make their debuts in the poll this week, making it a record four teams represented from the Merrimack Valley Conference, joining Lowell (10) and Central Catholic (15). Tewksbury, an MVC Small favorite, makes its debut following a convincing 27-6 win over Chelmsford led by running backs James Sullivan and Eddie Matovu. Haverhill makes a first-ever appearance following a thrilling 21-19 win over Beverly, paced by sophomore Ian Kessel's 140 yards and three TDs on 33 carries.
Here's how the poll breaks down this week by division:
Div. 1 - 7
Div. 2 - 11
Div. 3 - 4
Div. 4 - 2
Div. 5 - 1
Div. 6 - 1