Inside the FAB 50: No. 1 team opens at last
September, 8, 2011
By Mark Tennis & Doug Huff | ESPN.com
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 6 Mission Viejo (Mission Viejo, Calif.) 1-0 at No. 1 Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) 0-0, Saturday
The Ironmen are 2-0 in games against California teams with both wins coming against De La Salle of Concord.
Mission Viejo has traveled for games before to Washington and Ohio and has never lost although one win against Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio) in 2007 was later reversed to a forfeit loss.
While the Diablos are traveling across the country, they have already played once (35-6 win over Centennial of Bakersfield, Calif.) compared to this being Don Bosco Prep’s long-awaited season opener. First game miscues are common in all levels of high school football so the Ironmen being at home could be somewhat negated.
The Ironmen start out with a 35-game winning streak and are seeking their fifth straight state title. They should be superb on defense with ends Darius Hamilton and Mike Strizak along with Yuri Wright and Elijah Shoemate in the secondary. The team’s only apparent question mark is at quarterback due to the graduation of two-year starter Gary Nova.
Mission Viejo’s offense should provide a stern test for that Don Bosco Prep defense. The Diablos can throw with quarterback Alex Bridgford (four touchdown passes last week) and they can run with USC-bound running back Jahleel Pinner. There’s also a veteran, well-coached, big and physical offensive line. If the upset happens, it’s probably because the Mission Viejo linemen have won a majority of the battles up front against the Ironmen and their own quick, strong group of linemen.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Alex Ross, Jenks (Jenks, Okla.)
The standout running back should be anxious to get on the field this week as the Trojans held him out of their season opening 54-13 win over Bixby (Bixby, Okla.) so he could heal for this week’s big Backyard Brawl rivalry matchup against Union (Tulsa, Okla.).
Before the season opener, Ross sprained his ankle in the Trojan Preview and he was a game-time decision to play in the season opener before being held out. According to the Tulsa World News, his status for the game against the Redskins is questionable while Ross himself said “probably not” when asked if he would play this week. Head coach Allan Trimble sounded a little more optimistic, telling the local newspaper, “His ankle is still sore but I’m sure he’ll play.”
Last season, the University of Oklahoma commit rushed for 1,548 yards and 27 touchdowns while also recording seven sacks on defense.
After both teams won last week, Jenks was No. 13 while Tulsa Union was No. 29 in this week’s FAB 50.
No. 42 Gilman (Baltimore) 2-0 vs. No. 11 Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) 1-0, Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Md.
This game is for bragging rights in Maryland as well as standing in the FAB 50 rankings. The top two teams in the state -- one ranked No. 1 in the Baltimore area and the other No. 1 in the Washington, D.C., area -- clash in the Patriot Classic.
Both teams are coming off impressive wins to boost their FAB 50 stock. Good Counsel debuted with a 24-17 double-overtime win over ranked Florida power Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.). Gilman won its second game 51-27 over Virginia power Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.), which had lost only two regular season games since 2004.
The ranked teams also boast two of the top recruited athletes in the land in Good Counsel's 6-foot, 185-pound wide receiver-defensive back Stefon Diggs and Gilman's 5-foot-10, 180-pound running back-defensive back Cyrus Jones. Both impressed last weekend.
The two Maryland powers met last year with Gilman prevailing 28-7. The result could be the same this year, especially with Gilman having two games under its belt and outscoring both foes by 119-36.
Upset Alerts so far this season: 0-1
TEAM ON THE RISE?
Acadiana (Acadiana, La.)
The defending Class 5A state champion is back to No. 1 in Louisiana after last year's runnerup and this year’s preseason No. 1, West Monroe (West Monroe, La.), was upset in its opener by Byrd (Shreveport, La.).
Acadiana debuted with a 36-13 victory over city rival Northside (Lafayette, La.). The Rams led 28-7 at halftime and cruised to the victory. Jeff Brown was the main offensive weapon with 17 carries for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
Acadiana, which finished last season with an on-field record of 14-1, should face an early-season test this Friday in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. A win by Acadiana over state Class 4A No. 1 St. Paul (Covington, La.) could vault the Rams into the FAB 50 picture. St. Paul debuted with an impressive 38-7 win over preseason Class 4A state No. 1 Karr (New Orleans, La.).