GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 28 St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) 6-1 at No. 42 St. Xavier (Cincinnati) 5-2, 2 p.m. Saturday
The only game this week matching two FAB 50 ranked teams certainly has poll implications.
The loser could drop out of next week’s rankings. This is because a St. Edward defeat would be its second in a row after being dominated last week by FAB 50 No. 1 Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) 38-7. A St. Xavier setback would be its third of the season and no ranked teams have three losses.
This is the sixth straight year the two Ohio powers from opposite ends of the state have played. St. Edward ended a four-game losing skid to St. Xavier last season with a 20-3 victory while rolling to a 15-0 record and the school's first-ever Division 1 state title.
The visiting Eagles have been led by junior running back Dwayne Aaron, who runs behind a massive college-sized offensive line. The host Bombers will counter with senior running back Conor Hundley, a three-year standout, and a stingy defensive unit.
St. Xavier has dropped competitive games already this season to two unbeaten foes -- FAB 50 No. 5 Trinity (Louisville, Ky.) and No. 33 Moeller (Cincinnati).
After Saturday's showdown, both teams will face more stiff tests in their very next games. St. Edward will play unbeaten FAB 50 No. 33 Moeller (Cincinnati) while St. Xavier will take on once-beaten St. Ignatius (Cleveland). St. Ignatius and St. Edward then meet in a rivalry game the following week.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Randy “Duke” Johnson, Miami Norland (Miami)
The 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior running back has led the Vikings to a 6-0 record and No. 20 spot in the FAB 50.
Last weekend, he scored the game's only touchdowns in a 14-0 win over Coral Reef (Miami, Fla.) while rushing 23 times for 194 yards, his best effort of the season. Playing in four games, he's rushed only 56 times, but has 505 yards and six scores.
With numbers like that, all signs point to him having a strong finish to the season.
For his three-year career, Johnson has rushed for over 3,500 yards, including 1,540 yards and 24 touchdowns as a sophomore. Last season, he gained 1,482 yards and 17 scores.
This Friday, the University of Miami recruit will test the defense of Southridge (Miami, Fla.) in a road game.
Lutheran (Orange, Calif.) 5-0 vs. No. 30 Servite (Anaheim, Calif.) 4-1, Friday at Cerritos College
Even though Lutheran is unbeaten and Servite has a loss, it would be an upset if Lutheran were to win. Servite’s loss is to FAB 50 No. 7 Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas and the Friars still look like they are playing at a similar level to teams that won the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division title the last two seasons.
The visiting Lancers were only 5-5 last season, but returned a bulk of their lineup and started this season as if shot from a cannon. In their first game, they took on three-time Utah state champ Bingham (South Jordan, Utah) and won easily 42-7. Although the team had a struggle to get past La Habra 30-24, this also was a team that gave Servite some trouble before the Friars prevailed 24-16.
Senior quarterback Conner Sullivan leads the Orange Lutheran offense with nearly 1,000 yards passing. In last week’s 33-13 victory against Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Sullivan completed 19 of 26 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns.
Servite’s top player is BYU-bound linebacker Butch Pauu. He was arguably the best player on the field when the Friars lost to Bishop Gorman. In addition to flying around the field on defense, Pauu also is effective on offense as a pass-catcher and blocker.
While it looks like Orange Lutheran has a chance for the upset, the Lancers lost 31-13 to the Friars last year and were beaten 45-26 the year before that.
Upset Alerts so far this season: 3-3 (with three in a row after an 0-3 start)
TEAM ON THE RISE?
Christian Brothers (St. Louis) 7-0
After allowing 49 points in the first game, an outing in which the Cadets still topped Fort Zumwalt West (O’Fallon, Mo.) 52-49, this team has tightened up the defense, continued to pile up the points and is looking like a major contender to be the top team in Missouri this season.
Coach Scott Pingel’s team began to climb in the state and regional rankings after a 52-22 triumph in the third game over DeSmet Jesuit (St. Louis), which was higher ranked at the time. Since then, Christian Brothers has not let up. Last week’s 41-7 win over Chaminade (St. Louis) followed similar wins against St. Louis University (34-7), Francis Howell (47-26) and Vianney (St. Louis) 47-15.
The key to the offense has been balance. Quarterback Dalton Demos enters this week’s game against Marquette (Chesterfield, Mo.) with 1,683 yards passing and 15 touchdowns. Running back Antonio Brown, who is beginning to get a lot of interest from Big 12 colleges, also has rushed for 694 yards with 14 touchdowns. Jonathan Parker also has run the ball well with 559 yards on just 65 carries.
Last year’s team went 10-2 with a playoff loss to Hazelwood Central (Florissant, Mo.) so this year’s team should be eager to go a lot further.