One of the most amazing running backs we’ve ever covered is Maurice Jones-Drew from De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), now popularly known as MJD as a star in the NFL.
While Pittsburgh Central Catholic (Pittsburgh), the No. 13 team in the POWERADE FAB 50, doesn’t have MJD on the roster, the Vikings do have DJM, as in Damion Jones-Moore.
Jones-Moore is actually built a bit like Jones-Drew, at 5-foot-7 and 180 pounds. The senior running back may have saved his best games for the end of his four-year career playing for coach Terry Totten.
Last weekend, in a 31-14 playoff win over Mount Lebanon (Pittsburgh), the University of Toledo recruit ran 31 times for a career-best 302 yards and three touchdowns. The outburst pushed his season total to 1,637 yards on 162 carries for a sparkling 10.1 per carry average. He also has scored 32 touchdowns and 192 points for the undefeated 11-win team. Thanks to his strong recent play he's been tabbed as the POWERADE FAB 50 Spotlight Player of the Week.
Jones-Moore will seek to continue his offensive production on Friday in a Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) Class 4A semifinal game against 10-1 Upper St. Clair (Pa.).
FAB 50 FIRST FOR THIS WEEK'S RANKINGS
In the three years in which there has been a vote of five panelists to determine each week’s rankings, there has been at least one tie and often times as many as five or six in a given week.
We admit that some ties are broken by the last voter each week changing a position on his ballot to break it. The usual way the ties are broken, however, is to simply list the school that is higher on more ballots than the other school.
This week, once all of the votes were compiled, no tie-breaking was required. All 50 teams fell into place exactly according to their point totals and we can’t remember if that has ever happened before.
Part of the reason there are ties is that each voter seems to have a favorite team that he likes a lot more than the four other voters. This week, the favorites included Doug Huff with No. 45 Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Ill.) at No. 38 on his ballot, Jim McCormick and Kynon Codrington with No. 41 Buford (Buford, Ga.) at No. 38 on their ballots, Brian Stumpf with No. 43 Longview (Longview, Texas) at No. 30 on his ballot and Mark Tennis with No. 15 Gaffney (Gaffney, S.C.) at No. 13 on his ballot.
RISING NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
No. 48 Union (Tulsa, Okla.)
When the Redskins lost their only game 41-38 on Oct. 7 against Owasso (Owasso, Okla.), they fell out of the FAB 50, which for the next week included no Oklahoma teams for the first time since the 50-team format began in 1999.
Coach Kirk Fridrich’s team is back after two impressive outings – a 35-0 win over Stillwater (Stillwater, Okla.) and a 49-14 victory over Southmoore (Moore, Okla.) in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
Union is going for its third straight state title and has already beaten two of the state’s top teams. The Redskins beat Jenks (Jenks, Okla.) 41-19 in the annual Backyard Brawl and the next week topped Broken Arrow (Broken Arrow, Okla.) 21-14.
With quarterback Hunter Atyia returning (he was hurt in the loss to Owasso), Union looked to be in playoff mode in last week’s game against Southmoore. The team plays Edmond North (Edmond, Okla.) in this week’s quarterfinals. A year ago, the Redskins defeated Edmond North in the same round 58-17.
LOOKING AHEAD: THANKSGIVING WEEKEND
The upcoming Thanksgiving weekend could be a showcase for some FAB 50 teams.
Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.), the No. 1 overall team, will visit rival St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.) in an annual Thanksgiving Day game on Thursday.
No other current FAB 50 ranked teams are scheduled for Thanksgiving Day games, which have been drastically reduced in recent years because of state playoffs.
However, three East Region ranked teams on the FAB 50 “bubble" are set for Thursday holiday games.
In Massachusetts, Everett plays Cambridge Rindge & Latin (Cambridge, Mass.). In Connecticut, Xavier visits city rival Middletown. While in New Jersey, Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) plays Paramus Catholic (Paramus, N.J.).
Elsewhere, state championships on Thanksgiving weekend in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Arizona could all feature current FAB 50 ranked teams. The list includes No. 12 Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.); No. 22 Carmel (Carmel, Ind.); No. 37 Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.); No. 38 Christian Brothers (St. Louis); No. 45 Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Ill.) and No. 47 Detroit Catholic Central (Novi, Mich.).