High-SchoolFootball: FAB 50 Football

Inside the FAB 50: Hamilton's QB leads the way

October, 25, 2011
Although the Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) football team was not able to move up in this week’s FAB 50, remaining at No. 19, the Huskies did move up on another list as they now claim the longest active winning streak in the nation.

Hamilton has been fueled for much of the season by quarterback Blake Kemp, who had another strong outing last weekend and has been chosen as this week’s POWERADE FAB 50 Spotlight Player of the Week.

Hamilton extended its win streak to 49 games with a 44-14 triumph against Basha (Chandler, Ariz.). That streak became the nation’s longest when previous FAB 50 ranked Phoebus (Hampton, Va.) had its win streak snapped at 52 by Woodside (Newport News, Va.).

Kemp sparked the offense against Basha with 241 yards passing and two touchdowns. He also scored once himself on the ground.

It’s the type of outing that has been critical for Hamilton to keep winning, especially since Kemp has replaced graduated standout Kyren Poe. The 6-foot-2, 204-pound senior is nearing 2,000 yards passing for the season with 1,816 and also has accounted for 15 touchdowns.


There are three teams in this week’s FAB 50 in football that also appeared in the preseason FAB 50 for boys basketball, which were released last week.

Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) leads the pack as the Gaels are starting out in boys hoops in the same No. 7 slot that they’ve settled into for football.

Trinity (Louisville, Ky.) is even higher than Bishop Gorman in football at No. 5, but the Shamrocks just made it in basketball with a preseason No. 50 ranking.

The third team is De La Salle (Concord, Calif.). The Spartans are No. 24 in football this week and were slotted at No. 35 for preseason basketball.

FAB 50 football No. 25 DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas) doesn’t have a boys hoops counterpart that was in the preseason FAB 50, but the Eagles were No. 10 in the preseason Midlands Region rankings.

It’s also notable that No. 25 preseason boys hoops team Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) is starting the Utah state football playoffs at 10-0 and is No. 14 in this week’s West Region rankings.


No. 46 Centreville (Clifton, Va.)

The Wildcats join the FAB 50 for the first time this week, but may not have long to savor the accomplishment. Centreville tackles unbeaten Concorde League rival Westfield (Chantilly, Va.) Friday night in a late-season showdown between two of the state's top-ranked teams.

Centreville took over the top Virginia ranking, and gained a FAB 50 spot, when three-time defending Class AAA champion Phoebus (Hampton, Va.) had its record 52-game win streak halted by Woodside (Newport News, Va.) last week.

Centreville's offense has scored at least 38 points in the last seven games but Westfield's defense hasn't allowed more than 14 points in eight wins. The Wildcat attack is anchored by senior quarterback Mitch Ferrick and junior running back Marcel Smith. Ferrick has passed for 776 yards and 12 scores while Smith has rushed for 983 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The Wildcat defense is anchored by the team's top college prospect in senior end Ken Ekanem (6-3, 230), who also doubles as a tight end on offense. He's been offered by several Division 1 colleges.


When teams exit the FAB 50 rankings, it may not be a permanent situation. In fact, several teams have lost games to force an exit but have returned to the national rankings with a major win or a turnaround later in their seasons.

For example, defending Ohio Division 1 champion St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) returned to the list this week at No. 48 after knocking off previous FAB 50 member Moeller (Cincinnati). St. Edward dropped out after suffering back-to-back setbacks to FAB 50 No. 1 Don Bosco (Ramsey, N.J.) and No. 40 St. Xavier (Cincinnati).

Other teams that have returned to the FAB 50 this season include No. 49 Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.); No. 31 Gilman (Baltimore); No. 32 Butler (Matthews, N.C.), and No. 45 Miami Central (Miami, Fla.).

Among other teams that have been knocked out of the FAB 50 this season that seem to have good chances to return include Detroit Catholic Central (Novi, Mich.); Tulsa Union (Tulsa, Okla.); Jenks (Jenks, Okla.); Centennial (Corona, Calif.); Lincoln (Tallahassee, Fla.); Colerain (Cincinnati); Daphne (Daphne, Ala.); and Hoover (Hoover, Ala.).

Inside the FAB 50: Oklahoma teams missing for the first time ever

October, 11, 2011
Since the FAB 50 concept for national high school football rankings began in 1999, there has been an Oklahoma team listed every week in every season. That’s more a testament to the dominance of the programs at Union (Tulsa, Okla.) and Jenks (Jenks, Okla.), but in this week’s FAB 50 neither school is ranked and no other school from Oklahoma is mentioned, either.

Jenks dropped out of the FAB 50 due to a lopsided 41-19 loss to Union earlier this season. Then this week, the Redskins had to fall out after dropping a 41-38 contest to two-loss Owasso (Owasso, Okla.).

It’s hard to determine if Oklahoma’s absence in the high school national rankings is similar to Florida as a state being left completely out of this week’s Associated Press top 25 for college football for the first time since Dec. 6, 1982. It might be close, however.

Even before Union and Jenks became dominant programs in the mid-1990s, Oklahoma has always seemed to have unbeaten highly-ranked teams. Midwest City had back-to-back top 10 nationally ranked teams in 1994 and 1995 while Eisenhower of Lawton was No. 3 in the nation in 1990.

Other significant states that currently have no teams in the FAB 50 are:

Arkansas – Look for Bentonville (6-0) to break in very soon, however.

Hawaii – Both traditional powers St. Louis of Honolulu and Kahuku have fallen off in recent years.

Mississippi – This state was home last year to South Panola of Batesville, which was No. 2 in the final FAB 50 rankings.

Missouri – The loss by Rockhurst (Kansas City) last week to Jefferson City caused the Hawklets to go out while not enough other teams lost for Jefferson City to go in.

New York – It’s never been known for football and top teams from New York have tended not to fare well in games against teams from other states.

Wisconsin -- Both defending D-1 (Waukesha West) and D-2 (Waunakee) champions are in Midwest Region rankings and one could emerge later when the smoke clears.

Here is the rest of this week’s edition of Inside the FAB 50:


Landon Collins, Dutchtown (Geismar, La.)

The 6-foot, 205-pound senior was rated as Louisiana's top college prospect entering the season as a touted defensive safety.

This fall, however, Collins has emerged as an all-around player after leading the offensive unit in rushing and scoring while the Griffins won their first six games and have joined the FAB 50 this week at No. 47.

Last weekend, he rushed only 12 times but gained 156 yards and scored two touchdowns in a 48-14 win over St. Amant (St. Amant, La.). It also pushed the Griffins’ record to 6-0.

This Friday, he will lead the state's top-ranked team against East Ascension (Gonzales, La.).

Meanwhile, Collins has listed five colleges for official recruiting visits -- Alabama, LSU, Florida, Tennessee and Texas. He plans to announce his choice in January.


No. 16 Miramar (Miramar, Fla.)

The unbeaten Patriots earned a FAB 50 ranking spot the old-fashioned way last weekend by upending previous No. 2 ranked and defending FAB 50 champion St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 27-20 in overtime.

That win vaulted Miramar from the Southeast Region bubble into the national list for the first time since 2009 when the Patriots capped a 14-1 record with a state title. That 2009 team also earned a victory over St. Thomas Aquinas.

The current group of Patriots, coached by former West Virginia University linebacker Damon Cogdell, is led by a stiff defensive unit that allowed only two touchdowns prior to last week's win. A balanced offensive attack led by quarterback Cameron Hudge, who has passed for 908 yards and nine scores, also has been a factor.

After the stunning upset over their backyard rival, Miramar hopes to continue the momentum with a home game Friday vs. Boyd Anderson (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.).


With numerous games shown on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU each season, part of the process in selecting which teams to feature is to begin the previous season.

For example, we can already identify several squads loaded with top underclassmen this season that will be considered to have games aired nationally next season.

A final list won’t come until later, depending on how these teams finish up in their various state playoffs, but here’s a few on the radar:

Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) – One good thing about Florida-bound running back Matt Jones being out for the early games is that a number of younger players stepped up and performed well. Junior wide receiver/quarterback Alvin Bailey also is a major talent.

Butler (Matthews, N.C.) – Quarterback Riley Ferguson will be back for his senior season, along with several other talented players.

Trinity (Louisville, Ky.) – The Shamrocks are on pace to be in the top five of this year’s final rankings and may be even better in 2012 with big-time receiver James Quick and quarterback Travis Wright among those expected to return.

Santa Margarita (Rancho SM, Calif.) – Coach Harry Welch loses highly touted tackle Max Tuerk, but just about everybody else will be back next season. This year’s team starts this week No. 3 in California and No. 44 in the FAB 50.

POWERADE FAB 50 Weekend Primer

September, 1, 2011
Game of the Week

No. 8 Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.) 0-0 at No. 19 Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) 0-0, Friday Sept. 2.
For the second straight year, both FAB 50 ranked teams will open with inter-sectional showdowns. Last year, Manatee played its first-ever out-of-state game when the Hurricanes traveled to Pittsburgh and defeated host Woodland Hills. Good Counsel also won its opener on the road against host St. Xavier of Cincinnati.

Manatee competed last weekend in a preseason jamboree and scored late to defeat American Heritage (Delray Beach, Fla.) 20-14. The Hurricanes are led by junior quarterback Cord Sandberg, a standout last season for the Class 5A state semifinalist and one of the top underclass candidates for Mr. Football USA. Manatee is coached by Joe Kinnan, who is in his second tour at the helm after guiding the Hurricanes to four state titles in 10 years during the 1980s.

Good Counsel, coached by Bob Milloy, Maryland's all-time winningest coach in his 40th season, also has a candidate for Mr. Football USA in senior Stefon Diggs. He can play several skill positions, including wide receiver, running back, defensive back and kick returner. He can be a game-breaker on both sides of the ball.

Player to Watch

Colin Thompson, Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.)
Ranked the nation's No. 1 tight end in the Class of 2012 by ESPNU, the 6-foot-4, 255-pounder will be a featured player in Sunday afternoon's FAB 50 intra-state showdown vs. Pittsburgh Central Catholic (Pittsburgh) at Gateway High School in Monroeville, Pa. Kickoff is 2 p.m. for the ESPN2 televised game matching FAB 50 No. 22 Central Catholic vs. No. 46 Archbishop Wood.

The University of Florida recruit is one of six NCAA Division 1 recruits on the Archbishop Wood roster as the Class AAA state contender from Eastern Pennsylvania tackles the Class AAAA power from Western Pa. Thompson, a two-way lineman and senior team captain, is rated a top blocking tight end with good hands and running skills. The versatile athlete also has seen playing time at fullback and in the slot for the top-ranked team in the Philadelphia area.

Upset Alert

No. 36 Bellevue (Bellevue, Wash.) 0-0 vs. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.) 0-0, Saturday at Mission Viejo (Mission Viejo, Calif.)
While Bellevue is in the FAB 50 and Oaks Christian is not, it wouldn’t be much of an upset if the Lions were to win. This matchup is the best of a five-game set being billed as the Mission Viejo Football Classic. The host school, FAB 50 No. 6 Mission Viejo, plays on Friday night against Centennial (Bakersfield, Calif.).

Both teams are coming off championship seasons. Bellevue (13-1) won its third straight Class 3A state title, while Oaks Christian (12-2) won the CIF Southern Section Northern Division crown. Bellevue brings its well-oiled Wing-T offense to California for the first time. The Wolverines have a 3-1 record in games held in Washington against California teams. They were 3-0 (including the win in 2004 that broke Concord De La Salle’s 151-game national record win streak) before losing two years ago to Grant of Sacramento.

Oaks Christian played in Washington on the same weekend two years ago when Bellevue lost to Grant and defeated Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.) The Lions are now completely done with the famous sons being on the roster with the graduations of Trevor Gretzky and Trey Smith, but they figure to remain firmly in the spotlight as one of the top programs in the state. This year’s team has some rebuilding to do with the front seven on defense and up front on offense. The skill positions, however, still look loaded with USC-bound receiver Payton Jordan, two-way standout Ishmael Adams, transfer quarterback Luke Falk and linebacker-running back Carlos Mendoza leading the way. Bellevue will try to spring running back Latrelle Dukes for big gains while other players to watch include defensive back Tyler Hasty, and 6-foot-5, 295-pound offensive tackle Jake Eldrenkamp.

Team on the rise?

Stephenville (Stephenville, Texas) 1-0
Led by 2010 ESPNHS Mr. Football USA Johnathan Gray, Aledo (Aledo, Texas) entered the season with a 29-game winning streak and high expectations for a third straight state title. That winning streak, however, was snapped in dramatic fashion last weekend by Stephenville in the season opener for both squads.

Trailing by as many as 17 points at two different points of the game, the Yellow Jackets rallied behind the arm of junior Brice Gunter, who completed 20 of 24 pass attempts for 224 yards and three touchdowns while also running for a score after entering for injured starter Connor Washington. Leading 48-47 with seconds remaining, junior cornerback Preston Brown blocked Aledo’s game-winning field goal attempt with no time remaining but a roughing the kicker penalty gave the Bearcats a second attempt which Brown also blocked. Aiavon Edwards also rushed for 223 yards in the win for Stephenville, which will now head to Abilene to take on Wylie in this week’s game.

The Yellow Jackets also should now become fans of the Bearcats as they will take on FAB 50 No. 39 Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) on Sept. 9. A win by Aledo in that game would definitely help the Yellow Jackets move up the rankings as long as they also continue to win.