High-SchoolFootball: Lakewood St. Edward

Weekend FAB 50 Football Primer

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
2:22
AM ET
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.

UPSET ALERT

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.
BRONX, N.Y. — When you’re playing an elite team, you’ve got to take advantage of every opportunity you can get.

St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) certainly had its chances early on in its matchup with POWERADE FAB 50 No. 1 Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) on Saturday night. In fact, the Eagles, who came in at No. 6 in the POWERADE FAB 50, had the ball twice in Don Bosco territory on their first two drives of the game.

But St. Edward came away empty on each drive, and the Ironmen responded with a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter en route to a surprisingly easy 38-7 win at Jack Coffey Field on the campus of Fordham University.

It was the 40th consecutive victory for Don Bosco (5-0) and its third win over a FAB 50 team this season. Meanwhile, St. Edward (6-1) had its 21-game winning streak halted.

“No doubt those stops were huge,” said Don Bosco coach Greg Toal. “I thought we made them one-dimensional, and when they’re one-dimensional, we could get after their pass a little bit. Thank God we could stuff the run; I think everything started from there.”

Things looked promising for the Eagles when senior Kirkland Bryant returned the opening kickoff 53 yards to the Don Bosco 44. They couldn’t capitalize, however, as the Ironmen forced a three-and-out. Once the Ironmen got the ball, they methodically marched 80 yards on 12 plays, capped by 1-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Jabrill Peppers.

“The offense had to just keep staying on them, keep pressing and keep pressing,” said Peppers. “And we broke ‘em.”

St. Edward failed to gain any yards on its next three plays, but senior Anthony Young kept the drive alive with a 32-yard run off a fake punt. But Don Bosco junior lineman Razohnn Gross stopped the Eagles’ momentum by sacking St. Edward junior quarterback Ryan Fallon on third down.

The Ironmen then went 70 yards in only 1:21 as senior Elijah Shumate pushed the score to 14-0 with a 9-yard run. Bosco senior quarterback Mike Yankovich connected on all seven of his passes in the first quarter for 100 yards, while senior wide receiver Leonte Carroo hauled in four passes for 43 yards.

Any thoughts of St. Edward gaining any momentum back ended on the Eagles’ first drive of the second quarter when Gross crushed Fallon from behind, forcing a fumble that Don Bosco senior defensive end Mike Strizak returned 40 yards for the score.

St. Edward cut the lead to 21-7 on a 6-yard pass from Fallon to senior Quincy Jones with 4:42 remaining in the half. But the Ironmen pushed the lead to 28-7 with a 1-yard run by Peppers with 25 seconds left. Peppers set up the score by picking off Fallon and returning it 23 yards to the St. Edward 2-yard line.

Peppers added his third 1-yard touchdown run of the game on the first play of the fourth and finished with 38 yards on the ground, while Yankovich completed 15-of-20 passes for 165 yards.

Meanwhile, St. Edward, which faces POWERADE FAB 50 No. 42 St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio) next Saturday, got 68 rushing yards from junior running back Dwayne Aaron and 61 receiving yards from Jones.

“A loss like this makes you look in the mirror and figure out what you have to do to be No. 1, to be where Don Bosco is at,” said St. Edward coach Rick Finotti.

Don Bosco is off next week and will play Passaic County Tech (Wayne, N.J.) on Oct. 21. But don’t think the Ironmen will lose any focus, even with their brutal out-of-state schedule now complete.

“We’ll be back at it,” said Yankovich. “The coaches will be after us and we’ll be preparing. We’re going to close this out the right way.”

What It Means for Next Week’s FAB 50
What stands out from this game is the margin of victory by Don Bosco against a defending Division I state champion from Ohio, which is a major football state. This was the last of the major state vs. state games and it shows again how hard it is for the visiting team to win in these contests. However, earlier in the season, Bosco was on the road against nationally ranked Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.) and won. And this victory adds to Bosco’s growing list of impressive wins against national opponents. Meanwhile, though St. Edward lost to the No. 1 team in the nation, the margin of victory will probably drop the Eagles to the 20s.

Mark Tennis contributed to this report

Weekend FAB 50 Football Primer

October, 6, 2011
10/06/11
12:13
AM ET
GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 1 Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) 4-0 vs. No. 6 St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) 6-0, 6 p.m., Saturday at Fordham University (Bronx, N.Y.)

The featured third game of a high school tripleheader Saturday at Fordham University will have major POWERADE FAB 50 ranking implications.

Don Bosco, the 2009 FAB 50 champion, has been No. 1 since the preseason and enters the showdown with a 39-game win streak after losing the 2008 season opener to another Ohio foe, St. Xavier (Cincinnati), 17-10.

The Ironmen already this season have defeated two teams that ranked in the preseason top 10 -- No. 5 Mission Viejo (Mission Viejo, Calif.) and No. 6 Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.). They also are seeking their sixth straight Non-Public Group 4 state championship under coach Greg Toal.

The Ironmen are led on offense by running back Elijah Shumate while lineman Darius Hamilton is a force on a veteran defensive unit.

St. Edward, meanwhile, is riding a 21-game win streak after posting a 15-0 mark last season while winning the Eagles' first-ever Division 1 state crown.

The Eagles have a clock-eating ground attack that runs behind a massive line anchored by University of Michigan recruit Kyle Kalis. Junior Dwayne Aaron leads the rushers and had 35 carries for 155 yards and one touchdown in last week’s game.

After this showdown, the Eagles will have to turn their attention to three in-state tests, including those against FAB 50 ranked foes St. Xavier (Cincinnati) and unbeaten Moeller (Cincinnati) plus rival St. Ignatius (Cleveland), which has lost just once so far.

The first two games of the tripleheader pit Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) vs. Friendship Collegiate Academy (Washington, D.C.) and St. Peter's (Jersey City, N.J.) vs. Ursuline (Youngstown, Ohio).

PLAYER TO WATCH

Jonathan Williams, Allen (Allen, Texas)

One of the top running backs in Texas, Williams could be becoming more oKf a focus in Allen’s multi-faceted offense.

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior entered the season as part of a 1-2 punch with junior quarterback Alec Morris. In Allen’s first four games, though, it was Morris (committed to Alabama) who was piling up the passing yards and touchdowns. In last week’s 45-13 win over Lewisville (Lewisville, Texas), Williams took center stage with 233 yards rushing and one score.

Williams, Morris and the rest of the 5-0 Eagles, who are No. 3 in the FAB 50, will be on display Thursday night in an ESPN2 matchup against 2-3 Plano East (Plano, Texas).

Williams, who has committed to Missouri, rushed for 2,078 yards and scored 19 touchdowns as a junior. He also caught 17 passes for another 174 yards and one score. He is one of those combo backs who can break tackles running inside and has the speed to go outside.

UPSET ALERT

Hillgrove (Powder Springs, Ga.) at No. 33 McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.), 7:30 p.m., Friday

This game is to see which team has the most power in Powder Springs as the two rivals are off to 5-0 record starts.

It’s also a chance, however, for Hillgrove to make a rankings' statement since the Hawks are unranked in the FAB 50 or the Class AAAA top 10 for the state.

The two teams have only played once. It happened last season when McEachern won 64-48 in a shootout and went on to post a 10-2 record.

Hillgrove is led this season by Kenyan Drake, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound running back and University of Alabama recruit. Last week, in a 21-14 victory over rival Harrison (Kennesaw, Ga.), Drake scored twice on a rush and a pass reception.

McEachern, meanwhile, belted South Cobb (Austell, Ga.) 45-7 last weekend. Quarterback Trent Thompson passed for 254 yards and three touchdowns and Mike Sherman rushed 16 times for 132 yards.

The matchup of unbeaten city rivals could be another offensive shootout.

Upset Alerts so far this season: 2-3

TEAM ON THE RISE?

Centennial (Peoria, Ariz.) 5-0

When last seen in the FAB 50 during the 2009 season, the Coyotes had climbed all the way to No. 5 and were riding a 39-game winning streak. They were then stunned in the Class 5A Division II state semifinals by Marcos de Niza (Tempe, Ariz.).

This year’s team remained unbeaten with a 21-7 victory last week against Ironwood Ridge (Glendale, Ariz.) and has been ranked higher within the state than Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.), the team Centennial lost to in last year’s playoffs.

Although Chaparral’s loss was to FAB 50 No. 9 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) and arguably should still be ranked higher, there’s no doubt that the Coyotes are continuing their winning ways after going 14-0, 13-1 and 12-2 in the last three seasons.

Heading into a showdown game Thursday at 6-0 Deer Valley (Glendale, Ariz.), coach Richard Taylor’s team features quarterback Justin Sanchez (902 yards passing, 10 TDs) and junior running back Jalen Ortiz (560 yards rushing, eight TDs scored). The top college prospect on the team is fullback-strong safety Zach Hoffpauir (6-0, 210), who has committed to Cal.

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