High-SchoolNew-Jersey: FOOTBALL Weekly Rankings

Final New Jersey football rankings: Don Bosco Prep is No. 1

December, 5, 2011
There's no need for a playoff or BCS in this year's high school football campaign; Don Bosco Prep is the clear No. 1. The Ironmen cemented their claim on the top spot with a 42-14 win in the against Bergen Catholic in this weekend's Non-Public, Group 4 title. The outcome marked the Ironmen's sixth straight state title and second POWERADE FAB 50 national crown in the three years.

The defense led the way in the finale, intercepting four passes and racking up seven sacks. RB/DB Elijah Shumate scored twice and had a pick-six in his final high school game.

*North Bergen also made it a memorable season, knocking off previously unbeaten Montclair on the final play of the North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 title. Debray Tavarez pulled down a 22-yard touchdown pass as time expired to give the Bruins their first title and coach Vin Ascolese a win in the final game of his 50-year coaching career.

*Wayne Hills overcame the absence of nine of its players (suspended after being charged with aggravated assault) to knock off Old Tappan, 15-12, in the North Jersey Section 1, Group 3 title. The Patriots used a 25-yard pass from Jeff Gignac to Kevin Olsen to secure its second straight crown.

*Eighth-seeded Piscataway overcame the odds and a tough opponent in Elizabeth to cop its second straight North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 crown with a 41-34 win. Tevin Shaw had a career effort, rushing for a school-record 304 yards and three touchdowns, including the decisive score with 17 seconds left.

Here are how the final state rankings after a wild championship weekend:

1. Don Bosco Prep 11-0
Cemented top spot in state and nation with 42-14 win against Bergen Catholic in Non-Public, Group 4 championship.

2. St. Joseph (Hamm.) 10-0
Capped dominant season with 51-0 win against St. Mary. The Non-Public, Group 1 champs allowed 19 points all season.

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 8-3
The Crusaders once again fell to rival Don Bosco Prep in the Non-Public, Group 4 title by the count of 42-14. Two of three losses came at the hands of nation's top team.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey football rankings

Wayne Hills, Immaculata fall in final NJ regular season football rankings

November, 7, 2011
For two of the last three weeks, Wayne Hills had survived near upset bids with late rallies. But after falling behind in Friday's contest against St. Joseph (Mont.), there was no such comeback. Behind Spencer Aukamp's four touchdowns, the Green Knights handed Wayne Hills their first loss of the season.

Immaculata also fell for the first time this year. The Spartans' attack took a major hit when quarterback Antonio Najale went down with a shoulder injury in a 37-6 loss to Westfield. Whether the junior will be ready for the upcoming playoffs remains in question.

These outcomes brought some movement in the rankings, as Wayne Hills fell several spots and Immaculata dropped out of the top 10 altogether. Taking its place is Red Bank Catholic, which has put up 45-plus points in three of its last four wins.

Nationally, Don Bosco Prep once again earned all five of the first-place votes in the POWERADE FAB 50 after beating Clifton 56-8 behind Jabrill Peppers' three scores.

With the regular season wrapped up, that'll do it for our rankings until we post our final state rankings following the always wild state playoffs. In the meantime, stay tuned for postseason updates each Monday.

Here are how the final regular season rankings shake out (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 8-0 (1)
Completed another undefeated regular season with a 56-8 win against Clifton. Jabrill Peppers' three scores helped the Ironmen secure their 43rd straight victory. Now they will look to win their sixth straight state title.

2. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 6-2 (3)
After enduring a brutal regular-season schedule, the Crusaders got some time to rest before entering the playoffs.

3. Montclair 8-0 (4)
Khalif Herbin was at it again, racking up 229 rushing yards and four scores in the first half of the Mounties' 38-0 win against Livingston.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey football rankings
As the playoffs draw near, the state's top teams will get no mercy when it comes to their opponents — many of which are trying to claw their way into the postseason.

No. 2 Wayne Hills found this out, as it needed two late touchdowns from Christian Rodriguez to secure a come-from-behind 31-24 win against Ramapo. Same went for No. 3 Bergen Catholic. Down 10-7 at the half, the Crusaders turned to their emerging star in QB Jonathan Germano, who scored three second-half touchdowns in a 28-17 win.

Granted, Don Bosco Prep was immune from such an upset bid. The Ironmen easily downed a tough Paramus Catholic squad, 45-0 to maintain their top spot in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Here are this week's state rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 7-0 (1)
Jabrill Peppers and Elijah Shumate each scored on kick returns in the Ironmen's 45-0 win against Paramus Catholic. Next up: Clifton.

2. Wayne Hills 8-0 (2)
Christian Rodriguez scored two touchdowns to help the Patriots avoid an upset in a 31-24 win against Ramapo. Next up: No. 9 St. Joseph (Mont.).

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 6-2 (3)
The Crusaders overcame a three-point halftime deficit to beat St. Peter's Prep, 28-17, behind Jonathan Germano's three second-half touchdowns. They will now get to rest until the playoffs begin on Nov. 11-12.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey football rankings

Montclair rises up, Holy Spirit drops out of Week 7 NJ football rankings

October, 24, 2011
Results as of Sunday, Oct. 23

For three years, Montclair had come up short against rival East Orange, but with Khalif Herbin lighting up the scoreboard during an undefeated start, the Mounties figured this year could be different.

Boy, were they right. Behind Herbin's 207 rushing yards and three touchdowns, the Mounties easily beat East Orange, 35-7, this past Saturday. The big win moved the Mounties up to No. 4 while pushing the Jaguars to the opposite edge of the rankings at No. 10.

Holy Spirit also stumbled, falling to an emerging Hammonton squad, 37-14, for its second loss of the season. The defeat furthers a tough season for the Spartans, who forfeited their first game due to an ineligible player, lost 34-7 to rival St. Joseph (Mont.) and have now fallen out of the top 10.

Taking their spot is Delbarton, which has beaten its opponents by an average of nearly four touchdowns after shutting out West Morris Mendham, 35-0.

Nationally -- you guessed it — Don Bosco Prep remained at No. 1, earning all five first-place votes in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 6-0 (1)
Ironmen didn't mess a beat after their bye week, easily beating Passaic Tech by the score of 63-15. Next up: Paramus Catholic.

2. Wayne Hills 7-0 (2)
After a close win last week, the Patriots earned their fourth shutout of the season in a 49-0 victory against Bergen Tech. Next up: Ramapo.

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 5-2 (3)
Quarterback Jonathan Germano totaled four touchdowns in a 54-0 win against Paterson Eastside. Next up: 5-2 St. Peter's Prep.

Click here for full POWERADE weekly New Jersey football rankings
Results as of Saturday, Oct. 15

Before the season, Bergen Catholic coach Nunzio Campanile said the 2011 campaign would be a "baptism by fire" for his young squad, what with so many tough opponents making up the Crusaders' schedule. But he made sure to point out: "I think the kids are up to the task and excited."

Last week's effort against previously undefeated St. Joseph (Hamm.) proved just that. Quarterback Jonathan Germano had his second straight big game, connecting on three touchdown passes. Athletic wideout John Tsimis caught two of those scores to push the Crusaders to a key 30-17 victory against the Green Knights.

While passing was critical in that game, rushing dominated Union's upset of previously undefeated Elizabeth. Sophomore RB Jamauri Bogan carried the ball 50 times (!) for 376 yards and six touchdowns in the 43-21 win, improving Union's record to 4-2.

Nationally, Don Bosco Prep remained atop the POWERADE FAB 50 during its bye week.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 5-0 (1)
Ironmen return from bye week to face Passaic County Tech.

2. Wayne Hills 6-0 (2)
Patriots had their closest game of the season but pulled out the win, a 28-21 decision against Ridgewood. Next up: Bergen Tech.

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 4-2 (3)
The Crusaders picked up a big win against previously undefeated St. Joseph (Mont.), 30-17. Next up: Eastside.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey football rankings.
Results as of Saturday, Oct. 8

As I said on Twitter this weekend, if you're the No. 6 team in the POWERADE FAB 50, it's best to avoid Don Bosco Prep. Before it was Mission Viejo (Calif.) that fell 35-7 to the top-ranked Ironmen. This past weekend, it was St. Edward (Ohio) that lost 38-7 to Don Bosco Prep in surprising fashion.

Granted, even though the Ironmen have proven to be on another level, they weren't the only Jersey teams who found success this past week. Bergen Catholic showed its resolve in a 48-26 comeback victory against a solid Friendship (Washington, D.C.) team. Likewise, Wayne Hills and East Orange put together shutout victories (again).

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) 5-0 (1)
The Ironmen flexed their muscles as the nation's top-ranked team, easily beating St. Edward (Ohio), 38-7. With their out-of-state slate behind them, the Ironmen will finish out the season with Jersey squads. Following a much-needed bye week, they will face Passaic Tech on Oct. 21.

2. Wayne Hills 4-0 (2)
Another week, another shutout for the Patriots. This time around, they blanked Paramus 38-0 behind three touchdowns by Kevin Olsen. Next up: Ridgewood.

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 3-2 (3)
The Crusaders beat their second out-of-state squad of the year, downing Friendship (Washington D.C.) 48-26 behind Jon Germano's five touchdowns. The schedule doesn't get any easier, as a matchup with No. 6 St. Joseph (Mont.) is next.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey football rankings.

Don Bosco tops Bergen Catholic, Holy Spirit falls in Week 4 NJ rankings

October, 3, 2011
After games of Sunday, Oct. 2.

Talk about a wild weekend of football. In a much-anticipated rivalry game, Don Bosco Prep showed why the fourth quarter is its time to shine while St. Joseph (Hamm.) avenged its lone loss from a year ago.

Let's start at No. 1, where the nation's top-ranked team once again overcame a fourth-quarter deficit behind its defense. Kyle Sakowski's interception sparked a 12-point final period, as Elijah Shumate scored two of his three touchdowns to push the Ironmen past a tough Bergen Catholic squad, 33-22. For three quarters, it looked like the Crusaders would pull off the upset, but as they showed against Manatee (Fla.) two weeks ago, the Ironmen's resolve carried them to their 39th straight win.

Meanwhile, Holy Spirit saw its 16-game win streak snapped against St. Joseph (Hamm.). You might remember last year that the Spartans easily beat a turnover-prone Wildcats squad, 35-0 last year, so the reversal of fortune in this past Saturday's 34-7 win for the Wildcats was probably very sweet. The defensive duo of Max Valles and Kaiwan Lewis looked stout in holding Holy Spirit to just 56 rushing yards and 155 total yards.

Needless to say, Holy Spirit dropped out of the POWERADE FAB 50 while Don Bosco remains on top. This week, the Ironmen cap an intriguing tripleheader at Fordham University (N.Y.), as they face national No. 6 St. Edward (Ohio) after Bergen Catholic takes on Friendship Academy (Washington, D.C.) and St. Peter's Prep battles Ursuline (Ohio). In the meantime, click here to see what else is going down on the New Jersey high school sports scene.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 4-0 (1)
The Ironmen once again overcame a fourth-quarter deficit against a tough opponent, this time beating rival Bergen Catholic, 33-22, behind three touchdowns by Elijah Shumate. And as has been the trend this season, the road doesn't get any easier, with national No. 6 St. Edward (Ohio) coming to town this week.

2. Wayne Hills 4-0 (4)
Andrew Monahan scored three more touchdowns and the Patriots shut out their third straight opponent in a 34-0 win against Teaneck. Next up: Paramus.

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 2-2 (3)
A 22-21 fourth-quarter lead ended in a loss for the Crusaders, who have now lost nine straight to rival Don Bosco Prep. Still, the Crusaders can notch a huge bounceback win when they face Friendship Academy (Washington, D.C.) this Saturday in New York.

Click here for the full POWERADE New Jersey weekly football rankings.

Immaculata debuts, Piscataway falls out of Week 3 NJ rankings

September, 26, 2011
After games ending Saturday, Sept. 24

You can call this the calm before the storm for several of the state's top teams. No. 1 Don Bosco Prep and No. 3 Bergen Catholic got a in-state tuneup before facing up in their annual intense rivalry. Likewise, No. 2 Holy Spirit rolled while No. 8 St. Joseph (Hamm.) rested before facing each other this Saturday.

Last week proved to be restless for Piscataway, though, as the Chiefs lost their second straight game. Immaculata moved into the open slot in the rankings on the strength of a defense that's allowed just 32 points this season.

Oh and I have to give respect to West Orange, which hasn't allowed a single point through three games while averaging 48.3 points per game this season. Impressive stuff.

Nationally, Holy Spirit moved up to No. 43 while Don Bosco still rests 42 spots up in the top slot of the POWERADE FAB 50.

And without further ado, here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 3-0 (1)
The nation's top team won its first in-state game, a 35-0 victory against Ridgewood. Next up: the much-anticipated game against rival Bergen Catholic.

2. Holy Spirit (Absecon) 3-0* (2)
Tom Hehre threw two touchdown passes in a 38-0 rout of Bridgeton. Awaiting the Spartans this Saturday is No. 8 St. Joseph (Hamm.). (*does not include forfeit wins)

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 2-1 (3)
Behind Tom Germano's five first-half scores, the Crusaders bounced back from last week's loss with a 62-12 win against Teaneck. A battle against rival and national No. 1 Don Bosco Prep.

Click here for full POWERADE New Jersey weekly football rankings.

South Brunswick debuts, Piscataway falls in Week 2 NJ rankings

September, 19, 2011
It was a big weekend for New Jersey schools, as Don Bosco Prep and Bergen Catholic traveled Florida with hopes of increasing the Garden State's national profile. And although only the No. 1 Ironmen pulled out a 22-16 win against Manatee (BC fell 12-7 to Plant), both schools represented well in the two defensive struggles.

South Brunswick shot to the No. 10 spot after beating their second straight ranked opponent, this time defending sectional champ Piscataway, 28-7. Meanwhile, Montclair continued its strong start behind speed demon Khalif Herben's five touchdowns in a 48-24 win against West Orange.

On the national front, Don Bosco strengthened its hold on the top spot and Holy Spirit maintained its No. 45 ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Here's how the state rankings shake out after Week 2:

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 2-0 (1)
Ironmen showed their resilience in 22-16 comeback victory against nationally ranked Manatee (Fla.) on the road. The nation's top squad will put its 37-game win streak on the line against 1-0 Ridgewood this Friday.

2. Holy Spirit (Absecon) 2-0* (2)
Despite having to forfeit last week's win due to an ineligible player, the Spartans didn't miss a beat, riding Donta Pollock's 235 rushing yards and three scores to a 42-14 win. A road contest against Bridgeton is on slate this week. (*does not include forfeits)

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 1-1 (3)
The Crusaders lost a tough one to Plant (Fla.) by the count of 12-7, but between their solid effort against a power program and Piscataway's loss, BC stands pat in the rankings. Next up: Teaneck.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey rankings.

Montclair moves into rankings after wild win in opener

September, 13, 2011
What was expected to be the most competitive game of the weekend turned out to be a snoozer (a 35-7 win against California's Mission Viejo), giving way to a thriller between Montclair and St. Peter's Prep.

Five-foot-seven Khalif Herbin came up big for Montclair, accumulating 212 rushing yards and five touchdowns to lead the Mounties to a 41-43 comeback win against the Marauders. Senior quarterback Brandon Napoleon served as St. Peter's Prep's sparkplug, tossing four touchdowns and 279 passing yards. Napoleon's last two scores pulled the Marauders within two points, but Herbin proved too much, scampering for his final score with 2:19 remaining to make the difference.

Meanwhile, Sayreville lost a shocker to South Brunswick, 14-7, knocking them out of the top 10. On the national front, Holy Spirit and Bergen Catholic both joined Don Bosco Prep in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Check out how these developments affected the season's first state rankings:

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 1-0 (1)
Made bold statement in opener with a 35-7 victory against Mission Viejo (Calif.), the nation's No. 6 team. It doesn't get much easier this week, as the Ironmen travel to face Manatee (Fla.).

2. Holy Spirit (Absecon) 1-0* (2)
Took over No. 45 spot in the nation after easy 41-16 win against Oakcrest, but had to forfeit win for using an academically ineligible player. Still, the Spartans were too dominant to move down in the rankings. Next up: Absegami. (*Does not include forfeits)

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 1-0 (3)
Crusaders easily downed a solid La Salle College (Pa.) squad, 41-17. Will continue out-of-state bouts with matchup at Plant (Fla.) on Friday.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly state rankings

Ironmen are the Don of high school football

August, 22, 2011
Never mind being the best team in the state. Don Bosco Prep has its eyes on a national crown.

The Ironmen enter the season atop the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings, boasting six Division I recruits, a 35-game win streak and the last five state titles. Needless to say, the rest of the state, including powers Bergen Catholic and Holy Spirit have their work cut out for them in trying to catch Don Bosco Prep, the subject of our September cover.

Here are the ESPNHS New Jersey preseason rankings:

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey)
2. Holy Spirit (Absecon)
3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell)
4. Piscataway
5. St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City)
6. Sayreville (Parlin)
7. East Orange
8. St. Joseph (Montvale)
9. Wayne Hills
10. St. Joseph (Hammonton)

Other Teams to Watch: Brick Memorial,Cherokee (Marlton), Franklin (Somerset), Freehold Borough, Haddonfield, Hunterdon Central (Flemington), Immaculata (Somerville), Lacey (Lanoka Harbor), Madison, Montclair, Old Tappan, Phillipsburg, Pope John XXIII (Sparta), Randolph, Seton Hall Prep (West Orange), Shawnee (Medford)

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.