High-SchoolNew-Jersey: Bergen Catholic

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

December, 5, 2011
12/05/11
4:03
PM ET
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

New Jersey football championships preview

December, 2, 2011
12/02/11
3:38
PM ET
There will be championships galore across the Garden State this weekend. Here are five contests to keep a close eye on:

Don Bosco Prep vs. Bergen Catholic
We've seen this before in last year's Non-Public, Group 4 title game and about two months ago. And even though Don Bosco has won both matchups (along with its last 45 games overall and the last five titles), we all want to see this one again. Bergen Catholic gave the Ironmen their greatest challenge this year, bringing a lead into the fourth quarter before falling 33-22 behind late turnovers. The Crusaders have seen great growth since then, as QB Jon Germano has emerged as a big-time passer while the defense continues to be solid. Thing is, with each passing week, the Ironmen seem to get better and find a different playmaker. Plus, while both teams beat St. Joseph (Mont.) and Paramus Catholic, the Ironmen did so in a much more convincing manner behind its suffocating defense. Regardless, this one should be another classic.
My pick: Don Bosco Prep 34, Bergen Catholic 30

Wayne Hills vs. Old Tappan
Here's another rematch of last year's North Jersey Section 1, Group 3 final, when Wayne Hills ran back a kick return for the decisive TD in the final minute. This year's tilt could be just as thrilling with offensive firepower at a plenty. Wayne Hills boasts talented junior QB Kevin Olsen and do-everything player Andrew Monahan, who is expected to play despite being charged with assault a few weeks back. For Old Tappan, arguably the state's top offensive prospect in Devin Fuller makes the Golden Knights a threat to score on every play.
My pick: Old Tappan 28, Wayne Hills 27

Elizabeth vs. Piscataway
At the start of the year, most wondered what was wrong with Piscataway, as the defending North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 champs lost two of their first three games. But the Chiefs have recovered in a major, letting loose an aggressive defensive attack that's produced five shutouts this year. The Chiefs are also explosive on offense behind QB Nadir Barnwell. Elizabeth doesn't have Piscataway's size, but it has the talent and speed, anchored by RB Elijah Hughes (21 touchdowns).
My pick: Piscataway 31, Elizabeth 24

Summit vs. Madison
It's been 24 games since Madison lost a game. The last one? A 23-14 playoff defeat at the hands of Summit. Of course, the defending North Jersey Section 2, Group 2 champs would like nothing more than to avenge that loss, but that will be easier said than done. Summit's offense has been nearly unstoppable this year, averaging 43 points a game during its 11-0 campaign. Madison has the defensive ability to thwart such an attack, though, as the Dodgers have given up less than 10 points per game and shut out their last two opponents. Which unit will bend in this intense matchup?
My pick: Madison 27, Summit 20

St. Joseph (Mont.) vs. Delbarton
Never mind St. Joseph's blowout loss to Don Bosco Prep. It's a new week and the Non-Public, Group 3 championship is at stake. But the Green Knights' foe this weekend is also formidable in 11-0 Delbarton. The Green Wave's defense has been stifling this year, barely allowing 11 points per game. Likewise, the offense has been solid behind RB Jamie White (1,334 yards and seven scores). On the other side, St. Joseph is certainly battle-tested, facing the likes to Bergen Catholic and Don Bosco Prep this year. Take away those two losses and the Green Knights have given up just 81 points in nine wins. But while Delbarton might not be of the caliber of the top two teams in the state, its firepower and success could be too much for the Green Knights.
My pick: Delbarton 27, St. Joseph (Mont.) 23

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

State title games set for the gridiron

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
3:19
PM ET
Most local football fans are likely to be thankful for the slate of title games set for the week after Thanksgiving.

*National No. 1 Don Bosco Prep easily reeled off its 44th straight win, riding Jabrill Peppers' four touchdowns to take down Paramus Catholic, 42-3, and set up a much-anticipated rematch with Bergen Catholic. Jonathan Germano threw for four scores as the Crusaders downed St. Peter's Prep, 42-21, to reach the Non-Public Group 4 state title game.

Granted, before this contest, the Ironmen will put their win streak on the line Thursday when they face St. Joseph (Mont.) in a Thanksgiving contest that has no postseason implications. Bergen Catholic, which handed St. Joseph (Mont.) its lone loss of the season, will face Paramus Catholic.

*St. Joseph (Mont.) will be looking to hand two teams their first defeat of the year. After the Ironmen, the Green Knights face 10-0 Delbarton in the Non-Public Group 3 title. Delbarton looked especially impressive in a double-overtime win against Red Bank Catholic. Will Reynolds picked off a pass in the second OT to give the Green Wave a 30-23 win. It didn't hurt that RBC lost its top player, RB John DiStefano, in the first quarter to a knee injury, but Delbarton still showed plenty of resolve in the back-and-forth contest.

*Wayne Hills and Old Tappan will meet in the North Jersey Section 1, Group 3 championship for the second straight year. Controversy surrounded the Patriots' 48-21 win against Paramus, as nine Wayne Hills players charged with aggravated assault were allowed to play. But their presence won't give the Patriots a decided advantage against Old Tappan. All-State quarterback Devin Fuller leads a Golden Knights squad that's won its last six games after downing Pascack Valley, 34-10. Fuller surpassed 10,000 yards of total offense for his career in the win and will have a chance to add even more yards in a Thanksgiving tune-up against Northern Valley Regional.

*Sayreville exacted revenge on South Brunswick, putting together a thrilling 22-15 win to spoil the Vikings' bid for their first-ever undefeated season. Delon Stephenson caught the decisive 63-yard touchdown with less than 90 seconds remaining to send the Bombers into the Central Jersey Group 4 final versus Manapalan.

*Eighth-seeded Piscataway showed why it was ranked in most preseason state polls by beating East Orange, 7-0, and reaching the North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 championship for the second straight year. The Chiefs slid by on Tevin Shaw's first-quarter TD run, relying on its defense to seal the ultimate win and set up a repeat title bid against Elizabeth.

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.
In sports, there's nothing worse than losing, but few things are better than a rematch — in the playoffs, at that. Several teams have this opportunity for revenge as we enter the second round of the New Jersey football postseason, so let's get to it:

St. Peter's Prep at Bergen Catholic
The last time Bergen Catholic took the field, it defeated St. Peter's Prep, 28-17. After the Crusaders had a first-round bye, St. Peter's Prep will once again occupy the opposite sideline with a trip to the Non-Public Group 4 championship (likely to face national No. 1 Don Bosco Prep) on the line. St. Peter's Prep has made great strides since 0-2 start, but the Marauders had trouble slowing BC in critical moments. The Crusaders used big plays (93-yard TD on opening kickoff, two forced fumbles, fourth-quarter scoring drive to create cushion) to control their last contest. If the Marauders can't seize control of the game early, the result will remain the same.
My pick: Bergen Catholic 27, St. Peter's Prep 20

Old Tappan at Pascack Valley
Old Tappan pulled off the upset last week by beating higher-seeded Sparta, 40-14. But few were surprised, what with the Golden Knights boasting do-everything QB Devin Fuller. Now they have a chance to avenge a season-opening, 30-28 loss to Pascack Valley. The Golden Knights are a much different team now. They're healthier (Fuller has recovered from turf toe and WR John Trainor is back from a collarbone injury) and more confident (five straight wins after a 1-3 start). Still, the Indians have their share of weapons in RB Jordan Roses (909 rushing yards) and have been consistent all year. Should be a good one.
My pick: Old Tappan 31, Pascack Valley 27

Sayreville at South Brunswick
South Brunswick helped establish itself as a legitimate contender by knocking off Sayreville, 14-7, to open the season. Eight straight wins later, the Vikings face Sayreville again under much bigger circumstances. Delon Stephenson has helped Sayreville right the ship after an 0-2 start, but South Brunswick still boasts a strong playmaker in RB Jevon Tyree. Whichever team can eliminate the other from making big plays will be the key to this one.
My pick: South Brunswick 17, Sayreville 14

Red Bank Catholic at Delbarton
After beginning the season 9-0, one of these teams will go with its first loss and nothing to show for a solid year. That's the tragic beauty of the playoffs. Red Bank Catholic is looking to continue its resurgence after winning its first playoff game since 1998. The Delbarton offense is explosive — witnessed by its five occasions of putting up 40-plus points this year — and defense is stingy – evidenced by the 8.7 points per game it's allowed. But the Red Bank Catholic offensive line is imposing, opening holes for talented tailback John DiStefano, who has racked up 1,517 yards and 23 scores this year. Which team will bend and which team will break?
My pick: Delbarton 35, Red Bank Catholic 28



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.

New Jersey football playoffs to get underway

November, 10, 2011
11/10/11
5:36
PM ET
It's the most wonderful time of the year for New Jersey football fans: the playoffs. Many storylines abound entering this year's postseason, like:

-Will Bergen Catholic get another crack at upsetting national No. 1 Don Bosco Prep?
-Will Holy Spirit recover and take the Non-Public, Group 2 crown like most predicted to begin the year?
-Will Old Tappan get another crack at a reeling Wayne Hills squad that used a last-second kickoff return to beat the Golden Knights in last year's title game?
-Will St. Joseph (Hamm.) take its dominant season to another level in the playoffs?

As you digest those, among many other intriguing questions surrounding the postseason, here are two games to watch out for in the opening round?

Union at Elizabeth
When these two teams met in the regular season, it proved to be Jamauri Bogan's coming-out party. The Union sophomore tailback carried the ball 50 times for 376 yards and six touchdowns to upset previously undefeated Elizabeth, 43-21. Bogan hasn't slowed down much since their Oct. 14 matchup, meaning the Minutemen D will certainly have to clamp down to avoid the same outcome.
My pick: Union 28, Elizabeth 21

Immaculata at DePaul
DePaul began its season with a loss before winning eight straight. Immaculata won eight straight contests before losing its regular-season finale. In other words, that intangible factor we call "momentum" could come into play in this matchup. Tailback Joe Moreno leads a DePaul offensive attack that put up nearly 42 points per game this year.
My pick: DePaul 30, Immaculata 24

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.

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

November, 7, 2011
11/07/11
2:45
PM ET
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

Wayne Hills, St. Joseph (Mont.) battle in Week 8 New Jersey football

November, 4, 2011
11/04/11
12:53
PM ET
St. Joseph (Mont.) is in the middle of the octagon. Of course, the No. 9 Green Knights are a football team, not MMA fighters, but with the schedule they have to finish up this season, win or lose, they'll be beyond battle-tested.

Three weeks ago, it was No. 3 Bergen Catholic (a 30-17 loss). Last week, it was a talented Pascack Valley squad (a 42-3 win). And this weekend, it's No. 2 Wayne Hills for the finale.

The Green Knights will look to QB Spencer Aukamp, who has shown great athleticism from the pocket while totaling 13 touchdowns this year, and his favorite target in Ricky Jeune (five touchdowns) to lead an offensive attack that will need to be explosive to keep up with Wayne Hills.

After almost literally playing lights-out football in their first five games by outscoring opponents 185-7, the Patriots have survived upset bids from Ramapo and Ridgewood in the last three weeks. The Green Knights definitely provide their biggest test to date, meaning key players like QB Kevin Olsen (932 pass yards, 16 TDs) and WR/KR Andrew Monahan (11 total TDs) will have to step up even more.

But since the offenses for both teams are proven, defensive play will be the X-factor in this contest. In the Patriots' two close contests, the opponent hung with them early by shutting down their offense. Likewise, in the Green Knights' lone loss, they had to play keep-up after falling behind early.
My pick: Wayne Hills 28, St. Joseph (Mont.) 27

Sayreville vs. Piscataway
After a slow start, both of these teams ride into this matchup on lengthy win streaks. There have been some classic battles since these two started playing in 1995, as chronicled in this Star-Ledger story. I don't expect anything less in this year's bout.
My pick: Sayreville 17, Piscataway 14

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.

St. Peter's Prep looks for big win in Week 7 New Jersey football

October, 28, 2011
10/28/11
2:16
PM ET
Two losses marked the start of the season for a St. Peter's Prep not accustomed to losing that often. Granted, defeat came at the hands of talented opponent in Montclair and St. Joseph (Mont.), but the Marauders have righted the ship since then, winning their last five games in convincing fashion.

This weekend, though, the Marauders (5-2) will be back in deep waters, as No. 3 Bergen Catholic (5-2) comes to town. The Crusaders have been surging of late behind the play of QB Jonathan Germano (1,421 yards, 18 scores) and WR John Tsimis, and nearly knocked off national No. 1 Don Bosco Prep a few weeks back.

St. Peter's Prep has its own offensive one-two punch in QB Brandon Napoleon, a West Virginia commit, and WR Jared Crayton, who has 14 touchdowns in the last six games.

The difference is likely to be Bergen Catholic's big-game experience and success, as well as the Crusaders' stingy defense. Still, the Marauders should prove competitive in a contest that could serve as a preview of a future playoff matchup.
My pick: Bergen Catholic 27, St. Peter's Prep 20

No. 7 Immaculata (7-0) vs Elizabeth (6-1)
Both teams are looking to gain some important ground in the Mid-State 39 conference race this weekend. Immaculata has quietly moved up the rankings, but Elizabeth possesses a playmaking threat in tailback Elijah Hughes, who had three scores last week. The Minutemen defense will need an effort similar to last week's win against Plainfield, when they forced seven turnovers.
UPSET ALERT: Elizabeth 20, Immaculata, 17

No. 9 St. Joseph (Mont.) (5-1) vs. Pascack Valley (7-0)
After falling to Bergen Catholic two weeks ago, St. Joseph (Mont.) returns from its bye week to face an emerging Pascack Valley squad. Bent on returning to their winning ways, the Green Knights figure to be hard to stop in this Saturday matchup behind running back Javari Garvin and quarterback Spencer Aukamp.
My pick: St. Joseph (Mont.) 35, Pascack Valley 24

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.

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

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
12:58
PM ET
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.
After facing Don Bosco Prep and Friendship Academy (Washington, D.C.) in consecutive weeks, the road doesn't get any easier for No. 3 Bergen Catholic, as it takes on No. 6 St. Joseph (Mont.).

The Crusaders are 3-2, but have held their own throughout their tough slate, nearly knocking off Don Bosco and Plant (Fla.) while putting together a comeback win against Friendship. Jonathan Germano is really coming into his own at quarterback (five touchdowns last week) and John Tsimis has been a beast of late at receiver.

Still, they will be going up against an equally explosive offense in the Green Knights. Led by running back Jabari Garvin, St. Joseph has hung at least 34 points on all of its opponents and won by an average margin of 30 points during a 5-0 start.
My pick: Bergen Catholic 24, St. Joseph (Mont.) 21

Woodbridge (4-1) at Sayreville (4-2)
This is a very intriguing matchup for several reasons. For one, Woodbridge is just coming off a near-upset of South Brunswick (a last-minute touchdown and red zone stop made the difference) while Sayreville narrowly lost to the same team in its opener. Also, Sayreville, which began the season ranked in the top 10 but dropped out after losing its first two games, appears to have found its rhythm. The Bombers have won their last four by a combined margin of 126-26. With these two arcs colliding, it should be a good one.
My pick: Woodbridge 28, Sayreville 27

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.

WRs Tsimis, Monahan can't be caught in New Jersey football

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
8:41
AM ET
It's time for the New Jersey All-State football stock watch, but from here on out, we're going to switch things up a little bit. Along with highlighting an All-State player who is ballin' out, we're also going to hand out the On The Rise (OTR) award for a player who didn't make the preseason list but is well on his way to earning postseason recognition.

UP — John Tsimis, Bergen Catholic WR
Crusaders coach Nunzio Campanile told me before the season that Tsimis was a tremendous athlete and playmaker. The junior has lived up to his coach's expectations, putting together two big weeks against stiff competition. Two weeks ago, Tsimis racked up 10 catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns in a close loss to top-ranked Don Bosco Prep. He continued his coming-out party this past week in a comeback win against Friendship Academy (Washington, D.C.), catching eight passes for 88 yards and one score.

OTR — Andrew Monahan, Wayne Hills WR
This guy has been all over the field this season. In just five games, he's racked up 12 touchdowns, scoring at receiver (six catches for 150 yard and two TDs in last week's win against Paramus), on the ground and via special teams. No wonder the No. 2 Patriots have outscored opponents 185-7 this season.


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.

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
10/03/11
2:15
PM ET
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.

Rivals Don Bosco Prep, Bergen Catholic clash in Week 3 NJ football

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
12:52
PM ET
Most New Jersey football fans have had this weekend circled on their calendar for weeks now. Not only are is national No. 1 Don Bosco Prep hosting rival Bergen Catholic on Friday but the next day, state No. 2 Holy Spirit faces off against No. 8 St. Joseph (Hamm.).

The five-time defending state champ Ironmen (3-0) have won the last eight meetings, with the most recent coming in last year's Non-Public Group 4 title game. But after losing a close one to Plant (Fla.) two weeks ago and with coach Nunzio Campanile in his second year after moving over from Don Bosco, the Crusaders (2-1) have upset on their mind.

Both teams boast stout defenses and inexperienced quarterbacks, so mistake-free football will be key for each squad. Don Bosco QB Mike Yankovich showed poise in the 22-16 comeback win against Manatee (Fla.) and threw two scores in last week's victory against Ridgewood — their 48th straight against New Jersey teams — but he's still raw under center.

Same goes for Crusaders QB Jonathan Germano. The junior totaled five scores in last week's win against Teaneck but struggled to find a rhythm amid the constant pressure from Plant. Friday won't be any different for either team, but both possess a wealth of weapons on offense to complement their QBs. That's why my guess is that a defensive turnover (and possibly touchdown) will decide this close battle.
My pick: Don Bosco 24, Bergen Catholic 17

No. 2 Holy Spirit (3-0) at No. 8 St. Joseph (Hamm.) (2-0)
An explosive offense meets a stingy defense in what should be an intense version of Saturday football. Holy Spirit boasts the productive tailback tandem of Donta Pollock and Nigel Jones while St. Joseph has All-State defenders Kaiwan Lewis and Max Valles clogging the running lanes. The Spartans are putting up more than 40 points per game, but the Tigers have outscored opponents 107-7 through two games. Last year's battle proved surprisingly lopsided, as Holy Spirit capitalized on five Tiger fumbles for a 35-0 win. It's safe to say this year's matchup will be much closer.
My pick: Holy Spirit 27, St. Joseph (Hamm.) 21

Westfield (3-0) at Elizabeth (3-0)
The other day, I told you about Elizabeth's offensive weapon in Elijah Hughes (533 total yards, six scores), but the senior tailback and his fellow Minutemen will be tested against a talented Westfield squad this Saturday. Tailback James O'Rourke (394 rushing yards, two TDs) leads the Blue Devils, who also possess an aggressive defense that's allowed just seven points in three games. Thing is, the Blue Devils will have to deal with Hughes and the Minutemen passing game, which was put on hold during last week's win against Linden due to a rain-soaked field.
My pick: Elizabeth 28, Westfield 17

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.

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