High-SchoolNew-Jersey: Max Valles

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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