High-SchoolNew-Jersey: St. Peter's Prep

Najee Glass is on the fast track to superstardom

June, 21, 2012
Najee GlassJohn Nepolitan ESPNHS/DyestatSt. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) senior sprinter Najee Glass is headed to Florida next fall with a national championship under his belt and an eye on the 2016 Olympics.
Almost all kids have something they hate — brussels sprouts, chores, homework, being pinched on the cheek. For 7-year-old Najee Glass, it was track.

"He would cry when I left him at practice," Trina Glass recalled with a laugh.

Najee's first race didn't start off much better, as he darted out of the blocks with reckless abandon. Had this been a short sprint, like the 200, that strategy would've been fine. But maintaining such pace in the 400 is downright crazy, especially for a first-timer. His coaches tried yelling for him to slow down. His mom, a former 400 competitor herself, even tried running alongside the track to get his attention. But there was no stopping Glass.

"I was just running and trying to get it over with, so I just sprinted the whole way until I won," said Glass, who preferred football at the time. "Everybody said 'He's going to die, he's going to die,' but actually I didn't die."

If anything, a runner was born on that day, one who has gone on to win national titles, earn international gold and become one of New Jersey's greatest sprinters while at St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.).

And believe it or not, Glass' technique hasn't changed all that much since his track debut.

"His ability to run fast for a long, long period of time is amazing," St. Peter's Prep assistant coach Chris Caulfield said. "He can really hit other gears at the end of races that other runners can't."

Caulfield would know. On Glass' first day of indoor track at St. Peter's Prep, he shattered the freshman school record in the 400. In the next two years, Glass went on to set more new marks, becoming the first sophomore to win the 400 at the Meet of Champions before breaking the meet record in the same event with a time of 46.43 seconds as a junior.

Yet for as elusive as Glass was on the local scene, there was one goal he couldn’t seem to catch — a national title.

Last year, in the span of three months, Glass finished second in the 400 at the indoor and outdoor New Balance Nationals. What’s more, the indoor loss came by the slimmest of margins: one-hundredth of a second

Still, neither proved more frustrating for Glass than what transpired at the New Balance Games in January 2011. Despite running the odd distance of 500, Glass used his typical end-of-the-race burst to surge past Columbus (Bronx, N.Y.) runner Strymar Livingston and take first in a national-record time of 1:02.22. But following a protest from the Columbus coach and a rare review by track officials, the record was revoked two days later due to a lane violation by Glass.

“When people started saying I cheated, that really took a toll on me,” Glass said. “I was heartbroken over what people were saying on the message boards because it’s not like I ran over the line on purpose.”

After having a national title and a 27-year-old record snatched from his grasp, Glass admitted to running with a “chip on his shoulder.” But this weight of motivation only seemed to make him faster.

“After that happened, I saw a new side of him,” Caulfield said. “He was completely determined to turn it into a positive by running his best and getting that national title.”

Glass gained some solace by running a leg on the record-setting U.S. medley team at the World Youth Championships in France last summer. And after shocking the world, Glass shocked his family by giving up football, his first love.

“Everybody said, ‘What?!’ because he had just come from a national 7-on-7 combine and done well and we all knew how much he liked football,” Trina said. “But I think after having that international experience and with the friends he made, he realized the great opportunities and future he has in track.”

The extra training he gained during the fall as well as the pent-up emotions from his past disappointments all came to a head at the indoor New Balance Nationals in March.

With 150 meters to go and Timberview’s (Arlington, Texas) Aldrich Bailey a step ahead of him, Glass made a move to the inside, giving him just enough room to blaze down the homestretch for a narrow win and the 400 national crown. Glass’ time of 46.57 also set a new New Jersey record and placed fourth all-time in U.S. history.

“After all I’d been through, it meant a lot more for me to win that title,” said Glass, who admitted to shedding a few post-victory tears. “I felt like this was something I deserved based on all the work I had put in and it paid off.”

Perhaps fittingly, this victory proved to be the last major triumph in Glass’ prep career. A hamstring injury kept him from competing in last week’s Meet of Champions and having a shot at becoming the first boy to win three straight 400 titles.

“Everything happens for a reason and I’m very happy with getting my national title this year,” Glass said. “Maybe it was God’s way of saying to rest and prepare for what’s next.”

This fall, Glass will move on to compete at Florida, a powerhouse program that has won the last two NCAA Indoor Championships. And while his coaches are sad to see their best athlete graduate, they are more excited to see what’s in store for Glass.

“He’s the best runner to come through St. Peter’s Prep and with his will to compete and win, I believe he’ll be at the 2016 Olympics,” St. Peter’s Prep longtime head coach Michael Burgess said. “The kid is raw and if you think he’s great now, the boy will be a monster at the next level when he puts together his talent with the correct mechanics.

“Yep, you’re going to be hearing more about him.”

NJ Week 6 hoops rankings: Paterson Eastside enters top 10

January, 31, 2012
After games on Sunday, Jan. 29

After a slow start to the season, Paterson Eastside is off and running, winning its last nine games and vaulting into the top 10 this week. DeAndre Noble-Haywood and Ky're Jackson have led the way, with Jackson dropping 20 points in the Ghosts' win against Paterson Kennedy on Saturday. The Ghosts stand to make a big jump in the rankings in the near future, should they be able to knock off No. 5 Teaneck next Tuesday.

Hudson Catholic also moved up the rankings after downing then-nationally ranked Lincoln (N.Y.). It wasn't the best showing for either team, but Reggie Cameron's 16 points helped the Hawks secure a 58-50 victory.

Top-ranked St. Anthony has had to fight off rust after having the weather and rules have cancelled three of their games in the past two weeks. The Friars still pushed their win streak to 47 games and remain fourth in the latest POWERADE FAB 50 rankings. (St. Anthony beat a solid Newark Tech on Monday, after these rankings were done.)

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

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 13-0 (1)
Friars have had some time to rest after the SNY Invitational was cancelled. In just their second game in two weeks, they easily handled East Orange, 68-28. Next up: Ridgewood on Wednesday.

2. Gill St. Bernard (Gladstone) 13-2 (2)
Knights easily took care of Franklin and St. Peter's Prep last week. Contests against Rutgers Prep and Watchung Hills loom this week.

3. St. Benedict's (Newark) 19-1 (3)
Gray Bees pushed their win streak to 10 by capturing the Newark National Invitational with a 66-64 victory against Blair Academy behind Melvin Johnson's 20 points. Next up: Lawrenceville on Wednesday.

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

State title games set for the gridiron

November, 21, 2011
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.

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

October, 28, 2011
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
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

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.

Pollock, Tyree reach new heights on the gridiron

September, 21, 2011
In this week's New Jersey All-State Football Stock Watch, we zero in on a tailback who makes 200-yard games a habit as well as a two-way starter who has his team climbing up the rankings.

UP — Donta Pollock, Holy Spirit RB
We all knew Pollock was good. Rushing for 1,878 yards as a junior made that pretty clear. But the senior has upped the ante this season, totaling 436 yards and five touchdowns through two games for the Spartans. Next up for Holy Spirit is Bridgeton before facing a major showdown with powerhouse St. Joseph (Hamm.). Until then, check out this video to see just how dominant Pollock has been.

DOWN — D.J. Singleton, St. Peter's Prep LB
It's been a long and surprising first two weeks for Singleton and the Marauders defense, to say the least. In losses to Montclair and St. Joseph (Mont.), the Marauders have given up 92 points, raising questions about a team that was thought to be one of the state's best. Of course, all the blame doesn't fall on Singleton, a Wisconsin commit, and the Marauders first two opponents were top-10 teams. So while an 0-2 start is never good, it's quite time to panic for a team with enough talent to make a turnaround.

UP — Devon Tyree, South Brunswick RB/DB
When South Brunswick beat Sayreville in the opener, it was impressive but not everybody was drinking the Kool-Aid. But following a 28-7 defeat of another sectional champ in Piscataway, it's clear the Vikings are for real. Count Tyree as a big reason why. On offense, he's rushed for touchdowns in each win, including the decisive score last week. On defense, the senior has intercepted two passes, picking off third-quarter pass last week to completely swing the game in the Vikings favor against Piscataway.

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.

Don Bosco Prep, Bergen Catholic take on Florida powers

September, 16, 2011
To say the least, New Jersey powers Don Bosco Prep and Bergen Catholic are pulling no shots when it comes to establishing their national profile.

Last week, Don Bosco, the nation's top-ranked team, took care of business against No. 6 Mission Viejo (Calif.), letting loose its ferocious defense in a 35-7 win. Bergen Catholic, meanwhile, handily defeated a solid La Salle College (Pa.) team, 41-17.

This week, both of the programs travel south to Florida with hopes of throwing some shade on two Sunshine powers.

(Shameless plug: I'll be on 1050 ESPN Radio NY tonight around 11:15 p.m., talking Don Bosco, Bergen Catholic and more football on the High School GameNight show. Check it out if it's not past your bedtime.)

No. 1* Don Bosco Prep (1-0) at No. 19* Manatee (Fla.) (1-1) (*national rankings)
One streak will end after these two meet in a huge Friday matchup. Don Bosco has won 36 straight games, but Manatee hasn't lost a home game since Oct. 30, 2009.
The Ironmen enter as the favorite, boasting a very balanced attack. John Wilkins and Jabrill Peppers (183 rushing yards and four touchdowns) lead the offense while a wealth of D-1 recruits anchor a nasty defense. Plus, the Ironmen easily handled their last nationally ranked opponent, while Manatee lost a double-overtime contest to No. 9 Good Counsel (Washington, D.C.) in its opener.
Earning a win in Manatee's house is no easy task, but should the Ironmen defense be able to pressure quarterback Cord Sanberg like they did Mission Viejo's Alex Bridgord (four interceptions, six sacks), it could be a long night for the Hurricanes.
My pick: Don Bosco 28, Manatee 17

No. 48* Bergen Catholic (1-0) at Plant (Fla.) (2-0) (*national ranking)
In the second game of the doubleheader at Hawkins Stadium in Bradenton, Fla. Bergen Catholic coach Nunzio Campanile admitted to me before the season that the Crusaders had graduated some key players, but he likes their depth. This much was clear in their 41-17 opening win. In his first varsity start, junior Jonathan Germano tore apart the Explorers' defense with 315 passing yards and five total touchdowns. The Crusaders' defense, which has nine returning starters, also looked stout. But again, playing in a big atmosphere on the road isn't easy, especially for the second straight week.
Plant is led by quarterback James Few, who had three touchdowns in last week's 36-6 win against Hillsborough (Fla.). Like the Don Bosco-Manatee contest, defense will be key for the New Jersey side, as the Crusaders hope to give their offense enough breathing room to break out early on.
My pick: Bergen Catholic 31, Plant 21

No. 6 St. Joseph (Mont.) at No. 10 St. Peter's Prep
This should be a good one. St. Peter's Prep looks to bounce back after a wild 43-41 loss to Montclair, but it won't be easy against an always tough St. Joseph (Mont.) squad. There's no doubt the Marauders can score with Brandon Napoleon under center; the question is can they do so against a solid St. Joseph defense.
My pick: St. Joseph (Mont.) 31, St. Peter's Prep 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.

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

Don Bosco Prep football faces big test in opener

September, 9, 2011
For weeks, we've talked about the juggernaut that is Don Bosco Prep's football game. Four straight state titles. 35 consecutive wins. No. 1 ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50.

This weekend, the curtain will finally be raised on the Ironmen and the Jersey football scene.

Don Bosco is waiting no time proving its worth as the nation's top team as it hosts No. 6 Mission Viejo (Calif.), a program that's produced the likes of Jets QB Mark Sanchez. This year's quarterback, Alex Bridgford, looked solid in the Diablos' opener, passing for four touchdowns. But the Ironmen defense present quite the challenge for Bridgford.

From lineman Darius Hamilton and Mike Strizak to defensive backs Elijah Shumate, Yuri Wright and Jabrill Peppers, the Ironmen have the potential to lock down any and every opponent that comes their way. (Good thing, too, judging by the monster schedule Don Bosco has this season).

The X-factor could be Ironmen quarterback Mike Yankovich. The senior replaces two-year starter Gary Nova, who is now at Rutgers. Yankovich has a good target in All-State wideout Leonte Carroo, but he certainly has little time for growing pains with a squad like Mission Viejo coming to town.
Prediction: Don Bosco 28, Mission Viejo 24

No. 5 St. Peter's Prep vs. Montclair at Rutgers
This matchup serves as the biggest in-state matchup, as there's plenty of star power on both sides. St. Peter's Prep has the experience edge, boasting senior quarterback Brandon Napoleon (West Virginia commit) and tight end Michael Giacone (Rutgers). In pursuit of Napolen will be All-State defensive lineman Julian Pinnix-Odrick, who had 82 tackles and 10 sacks last season.
Prediction: St. Peter's Prep 35, Montclair 21

Hammonton at Mainland Regional
It will be quite the emotional weekend for Mainland Regional's football team. Not only is the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 sure to be heavy on some minds, but this will mark the first game played by the Mustangs since losing four teammates in a tragic car crash in August.

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.

Singleton pledges to Badgers

August, 22, 2011
Over the weekend, D.J. Singleton ended his hot recruitment by committing to Wisconsin. With the 6-foot-2, 200-pound safety/linebacker becoming their 10th pledge, the Badgers are quietly putting together one of the nation's top classes for 2012.

Singleton, a senior at St. Peter's Prep, is ranked No. 10 in the state by ESPNU and, if not for Don Bosco's loaded secondary, probably would have moved from our Players to Watch list to the first-team defense. The powerful athlete, known for his aggressive play, also earned offers from the likes of Rutgers, Tennessee and Michigan State.

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.