Few changes in FAB 50

November, 10, 2008

There weren't many changes in this week's updated FAB 50, with just one team falling out and one new squad jumping in. RISE Magazine's Jon Mahoney stops by the blog this week to talk about the rankings and his latest ballot:

No. 4 Gateway is the team that has impressed me the most this season. Heading into the year, the Gators were faced with the prospect of replacing a pair of stud gridiron standouts in linebacker Shayne Hale and running back Cameron Saddler, who are both now playing at Pitt. Gateway not only has been able to fill the void -- it's also a better team than it was last year. That's thanks in large part to the Ohio State-bound duo of linebacker Dorian Bell and wide receiver/defensive back Corey Brown. This past weekend, the Gators earned their second shutout in as many games in the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs with a 24-0 blanking of Shaler in the quarterfinals. Gateway plays Penn Hills in the semifinals Friday.

Meanwhile, an underrated team to me is Good Counsel, which I have at No. 23 in this week's poll. The Falcons finished the regular season 10-0 and feature senior linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who's rated the nation's No. 9 overall recruit in the ESPNU 150. Lightning-quick senior running back Caleb Porzel is another stellar performer for this well-rounded squad.

The Ohio playoffs forced me to shift my vote around this week as No. 8 Glenville was edged by No. 18 St. Ignatius, 8-7, in the Division I regional semifinals. Despite the loss, I still kept in Glenville at No. 50 because I don't think a 1-point loss to the nation's No. 18 team in the playoffs should make the Tarblooders fall out of the rankings entirely. However, I did move Pickerington Central ahead of Glenville among Ohio teams.

My team to keep an eye on is No. 44 Newnan, which improved to 10-0 with a 12-0 shutout of East Coweta. Newnan, which plays in Georgia's highest classification, has a streak of four consecutive shutout wins and has blanked six of its 10 opponents this season.

There are a plethora of top games next weekend, like No. 21 Elder vs. Colerain in the Ohio Division I regional finals. But the game I'm most interested in is No. 39 Rockhurst vs. rival Blue Springs South in the Class 6 state quarterfinals on Friday. Rockhurst upended Blue Springs South in the season opener, 42-14, in a game televised on ESPN, but Blue Springs South has played very well since then. Meanwhile, Rockhurst avenged its only loss of the season by crushing Blue Springs, 48-0, in the first round.

Jon Mahoney's ballot:
1. Trinity
2. St. Thomas Aquinas
3. Lowndes
4. Gateway
5. Long Beach Poly
6. Armwood
7. Oscar Smith
8. Lake Travis
9. St. Xavier (Ky.)
10. Camden County
11. South Panola
12. Corona Centennial
13. Skyline
14. St. Ignatius
15. Lakeland
16. Phoebus
17. North Shore
18. Don Bosco Prep
19. Dorman
20. Maryville
21. Elder
22. Permian
23. Good Counsel
24. Stone Bridge
25. North Penn
26. Prattville
27. Arrowhead
28. John Curtis
29. Byrnes
30. De La Salle
31. Plant
32. Abilene
33. Allen
34. Maine South
35. Oceanside
36. Madison County
37. St. Bonaventure
38. Cretin-Derham Hall
39. Rockhurst
40. Union
41. South Pointe
42. Centennial (Peoria)
43. Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks)
44. Newnan (Ga.)
45. Center Grove
46. Independence
47. Jenks
48. Pickerington Central
49. Lowell
50. Glenville

Other notes:
• It would be an understatement to say Chris LaPierre is an outstanding athlete on any field. The Shawnee High (N.J.) standout has been running through and around defenders since his sophomore year when he surpassed 1,000 yards rushing and has done so every year since. Despite these accomplishments on the football gridiron, LaPierre will be playing lacrosse at the University of Virginia next year.

• Georgia is now ready to go full speed ahead with the playoffs after the seedings were set over the weekend. The Class 5A bracket easily looks to the most competitive and intriguing, as this class has four teams in the ESPN RISE FAB 50: No. 3 Lowndes, No. 10 Camden County, No. 44 Northside and No. 50 Newnan.

• The Houston Chronicle takes a look at some of the best individual performances from last weekend as well the latest rankings in Houston. It is no surprise that Russell Shepard was at the top of his game again but it was the pass catch duo from Friendswood Jacob Karam and Andre Gautreaux that stole the show. Karam got help from his WR to tossing seven TDs (four to Gautreaux), a school record that he has now done in back to back weeks.



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