Cincinnati St. Xavier is back where it started the year — ranked No. 1 in the Prep Nation National Prep Poll. The Week 18 poll was released Monday afternoon.
Following a perfect 15-0 season, the Bombers reclaim the top spot one week after their second state title in three seasons.
Read on for more.
The Bombers were selected by PrepNation.com Editor and Founder Jamie DeMoney as the nation's top-ranked team during the preseason in both the National Prep Poll and RISE magazine Power 50 rankings.
St. Xavier fell to No. 2 in the Prep Poll in September when Miami Northwestern jumped into the top spot after a 29-21 win against then-No. 2 Carroll (Southlake, Texas).
But Northwestern dropped two spots to No. 3 this week following a closer-than-expected 19-14 defeat of unranked Deerfield Beach in the Class 6A semifinals.
The Bulls will play Orlando Boone Saturday for their second consecutive 6A state title. But it's likely that Northwestern will close the season playing only one other nationally or regionally ranked team (Carroll). And with just four other 6A teams appearing in last week's Beef 'O' Brady's Top 25 all-classification Florida state football rankings, and with two other South Florida teams in the national Top 10 playing in different classifications (one 4A and the other 2B), it's difficult to make an argument that Northwestern would even be able to truly claim an undisputed state championship this season, let alone a national title.
On the other hand, making St. Xavier's case strong for the No. 1 ranking are the same factors that placed the Bombers atop the poll in the preseason. St. X was not only able to win the state championship in Ohio's undisputed top division this season (Division I), the Bombers also defeated state (or equivalent) champions in Kentucky, Indiana, and the District of Columbia. In all, St. Xavier defeated nine different teams that were nationally or regionally ranked this year.
Remarkably, only one of St. X's 15 opponents had less than a .500 record this year. It was St. Edward (Lakewood), which went a disappointing 4-5 with a first-year coach despite starting the year ranked No. 10 in the Midwest regional rankings.
Overall, St. Xavier's 15 opponents went a combined 135-47 this year. The group combined to win six games against nationally or regionally ranked teams and 28 of the group's 47 losses came to nationally or regionally ranked opponents (including St. Xavier).
Moving up one spot to No. 2 this week was six-time Prep Poll titlist De La Salle (Concord, Calif.). The Spartans completed their domination of Northern California football with a 37-0 rout of California in the North Coast Section 4A championship. On Saturday, De La Salle will battle So-Cal's best, No. 10 Centennial (Corona), for the Division I state championship.
The National Prep Football Poll is compiled by high school sports journalist Jamie DeMoney with input from sportswriters, experts, and coaches. The national Top 25 with regional Top 10's follow with won-loss-tie records:
|1.||Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Xavier||15-0-0||beat nine teams that were nationally or regionally ranked this season||2|
|2.||Concord, Calif., De La Salle||12-0-0||won 16th straight section title||3|
|3.||Miami, Fla., Northwestern||14-0-0||tied Miami-Dade County record with 29th straight win||1|
|4.||Katy, Texas||14-0-0||earned 10th trip to state semifinals||4|
|5.||Prattville, Ala.||15-0-0||repeated as 6A champ||6|
|6.||Batesville, Miss., South Panola||15-0-0||fifth straight 5A crown and 75 consecutive wins||5|
|7.||Pahokee, Fla.||14-0-0||fourth state title in five years||7|
|8.||Miami, Fla., Booker T. Washington||13-0-0||hammered then-No. 10 Armwood, 34-14, in 4A semi's||9|
|9.||Euless, Texas, Trinity||13-1-0||will play regionally ranked Plano in 5A/I semi's||13|
|10.||Corona, Calif., Centennial||13-1-0||plays No. 3 De La Salle for Division I state crown||14|
|11.||Duncan, S.C., Byrnes||15-0-0||fifth state title in six years||11|
|12.||Jenks, Okla.||13-1-0||avenged only loss and won 6A crown||12|
|13.||Lake Balboa, Calif., Birmingham||13-1-0||City champ outscored playoff foes by combined 193-19||NR|
|14.||Long Beach, Calif., Poly||13-1-0||beat then-No. 16 Crespi for Pac-5 section crown||15|
|15.||Chantilly, Va., Westfield||15-0-0||first 15-0 team in state history||8|
|16.||Bastrop, La.||15-0-0||won third consecutive 4A title||18|
|17.||Maryville, Tenn.||15-0-0||fourth straight 4A crown and 60 consecutive wins||19|
|18.||Allentown, Pa., Parkland||15-0-0||advanced to 4A state final||NR|
|19.||Warner Robins, Ga., Northside||14-0-0||erased 21-point deficit to beat Tucker in 4A semi's||22|
|20.||Ramsey, N.J., Don Bosco Prep||12-0-0||back-to-back undefeated, state championship seasons||20|
|21.||Eden Prairie, Minn.||14-0-0||romped to repeat 5A title||21|
|22.||Kansas City, Mo., Rockhurst||13-0-0||won third state crown since 2000||23|
|23.||Louisville, Ky., Trinity||13-2-0||beat rival St. Xavier, 34-28 in OT, for 6-A title||NR|
|24.||Gaithersburg, Md., Quince Orchard||14-0-0||rallied from 16 points down to win 4A title||24|
|25.||Naperville, Ill., North||13-1-0||won 8A state title||NR|
1. Allentown, Pa., Parkland (15-0-0) (5)
2. Ramsey, N.J., Don Bosco Prep (12-0-0) (2)
3. Pittsburgh, Pa., Central Catholic (15-0-0) (1)
4. Everett, Mass. (13-0-0) (3)
5. Wayne, N.J., Wayne Hills (12-0-0) (6)
6. Folsom, Pa., Ridley (13-1-0) (4)
7. Jefferson Hills, Pa., Jefferson (15-0-0) (8)
8. Monroeville, Pa., Gateway (11-2-0) (7)
9. Mastic Beach, N.Y., Floyd (11-0-0) (9)
10. Ansonia, Conn. (13-0-0) —
East Coast Region
1. Duncan, S.C., Byrnes (15-0-0) (2)
2. Chantilly, Va., Westfield (15-0-0) (1)
3. Gaithersburg, Md., Quince Orchard (14-0-0) (3)
4. Chesapeake, Va., Oscar Smith (13-1-0) (4)
5. New Bern, N.C. (14-2-0) —
6. Charlotte, N.C., Independence (13-3-0) (6)
7. Gambrills, Md., Arundel (13-1-0) —
8. Hyattsville, Md., DeMatha (10-2-0) (7)
9. Parkersburg, W.Va. (13-1-0) (8)
10. Middletown, Del. (11-1-0) (10)
1. Miami, Fla., Northwestern (14-0-0) (1)
2. Batesville, Miss., South Panola (15-0-0) (2)
3. Prattville, Ala. (15-0-0) (3)
4. Pahokee, Fla. (14-0-0) (4)
5. Miami, Fla., Booker T. Washington (13-0-0) (5)
6. Bastrop, La. (15-0-0) (7)
7. Maryville, Tenn. (15-0-0) (8)
8. Warner Robins, Ga., Northside (14-0-0) (9)
9. Nashville, Tenn., Montgomery Bell Academy (13-0-0) —
10. Suwanee, Ga., North Gwinnett (13-1-0) —
1. Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Xavier (15-0-0) (1)
2. Louisville, Ky., Trinity (13-2-0) (3)
3. Naperville, Ill., North (13-1-0) (4)
4. Dublin, Ohio, Coffman (13-1-0) (5)
5. Maria Stein, Ohio, Marion Local (15-0-0) (6)
6. Louisville, Ky., St. Xavier (14-1-0) (2)
7. Hartland, Wis., Arrowhead (14-0-0) (7)
8. Detroit, Mich., King (14-0-0) (8)
9. Macomb, Mich., Dakota (14-0-0) (9)
10. Joliet, Ill., Joliet Catholic (13-1-0) (10)
1. Eden Prairie, Minn. (14-0-0) (1)
2. Kansas City, Mo., Rockhurst (13-0-0) (2)
3. Hutchinson, Kan. (13-0-0) (3)
4. Blue Springs, Mo., South (9-1-0) (4)
5. Sandy, Utah, Alta (13-1-0) (5)
6. Bettendorf, Iowa (13-0-0) (6)
7. Omaha, Neb., Central (11-2-0) (7)
8. Aurora, Colo., Grandview (12-2-0) (8)
9. St. Paul, Minn., Cretin-Derham Hall (13-1-0) (9)
10. Meridian, Idaho (12-0-0) (10)
1. Katy, Texas (14-0-0) (1)
2. Euless, Texas, Trinity (13-1-0) (3)
3. Jenks, Okla. (13-1-0) (2)
4. Plano, Texas (13-1-0) (4)
5. Odessa, Texas, Permian (12-1-0) (5)
6. Abilene, Texas (13-1-0) (6)
7. Southlake, Texas, Carroll (11-2-0) (7)
8. Las Vegas, Nev., Bishop Gorman (14-0-0) (8)
9. Phoenix, Ariz., Brophy (12-2-0) (9)
10. Fayetteville, Ark. (9-3-1) (10)
West Coast Region
1. Concord, Calif., De La Salle (12-0-0) (1)
2. Corona, Calif., Centennial (13-1-0) (2)
3. Lake Balboa, Calif., Birmingham (13-1-0) (5)
4. Long Beach, Calif., Poly (13-1-0) (3)
5. Orange, Calif., Lutheran (10-2-0) (6)
6. Encino, Calif., Crespi (11-3-0) (4)
7. Anaheim, Calif., Servite (9-3-0) (7)
8. Santa Ana, Calif., Mater Dei (9-2-0) (8)
9. Sammamish, Wash., Skyline (14-0-0) (9)
10. Ventura, Calif., St. Bonaventure (13-1-0) —
Dropped out: Top 25: No. 10 Seffner, Fla., Armwood (13-1-0). Northeast: No. 10 Harrisburg, Pa. (12-2-0). East Coast: No. 5 Dumfries, Va., Potomac (14-1-0), No. 9 Charlotte, N.C., West Charlotte (13-2-0). Southeast: No. 10 Kissimmee, Fla., Osceola (14-0-0). West Coast: No. 10 Newhall, Calif., Hart (12-1-1).
FEATS OF THE WEEK: Darius Barksdale ran for 333 yards and four touchdowns as No. 6 Batesville, Miss., South Panola completed its sixth consecutive unbeaten season. The Tigers defeated Lucedale, George County, 28-21, in front of an estimated 18,000 fans at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. It was their nation's-best 75th straight win and fifth consecutive 5A state title. Barksdale, a Mississippi recruit, had 732 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in South Panola's final two games . . .
No. 23 Louisville, Trinity defeated archrival Louisville, St. Xavier, 34-28 in overtime, before 15,696 fans at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium to claim its third large-school state championship in a row and 18th overall . . .
Regionally ranked Charlotte, N.C., Independence's run of 39 consecutive playoff wins and seven state titles came to an end. The Patriots, who began the year with a 108-game winning streak, were beaten, 28-17, by regionally ranked New Bern in the Class 4AA final at Wake Forest's BB&T Field . . . No. 17 Maryville, Tenn., extended its winning streak to 60 and captured its fourth consecutive 4A title. The Rebels defeated Nashville, Maplewood, 28-13, at Middle Tennessee State's Floyd Stadium . . . S
ix different players scored touchdowns as No. 15 Chantilly, Va., Westfield defeated Woodbridge, 42-14, for the Class AAA Division 6 title at the University of Virginia's Scott Stadium.
About the National Prep Poll: Compiled weekly since 1987 and a property of World Features Syndicate, the National Prep Poll is the nation's second oldest weekly high school sports rankings and are the only high school rankings distributed to newspapers and Web sites around the United States by the Associated Press national wire service. The National Prep Poll is the first high school football and boys basketball poll to released in the preseason and during each week of the regular season. Criteria considered for the National Prep Poll rankings are strength of schedule, the ability to accomplish the ultimate goal on a team's schedule (i.e. winning a championship), impact players and performers, a team's coaching and recent tradition.
Jamie DeMoney has covered high school sports and been involved with prep recruiting and evaluation for nearly 15 years. He has compiled the National Prep Poll for World Features Syndicate and the Associated Press since 1999. He is former managing editor of American Football Monthly, the premier trade publication in America for football coaches. DeMoney is also a full-time staff member of Forbes Recruit Evaluation, a football scouting service subscribed to by more than 300 college coaching staffs. Each football season, DeMoney evaluates thousands of high school football players and teams in person and on tape. DeMoney maintains a library of more than 3,000 high school game tapes from the last three seasons. It isn't likely that any other national high school rankings compiler watches even 10 percent as much game tape of the teams he considers for rankings as DeMoney does. DeMoney's other credits include serving on the selection panel for the Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year, as editor of Gridiron Greats recruiting yearbook (1995-99), Associate Editor of Hawkeye Nation magazine, contributor to NFLHS.com and doing play-by-play high school sports for KCJJ-AM in Iowa City, Iowa, during the mid-90s. DeMoney is a 1994 graduate of the University of Iowa School of Journalism, a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the United States Basketball Writers Association.