New Jersey power Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) will not only be seeking its 46th consecutive win and sixth straight Non-Public Group 4 state title Friday against rival Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.), but the Ironmen could join an elite list with a victory.
Don Bosco Prep could become the 11th team in the last 15 years to go wire-to-wire from the preseason to the final rankings as No. 1 in the POWERADE FAB 50.
The Ironmen have been No. 1 all season in the FAB 50, which also was the case from 1997 to 2006 as all 10 preseason No. 1 ranked teams in those years went wire-to-wire and finished No. 1 in the final rankings.
The decade-long No. 1 streak started with Hampton (Hampton, Va.) in 1997, followed by De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) in 1998 and Evangel Christian (Shreveport, La.) in 1999. From 2000-03, De La Salle went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team four times, while extending its national record win streak to 151 games.
The No. 1 wire-to-wire baton was passed to Southlake Carroll (Southlake, Texas) in 2004 and 2005 followed by Lakeland (Lakeland, Fla.) in 2006.
The streak ended in 2007 when preseason No. 2 Miami Northwestern (Miami, Fla.) upended preseason No. 1 Southlake Carroll (Southlake, Texas) and went on to capture the FAB 50 crown.
Since then, three more preseason No. 1 teams fell short of the accomplishment; including last year when Euless Trinity (Euless, Texas) lost in its final game. Will Don Bosco Prep be like teams of the last four years and not go wire-to-wire or will the Ironmen start a new streak of wire-to-wire FAB 50 champions? We’ll find out Friday night.
FAB 50 SPOTLIGHT PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Romello Goodman, Centennial (Corona, Calif.)
Running backs with prolific yardage and scoring totals is nothing new at Centennial, which went back into this week’s FAB 50 at No. 44 after a 56-21 victory against Chaparral (Temecula, Calif.) in the CIF Southern Section Inland Division playoffs.
Goodman, a mighty mite at 5-foot-6, 165-pounds, is the latest feature back in coach Matt Logan’s no-huddle, quick-tempo, spread offense. In the game against Chaparral, he carried 27 times for 355 yards and set a school record by scoring eight touchdowns. This came one week after Goodman shined with 32 carries for 325 yards and five scores in a first-round playoff win over Redlands (Redlands, Calif.).
Setting school records in rushing or scoring at Centennial is not the same as any other school in California; it’s hard to do. Since the 2000 season, tailbacks for the Huskies have included Mike Bass, who tallied 2,875 yards and 41 TDs in 2000, Brandon Minor with 2,714 yards and 50 TDs in 2004, Terrell Jackson with 2,664 yards and 43 TDs in 2003 (he also scored 50 times in 2002), Ryan Bass with 2,608 yards and 48 TDs in 2007 and Barrinton Collins with 2,427 yards and 42 TDs one year ago.
After his first two playoff games and with perhaps two or even three games left (depending on whether Centennial is chosen to play in a CIF bowl game), Goodman enters this week with 2,269 yards and 40 TDs. He’s certainly put himself into the discussion with those before him and at Centennial that is saying something.
RISING NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
No. 23 Page (Greensboro, N.C.)
The Pirates will be seeking their first state title since 1985 after upsetting two FAB 50-ranked teams and advancing to Saturday's Class 4-AA title game against 15-0 Garner (Garner, N.C.).
Page moved into the FAB 50 this week after knocking off two-time defending champion Butler (Matthews, N.C.) 40-26 before eliminating previously unbeaten Mallard Creek (Charlotte, N.C.) 41-27 last weekend. After being the "hunter" the last two playoff weeks, the Pirates are now the 'hunted." And it's been a long time coming for the school. Page was a state football power in the early 1980s and reeled off a state record unbeaten streak of 46 games from 1982-85, a mark that would last for two decades.
The current Pirate football team, coached by Kevin Gillespie, took a back seat all season to Charlotte area powers Butler and Mallard Creek before recording the playoff upsets.
Page is led by 6-foot-2, 195-pound versatile quarterback James Summers. The North Carolina State recruit accounted for 336 total offense yards and four scores in last week's 41-27 win over then FAB 50 No. 13 Mallard Creek.
LOOKING AHEAD: STATE SHOWDOWNS
There are four matchups this weekend involving two FAB 50 teams and several more on the horizon.
Of this week’s showdowns, two will determine state championships with No. 23 Page (Greensboro, N.C.) playing No. 50 Garner (Garner, N.C.) and No. 34 Union (Tulsa, Okla.) battling No. 47 Broken Arrow (Broken Arrow, Okla.).
The other two are essentially state quarterfinals in Florida and Texas. In Florida, No. 12 Miami Norland travels to meet No. 39 Glades Central while in Texas it is No. 18 Southlake Carroll matching up with No. 38 Arlington Martin.
On the weekend of Dec. 10-11, the best games could be in Georgia, Texas and Oregon. Provided all teams keep winning, those contests would match No. 3 Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) against No. 28 Walton (Marietta, Ga.) for the Class AAAAA state title; No. 9 Skyline (Dallas) against No. 18 Southlake Carroll (Southlake, Texas) in the Class 5A Division I semifinals; No. 19 Steele (Cibolo, Texas) against No. 27 La Porte (La Porte, Texas) in the Class 5A Division II semifinals; and No. 32 Sheldon (Eugene, Ore.) against No. 48 Lake Oswego (Lake Oswego, Ore.) for the Class 6A state crown.
Then on the final weekend of the nation’s high school football season on Dec. 17-18, the best games may be in Florida and California. Again, provided all teams continue to win and the California state bowl game selections go as expected, those matchups would include No. 2 Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) against No. 20 Miami Central (Miami, Fla.) for the Class 6A state crown; No. 13 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) against No. 15 Westlake (Westlake Village, Calif.) in the CIF State Open Division bowl game; and No. 25 Bellarmine (San Jose, Calif.) against No. 44 Centennial (Corona, Calif.) in the CIF State Division I bowl game.