With the CHSFL playoffs beginning this weekend, we polled our staff of high school writers to get their takes on which teams they see emerging victorious. Matt Ehalt, Amara Grautski, Chris Hunt and Rob Abruzzese give their takes on how the CHSFL "AA" playoffs will breakdown.
No.1 Fordham Prep vs. No. 8 St. John the Baptist
No. 2 Holy Trinity vs. No. 7 St. Peter’s
No. 3 Kellenberg vs. No. 6 Cardinal Hayes
No. 4 St. Joseph by-the-Sea vs. No. 5 Xavier
WHO IS THE TEAM TO BEAT?
Ehalt: Fordham Prep: The Rams are reeling and aren’t as good as they were perceived to be but they might be a little too much for the rest of this bracket.
Abruzzese: Xavier: The Knights went undefeated in league play displaying a strong offense and defense. It’s hard to see anybody stopping them and that includes No. 1 Fordham Prep.
Grautski: Fordham Prep: has knocked out other top competitors Holy Trinity and Kellenberg during the regular season, and its offense is averaging about 40 points per game.
Hunt: Xavier: It can say the one thing that no other team in AA can: It hasn’t lost a conference game. The Knights can really prove themselves against if they match up with Fordham Prep in the semifinal.
WHICH TEAM IS THE SLEEPER?
Ehalt: Xavier: Xavier went 7-1 this year with its only loss coming out of conference in its season-opening game. There’s no reason that it can’t run the table and pull this off like Stepinac last year.
Abruzzese: Holy Trinity: The Titans weren’t very impressive this season, but they pulled it together at the end to pick up a pair of big wins. This could be a sign that they finally got their act together. If so, they could surprise some teams in the playoffs.
Grautski: Kellenberg: Kellenberg defeated second-ranked Holy Cross during the regular season and only lost to Fordham Prep, 29-28. The 2-point conversion by Fordham Prep made the difference in the fourth quarter. Kellenberg’s only been shut out once this year
Hunt: Holy Trinity: Holy Trinity waxed St. Joseph by the Sea and then won a close game against a speedy Mount St. Michael last week. That’s the kind of win that catapulted a team through the playoffs.
WHICH TEAM COULD GET UPSET EARLY?
Ehalt: St. Joseph by-the-Sea: St. Joseph was the worst team in the AAA and they have a bad quarterfinal matchup against Xavier. They could be one-and-done in this thing.
Abruzzese: Fordham Prep: The Rams faced some tough teams this season and didn’t look good against any of them. They are also going into the playoffs with a 4-game losing streak. They likely will make past the first round, but a semifinals exit is just as likely.
Grautski: Holy Trinity: Holy Trinity lost to sleeper pick Kellenberg, 40-28, during the regular season, in a game when Kellenberg's quarterback wasn’t at his best. Kellenberg could defeat Holy Trinity again in the second round of the playoffs.
Hunt: Xavier: If Xavier is the team to beat then it also makes them the biggest candidate for an upset, especially if my bracket plays out. Holy Trinity has two wins this season.
WHAT’S THE TITLE GAME?
Ehalt: No. 5 Xavier over No. 1 Fordham Prep: Xavier has played the best of any of these teams and will beat its rival in a big game on Thanksgiving.
Abruzzese: No. 5 Xavier over No. 1 Fordham Prep: Xavier has the confidence as they were unbeaten in league play this year and they have the biggest offensive weapon in running back William Solomon. Fordham Prep hasn’t even come close to winning a big game this year either.
Grautski: No. 3 Kellenberg defeats No. 1 Fordham Prep: Fordham Prep is a great football team, but it isn’t invincible. Kellenberg will avenge its 1-point loss to knock Fordham Prep out in the final game.
Hunt: No. 5 Xavier over No. 1 Fordham Prep: This is a pick’em game. Fordham Prep is 3-5 but have played a tougher schedule than Xavier, which should feel like a team with something to prove.
Ehalt: Fordham over SJTB; Holy Trinity over St. P’s; Kellenberg over Hayes; Xavier over SJBTS; Xavier over Holy Trinity; Fordham over Kellenberg
Abruzzese: Fordham over SJTB; Holy Trinity over St. P’s; Hayes over Kellenberg: Xavier over SJBTS; Fordham over Hayes; Xavier over Holy Trinity
Grautski: Fordham over SJTB; Holy Trinity over St. P’s; Kellenberg over Hayes; SJBTS over Xavier; Fordham over SJBTS; Kellenberg over Holy Trinity
Hunt: Fordham over SJTB; Holy Trinity over St. P’s; Kellenberg over Hayes; Xavier over SJBTS; Fordham over Kellenberg; Xavier over Holy Trinity