Our preseason rankings of the best teams in the state, as selected by our panel of staff writers and correspondents. (Updated 9/26)
1. Duxbury (3-0; Last Week – 1) Another week, another offensive explosion from the Dragons, as they rolled a solid Whitman-Hanson team 49-14 for their third straight blowout win.
2. Xaverian (2-1; Last Week – 2) Bouncing back with a 49-0 drubbing of Barnstable indicates that the Hawks are still a legitimate power, but their shroud of invincibility has been dispelled and they’re no longer a lock to beat other top-tier programs.
3. Everett (2-1; Last Week – 3) The Crimson Tide dominated all three phases of the game to go up on St. John’s Prep 35-0 before the backup defense coughed up two late touchdowns. Everett was inches away from beating Xaverian and could be considered the favorite to win a D1 State Title at this point.
4. BC High (2-0; Last Week – 6) So far this year, the Eagles have crushed two excellent opponents at home, the latest blowout win coming in the form of a 36-0 pasting of Central Mass. power Leominster.
5. Central Catholic (3-0; Last Week – 4) The Raiders kept rolling with a 45-6 win over Methuen last Friday. They will be idle for a week before visiting an impressive Haverhill team on October 7.
6. Billerica (3-0; Last Week – 5) Later this week, we will find out what the Indians are truly made of when they take on Everett in a huge clash between D2 and D1 powers.
7. Bridgewater-Raynham (2-1; Last Week – 7) No let down for the Trojans after their emotional win over Xaverian last week. They dispatched New Bedford, 31-14, and are looking sharp with head coach Dan Buron back on the sidelines.
8. Springfield Central (2-1; Last Week – 11) What rivalry? The Golden Eagles dominated fellow Western Mass. power Westfield from start to finish in a 39-6 victory over the weekend.
9. St. John's (Shrewsbury) (2-1; Last Week – 9) The Pioneers wound up on the short end of a 31-15 decision at Xavier (Conn.) on Friday night. Yet this team remains the class of Central Mass. and will look to prove that with a win at Nashoba in Week 4.
10. Catholic Memorial (2-1; Last Week – 12) One could argue that the Knights are playing better than the Pioneers since their horrible first half in the opener at St. John’s (Shrewsbury). A 34-0 demolition of Brockton last Friday proves that CM has hit its’ stride.
11. Holliston (3-0; Last Week – 13) Anyone that doubts the Panthers ability to hang with the top teams in the state should pay note to their 30-6 drubbing of Division 2A program Medfield over the weekend. They’ve now scored 30 points in consecutive weeks against teams in higher divisions.
12. St. John's Prep (1-2; Last Week – 10) It’s simply been a brutal schedule for the Eagles to open the season and they didn’t show very well at Everett last Saturday. But this team is chalk full of talent and Mike Yarin is only going to improve with more reps under center.
13. King Philip (3-0; Last Week – 15) This team is not giving its’ opponents any room to breathe with a suffocating defense. The Warriors nearly shutout Oliver Ames in another decisive victory and they’ve only given up 13 points all year.
14. Andover (1-2; Last Week – 18) Golden Warriors got back on track with a 54-20 win over Lawrence and it’s worth noting that their oft-maligned defense pitched a shutout during the second half of that contest.
15. Haverhill (2-1; Last Week – 22) A thick downpour couldn’t keep the Hillies from rolling to another win. This time, they handled Westford Academy by a final of 20-9 and they’re looking like a true threat in D1 North.
16. Reading (2-1; Last Week – 17) After getting shut down by Central Catholic in Week 1, the Rockets offense seems to have hit its stride with 77 points in two easy wins over the last couple of weeks.
17. Milton (3-0; Last Week – 19) Granted, Walpole is going through a down year, but the Wildcats handled their rivals from start to finish in a 38-7 victory last Friday night.
18. Tewksbury (3-0; Last Week – 16) The Redmen hung on to defeat North Andover, 35-27, in overtime on a rain-soaked Friday night, but definitely showed some more deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball.
19. Leominster (2-1; Last Week – 9) It was a tough test on the road, but the Blue Devils laid a complete egg in a 36-0 loss at BC High to indicate that they’re not ready to face big-time opponents quite yet.
20. Mansfield (2-1; Last Week – 21) The Hornets handled another regional rival by defeating Attleboro 38-7 on Friday night. Up next is a huge home game against No. 13 King Philip.
21. Dartmouth (3-0; Last Week – NA) Proving that they’re not to be overlooked by anyone despite losing a lot of key pieces this summer, the Indians just took down a La Salle Academy (R.I.) team that dropped 48 points on Springfield Central to open the season.
22. North Attleborough (2-1; Last Week – 20) Rocketeers hung on to defeat Stoughton 34-19 for their second win of the year. That offense is humming after getting stymied by King Philip in the season opener.
23. Brockton (2-1; Last Week – 14) There will be easier matchups for the Boxers offense, but their one-dimensional approach was wholly ineffective against a stout Catholic Memorial defense in Week 3.
24. Melrose (2-1; Last Week – 23) The Red Raiders held on to defeat Burlington 30-18 in Week 3, but might have trouble defending their Middlesex Freedom League Title this season.
25. Falmouth (3-0; Last Week – NA) Clippers held on to defeat regional power Marshfield in a thrilling overtime game on Friday night, thereby supplanting the Rams in the final spot of our rankings.
Last 10 Out: Danvers (2-1), Grafton (3-0), Hanover (3-0), Marblehead (3-0), Marshfield (2-1), Millis (2-1), Nashoba (2-1), Shrewsbury (2-1), Wellesley (3-0), Westford Academy (2-1)