Monday, October 14, 2013

CMass HS Football Power Rankings: 10/14/13

James Gurley helped Leominster defeat Doherty in the region's biggest game Friday night.
By Joe Parello  @HerewegoJoe

Unfortunately, I was out of town last weekend due to a family emergency, so I missed what turned out to be a crazy weekend of Central Mass football, full of upsets and close games.

This weekend, I'm dragging myself to my own wedding (ugh), so it looks like I'm going to go back-to-back weekends without any CMass pigskin. Crazy, I know. But, rest assured I have read through every game recap and box score I can, and reached out to several area coaches to get their opinions on what is now a jumbled mess of a Top-5.

Power Rankings

1. Leominster: 5-0, 1-0 Mid Wach A. Division 2

Last Week: Ranked No. 1. Defeated No. 2 Doherty 47-26.

It wasn't their best defensive effort initially, but the Blue Devils continued to pile up the points as James Gurley broke out for a pair of touchdowns and a late game interception to lead Leominster to a huge road win.

2. Doherty: 4-1, 1-0 Inter-High. Division 4

Last Week: Ranked No. 2. Lost to No. 1 Leominster 47-26.

But we're not going to penalize Doherty for failing to knock off, perhaps, the best Division 2 team in the state. After all, the Highlanders did lead Leominster 19-10 at the half. Despite the late turnover, quarterback Luke Brennan had himself a night, throwing for three touchdowns, including a 40-yard score to star Isaac Yiadom early in the fourth to keep Doherty alive.

3. Hudson: 5-0, 2-0 Mid Wach B. Division 4

Last Week: Ranked No. 4. Defeated Oakmont 20-14.

Hudson needed a last-minute fourth down stand to knock off Oakmont, so I'm not exactly high on the Hawks, especially after Westboro played them close a couple weeks back. Still, Hudson is dealing with some key injuries and still winning. That counts for something.

4. St. Peter-Marian: 5-0, 1-0 Central Mass. Division 4

Last Week: Unranked. Defeated Tantasqua 26-14.

The Guardians make their debut in our Top-5 after a big win over scrappy Tantasqua. Quarterback Seamus Leary is both throwing and running at a high level, and receiver Dan Hendrickson is establishing himself as one of the best in Central Mass.

5. St. John's: 3-2, 0-0 Central Mass. Division 2

Last Week: Ranked No. 3. Lost to Shrewsbury 23-22.

For the second year in a row, the Pioneers were stunned by cross-town rival Shrewsbury. But, big wins over Nashoba and Catholic Memorial, as well as hanging tough with Leominster keep St. John's in the Top-5… For now.

In the Hunt: Littleton (5-0), Marlborough (5-0), Blackstone Valley Tech (5-0), West Boylston (4-1), Leicester (4-1), Uxbridge (5-0), Shrewsbury (3-2), Auburn (4-2)

You try to figure this whole thing out. Littleton is undefeated with an early season win over West Boylston, but WB just knocked off previously unbeaten Leicester and man-child Tom Rodrick. Meanwhile, Marlborough scores a huge win over CMass power Nashoba and BVT just refuses to beat anybody by less than 20.

Uxbridge remains unbeaten, but against an admittedly soft schedule. We'll know a lot more about the Spartans when they travel to Leicester this Friday. Shrewsbury was a team that had to replace a lot this year, particularly on offense, but the Colonials bounced back from losses to Nashoba and SPM to defeat high-powered St. John's this past weekend. As for Auburn, you can never truly count the Rockets out, despite a pair of losses to Hudson and Leicester.

CMass Player of the Year Watch List

1. Neil O'Connor, Sr. QB, Leominster

He's the prohibitive favorite at this point, and he has my vote in the ESPN Boston poll (so far) for Massachusetts Mr. Football.

2. Isaac Yiadom, Sr. WR/S, Doherty

Even in defeat, we saw just how explosive Yiadom can be. Doherty has to feel good about where they stand in Division 4 with him and QB Luke Brennan leading the way.

3. Dylan Kierman, Sr. QB, Quabbin

Another week, another monster performance from Quabbin's record setting QB. Kierman refused to let the Panthers lose, throwing for nearly 400 yards in a 45-40 win over Westboro. He finished the game with four passing touchdowns, including the game winner with 38 seconds to play, and added another two on the ground.

4. Andrew Smiley, Sr. QB, St. John's

Smiley led the Pioneers on a would-be game winning drive from their own one yard line, but Shrewsbury blocked a 37-yard St. John's field goal as time expired.

5. Jarell Addo, Sr. TE/S Leominster

Thanks to a largely uneventful day from Leicester's Tom Rodrick, Addo jumps back into our Watch List after the Blue Devils adjusted to Doherty's explosive receivers and held the Highlanders to just seven second half points. The physical safety is one of the region's most feared hitters, and his ability to both play in the box and roam deep is a big reason why Leominster can do so many different things defensively.

In the Hunt: Tom Rodrick, Sr. LB/FB, Leicester. Mark Wright, Jr. RB, Auburn. Nic Wojnar, Sr. QB/LB, BVT. Luke Brennan, Sr. QB, Doherty.

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