Monday, October 20, 2014

Central Mass HS Football Power Rankings: 10/20/14

Worcester North gave Inter-High power Doherty all it could handle Friday, but Highlander quarterback Eric Vecsey's four touchdown passes helped Doherty hold on for another league win.
 By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Wow, what a weekend for CMass football. Friday brought a bevy of big games and close calls, as Littleton barely continued its region-long winning streak of 19 games against up-and-coming Maynard, while Doherty continued its Inter-High dominance by out-dueling North. The Highlanders edged the Polar Bears thanks to the electric combination of quarterback Eric Vecsey, who threw for four touchdowns, and wide receiver Matt Lyons, who caught three of them.

There were also a pair of big upsets as hungry Wachusett knocked off regional power St. John's (Shrewsbury) Saturday. That wasn't the first upset of the weekend, however, as Holy Name got back on track with a huge win over Division 5 power Auburn Friday night.

How did all of these games affect our Power Rankings? Find out below.

Power Rankings

1. Northbridge: 6-0, 1-0 SWCL B. Division 5

Last Week: Ranked No. 1. Defeated Grafton 33-0.

The Rams keep on rolling with a big win over Grafton. Undefeated Tyngsborough awaits Northbridge Friday night, and the Rams can lock up the top seed in Division 5 Central with a win. However, should Tynsgborough pull off the upset, they could grab the top spot, depending on the result of the Uxbridge-Bartlett game.

D5 Central has plenty of contenders, but with the way Northbridge has played so far, there's no reason to believe the Rams aren't the favorites.

2. St. John's (Shrewsbury): 4-2. Division 2

Last Week: Ranked No. 2. Lost to Wachusett 35-25.

Ok, so maybe the Pioneers' confounding loss to the Mountaineers didn't shake up our Power Rankings at all. Who was going to jump past them? A two-loss Leominster team that already lost to St. John's by double-digits earlier this season? A Shepherd Hill team that lost to the aforementioned Blue Devils by double-digits? No, St. John's retains its No. 2 spot, but the difference between "good" St. John's (the Pioneer team that blew out Leominster and Shrewsbury) and "bad" St. John's (the team that lost to Catholic Memorial and Wachusett) seems to be sizable.

The Pioneers will hope to get back on track against another team in desperate need of a win, 3-3 Marlborough, this Friday.

3. Leominster: 4-2, 2-0 Mid-Wach A. Division 2

Last Week: Ranked No. 3. Defeated Nashoba 31-23.

The Blue Devils held on against desperate Nashoba, no small feat considering the Chieftains badly needed a win for playoff purposes. Winners of four straight, I think we can now say Leominster is a legitimate threat to St. John's, despite the result of their first game against the Pioneers.

Remember, Leominster was the prohibitive D2 Central favorite last year after blowing out St. John's, and the Pioneers turned the tables in the playoffs. I'm sure the Blue Devils would love to return the favor.

4. Shepherd Hill: 5-1, 1-0 SWCL A. Division 4

Last Week: Ranked No. 4. Defeated St. Peter-Marian 20-13.

Shepherd Hill managed to edge a very feisty young Guardian squad, and will take on another Catholic school team playing remarkably well when Holy Name comes to town Friday. Despite a disappointing loss to Leominster, if the Rams take care of business against the Naps they'll be right where they want to be: No. 1 in Division 4 Central, with the road to the state semifinals going through Dudley.

5. Blackstone Valley Tech: 5-0, 4-0 Colonial

Last Week: Ranked No. 5. IDLE.

The Beavers had the weekend off, but must now play two games in six days. It helps that BVT's upcoming opponents, Nashoba Tech tonight and Monty Tech Saturday, are a combined 3-8, but the Beavers will need to say healthy if they hope to ride a Top-2 seed in Division 6 Central to Gillette. After all, Littleton is still riding a 19-game winning streak, including a win against the Beavers in last year's playoffs, and Maynard has shown itself to be a contender as well. Don't sleep on St. Bernard's either.

D6 Central is shaping up to be a very interesting bracket come playoff time.

In the Hunt:

 Littleton (6-0), Shrewsbury (5-1), Doherty (4-2), Wachusett (4-2), Maynard (5-1), Uxbridge (6-0), Tyngsborough (6-0), Bartlett (5-1), Worcester North (4-2), North Middlesex (4-2), Auburn (5-2), St. Peter-Marian (3-3), St. Bernard's (5-1), Algonquin (4-2), Lunenburg (4-2)

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