Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Eastern Mass HS Football Power Rankings: Week 2

St. John's Prep defensive tackles David Rodriguez (93) and Hunter Brown (99) proved to be nearly immovable against Mansfield Friday night.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Only a week in and there's already some shake up in our Eastern Mass poll. After big wins by Xaverian, St. John's Prep and BC High, the Catholic Conference threatens to put a stranglehold on our Top-10, but last week's top team was impressive as well.

Let's not waste any more time, here are this week's Power Rankings.

Ed. Note: Last week we only ranked the Top-5 teams in Eastern Mass, then listed an "In the Running" category. Now that the season is underway, we're opening our rankings up and doing a complete Top-10 list.

Power Rankings

1. Marshfield: 1-0, Division 2

Last Week: Ranked No. 1, defeated Ridgewood (NJ) 29-7.

Marshfield ended Massachusetts' woes against teams from the Garden State with a dominant performance against Ridgewood. Tight end Danny Dalton remains one of the state's best weapons, and quarterback Jack Masterson has, uh, mastered the Rams' offense at this point.

2. Xaverian: 1-0, Division 1

Last Week: Ranked No. 4, defeated No. 2 Everett 29-7.

The reigning Division 1 state champs proved that, though the names have changed, things are still the same for the Hawks, particularly on defense, where Xaverian shutdown Everett and star quarterback Jordan McAfee. Xaverian held the Crimson Tide to just seven points while forcing six turnovers, led by All-State corner Coby Tippett's pick and kickoff return for a touchdown.

The win marked the fourth consecutive victory for Xaverian over Everett, including last December's state title game at Gillette.

3. St. John's Prep: 1-0, Division 1

Last Week: Ranked No. 3, defeated Mansfield 42-14.

Like Xaverian, the Prep picked up where they left off last year, despite a bunch of new faces. The SJP offense was again powered by senior quarterback Ollie Eberth, but his weapons have changed. Well, at least their first names have.

Hayden Rockett and Declan Burt, the younger brothers Owen Rockett and Jake Burt, Eberth's favorite targets from a year ago, both starred for the Eagles, and the defense again proved to be physical and disciplined up front.

Winning at Mansfield is tough enough, but blowing the Hornets out in their nest is nearly unheard of.

4. BC High: 1-0, Division 1

Last Week: Unranked, defeated Reading 21-13.

BC just missed out on our Top-5 last week, but a victory over a very good Reading team shoots them up this week. Despite a late scare (BC High led 21-0 at one point), this is still a win the Eagles can build off as they prepare for the brutal Catholic Conference slate. One bit of concern is an ankle injury to All-State receiver Nick Gill, who did not return to the game Friday night.

Something to keep an eye on going forward, but BC High has to be encouraged by the play of senior quarterback Marco King, who threw for over 150 yards and a touchdown in a clean performance.

5. Everett: 0-1, Division 1

Last Week: Ranked No. 2, lost to No. 4 Xaverian 29-7.

It was an ugly start for the Crimson Tide, who are feeling a little pressure after a fourth straight loss to Xaverian, but Everett has the talent to play with anybody, and our thought is that, once Jordan McAfee gets comfortable with his new supporting cast, that offense could be darn near unstoppable.

6. Central Catholic: 1-0, Division 1

Last Week: Unranked, defeated Haverhill 22-7.

CC won a "closer than the score indicated" game against Haverhill, but showed it will again have a stout defense and punishing ground game. We'll see just how powerful both those strengths are for Central Catholic next week when they make the trip to Danvers for a showdown with St. John's Prep.

7. Walpole: 1-0, Division 3

Last Week: Unranked, defeated Marblehead 19-14.

The Rebels picked up an impressive home win against Marblehead, and appear poised for a deep run in the Division 3 playoffs. After coming up a game short of Gillette last year, this year's Walpole squad seems to have all the pieces to play for a state championship.

8. Brockton: 1-0, Division 1

Last Week: Ranked No. 5, defeated Central Mass No. 8 Fitchburg 3-0.

Brockton falls out of our Top-5 after a "too close for comfort" win over Central Mass mainstay Fitchburg. To be fair to the Boxers, All-State running back Kerry Raymond didn't play against the Red Raiders, but Brockton still can't feel great about its offensive performance, even against a good Fitchburg defense.

Still, Brockton survived, and once Raymond returns this is a completely different offense.

9. Holliston: 1-0, Division 4

Last Week: Unranked, defeated Millis/Hopedale 22-21.

The reigning Division 4 state champions broke in a bunch of new faces and knocked off everyone's Division 6 favorites Millis/Hopedale in a thriller. After running all over everybody in the state playoffs last year, the Panthers showed off their passing game Friday night, as junior quarterback John Barrett threw for three touchdown passes, including the game-winner, and over 180 yards.

With an improved passing game, and a defense that held its own against Millis/Hopedale's physical line and All-State running back Josh Pierre-Charles, Holliston should again be a favorite in Division 4.

10. Duxbury: 1-0, Division 3

Last Week: Unranked, defeated Bridgewater-Raynham 35-27.

Coach Maimaron earned his 100th victory in the Dragons' season-opening win over powerful Bridgewater-Raynham, but things get no easier next week as Duxbury travels to face No. 9 Holliston. We'll know a lot more about both these teams this time next week.

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