Monday, October 19, 2015

Central Mass HS Football Power Rankings: Week 7

Nashoba's offensive line powered the Chieftains to an upset win in Leominster Friday.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

There was some shakeup in our Power Rankings as a pair of Top-3 teams faced off last Friday, and two "small school" powers continue to win in dominant fashion. Also, for the first time all year, we have a new No. 1, so check out the complete rankings below.

Power Rankings

1. Nashoba: 6-0, Division 2

Last Week: Ranked No. 3, defeated No. 1 Leominster 28-27.

The Chieftains announced their return to the top of Central Mass high school football Friday with a massive win at Leominster. Nashoba ran the ball behind a physical offensive line and lived in the Blue Devil backfield on defense. The win locked up at least a share of Mid-Wach A for the Chieftains, and you can check out my Postgame Blog and Highlights for more on Nashoba's historic win.

2. Northbridge: 6-0, Division 5

Last Week: Ranked No. 2, defeated No. 7 St. Peter-Marian 46-0.

Normally in this space I would simply update you on the Rams' shutout streak, which now sits at six games, tying a school record, or give you their latest combined margin of victory numbers (Northbridge has outscored its opponents 262-0), but this week is different. This week the Rams blasted one of the best teams in Division 4, St. Peter-Marian, a squad that has the firepower to score on almost anybody.

To beat a team like that 46-0 is really something, and I came THIS close to putting the Rams at No. 1. Maybe an encore next week against the new D4 Central leader Tantasqua will be enough to push Northbridge over the top? Either way, the Rams won't sweat it, as they continue their quest for a state title in D5.

3. Leominster: 5-1, Division 2

Last Week: Ranked No. 1, lost to No. 3 Nashoba 28-27.

Penalties, some special teams miscues, and a dominant night from the Nashoba offensive line all added up to Leominster's first loss Friday. Don't feel too bad for the Blue Devils, they're still in line for a playoff spot in Division 2, and should head into next week's game against Shrewsbury plenty motivated. If Leominster can get things cleaned up, they still have as much talent as anybody.

4. St. John's (Shrewsbury): 5-1, Division 2

Last Week: Ranked No. 4, defeated Wachusett 23-20.

Senior quarterback Tim Cassidy's two touchdown runs and one touchdown pass kept the Pioneers afloat against physical Wachusett, but it was kicker Nick Barton who won the game for St. John's in the final 30 seconds. Playoff positioning will be on the line in Division 2 the next two weeks when the Pioneers host Marlboro next Saturday, then travel to Leominster the following Friday.

5. Littleton: 6-0, Division 6

Last Week: Ranked No. 6, defeated Oakmont 40-0.

I think it's pretty well established at this point that the Tigers are the class of D6 Central, but they continue to impress, this time against Oakmont to lock up at least a share of Mid-Wach C. Littleton can take the league outright with a win at 5-1 Tyngsboro next week, a game that shouldn't be slept on.

6. Tantasqua: 5-1, Division 4

Last Week: Ranked No. 9, defeated No. 5 Doherty 28-19.

We already knew the Warriors could run the ball with Matt Bressette, and that J.J. Howland might be the best receiver in Central Mass, but Tantasqua got a breakout night from quarterback Jordan Choquette last Friday against D4 power Doherty. Choquette had a hand in all four of the Warriors' touchdowns (two passing, two rushing), including a 22-yard dime to Tom Molnar that put the game out of reach.

Also, give the Warrior defense credit. The Highlanders hit them hard on the ground early, but this unit didn't fade. They bounced back and held Doherty off the board in the fourth quarter.

7. Doherty: 5-1, Division 4

Last Week: Ranked No. 5, lost to No. 9 Tantasqua 28-19.

The Highlanders started hot behind their powerful ground game, but couldn't fend off the Warriors in the second half. Something tells me we may see those two teams meet again come playoff time, but Doherty will first have to turn its attention to a big home game against up-and-coming Grafton.

8. Uxbridge: 5-1, Division 5

Last Week: Ranked No. 10, defeated No. 8 Leicester 18-14.

In a huge Division 5 matchup, the Spartans topped the Wolverines to move into second place in the D5 Central Power Ratings. Quarterback Max White-Cohen has been red-hot of late, and he'll look to lead Uxbridge to an outright SWCL B title next week at Millbury.

9. St. Peter-Marian: 3-3, Division 4

Last Week: Ranked No. 7, lost to No. 2 Northbridge 46-0.

The Guardians became Northbridge's latest victims, but St. Peter-Marian still has the potential to make a deep run in D4 Central. Still, the Guardians will travel to face Holy Name, a squad that also sits at 3-3, and just behind SPM in the Division 4 Power Ratings. The winner could punch its ticket to the playoffs, while the loser might be playing games with no stakes in a few weeks.

10. Grafton: 4-2, Division 4

Last Week: Unranked, defeated David Prouty 34-0.

Led by the region's leading rusher, senior Matt O'Brien, the Indians find themselves back in our rankings, and in the thick of Division 4 after back-to-back victories. A win next week at Doherty would all but lock up a playoff spot for Grafton, and O'Brien is just 64 yards away from crossing the 1,000 yard mark on the year.

Dropped Out: Leicester (Ranked No. 8 Last Week)

The Wolverines came up just short against Uxbridge and will now likely have to settle for the No. 3 seed in Division 5 Central. They also fall just out of our rankings, but will get the chance to jump back in with games against Bartlett and Northbridge still on the slate.

No comments :