Monday, November 2, 2015

Central Mass HS Football Power Rankings: Week 9

Koby Schofer and Northbridge wrapped up a regular season for the ages, and head into the playoffs as the D5 Central favorite.

By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

The regular season is over, so we bring you our final Central Mass Power Rankings until after the state championships. Be on the lookout for our playoff preview in the next couple days, but for now check out where the best teams in CMass stand at the end of regular season play.

Power Rankings

1. Nashoba: 8-0, Division 2

Last Week: Ranked No. 1, defeated Clinton 34-8.

Another week, and another physically dominant performance from the Chieftains, who locked up the top seed in Division 2 Central with a win over Clinton. With the top offensive line in Central Mass, teams are going to need to bring their hard hats to knock off the Chieftains.

Nashoba's playoff journey begins this week at home against Marlborough, a team they blanked 28-0 on October 9th.

2. Northbridge: 8-0, Division 5

Last Week: Ranked No. 2, defeated Leicester 41-0.

After allowing points for the first time all season in a 42-7 win over Tantasqua, the Rams returned to shutout form, blanking a solid Leicester team. On the year, the Rams have allowed as many points (7), as they have recorded shutouts (7).

For those keeping score at home, Northbridge outscored regular season opponents by a combined score of 345-7, and heads into the playoffs as the prohibitive favorite in D5 Central. First up for the Rams is a home game against scrappy Oakmont.

3. Leominster: 7-1, Division 2

Last Week: Ranked No. 3, defeated No. 4 St. John's 47-35.

Scoring a home win over rival St. John's (Shrewsbury) was a great confidence boost for the Blue Devils, but all it really did was insure that Leominster would host the playoff rematch with the Pioneers this week.

Round two for these CMass powers takes place this week at Doyel Field in the first round of the Division 2 Central playoffs.

4. St. John's (Shrewsbury): 6-2, Division 2

Last Week: Ranked No. 4, lost to No. 3 Leominster

See above.

5. Littleton: 8-0, Division 6

Last Week: Ranked No. 5, defeated Lunenburg 40-16.

It's no surprise that Littleton heads into the Division 6 playoffs as the favorites in Central Mass, and as a favorite to get back to Gillette Stadium for a third consecutive year. But if anyone thinks it will be easy, they haven't been paying attention to what the Tigers' first round opponent, West Boylston, has done this season.

With Littleton, St. Bernard's, West Boylston and Blackstone Valley Tech coming into the playoffs with a combined two losses, something has to give in D6.

6. Doherty: 7-1, Division 4

Last Week: Ranked No. 6, defeated North Middlesex 43-7.

The Highlanders blasted North Middlesex to head into the playoffs as the top seed in Division 4. It won't be easy going, though, as Doherty will first face red-hot Holy Name at Foley Stadium, then, if the Highlanders win, host the winner of the Grafton-Tantasqua game. The Highlanders went 1-1 against those two teams, with both games being played within the last month.

Division 4 might be the region's most competitive, but the road to the state semis runs through Worcester for now.

7. Tantasqua: 6-2, Division 4

Last Week: Ranked No. 7, defeated David Prouty 56-14.

The Warriors picked up a relatively easy win and head into the Division 4 playoffs as a co-favorite with top-seeded Doherty, having defeated the Highlanders earlier this year. Tantasqua will open the playoffs up at home against underrated Grafton, in a rematch of a classic game that Tantasqua won 21-14 at the end of September.

8. St. Bernard's: 8-0, Division 6

Last Week: Ranked No. 9, defeated No. 8 Uxbridge 28-21.

The Bernardians went on the road and knocked off a Division 5 contender behind the arm and legs of quarterback Cooper Bigelow, who ran for a pair of touchdowns, and threw for another as St. B's built a 21-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. It's a tall order for anybody in Division 6 to knock off Littleton, but St. Bernard's heads in as the 2-seed, and will get a first round home game against Voke school power Blackstone Valley Tech.

9. Holy Name: 5-3, Division 4

Last Week: Ranked No. 10, defeated Gardner 50-14.

Holy Name needed a win to get in, and the Naps took care of business easily against Gardner. Things will get much tougher this week, though, as HN travels to face Division 4's top seed, Inter-High power Doherty.

10. Marlborough: 5-3, Division 2

Last Week: Unranked, defeated Fitchburg 42-6.

The Panthers enter the Division 2 playoffs after a convincing win over Fitchburg, but they'll need to prove they can play with the big boys of Central Mass. Marlborough lost to Nashoba and St. John's by a combined score of 55-13 earlier this year, and they'll get a rematch with the Chieftains in the first round this week.

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