Posted: 5:37 pm Monday, September 24th, 2012
By Matt Porter
No changes at the top, but the bottom half is in a serious state of flux. Here’s our football top 10 heading into Week 5 (and our reasoning), along with links to all our latest content, photos, state rankings and more:
1. American Heritage (4-0) Three shutouts in four games
2. Dwyer (4-0) Has allowed nine points, three shutouts
3. Fort Pierce Central (3-0) Strong matchup Thursday at Vero Beach
4. Palm Beach Gardens (3-1) Carn (708 yards) leads big-school rushers
5. Park Vista (4-0) Defense, clock-controlling ground game
6. Cardinal Newman (4-0) Can all but punch playoff ticket vs. King’s
7. Glades Day (4-0) National-TV game at Yulee on Friday
8. Royal Palm Beach (1-1) Big playmakers on offense, defense
9. Palm Beach Central (1-2) Scored 12 points in last two games
10. Santaluces (2-1) Hung with Park Vista, dropped Atlantic
Also considered: Atlantic, Boca Raton, John I. Leonard, Olympic Heights, Seminole Ridge, Wellington
Though one other team has an argument, we couldn’t drop American Heritage from the top spot after a 59-0 demolishing of King’s Academy, a good Class 3A team. Greg Bryant was electric, putting up 219 total yards and three touchdowns on just 11 touches. The Stallions also put up their third shutout in four games. They could make it four out of five this week at Pahokee.
Speaking of shutouts, Dwyer has also posted three shutouts in four games, including a 58-0 drubbing of Spanish River on Friday. Dwyer is astoundingly good on defense — better than Heritage, I would argue — but Heritage’s degree of difficulty is slightly higher right now. Beating Armwood on the road tilts things in Heritage’s favor. If both keep producing at this level, we may not see a rankings change until Nov. 8, after Dwyer visits Heritage in what should be a classic.
No. 3 Fort Pierce Central‘s Thursday night game at Vero Beach promises to be a thriller, too. The Cobras, who handled Class 6A foe Sebastian River last week, visit the Citrus Bowl for a game that could be decided by defense, though both teams have talented offenses. No word on the status of Cobras senior tailback Marcus Levy, who hasn’t played this year due to a sprained ankle.
Palm Beach Gardens’ best ballcarrier is fully healthy. That’s Jermaine Carn, who leads large schools with 708 yards on 130 carries. He had 179 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries in a 27-7 win over Jupiter. The Gators’ defense has been strong, and it will get to show how far its come this week at John I. Leonard and one of the area’s best offenses.
Like Gardens, No. 5 Park Vista stays in place this week. Like Gardens, the Cobras’ defense and rushing attack are a problem for other teams. Glades Central found out the hard way in Vista’s 24-14 win in Belle Glade on Friday night.
Cardinal Newman moves up to No. 6 after another blowout win, this time over Fort Lauderdale-Calvary Christian. Newman will have its biggest test to date this week at King’s Academy. A win in that game would all but lock up a playoff spot in District 7-3A. We’ll learn a lot about Newman in October, too; the Crusaders visit Wellington Oct. 5, host Pembroke Pines-North Broward Prep Oct. 12 and have their biggest game of the regular season, a home date with American Heritage Oct. 19.
Glades Day jumps from No. 10 to No. 7 after a leave-no-doubt win over Jupiter Christian. Obviously that Taylor kid is pretty good (Nick Saban agrees) but the Gators are playing strong all-around ball right now. That’s what they would hope for heading into Friday night’s nationally televised game at Jacksonville-area Yulee (8 p.m., ESPNU). We’ll have plenty more on that matchup tomorrow.
We’re ready to put Royal Palm Beach back in the rankings after a 15-6 win over then-No. 6 Palm Beach Central. The Wildcats’ defense was the key, with senior De’Andre Simmons and junior Jimmy Moreland making the crucial plays. They’ll need to be at it again this week against Santaluces, which has a good defense of its own.
A win over former No. 8 Atlantic means Santaluces is ready for its close-up. The Chiefs, which beat Atlantic with three touchdowns from quarterback Sean Steele and a strong defense, believes it would beat the favored Eagles. It also means they have a fighting chance in District 13-7A, too. A district win over Royal Palm Beach this week — no easy task — would give them the inside track to their first playoff spot since 2009.
As far as those on the outside, Atlantic (2-2) just continues to disappoint. The Eagles should be better than they are. Also, we probably jumped the gun on Wellington (3-1), which had a nice win over John I. Leonard but couldn’t move the ball on Seminole Ridge last week. For its part, Seminole Ridge (1-2) made strides last week with its win over Wellington, but still has a ways to go on offense before we can take them more seriously. Boca Raton (2-1) needs to show its mettle in its upcoming district games, while Olympic Heights (4-0) doesn’t have a signature win to hang its hat on.