Posted: 12:16 pm Monday, October 21st, 2013

Week 9 Look Ahead: Inside the new Top 10, plus this week’s top games 

By Anthony Chiang

Teams are fighting for spots in the playoffs and in the Post’s Top 10. One school fought its way in this week’s rankings after an impressive victory over another ranked team. Any guesses?

Cardinal Newman has won five straight games since starting the season 0-2. (Photo by Gary Coronado)

Well, I’m not sure what you guessed. But the answer is Cardinal Newman. The Crusaders deserve to be included after starting district play with wins over King’s Academy and Pahokee. Since starting the season 0-2, Cardinal Newman has won five straight.

Post Top 10
1. Dwyer (8-0)
2. Fort Pierce Central (7-0)
3. Park Vista (6-1)
4. American Heritage (4-3)
5. Palm Beach Gardens (5-2)
6. Pahokee (5-2)
7. Royal Palm Beach (5-2)
8. Boynton Beach (7-1)
9. Cardinal Newman (5-2)
10. Palm Beach Central (4-3)
Also considered: West Boca Raton 6-2, Glades Day 7-0, Glades Central 3-4, Seminole Ridge 4-3.

The top three may not change for the rest of the regular season. Dwyer, Fort Pierce Central and Park Vista keep rolling. The Panthers will be tested against West Boca on Nov. 1. Fort Pierce Central’s undefeated record will be on the line against Daytona Beach-Mainland in the final week of the season. And the Cobras will face a hot Palm Beach Central squad on Nov. 1. If the top three teams in our rankings can get by these games, the top three won’t change.

Pahokee lost a hard-fought contest against Cardinal Newman last week. The Blue Devils had a chance to clinch their first district title since 2008, but did not take advantage. The loss dropped Pahokee two spots to No. 6. American Heritage took advantage of the Blue Devils’ slip up and jumped to No. 4, and Palm Beach Gardens made it into the top five. The Gators are one of the hottest teams in Palm Beach County, as they have strung together four consecutive wins since falling to Dwyer.

The bottom four spots of the rankings were tough to fill. Glades Central is now 3-4 after being beat by nationally ranked Fort Lauderdale-University on Friday. The Raiders are under .500 and dropped out of the Top 10. Royal Palm Beach took Glades Central’s No. 7 slot after breezing past Forest Hill. Boynton Beach bounced back from its first loss of the season Thursday, but the Tigers will have to get by Hallandale if they are going to make it to the playoffs. Cardinal Newman comes in at No. 9 and can clinch the district title with a win over the Stallions on Nov. 1. Finally, Palm Beach Central took care of business against John I. Leonard last week and held steady at No. 10.

Games of the Week

Clewiston at Glades Day
Not only are both of these teams good, but there’s an additional storyline that comes along with this matchup. Clewiston coach Pete Walker is returning to face the school he left. Walker led Glades Day to three state championships before leaving the Gators to coach Clewiston in the offseason. But Glades Day hasn’t missed a beat since Walker left, as the Gators are 7-0 and have already clinched a district title. Meanwhile, Walker has helped Clewiston earn a 6-1 record. The Gators’ undefeated record will be tested in this one.

Palm Beach Gardens at Vero Beach
A week after clinching the District 9-8A title, Palm Beach Gardens will look to make another statement against Vero Beach. The Gators bring a four-game winning streak into this matchup. But it will be tested against Vero Beach, which enters the game with a 6-1 record and is one of the best Class 8A teams in the state.

Miami Northwestern at Glades Central
The Raiders need to get back on track after losing two consecutive games. This non-district contest is exactly what Glades Central needs to find some confidence. It won’t be easy, though, as Northwestern is in a similar situation as Glades Central. Both teams enter every season with high expectations. But this year, both teams are 3-4. Only one will reach .500 this week to quiet some of the critics.