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HS Football Power Rankings: Can Anyone Top Auburn?

Monday, October 22, 2012


The top ranked Rockets have won every game this season by double-digits.

Another week, and another opponent smashed by the powerful Auburn Rockets.

While Auburn was taking care of business as usual, several teams around the region scored marquee victories to show they belonged. Wachusett topped surging Shrewsbury in our game of the week, Shepherd Hill proved they are still a force by beating Northbridge, and Leominster showed they won't relinquish Division I without a fight in a much-needed win over St. John's. Oh yeah, and Inter-High power Doherty continued its roll, edging St. Peter-Marian 28-20.

So, without further ado, here is how all that shakeup affected our rankings.

1. Auburn (7-0, 2-0 SWCL A) Last Week: 1

Not much more to say except that Auburn has beaten its last four opponents by a combined score of 135-13. Yeah, they're pretty good.

2. Nashoba (7-0, 3-0 Mid-Wach B) Last Week: 2

Nashoba had a less than inspiring performance two weeks ago against Clinton, but bounced back in a big way with a 42-7 demolition of Westborough. Any questions about the Chieftain offense seemed to have been answered as quarterback Jack Sarnoski threw for three scores, and explosive running back John Ojukwu continued his excellent season, running for a pair of touchdowns.

3. Wachusett (5-2, 3-0 Mid-Wach A) Last Week: 9

The Mountaineers made the biggest jump of any team in these rankings after defeating Shrewsbury 33-20 in a game that wasn't as close as the score makes it look. Wachusett showed it can run the ball, and stop the run, against anybody. Don't look now, but Wachusett is just a win over lowly Milford away from sweeping its Mid-Wach A schedule.

4. Leominster (5-2, 1-1 Mid-Wach A) Last Week: 5

Perhaps nobody needed a win more than the defending Division I Central Mass champs last week, and the Blue Devils answered the bell with a thrilling 37-34 win over St. John's. Quarterback Garret DelleChiaie ran for a touchdown and threw for two more, including the game-winner to Neil O'Connor with just four seconds remaining in the game.

5. Doherty (6-1, 1-0 Inter-High) Last Week: 6

The Highlanders squeaked by St. Peter-Marian at home last week, and only a late Shrewsbury rally is keeping Doherty from being undefeated. Still, Doherty's two biggest tests are still in front of it, with Nashoba coming to Foley Stadium this Friday and Shepherd Hill following suit on November 9th.

6. Shepherd Hill (6-1, 2-1 SWCL A) Last Week: 8

You could make the case for Shepherd Hill being even higher, considering its only loss is to Auburn. Still, the Rams got back into the swing of things last Friday with a convincing 42-27 over Northbridge. The Shepherd Hill ground game appears to be its usual, punishing, self again, as the Rams rushed for nearly 400 yards and six touchdowns, including two by Kyle Amico.

7. Northbridge (6-1, 2-1 SWCL A) Last Week: 3

Northbridge fell victim to a brutal Shepherd Hill ground game on a rainy Friday, and their passing game seemed to wash away as well. The "other" Rams just could never get into a rhythm, partly due to the conditions, but partly because their defense just couldn't get off the field.

8. Tyngsborough (7-0, 3-0 Mid-Wach C) Last Week: 10

The Tigers got past Lunenberg in a low-scoring slugfest, and will now welcome a Clinton team that nearly upset Nashoba earlier this month. Tyngsborough keeps moving up despite less than impressive performances. Friday, it took a Jack Trottier touchdown pass in overtime to beat Lunenberg. Still, the Tigers keep on winning, and isn't that what matters?

9. Shrewsbury (5-2, 1-1 Mid-Wach A) Last Week: 4

The Colonials had a rough Friday night in the rain against Wachusett. The conditions sure seemed to slow down the explosive Shrewsbury passing game, and by the time quarterback Mike Coggeshall found his rhythm, the game was already out of reach.

10. West Boylston (7-0, 3-0 Mid-Wach D) Last Week: Unranked

West Boylston finally breaks into our rankings after spending several weeks "in the hunt." The Lions have blasted Ayer Shirley and Assabet in the past two weeks, and an early season win  over Bay Path is looking pretty good right about now. The Lions have a balanced offensive attack, but running back Mike Pace has broken out with four touchdowns in the last two games.

Dropped from Rankings: St. John's (4-3, 1-0 Central Mass) Last Week: 7

The Pioneers can be excused for losing a close one to a tough team like Leominster, but they've now lost three in a row, giving up at least 37 points in each of those games. Clearly, there are still some defensive issues being worked out. On the offensive side, quarterback Drew Smiley continues to impress, and his touchdown run with less than two minutes remaining gave St. John's the lead it would ultimately relinquish.

In the Hunt: Blackstone Valley Tech (7-0), Littleton (6-1), Groton-Dunstable (6-1), Bay Path (6-1), Assabet (5-2)

If BVT wins its next two games against Assabet and Bay Path it will be awfully tough to keep the Beavers out of the top ten. Meanwhile, Littleton takes on Groton-Dunstable this Friday in a game that will tell us a great deal about both teams.


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