There are so many big games this weekend in the Super 25, it’s hard to pick just a five to watch. It’s likely that next week’s rankings will have more than a few shakeups because so many ranked teams have tough opponents, including eight teams that are playing other Super 25 opponents.
No. 1 St. Thomas Aquinas gets its first big test: Booker T. Washington (Miami) has already knocked off one higher ranked team in the Super 25 after dismantling then-No. 6 American Heritage (Plantation) last week, so this week, the Tornadoes, now up from No. 8 to No. 6, take on another higher-ranked team in the Raiders, the defending 7A state champions from Fort Lauderdale. Last year, Aquinas dominated this game, 40-3. The Raiders have won back-to-back 7A titles and are led by quarterback Jake Allen, a Florida commit, and wide receiver Trevon Grimes, who committed earlier this week to Ohio State, and a solid group of running backs. The Tornadoes, who have won four 4A state titles in a row, aren’t likely to let this one get away because of their solid defense. Sophomore quarterback Daniel Richardson gets better with every game, so that should help Booker T. Washington to make this a close game.
Big games in Cincinnati: No. 7 Colerain (Cincinnati) gets another crack at No. 18 Warren Central (Indianapolis) Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Skyline Chili Showcase at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium, a year after the Cardinals defeated the Warriors 27-16. While Colerain has the hometown advantage, Warren Central already has a win under its belt after defeating defending Indiana state champion Center Grove (Greenwood) last week. No. 20 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) has an extra-long road trip as it will play St. Xavier (Cincinnati) at Nippert Stadium at 5 p.m. (ESPNU), one of the games of the GEICO ESPN High School Kickoff. The Braves, who produced UCLA starter Josh Rosen, and Fresno State quarterback Quentin Davis, have another top quarterback in junior Re-al Mitchell and he’s protected from a big offensive line. St. John Bosco got a pep talk from Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis on Thursday.
Oh Brother, this is a big game: No. 22 Chandler, Ariz., got its feet wet last week with a 34-10 defeat of Red Mountain (Mesa). The good news for the Wolves is running back Ryan Johnson, a transfer from Michigan, was a solid addition, with two rushing touchdowns and a touchdown catch. The bad news for Chandler is this week it gets a lot harder as the Wolves take on Centennial (Corona, Calif.) Saturday in Norco, Calif., as part of Under Armour’s Brothers in Arms Classic. The Huskies have a lot of new players on offense, but for the past few years, Centennial been able to put up points regardless of who’s wearing the Huskies’ uniforms. Junior quarterback Tanner McKee, a 6-6 junior and senior running back Miles Reed saw plenty of action last season in relief, so they should be ready for their opener.
No. 16 has a sweet opener: No. 16 Central Catholic (Pittsburgh) opens with St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) on Saturday in Wexford, Pa. The defending Pennsylvania 4A champion Vikings are playing in a new division (6A), but they have a good number of starters back, including an offensive line where everyone is headed to a Division-I school. Quarterback Troy Fisher and running back J.J. Younger will cause a lot of damage behind that line. St. John’s had had several elite transfers come in during the offseason. Newcomers include: offensive tackle Calvin Ashley from Trinity Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.); IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) defensive tackle Cam Spence; and two Gilman (Baltimore) transfers in quarterback Kasim Hill and linebacker Shane Lee.
Alabama vs. Texas: Hoover, Ala., travels to No. 17 Allen, Texas, on Friday. It’s an interesting matchup as both have dominated their respective states in recent years, only to fall short last season in the state playoffs. Hoover has 11 state titles and like Allen, won four in a row from 2011-2014. Hoover looked good in its opener, scoring 23 consecutive points last week to defeat talented Central (Phenix City) 23-7. This will be Allen’s opener and the first game for the Eagles under new head coach Tom Gambill, who is a former Allen assistant and had been the head coach at Midway (Waco) since 2010. Quarterback Mitchell Jonke and running back Kirby Bennett lead the returning Allen starters.