FAB 50: Race for Boys No. 1 is wide open

FAB 50: Race for Boys No. 1 is wide open
by Sheldon Shealer
September 24, 2019

When No. 1 and No. 2 play to a draw, the obvious choice is to make those squads co-No. 1s.

However, when No. 1 then ties an unranked team the next day, it opens the door to the top spot.

Such is the case this week as Peoria Notre Dame (Ill.) boys team benefits from last week's results in Ohio.

First, top-ranked St. Ignatius (Ohio) and No. 2 St. Benedict's Prep (N.J.) played to a 2-2 draw before more than 2,000 fans at Cleveland State University on Friday night. Then, St. Ignatius tied St. Charles Prep (Ohio) 0-0 the next day. It should be noted that there is no overtime during regular season matches in Ohio, so both of those contests did not have the benefit of 20+ more minutes of action that could have settled the issue. 

In any case, there had to be a ranking shuffle, and the best solution is to look ahead.

Enter Peoria Notre Dame, this week's new FAB 50 No. 1 team. 

The Irish are the lone perfect team in the Top 5 with a win over a FAB 50-ranked opponent (two, in fact). But more importantly, Peoria Notre Dame will play new No. 3 St. Ignatius next week and FAB 50 No. 8 Libertyville (Ill.) one week later. The situation is rather simple. If Peoria Notre Dame can beat St. Ignatius, it will need to be ranked ahead of St. Ignatius and current No. 2 St. Benedict's, assuming those teams win their other contests. Therefore, the safe play is to move PND to the top now for a sink-or-swim situation. If Peoria Notre Dame ties or loses to St. Ignatius, it will fall from the top spot and leave St. Benedict's at No. 1, again assuming the Gray Bees win their matches over the next two weeks.

But there are all sorts of interesting matchups that could shake up the Top 10 over the next two weeks.

To be fair, pretty much every team in the Top 10 is still in FAB 50 title contention.

Consider what will play out over the next two weeks. In addition to Peoria Notre Dame's upcoming FAB 50 clashes, St. Benedict's meets No. 17 Salesianum (Del.) in its annual East Coast clash in the first weekend of October. Sallies could play its way into title contention with a victory. Milwaukee Marquette (Wis.), currently No. 7, will compete in the Go Four the Goal Fall Classic top bracket, which includes No. 11 Morton (Ill.), No. 16 Gateway Legacy Christian (Mo.) and No. 27 Naperville North (Ill.). A title by Marquette, Morton or Gateway could put those teams in the running for No. 1. That event, also, is in the first week of October. 

Also, let's not forget current No. 4 Delbarton School (N.J.), No. 5 Martin Luther King (N.Y.) and No. 6 Medina (Ohio). These three powers have yet to face a FAB 50-ranked opponent, but Delbarton and Medina will have to during the course of postseason play in order to stay in the Top 10. If Medina can beat St. Ignatius this season, the Bees certainly will need to be in consideration for No. 1. Likewise, Delbarton's playoff path likely will put them against No. 13 Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) later this season. No. 8 Libertyville (Ill.), the recent bridesmaid to Naperville North, could play the role of spoiler for Peoria Notre Dame, and in turn put itself in the running for No. 1. 

There are so many possibilities, but the race for FAB 50 No. 1 should come into focus in the next two weeks.

Now, on with the rest of the rankings ... 

BIG MOVERS: BOYS: Emmaus (Pa.). Emmaus opened the season with a win over Cumberland Valley, a current FAB 50-ranked team that hasn't lost since. The high-powered Emmaus offense has this team at 11-0 and it made a jump from No. 38 to No. 24 in this week's rankings. ... GIRLS: Cumberland Valley (Mechanicsburg, Pa.). This perennial state title challenger from the PIAA District 3 jumps from No. 34 to No. 24 this week. If the Eagles can continue to win the next two weeks, it would carry an undefeated record into a clash with top-ranked McDonogh School (Md.).

NEWCOMERS: BOYS: No. 18 Rockwood Summit (Fenton, Mo.), No. 38 Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.), No. 44 Henry Clay (Lexington, Ky.), No. 45 Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.), No. 46 St. John's (Shrewsbury, Mass.), No. 47 Commack (N.Y.), No. 48 Cumberland Valley (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), No. 49 Okemos (Mich.) and No. 50 Portland Jesuit (Portland, Ore.). ... GIRLS: No. 25 Parkland (Allentown, Pa.), No. 29 Pennridge (Perkasie, Pa.), No. 37 Montclair (N.J.), No. 40 Moon (Pa.), No. 45 Hopewell Valley Central (Pennington, N.J.), No. 46 Staples (Westport, Conn.), No. 47 Boise Timberline (Boise, Idaho), No. 48 St. John's (Washington, D.C.), No. 49 Ridgefield (Ridgefield, Conn.) and No. 50 Whitman-Hanson (Whitman, Mass.). 


FALL FAB 50 RANKINGS: BOYS (Sept. 24) | GIRLS (Sept. 24)



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