1. Both teams were loaded.
2. Both teams were expected to win state titles.
3. And, most importantly, they were scheduled to play each other, thus would settle the issue on the field.
But a funny thing happened.
St. Ignatius and St. Benedict's played to a 2-2 on that late September evening, at the time the lone blemish on each team's record. Although St. Ignatius tied another match, St. Benedict's and St. Ignatius lived up to all the preseason hype -- St. Benedict's winning the New Jersey Prep A title last week and St. Ignatius adding a ninth trophy to its case with a Sunday night 4-0 state final victory over Olentangy Liberty (Ohio).
In total, St. Benedict's and St. Ignatius had 11 combined wins over SIMA FAB 50 teams. Almost all of the wins were by shutout, again reinforcing that these two programs stand alone in the fall high school scene. Therefore, for the second time in the 21-year FAB 50 history, St. Benedict's and St. Ignatius end as the co-No. 1 teams. In fact, it is the most fair and logical decision when the top two teams play to a draw.
St. Benedict's and St. Ignatius have combined to claim nine of the last 10 SIMA FAB 50 national titles. Overall, St. Benedict's has won 13 national crowns (10 FAB 50 plus three prior to the creation of the FAB 50). St. Ignatius has finished as the FAB 50 No. 1 team four times since 2005.
With the boys season No. 1 now settled, the focus this week shifts to the girls.
No. 1 Eastern (N.J.) and No. 2 Portland Jesuit (Ore.) will finish their seasons this week. No. 3 Lakota West (Ohio) is done. It's this simple, if Eastern wins both matches this week, the New Jersey power will claim its first FAB 50 national title. If Eastern falters, and Portland Jesuit wins out, then the Crusaders will claim a second straight FAB 50 crown and third since 2009. If Eastern and Portland Jesuit fall, then Lakota West will finish the year in the top spot.
ALL-TIME BOYS FALL No. 1 TEAMS
2019: St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)/St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio)
2018: St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)
2017: St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)
2016: St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio)
2015: St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)
2014: St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)
2013: McDonogh School (Owings Mills, Md.)
2012: St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)
2011: St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)
2010: St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio)
2009: St. Thomas Aquinas (Overland Park, Kan.)
2008: Brentwood (N.Y.)
2007: Broughton (Raleigh, N.C.)
2006: St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)
2005: St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)/St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio)
2004: Upper St. Clair (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
2003: Jesuit (Carmichael, Calif.)
2002: Hudson (Hudson, Ohio)
2001: St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)
2000: Horizon (Thornton, Colo.)
1999: Davis (Calif.)
Now, on with the rest of the rankings ...
BIG MOVERS: BOYS: West Chicago (Ill.). Perhaps the biggest surprise this season is West Chicago, a team that had not posted a winning record since 2012. West Chicago capped a miracle season with a 2-0 state final victory over Morton, allowing this team to jump from No. 49 to No. 17 this week. ... GIRLS: Hunterdon Central (Flemington, N.J.). Hunterdon Central advanced to this week's state semifinals and in the process moved from No. 49 to No. 28.
NEWCOMERS: BOYS: No. 23 Verona (Wis.), No. 34 Edwardsville (Ill.), No. 37 Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.), No. 45 La Salle (Wyndmoor, Pa.), No. 47 Leonardtown (Md.), No. 48 Nauset (Eastham, Mass.), No. 49 Evanston (Ill.), and No. 50 New Trier (Winnetka, Ill.). ... GIRLS: No. 11 Massapequa (N.Y.), No. 12 Monroe-Woodbury (Central Valley, N.Y.), No. 29 Ravenwood (Brentwood, Tenn.), No. 43 Boyertown (Pa.), No. 45 Good Counsel (Olney, Md.), No. 48 Scotch Plains-Fanwood (Scotch Plains, N.J.) and No. 50 Rutgers Prep (Somerset, N.J.).
CLICK BELOW FOR THE COMPLETE FALL HIGH SCHOOL RANKINGS