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August 24, 2017

Two area high school football teams ranked among top 25 in nation

Earlier this week, we wrote about how Penn State will open the season with their best preseason ranking since 1999.

And we did so because rankings are fun ways to spark debate among fans while also giving you a somewhat accurate view of the nation's football landscape. But they don't just apply to college football anymore.

According to a new high school football ranking system focused on just Catholic schools – Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School Football Rankings – two local teams are among the nation's best: St. Joe's Prep (AAAAAA) and Archbishop Wood (AAAAA). Both of those teams are defending state champs in their respective classes.

Before getting into the full, here's more on where they're coming from:

The Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School Football Rankings, presented by Siena Heights University and Global Football are released on Wednesdays from September until the conclusion of the high school season in December. Criteria include the quality of the team and its players, strength of schedule, tradition, and quality of the team's league, conference, region or district. The rankings are compiled by Christopher Lawlor, an award-winning writer, who is a voting committee member and advisor for several major national high school events, including the McDonald's All-American Games and Gatorade Player of the Year. All Catholic high schools from the United States that feature only four-year players on 11-man teams are eligible for consideration.  []

They'll update these rankings each week – and you can follow along here – but for starters, there's a huge concentration of talent in the region, with three Pennsylvania schools and five New Jersey schools making the list in total. Here's a look at their full rankings, plus what they had to say about the two teams closest to our readers:

1. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas, Nev. (15-0)
2. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (13-1)
3. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (13-2)
4. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (14-1)
5. DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, Md. (12-0)
6. St. Joseph Regional, Montvale, N.J. (9-2)
7. Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (7-4)

8. ST. JOSEPH'S PREP, Philadelphia, Pa. (14-0)

Preseason Audibles: The Hawks have won three of the four large-school state titles, including last year's in first-ever Class AAAAAA. The passing combination of QB Marquez McCray and WR Darryle Simmons (Virginia Tech) is one of the best on the East Coast.

Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Tampa (Fla.) Jesuit.

9. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (11-2)
10. St. Xavier, Cincinnati, Ohio (10-5)
11. St. Peter's Prep, Jersey City, N.J. (8-4)
12. Loyola Academy, Wilmette, Ill. (13-1)

13. ARCHBISHOP WOOD, Warminster, Pa. (11-2)

Preseason Audibles: The defending Class AAAAA champions have LB Matt Palmer highlighting the defense and TE Kyle Pitts (6 TDs) will sign with Florida and S Nasir Peeples to Virginia Tech. The Vikings have a rugged opening to the season with three ranked teams but the local rivalry with No. 8 St. Joseph Prep is must-see on Sept. 15.

Opens: Aug. 25 at Oxbridge Academy (West Palm Beach, Fla.).

14. Central Catholic, Pittsburgh, Pa. (14-2)
15. Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. (6-5)
16. St. Ignatius, Cleveland, Ohio (13-2)
17. Christian Brothers College, St. Louis, Mo. (11-2)
18. St. John's College, Washington, D.C. (8-4)
19. Bishop Sullivan Catholic, Virginia Beach, Va. (7-3)
20. Jesuit, Portland, Ore. (12-1)
21. Archbishop Rummel, Metairie, La. (7-4)
22. St. Edward, Lakewood, Ohio (9-3)
23. Trinity, Louisville, Ky. (15-0)
24. St. Frances Academy, Baltimore, Md. (10-2)
25. Paramus Catholic, Paramus, N.J. (10-2)

Others to Consider: De Paul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.); Dowling Catholic (West Des Moines, Iowa); McGill-Toolen Catholic (Mobile, Ala.); St. Paul's School (Covington, La.); Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.); La Salle (Cincinnati, Ohio); St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.) and Totino-Grace (Fridley, Minn.); Cathedral Prep (Erie, Pa.).

You can follow along throughout the season by going to

RELATED: St. Joe's Prep's McCray playing for two – himself and the 'hero' mom that raised him

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