Every week we’ll shuffle the leaderboard as teams show up as competitors and others see their prospects dwindle.
Here’s a look at the top teams in the region taking part in the first full week of the 2021 fall season:
Lohud preseason ranking
1. Iona preparation (1-0): The Gaels even played half last week with Don Bosco Prep, the team ranked sixth on the USA Today Sports Network’s latest New Jersey state ranking. Iona Prep, who played without several key players lost to injury – including Super 11 pick Scott Becker – saw their fate wane in the second half, but the 7-21 loss was a respectable debut. This week they will try to recover against one of the top teams in Rhode Island.
Next Up: vs. Bishop Hendricken (RI), Saturday at 2 p.m.
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Iona preparation: Gaels weaken in the second half against Don Bosco
2. Stepinac (0-1): The Crusaders, who played against Donovan Catholic, the team’s number 15 in New Jersey, failed in large part because three interceptions for touchdowns were returned in a 54-14 loss. They’ll be looking to play a much cleaner offensive game when they visit Fort Worth to play in the First Responders Classic against All Saints, a member of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, which competes in the top division of TAPPS.
Next Up: at All Saints’ Episcopal (Tex.), Friday at 8:30 p.m.
3. Carmel: The Rams went into the offseason with a lot of mojo and received rave reviews in the preseason. This appears to be a team that is solid across the board, with potential two-way standouts in Seniors Josh Massi, Dominick Telesco, TJ Fusco, Andrew Fiore, and more.
Next Up: in Arlington, Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Carmel: After growing up in the spring, Rams are looking for big things this fall
4. Rye (1-0): After a challenging week in which their fields and parts of their community were damaged by the storm, Rye likely wasn’t as keen as expected on a season opener win in Lourdes. But the grenades are deep and skilled, especially in the skill positions. Count on them as contenders to play well into November.
Next Up: vs. Clarkstown North at Port Chester High School, 2pm Saturday
Rye: Grenade rely on air and ground attacks for the season opening win
5. Somers: After a dominant 6-0 season last spring, the Tuskers were hit hard by the end – in addition to the resignation of head coach Tony DeMatteo. You will meet many new faces this week, but the program also puts high hopes on its newcomers. Health might be more important than usual, especially with a thinner than normal offensive line.
Next Up: vs. Mahopac, Friday at 7 p.m.
Somers: Team starts a new year under a new DeMatteo
6. Suffering: There’s a lot to like about the Mounties, who went 5-1 last season and looked like the best AA team. Expect them to block and tackle well. The biggest question is how the offense replaces the workhorse Clevmer Lubin. Expect Seniors Samson Joseph and Andrei Risko to be among those given more opportunities.
Next Up: in North Rockland, Friday at 6 p.m.
7. New Rochelle: The Huguenots are young and not very experienced. Promising new quarterback Austin Luzzi will need the help of a group of new talent including Henderson Clarke, Nico Andrews, Sean Santiago and Jaquis Brandon to keep the five-time AA champion high.
Next Up: in Scarsdale, Friday at 6 p.m.
8. John Jay Cross River: The wolves were loaded up at the front last spring and lost this power until the end. However, they should be strong in the skill positions this year. Chris DiChiara, one of the fastest players in the section, is used all over the field, maybe even as a quarterback.
Next Up: in Lourdes, Friday at 7 p.m.
9. Yorktown: There is a lot of talent for the Huskers who should be class A candidates again in the section. Along with other Grade A schools in north Westchester, they face a challenging schedule that includes top 10 teams Somers and John Jay-Cross River.
Next Up: vs. Brewster, Friday at 7 p.m.
10. Arlington: The Admirals have some key players to replace at all stages, but have high expectations for a group led by the great second lineman Colin Cubberly. The program has established itself as a multi-year playoff contender, so don’t expect less.
Next Up: vs. Carmel, Friday at 6:30 p.m.
On the bladder: John Jay-East Fishkill
Josh Thomson is the sports editor for The Journal News and Poughkeepsie Journal. He can be reached by email at email@example.com, on Twitter at @lohudinsider and on Instagram at @lohudinsider.