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September 21, 2009

North Penn ranked tops in state

They downed a rival handily on Saturday night, and for their efforts, the North Penn Knights have been rewarded.

North Penn (3-0) takes over the top spot in Pennsylvania this week, rising 16 spots to No. 42 in the RivalsHigh 100, released Monday.

This comes after the former top team, then No. 27 State College, was upset by Central Dauphin. State College dropped out of the national rankings with the loss.

Here are the new Pennsylvania Top Five, as according to the RivalsHigh 100:

1. North Penn (No. 42 Top 100)

After leading 21-0 at the half on Saturday night against St. Joseph's Prep (2-1), the Knights held on for a 28-14 win. Senior quarterback Todd Smolinsky put on a show in the win, accounting for all four Knight touchdowns - three in the air and one on the ground.

2. Bishop McDevitt (No. 67 Top 100)

The Crusaders easily rolled over CD East (0-3), 49-14 on Saturday afternoon. Running back Jameel Poteat rushed 11 times for 160 yards and three touchdowns in the win. The 35-point mercy rule was in effect throughout the entire second half, as McDevitt led 49-6 at the break and gave the starters a rest. Bishop McDevitt (3-0) travels to Central Dauphin on Friday night in what should be a big matchup, as CD knocked off State College last week.

3. Gateway (No. 79 Top 100)

The Gators make their first appearance of the season in the national rankings after cruising past Latrobe on Thursday night, 49-0. Senior quarterback Rob Kalkstein has led the multifaceted Gateway (3-0) offense, featuring running backs Orne Bey and recent North Carolina commit Dayonne Nunley. Gateway travels to Penn-Trafford this weekend.

4. Bethel Park (No. 80 Top 100)

Also making its rankings debut on the season, Bethel Park (3-0) is once again somewhat of a surprise team in Class AAAA, starting out with three convincing wins, including a 25-0 shutout of Penn Hills in Week 2 and a 21-10 win over North Hills last weekend. Running back Bre Ford scored three touchdowns and finished with 145 yards on 25 carries. The Black Hawks face a huge test this weekend, traveling to Woodland Hills (3-0) on Friday night in a crucial WPIAL matchup.

5. Thomas Jefferson (No. 86 Top 100)

It seems the Jaguars have once again reloaded as the defending PIAA Class AAA champs are once again cruising through their early schedule. Quarterback Sam Johnston scored three touchdowns, two through the air and one on the ground in a 34-7 win over Trinity (0-3) on Friday night. Thomas Jefferson (3-0) travels to Ringgold this week.

OTHER TEAMS ON THE RADAR:

* Upper St. Clair (3-0): Quarterback Alex Park showed poise and confidence in the pocket, scrambling and throwing the Panthers into a 23-14 win at previously undefeated North Allegheny on Friday night. USC hosts Pittsburgh Central Catholic (2-1) on Thursday night in a regionally televised game.

* LaSalle (3-0): After squeaking past a formidable West Catholic squad over the weekend, LaSalle faces a tough test on Saturday against St. Joseph's Prep (2-1).

* McKeesport (2-1): Since falling to St. Joseph's Prep in Week 1, the Tigers have bounced back in a big way and outscored their opponents 109-0. They face Erie McDowell (3-0) on Friday night.

* Neshaminy (3-0): The Redskins defense has allowed just 26 points on the entire season, most recently dominating Germantown in a 42-14 win on Thursday night. Neshaminy travels to Abington (2-0) on Friday night.


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