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Football Top 20: Two new teams join the rankings as playoffs begin

In the first weekend of Maryland football playoffs, top seeds such as Wise rolled. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post)
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St. John’s and Gonzaga met this weekend for the 100th time, a milestone celebration for one of the area’s best rivalries. On paper, it seemed this special game might have arrived at a bad time for the Eagles, who were hosting the No. 1 Cadets at the tail end of an uncharacteristically weak season.

But when two Washington Catholic Athletic Conference heavyweights face off, their records don’t apply. The No. 18 Eagles played the Cadets close all night, giving them the tightest game of a dominant regular season. Ultimately, St. John’s prevailed by a field goal but Gonzaga surely succeeded in making the Cadets nervous for next weekend, when the teams will have a rematch in the WCAC semifinals.

Maryland public schools got the playoff action started early this weekend, as the first round got underway. All of the ranked programs, most of them top seeds in their respective brackets, cruised to victory.

In Virginia, Stone Bridge and Battlefield completed undefeated regular seasons. For Stone Bridge, this will be the ninth time in the program’s 21-year history it will enter the postseason with a perfect record. For Battlefield, it’s the third time in 16 years.

The rest of the football hierarchy in Northern Virginia is in flux, as Tuscarora and South County both lost this past week. Their departures in the rankings make room for Douglass and Fairfax.

1. St. John’s (9-0) Last ranked: 1

Montay Weedon recovered a fumble and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter to set the tone for the Cadets in a 20-17 win over No. 20 Gonzaga.

Next: Saturday vs. No. 20 Gonzaga, 1 p.m.

2. Archbishop Spalding (10-0) LR: 2

The Cavaliers completed an undefeated regular season with a 41-0 rout of Mount Saint Joseph.

Next: Friday vs. McDonogh, 7 p.m.

3. Stone Bridge (10-0) LR: 3

The Bulldogs steamrolled Independence, 56-7, to end the regular season in style.

Next: Friday vs. Independence, 7 p.m.

4. Wise (9-0) LR: 4

The Pumas opened their playoff run by posting the highest scoring total of their season, a 77-0 drubbing of Northwestern.

Next: Friday vs. Suitland, 7 p.m.

5. DeMatha (7-2) LR: 5

The Stags won the first of back-to-back meetings with No. 12 Good Counsel, 28-0.

Next: Friday vs. No. 12 Good Counsel, 7 p.m.

6. Quince Orchard (10-0) LR: 6

The Cougars scored 35 points in their first quarter of these playoffs en route to a 49-6 win over Gaithersburg.

Next: Friday vs. Walter Johnson, 7 p.m.

7. Archbishop Carroll (10-0) LR: 7

With a 33-26 win over St. Mary’s Ryken, the Lions completed a perfect regular season and will enter the WCAC Metro Division playoffs as the top seed.

Next: Saturday vs. O’Connell, 2 p.m.

8. Rock Creek Christian (6-1) LR: 9

The Eagles were off last week.

Next: Friday vs. Avalon, 7 p.m.

9. Madison (9-1) LR: 10

The Warhawks closed an impressive regular season with a 36-14 victory over Chantilly.

Next: Friday vs. Marshall, 7 p.m.

10. C.H. Flowers (8-1) LR: 11

The Jaguars topped 30 points for the seventh time this season in a 48-6 win over Parkdale.

Next: Friday vs. Bowie, 7 p.m.

11. Battlefield (10-0) LR: 15

The Bobcats capped an undefeated regular season with a 42-41 last-second win over rival Patriot.

Next: Friday vs. Potomac, 7 p.m.

12. Good Counsel (6-4) LR: 8

The Falcons were shut out for the first time since 2014 in a 28-0 loss to No. 5 DeMatha. They will face the Stags again this weekend in the WCAC semifinals.

Next: Friday at No. 5 DeMatha, 7 p.m.

13. Northwest (9-1) LR: 13

The Jaguars were up big by halftime in a 38-6 first-round win over Clarksburg.

Next: Friday vs. Churchill, 7 p.m.

14. Broad Run (9-1) LR: 16

The Spartans avenged two losses to Tuscarora last spring by beating the Huskies, 27-17.

Next: Friday vs. Sherando, 7 p.m.

15. Paint Branch (8-1) LR: 18

The Panthers enjoyed a first round bye in the playoffs.

Next: Friday vs. Einstein, 7 p.m.

16. Theodore Roosevelt (9-1) LR: 19

The Rough Riders won by forfeit against Eastern.

Next: Saturday vs. Wilson, 2 p.m.

17. Fairfax (9-1) LR: NR

After wrapping up one of the best seasons in recent memory, the Lions will aim to win a playoff game for the first time since 1994.

Next: Friday vs. West Potomac, 7 p.m.

18. Gonzaga (5-5) LR: 17

The Eagles gave No. 1 St. John’s a fright but ultimately fell to the Cadets, 20-17.

Next: Saturday at No. 1 St. John’s, 1 p.m.

19. Broadneck (7-1) LR: 20

The Bruins had a first-round bye this week.

Next: Friday vs. Parkville, 7 p.m.

20. Douglass (9-1) LR: NR

The Eagles started the playoffs strong with a 34-6 win over Thomas Stone.

Next: Friday vs. Potomac (Md.), 7 p.m.

Dropped out: No. 12 South County, No. 14 Tuscarora.

On the bubble: Dunbar, Huntingtown, Lake Braddock, Robinson, Tuscarora.

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