With perhaps the most impressive performance of the season, Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco stated its case as the nation's best with a dominating 38-7 win over Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward Saturday evening at Fordham University in the Bronx.
"We figured at the beginning of the game it would be speed versus size," Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell said. "And wow was St. Edward big, but Bosco was so tough and had a 'punch you in the face' mentality that I don't think St. Ed was ready for it.
"You could tell that by the middle of the second quarter Bosco took the will away from them."
In a season where no team has been truly dominant, it was truly impressive.
Don Bosco coach Greg Toal felt his team was up for the challenge.
"They're a good team, [as] big and strong a team as we've played since I've been here," he said. "But we played as good of a game as we possibly could play. The kids were focused as they could be."
St. Edward came into the game ranked No. 17 in the RivalsHigh 100, but it was no match for No. 5 Don Bosco from the start.
First, it was the defense, recording a three-and-out. Then it was the offense, which raced down the field for a quick touchdown as Jabril Peppers went in from 1 yard out.
The star of the drive, however, was much-maligned quarterback Mike Yankovich, who was 5-for-5 for 85 yards on the drive.
Another three-and-out and then another rushing touchdown (this one from John Shumate) gave Bosco a 14-0 lead.
The game turned on the next possession as Bosco used a 40-yard fumble return for a touchdown to take a commanding 21-0 lead less than two minutes into the second quarter.
St. Edward disputed the call, but there was no disputing Bosco's dominance. The only thing left was to determine the final.
St. Edward got on the board, but it couldn't stop Bosco, which got a score in the final minute of the second quarter to make it 28-7 at halftime, then added a field goal and a third TD from Peppers in the second half for the 38-7 final.
Yankovich finished the game 15-for-20 for 165 yards with Leonte Carroo catching eight of the passes for 73 yards and Kyle Sakowksi catching five for 76 yards.
The Don Bosco running game was equally balanced with four players combining for 173 yards - including Yankovich, who ran for 54.
Yankovich's all-around effort was no surprise to Toal.
"He was tremendous for us today," he said. "He's a great leader - he can run it, he can throw it and he's as smart as they come."
The teams were supposed to be mirror images of each other: Dominating defense, powerful running game and top coaching.
Bosco, however, proved it was stronger in every area, gaining a much-needed signature victory on the season.
How big a win this will be remains to be seen.
The beauty of high school football is that wins can grow or recede in importance as more games are played.
For instance, Don Bosco's season-opening victory over Mission Viejo (Calif.) High no longer is as impressive, now that Viejo already has dropped a second game.
This victory could actually get better.
St. Edward will face two more talented teams in the next two weeks - No. 46 Cincinnati (Ohio) St. X and No. 9 Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller. How it fares there will be telling.
But let's not take anything away from this game.
On a weekend where No. 4 Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas lost and No. 1 Allen (Texas) High looked only average while rallying to beat an unranked team, Don Bosco's effort against St. Edward was very impressive.
It was the type of big-game dominance that only dominant teams can produce.