Several other top contenders from around the US have recently been featured, or will play in upcoming weeks, on national TV (ESPN networks), including last night (Houston TX North Shore v Katy TX).
Given the ongoing debate about which state has the best HS football (or who is the best program nationally), and with the opportunity to see these other top teams and prospects throughout the season, here’s a thread to discuss some observations of these national powerhouses.
If you’re extremely bothered by the thought of a HS “national champion” or the programs at that level (and how they got there), feel free to ignore this topic and discuss (insert local team here) in another thread.
The road to final rankings begins/continues here ...
This has become something like the Houston-area public school version of Bosco and Mater Dei, with these schools both annually being in contention for the biggest division state title (6A-1), being in the same playoff region/section, and trading victories every year — often ending each other’s season.
After Katy went 16-0 and won its 8th state title in 2015 at the 6A-D2 level, North Shore ended their season in 2016 with a 20-17 win in the 6A-D1 regional semis. In 2017, Katy got its revenge, blasting NS 31-3, this time in the regional final. In 2018, NS served up a double dose of clapback, beating Katy 35-21 in the season opener, then ending Katy’s season again in the regional semis, 49-38 on the way to a 16-0 season.
Last night’s Katy victory was their first at North Shore’s Galena Park ISD stadium, and included them shutting out NS 17-0 and outgaining NS 172 to minus 6 in the second half, not to mention holding ESPN’s #1 overall recruit RB Zach Evans to 37 yards on just 10 carries.
Katy is obviously a great program, but with all the hype North Shore received at the end of last season and the beginning of this year, it’s certainly not a good look to lose to an unranked rival on your home field, and not look very good whatsoever down the stretch.
Given they are abiding by the unwritten Texas UIL policy of limiting out of state games (none this year) and NEVER playing outside of the Lone Star State, unless they run the table from here on out (including possibly winning a rematch), this loss seriously reduced their chances at #1 — unless all the other top teams around the nation (including MD and SJB) take an L as well.
USA Today #1 St Thomas Aquinas (FL) was scheduled to play Bergen Catholic (NJ) but the game was cancelled due to Hurricane Dorian. That’s a blow to the resume of the Bosa brothers’ alma mater, as it was their last out of state game on the schedule, and a win over a good Bergen Catholic team would have been helpful in matching up their season against the other national contenders. Going into what is now a double bye week, the Raiders still oddly remain #1 in the USAT poll while being ranked 7th by MaxPreps, 8th by HSFB America, and 9th by the National Prep Poll (aka PrepNation).
Bishop Gorman (fringe top 25 nationally last week) took Air Moana to the beautiful islands of Hawaii to take on 3-time defending Hawaii state champ St Louis, alma mater of Mariota and Tagavailoa. Gorman took a double digit L, losing 31-19 to the Crusaders, who are now ranked in the top 10 of 3 national polls. Unlikely they will have a chance to make a significant move up without major losses from the teams ahead of them, as they play no one outside of Oahu from here on out and a win v Gorman just isn’t worth what it used to be. Three-time national champ Gorman will look to bounce back hosting Troy Thomas Servite Friars this week.
1B. St Frances
5. St Johns
I don't think STA is a top 5 team at all. Not impressed with them.
St Joes is led by 2021 Ohio St QB commit Kyle McCord, junior WR Marvin Harrison Jr (yes the son of the Colts HOF WR), and junior LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. They are thought of in the Philly area as the “superteam” or regional team in the same vein as Bosco and MD are in terms of attracting/recruiting the top area football talent. Although St Joes almost stole a win in a sloppy game, with ILB Trotter looking like a future college star, McCord and the offense underperformed in their season opener. This team has some size on the lines (especially OL) and legitimate skill talent, but lacks speed and playmakers and in a matchup with SJB/MD, I’d pick either of the Trinity Lg duo to come out on top.
Given that assessment, it will be interesting to see the result of their game with DC St Johns this week, who will host MD on Sept 27.
I’d also say MD/SJB and the current top 5 would likely come out on top in a matchup with Marietta, who looked out of sync and average for the majority of this game. One kid who is not average is Tennessee commit and senior DE BJ Ojulari (4TFLs), who was the most impressive defensive player I’ve seen all season nationally. Senior 5 star TE/big WR Arik Gilbert is a manchild and looks like a future pro. And soph corner and early Auburn commit Andre Stewart is well on his way to being very good.
But overall I did not think this team was consistent enough in any phase, nor had enough overall size and speed, to challenge the top teams in the country, at least not a MD/Bosco/St Frances/IMG. They are now ranked 6 by USAT and 8 in the composite rankings, so they are pushing the top group, and will have a chance to run the table at Georgia’s 7A level. But depending on other teams’s results I don’t see them cracking the final top 3 of any poll even if they go undefeated, which is unlikely.
Defending PA state champ St Joes Prep, still #12 in the national consensus ranking, looks to bounce back from a last minute loss to Marietta GA, taking on national #4 Washington DC St Johns in a neutral site game at Rutgers University in N.J.
Update: SJP came out angry and jumped all over St Johns in this one, leading 21-0 after one quarter. Now 21-7 but St Johns not looking like a top 5 team so far.
Another major contender goes down early, with potentially a couple more losses on the way before the end of the month. Good win for SJP to get back on track after the loss to Marietta. With IMG ahead for them next week, as well as the best league in Pennsylvania, they may not yet be out of the fight.
I’m here for you bro lol #GTGTPWTW
Next few weeks should be interesting, national heavyweight matchups with OC/SoCal/Trinity Lg right in the middle of it.
GOING IN, SFA v MD may be one of the best East Coast v West Coast HSFB matchups ever put together. That is from a talent standpoint alone, let alone when considering the recent success they’ve had.
And it’s right here at Port O Potty Family Stadium over in Bellflower lol
Defending Florida 6A champ NW hadn’t given up a point on the season and had shutout a very good Miami Carol City team the week before.
IMG scored only 1 offensive TD, coming on a 2 yard run after a blocked punt by senior Miami commit Michael Redding set them up at the 5. Ari Allen scored on a 95 yard KOR TD. IMG sophomore DB OJ Burroughs outshined CA native, former MD Monarch and fellow DB Elias Ricks (who had a pick 6 on the first drive of the season against Venice (FL)), collecting 3 INTs including a pick 6 that moved IMG further ahead off of a 3-0 halftime lead.
IMG’s game with another Miami public school, Norland (alma mater of now FORMER Raiders WR Antonio Brown and Texans RB Duke Johnson) was cancelled last week due to Hurricane Dorian; they will later play Miami Booker T Washington; clearly the Miami schools ain’t scared of big bad IMG.
IMG v St Joes Prep next week in Philly, which should be a great matchup, especially considering SJP’s thriller win this week over St Johns (DC). IMG will follow up the Philly trip by heading back north to our Nations Capital in 2 weeks to play at St Johns, the week before St Johns hosts Mater Dei. IMG also plays v St Frances in Baltimore in October.
That means the top 5 teams in the nation — MD, SFA, SJB, St Johns, IMG (as of this week’s rankings) — are all set to play each other this season in some form or fashion (SJB only plays MD, the others have multiple games against each other).
How awesome is that? The national title is still
mythical, but this year is essentially as close as you’ll ever get to a round robin tournament or playoff between the top HSFB teams in the country, and as close as you can come to potentially crowning a national HS football champ that proved it on the field.
MATCHUPS MATCHUPS MATCHUPS
We will get an idea in these next few weeks what all these teams are about.
From California to Texas to Ohio to Pennsylvania.
Feels a little like the HS version of the CFB Playoff.
Resume wins on the line.
USA Today HS Sports: “From Florida to Philadelphia, Maryland to California, and Washington D.C. to Texas, these teams are must-see football and each one could play into the National Champion debate. At the end of the season, we might be looking back to Week 4 for guidance.“
https://www.maxpreps.com/m/article.aspx ... 918459c44a
A composite of the MaxPreps Top 25, MaxPreps computer poll, USA Today Super 25, HSFB America poll, and Prep Nation poll (aka National Prep Poll).
1. MD (CA)
2. SFA (MD)
3. SJB (CA)
4. IMG (FL)
5. STA (FL)
6. Duncanville (TX)
7. Marietta (GA)
8. Katy (TX)
9. St Joes Prep (PA)
10. St Louis (HI)
No doubt. St Johns is coming off a crushing 34-30 loss to St Joes Prep, where they fought back from down 21-0 to take the lead, only to give up the last 10 points and fumble away their last chance in the final minute.
They had to travel from DC to Rutgers (NJ) last week and are on the road to Dallas this week, with IMG and MD coming to DC in the next two weeks. Brutal stretch and you have to hope they are healthy because Duncanville on film and on the roster looks like some GROWN MEN.
Probably the best team in Texas and a legit national title threat if they go undefeated. They were a Hail Mary loss to North Shore in the state title game from possibly sharing the title last year.