BENSALEM, Pa. – So, it comes to this: The Blue Star Media Go-To 25 high school football rankings are down to one two-week ranking period. Next week, the rankings will take a break to see how the final 10 teams that have yet to complete their seasons will fare.
The biggest question is whether top-ranked Booker T. Washington (Miami) can hold onto No. 1, which it has for the entire season? Making the strongest charge is No. 2 Allen (Texas), which still has two more victories to claim the Class 5A, Division I title. It would take a dominant finish from the Eagles to fly past the Tornadoes, who already won Florida’s Class 4A title.
Fifteen of the Go-To 25 teams have clinched state, sectional or conference championships. This weekend champions in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Oklahoma (postponed a week by inclement weather) will be crowned. The following weekend Texas and California will do the same.
Joining the Go-To 25 rankings are No. 19 Bellevue (Wash.) and No. 25 Central Catholic (Portland, Ore.), both of whom annexed state titles in the Northwest. Bellevue is no stranger to the national rankings and enters following a sixth straight Class 3A title. Central Catholic went 14-0 and captured Oregon large-school chip (Class 6A) for the first time since going back-to-back in 1952 and ’53.
Kudos to all the champions that appear in the Blue Star Media Go-To 25 rankings and to the hundreds of state champions that are not ranked. There’s no substitute for hard work and dedication.
With two weekends remaining in the season, the games are dwindling to a precious few. So, heed my advice and attend a game. Remember, we do not come out next week, but the final rankings will appear on December 23. Consider it a Christmas present.
Hope to see you at a game soon. – Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Go-To 25 Rankings
1. Booker T. Washington, Miami (14-0)**
Previous rank: 1.
Recap: Defeated Bolles School (Jacksonville), 40-21, in Class 4A final. The Tornadoes racked up 511 yards en route to a second straight state title and third overall. Sophomore Mark Walton, a Miami recruit, rushed for 124 yards and two TDs as BTW closed with a 26-game win streak. Season complete.
2. Allen, Texas (14-0)
Recap: Defeated Spring Westfield, 48-13, Class 5A, Division I quarterfinals. Junior QB Kyler Murray was a one-man wrecking crew throwing for 195 yards and three TD and rushing for 169 yards and two scores.
Next: Saturday vs. No. 9 DeSoto or Euless Trinity in state semifinals.
3. Central, Miami (13-1)
Recap: Defeated Mainland (Daytona Beach), 28-15, in Class 6A semifinals.
Next: Saturday vs. Armwood (Seffner) in 6A final at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
4. Hoover, Ala. (15-0)**
Recap: Defeated Auburn, 20-3, in Class 6A final. The Bucs have won 30 straight games and second straight state title. Season complete.
5. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (13-0)**
Recap: Defeated California High (San Ramon), 49-17, in CIF-North Coast Section Division I final. The Spartans have won 22 consecutive sectional titles. RB John Velasco rushed for 231 yards.
Next: Saturday vs. No. 21 Folsom in Northern California Open Division final at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill.
6. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (14-0)**
Recap: Defeated Mater Dei (Santa Ana), 34-7, in CIF-Southern Section Pac 5 Division final. The Braves fell behind 7-0 but then the onslaught as they won the school’s first sectional title. Junior QB Josh Rosen fired two TD passes to WR Jaleel Wadood
Next: Saturday vs. Corona Centennial in Southern California Open Division Regional final at Cerritos College.
7. Katy, Texas (14-0)
Recap: Defeated Manvel, 56-14, in Class 5A, Division II quarterfinals.
Next: Saturday vs. Johnson (San Antonio) in semifinals at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
8. DeSoto, Texas (13-0)
Recap: Game was postponed by inclement weather until Monday afternoon.
Next: Played Monday Friday vs. Euless Trinity in Class 5A, Division I quarterfinals in Waco.
9. Apopka, Fla. (13-1)
Recap: Defeated Plant (Tampa), 45-29, in Class 8A semifinals. The Blue Darters return to the championship game for the second straight year in their own backyard.
Next: Saturday vs. South Dade (Homestead) in 8A final at Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
10. Oscar Smith, Chesapeake, Va. (15-0)
Recap: Defeated Colonial Forge (Stafford), 17-0, in Class 6A semifinals.
Next: Friday vs. Centreville in 6A final at University of Virginia’s Scott Stadium in Charlottesville.
11. Maryville, Tenn. (15-0)**
Recap: Defeated Hendersonville, 44-7, in Class 6A final. The Rebels annexed their state-record 14th state title and 10th under coach George Quarles and went 15-0 for the seventh time since 2002. QB John Garrett threw for 277 yards and three TDs. Season complete.
12. Moeller, Cincinnati (14-1)**
Recap: Defeated Mentor, 55-52, in Division I final. The Crusaders nab back-to-back titles. Season complete.
13. Edna Karr, New Orleans (13-1)
Recap: Defeated Landry-Walker, 29-0, in Class 4A semifinals.
Next: Saturday vs. East Jefferson (Metairie) in 4A final at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
14. Dwyer, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (14-0)
Recap: Defeated East Lake (Tarpon Springs), 31-24, in overtime, in 7A semifinals
Next: Friday vs. Niceville in 7A final at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
15. Mountain Pointe, Phoenix (14-0)**.
Recap: Won Division I championship. Season complete.
16. North Gwinnett, Suwanee, Ga. (13-1)
Recap: Defeated McEachern (Powder Springs), 27-21, in Class AAAAAA semifinals. C.J. Leggett ran for 292 yards and two TDs on 36 carries. Now a familiar opponent in the final as the Bulldogs play Region 7 rival Norcross, a team they beat in the regular season.
Next: Saturday vs. Norcross in AAAAAA final at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
17. Jenks, Okla. (13-0)
Recap: The championship game was postponed one week by inclement weather.
Next: Thursday vs. Union (Tulsa) in 6A final at Oklahoma State’s Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater.
18. Brother Rice, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (14-0)**
Recap: Won third straight Division 2 championship. Season complete.
19. Bellevue, Wash. (13-0)**
Previous: Not ranked.
Recap: Defeated Eastside Catholic (Sammamish), 52-20, in Class 3A final. The Wolverines won their sixth consecutive 3A title by scoring 21 points in a three-minute span of the second quarter. Season complete.
20. St. Joseph Regional, Montvale, N.J. (10-1)**
Recap: Defeated Pope John XXIII (Sparta), 62-14, in Non-Public Group 3 final. The Green Knights left little doubt, making a statement on the field where the upcoming Super Bowl champions will be crowned. Season complete.
21. Folsom, Calif. (14-0)**
Recap: Defeated Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills), 49-17, in CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I final. QB Jake Browning, who was named Gatorade’s California player of the year, passed for 323 yards and five TDs, including four to Troy Knox.
Next: Saturday vs. No. 5 De La Salle (Concord) in Northern California Open Division Region final at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill.
22. DeMatha, Hyattsville, Md. (11-1)**
Recap: Won Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship. Season complete.
23. Blue Springs, Mo. (14-0)**
Recap: Won Class 6 championship. Season complete.
24. Mount Carmel, Chicago (13-1)**
Recap: Won Class 7A championship. Season complete.
25. Central Catholic, Portland, Ore. (14-0)**
Previous: Not ranked.
Recap: Defeated Jesuit (Portland), 38-28, in Class 6A final. Senior Ryan Nall ran for 196 yards and three TDs and intercepted a pass in the third quarter to halt a drive. It’s the program’s first title since going back-to-back in 1952 and ’53. Season complete.
Dropped: No. 8 Serra (Gardena, Calif.) and No. 10 Cibolo (Texas) Steele.
High-Fives by Region
1. Central Catholic, Pittsburgh (15-0)
2. Paramus (N.J.) Catholic (10-2)**
3. Bishop McDevitt, Harrisburg, Pa. (14-1)
4. L.C. Bird, Chesterfield, Va. (15-0)
5. St. Anthony, Melville, N.Y. (11-1)**
Geography: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
1. Eden Prairie, Minn. (12-0)**
2. Mentor, Ohio (13-2)*
3. St. Edward, Lakewood, Ohio (11-2)*
4. Naperville (Ill.) Central (11-3)**
5. Dowling, West Des Moines, Iowa (14-0)**
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
1. Mallard Creek, Charlotte, N.C. (15-0)
2. Northwestern, Rock Hill, S.C. (15-0)**
3. Griffin, Ga. (14-0)
4. Armwood, Seffner, Fla. (14-0)
5. Oak Grove, Hattiesburg, Miss. (14-1)**
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
1. Chaminade, West Hills (12-2)**
2. Serra, Gardena, Calif. (13-1)*
3. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (13-2)**
4. Bingham, South Jordan, Utah (14-0)**
5. Punahou School, Honolulu (11-0)**
Geography: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Records are through Sunday.
* Season complete
** State, sectional or conference tournament champion
About: The Blue Star Media Go-To 25 High School Football Rankings are released weekly from September until the conclusion of the high school season. Criteria considered are the quality of the team and its players, strength of schedule, tradition, and quality of the team’s league, conference, region or district. The rankings are compiled by Blue Star Media’s Christopher Lawlor, who consults with a national network of coaches, talent evaluators and prep sports writers. The final rankings will be released December 23. Follow him on Twitter at #clawlor.