As the calendar turns toward warmer temperatures, spring football is only weeks away.
Most high school teams have solidified their schedules for this fall, and the ones that haven't are in the final stages of negotiating the last remaining open date or two.
Here's a breakdown on some of the top interstate match ups to keep an eye on this fall:
Central (Miami) vs. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.)
Neither of these programs has shied away from competition outside of state borders. Central returns a wealth of offensive talent, lead by Dalvin Cook
and Joseph Yearby
. Though it loses its premier defensive player in Alquadin Muhammad
, Don Bosco Prep will return eight starters on defense.Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) vs. Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
Despite losing a number of key starters, Santa Margarita has the foundation — coaches and young talent — to continue to rank among the top teams in Southern California. It will take on a Bishop Gorman squad that has followed a similar blueprint for success in Las Vegas.Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.) vs. Gilman (Baltimore)
Florida is taking on comers from all over the place, including multiple teams from Maryland. Class 7A power Manatee is making the jump to 8A this season. It needs to replace numerous key pieces but will still be in the mix for a state title. Gilman loses star quarterback Shane Cockerille
and defensive lineman Henry Poggi
, but has plenty of young talent looking to fill in.St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) vs. Chandler (Ariz.)
Many people around California believe that St. John Bosco could be the state's top team in 2013. Chandler returns a touted junior quarterback, Bryce Perkins
, who will test St. John Bosco's talented defense.Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) vs. Curtis (River Ridge, La.)
The defending national champion John Curtis will host Bergen Catholic, which won a huge road game last September against Bishop Gorman. Curtis returns more talent than some realize, with Bergen Catholic needing to replace senior quarterback Jonathan Germano
.Colquitt County (Moultrie, Ga.) vs. Hoover (Ala.)
Class 6A state champion Hoover will host its former head coach, Rush Propst, when the team takes on Colquitt County. Colquitt came up short in the state playoffs but returns nine defensive players who saw starting action. Hoover comes off one of its best seasons ever and features stud defensive back Marlon Humphrey
Paramus Catholic (Paramus, N.J.) vs. St. Ignatius (Cleveland)Jabrill Peppers
will lead fast-rising Paramus Catholic into Cleveland for a showdown against St. Ignatius. The Paladins will likely start the season at the No. 1-ranked team in the Garden State. St. Ignatius, which took home a state title in 2011, returns lineman Jimmy Byrne
, already committed to Notre Dame.St. Joseph's Prep (Philadelphia) vs. Dallas Jesuit
It's not too often we see a Pennsylvania-Texas tilt, but two bona fide programs from these two tradition-rich states will square off this fall. St. Joseph's Prep will compete for a AAAA title in Pennsylvania; Dallas Jesuit loses Jake Oliver
, the state's all-time leader in receptions.Plano East (Plano, Texas) vs. Venice (Fla.)
One of the largest high schools in the country, Plano East competes in District 10-5A, a hyper-competitive field of teams that includes defending state champion Allen. Venice played in Class 7A last fall, Florida's second-largest classification. In 2012, the most high-profile Florida/Texas match up included an even smaller school from the Sunshine State, Booker T. Washington, which downed a very good Class 5A Cedar Hill squad.University Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.) vs. Highlands (Fort Thomas, Ky.)
This is a matchup that has flown under the radar but is interesting in several regards. University Christian is very small and competes in Florida's Class 2A, where it won a state title last year. Highlands, one of Kentucky's proudest programs, has won six state titles in a row. It returns 13 starters and could be among the top squads in program history.DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) vs. Phoebus (Hampton, Va.)
A junior-laden team a year ago, DeMatha is poised for a very strong 2013 campaign. It will take on a Phoebus team that recently welcomed transfer running back Marshawn Williams from Hampton.Schedule Notebook:
- There are also rematch games, in which teams that traveled out of state last fall will host their opponent this go-round. Bishop Gorman will travel to play Bergen Catholic and will also face Servite (Anaheim, Calif.)
again. The Nevada power is close to finalizing a deal with a top Florida program.
- In addition to playing Miami Central, Don Bosco Prep will hit the road to play Mission Viejo (Calif.)
. Bergen Catholic will also head west to play Jordan (Sandy, Utah)
- Though it's not official, people on both sides expect the St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
-John Curtis game to happen. It would immediately become perhaps the most highly-anticipated game of 2013.
The Midwest will see its usual slate of out-of-state games among top programs from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, involving the likes of Trinity (Louisville, Ky.)
, Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati)
, Warren Central (Indianapolis)
, among others.
- Another interstate game that has flown under the radar? Punahou (Honolulu)
vs. Helix (La Mesa, Calif.)
Helix won a CIF Bowl Game in 2011, while Punahou, one of Hawaii's top programs, boasts blue-chip recruit Canton Kaumatule
Mission Viejo is heading to Maui to take on Baldwin (Wailuku, Hawaii)
in another California-Hawaii pairing.
- Not only is DeMatha playing Phoebus this fall, but it has also reached an agreement to play Godby (Tallahassee, Fla.)
, a state champion last year and a program that returns many skill players. DeMatha's rival, Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)
, continues to explore schedule possibilities. Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.)
has been mentioned.
- Camden County (Kingsland, Ga.)
is taking on Baker County (Glen St. Mary, Fla.)
this fall, but it will do so without head coach Jeff Herron, who recently left to take a different job.
- Arizona power Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.)
is scheduled to take on Eastlake (Chula Vista, Calif.)
and Liberty (Henderson, Nev.)
- Trinity Catholic (Ocala, Fla.)
is set to play Calvert Hall (Baltimore, Md.)
- Led by high-profile recruits
and Myles Autry
, Norcross (Ga.)
may end up putting together a made-for-television game against a top opponent from another state. If the matchup comes to fruition, it could be a battle of preseason Top 10 teams.
- Colorado and Utah will do battle again this season. Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch, Colo.)
will play Bingham (South Jordan, Utah)
while Lone Peak (Highland, Utah)
will take on Mullen (Denver)
- Two West Coast teams that have been accustomed to interstate games, De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
and Bellevue (Wash.)
, appear to be staying local this season. Neither has a marquee showdown with an out-of-state team lined up.
- Don't be surprised to see Charlotte Catholic (N.C.)
vs. Northwestern (Rock Hill, S.C.)
on national television, given the star power of the game. Charlotte Catholic running back Elijah Hood
is one of the nation's best; Northwestern features quarterback Mason Rudolph
- In perhaps one of the most intriguing storylines, Webb City (Mo.)
will put its long win streak — currently 45 games long — on the line in a match up with Har-Ber (Springdale, Ark.)
. Har-Ber finished 7-5 last year, but returns 10 starters, including coveted nose guard Josh Frazier