Will the top teams in Texas and Georgia please stand up?
Upsets abounded in both states over the weekend, leaving more questions than answers regarding the top teams from the Lone Star and Peach states in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 presented by the Army National Guard.
Newnan (Ga.) and Abilene (Texas) leaped to the front of the classroom in their respective states following upset wins.
Newnan beat previous No. 11 Grayson 9-7, advancing to the AAAAA semifinals where it will face Northside. Northside was ranked earlier in the season and will be a major test for the 13-0 Cougars, who are now No. 13.
Defending champion Camden County, who started the season ranked in the Xcellent 25 before losing its opener to Grayson, shocked previous No. 21 North Gwinnett 35-0 and will face emerging power Colquitt County on the other side of the bracket.
The Wildcats are consistently good and winning consecutive AAAAA titles would surprise no one.
After stunning then No. 3 Cedar Hill (Texas), Abilene debuts in the rankings at No. 12. The Eagles have quietly been one of the state’s best programs and made a loud statement by pounding the Longhorns 41-17. Junior running back Herschel Sims will be one of the most heavily-recruited players in the nation next year. He erupted for 274 yards and four scores.
With the win, Abilene advances to the state quarterfinals for the second year in a row. The Eagles will play Bowie, 38-21 winners over Southlake Carroll.
Skyline, ranked No. 9 heading into the weekend, lost to Cypress Woods 28-21 on Saturday night, leaving the Texas landscape totally turned upside down.
The Stony Point Tigers, 5A-I semifinalists a year ago, have defeated The Woodlands and Lee in back-to-back weeks and are making a strong case for both a state title and a national ranking. Tyler which has a number of impressive wins, will also be a team to watch down the stretch, taking on Klein in the 5A-II quarterfinals.
Returning to the rankings is Houston-area powerhouse Katy. Katy began the season ranked No. 3, but suffered an early loss to The Woodlands. The Tigers have not lost since then and have notched victories against Bellevue (Wash.) and Cinco Ranch in the process.
Also finding its way back into the Xcellent 25 is Central (Miami, Fla.), which beat city-rival Northwestern 29-16.
Illinois power Maine South (Park Ridge, Ill.) capped its second straight undefeated, state championship season by beating Marist 41-17. The Hawks enter the rankings at No. 19.
Following a loss, Madison Central (Madison, Miss.) joined Cedar Hill, Skyline, Grayson and North Gwinnett in dropping out of the Xcellent 25.
MaxPreps Xcellent 25
1. Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), 11-0. Last Week: 1. Aquinas dispatched of South Broward 63-0 to continue its run at another 5A title. Jacob Rudock passed for three more touchdowns for the Raiders, who have won 36 straight games.
2. Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.), 13-1. Last Week: 2. Marcus Lattimore once again saved his best football for the end of the season, rising to the occasion to help Byrnes beat Spartanburg 51-16. Lattimore rushed for 186 yards and four touchdowns and added 54 receiving yards for the Rebels, who will play for a 4A-I state title against Dorman next weekend.
3. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.), 11-0. Last Week: 4. The Ironmen turned a close game into a blow out against St. Joseph Regional on Thanksgiving. Tied at 21 at halftime, Don Bosco Prep scored 41 points in the second half en route to a 62-28 win. Tony Jones rushed for 182 yards and three scores in the victory.
4. Edison (Huntington Beach, Calif.), 12-0. Last Week: 7. Edison turned in a dominant performance in the first round of the Pac-5 playoffs, blasting Dana Hills 47-16. Quarterback Matt Viles threw four touchdown passes to lead the Chargers.
5. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.), 11-0. Last Week: 5.
Oaks Christian, CA @ Harvard-Westlake, CA
Nick Montana threw for 316 yards and two passes—both to sophomore Jordan Payton—as Oaks Christian rolled over Harvard-Westlake 45-10. Malcolm Jones rushed for four touchdowns for the Lions, becoming the school’s all-time leading rusher in the process.6. Centennial (Peoria, Ariz.), 13-0. Last Week: 6.
Centennial was idle over the weekend and will take on Marcos de Niza in the 5A-II semifinals next week.7. Butler (Matthews, N.C.), 13-0. Last Week: 10.
For the second week in a row, Butler enjoyed a blowout victory, this time dismantling East Mecklenburg 58-8. Christian LeMay threw for 344 yards and accounted for four total touchdowns for the Bulldogs.8. Glenville (Cleveland, Ohio), 13-1. Last Week: 13.
Junior Cardale Jones tossed for 199 yards and ran for 150 more to lead Glenville over Massillon 31-17. The Tarblooders will face Hilliard Davidson in the Division I state finals.9. Memphis University (Memphis, Tenn.), 12-0. Last Week: 18.
Memphis University bolts up the rankings thanks to South Panola’s convincing victory over Madison Central in the Mississippi state playoffs, which was previously ranked No. 8. The Owls are the only team to have beaten South Panola this season.
10. Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg, Pa.), 12-0. Last Week: 12.
With a 49-21 win over Penn Manor, Bishop McDevitt advances to the AAAA quarterfinals where the Crusaders will take on Cumberland Valley. Jameel Poteat compiled 210 rushing yards and found the end zone three times to power Bishop McDevitt.11. Jenks (Tulsa, Okla.), 13-0. Last Week: 14.
The more things change in Oklahoma, the more things stay the same. Despite major off-the-field turmoil earlier in the season, Jenks has continued to dominate, overwhelming Southmoore 44-26 to earn a spot in the 6A state finals where the Trojans will face nemesis Union. Zach Langer punished Southmoore’s defense to the tune of 302 yards and two TDs, and continues to enjoy an outstanding senior season.12. Abilene (Texas), 13-0. Last Week: NR.
Sometimes teams in West Texas don’t get the same level of respect as teams from other parts of the state, but it’s hard to argue with Abilene’s resume. The Eagles proved themselves blasting Cedar Hill, previously ranked No. 3, winning 41-17. Herschel Sims, who rushed for four touchdowns, is one of the nation’s top juniors. The Eagles won’t have much time to enjoy the victory, as they will receive a major test from Arlington Bowie in the Region 1 championship on Friday.13. Newnan (Ga.), 13-0. Last Week: NR.
With several top teams getting bounced from the playoffs, Georgia’s AAAAA bracket remains nearly impossible to predict. Still, no one has a more impressive resume than Newnan. After reaching the semifinals a year ago, the Cougars are undefeated after beating Grayson 9-7. With Camden County, Northside and Colquitt County still alive, Newnan could rise much higher in the rankings if the Cougars go the distance.14. Curtis (River Ridge, La.), 12-0. Last Week: 15.
Curtis continues to dominate the 2A playoffs, turning a 28-0 halftime lead into an easy 35-7 win against Riverside. Torrey Price had 80 rushing yards and two scores for the Patriots, who will be tested for a second time this season by St. Charles Catholic in the 2A semifinals.15. Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.), 11-1. Last Week: 16. Season complete.16. Grant (Sacramento, Calif.), 12-0. Last Week: 17.
Grant uncharacteristically allowed 12 points to Fairfield, but the Pacers bludgeoned the Falcons by putting up 66 points of their own. Devontae Butler led the charge with 292 yards on the ground and six scores.17. North Penn (Lansdale, Pa.), 12-0. Last Week: 20.
Avon was no match for North Penn as Craig Needhammer’s four TDs helped the Knights to a 42-7 blowout victory. North Penn could be on a collision course with Bishop McDevitt, though LaSalle, Woodland Hills and several other very good teams still remain in the AAAA bracket.18. Lakeland (Fla.), 12-0. Last Week: 24.
The Dreadnaughts have not always looked pretty this season, but they sit at 12-0 on the verge of another regional title after beating Osceola 30-14. Lakeland held the Kowboys to a mere 31 yards in the second half. Ben McRoy contributed 106 yards on the ground to jumpstart the Lakeland offense.
19. Maine South (Park Ridge, Ill.), (14-0). Last Week: NR.
For the second year in a row, the Maine South Hawks captured an 8A state title, this time trouncing Marist 41-17 in the process. Running back Matt Perez was sensational, setting a state finals record with 316 rushing yards.The Hawks’ season is even more impressive, given that they were the only team to defeat Illinois power Wheaton-Warrenville South, which captured a 7A state title on Saturday.20. Highlands (Fort Thomas, Ky.), 14-0. Last Week: 19.
Highlands secured a spot in the 5A title game with a 52-12 win over Pulaski County. The Bluebirds scored on all six of their first half possessions and led 42-0 by intermission. Tyler Fennell and Will Bardo each rushed for two TDs for Highlands.21. Hutchinson (Kan.), 13-0. Last Week: 22.
The Salt Hawks won a sixth straight state title, pounding Gardner-Edgerton 52-14, handing the Trailblazers their only loss of the season. Hutch's prolific ground attack dialed up 448 yards, good for 52 points against a defense that had allowed only 108 points all year entering the game. 22. Crenshaw (Los Angeles, Calif.), 12-0. Last Week: 23.
Crenshaw continues to dominate City Section foes, pounding Westchester 55-0. Junior De’Anthony Thomas rushed for two touchdowns for the Cougars, whose nonleague wins against Lakewood and Norco look more impressive by the week, as both teams are still alive in the playoffs.23. Katy (Texas), 12-1. Last Week: NR.
In an unstable Texas 5A landscape, Katy looks as solid as anyone, cruising into the 5A-II quarterfinals with a 37-3 victory over LaPorta. After an early loss to The Woodlands, the Tigers have returned to championship form, capturing 11 straight wins. 24. Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.), 13-0. Last Week: 25.
Oscar Smith used another late rally to push past Woodside 27-14. Sophomore running back J.C. Coleman finished with 111 yards on 15 carries for the Tigers, who will play Thomas Dale next in the Division 6 semifinals.25. Central (Miami, Fla.), 11-1. Last Week: NR.
After dropping out of the rankings following an Oct. 8 loss to Northwestern, the Rockets reappear after exacting revenge on the Bulls, 29-16 in the 6A playoffs. Central also boasts impressive victories over Booker T. Washington and Mainland, the only team to defeat 11-1 DeLand, which is still alive in the opposite side of the 6A bracket.Dropped out:
Cedar Hill (Texas): Lost to Abilene 41-17
Skyline (Dallas, Texas): Lost to Cypress Woods 28-21
Grayson (Loganville, Ga.):
Lost to Newnan 9-7
North Gwinnett (Suwanne, Ga.): Lost to Camden County 35-0