Video: Top 25 Early Contenders presented by Shock DoctorWe set the tone for 2018 by looking at high school football's elite programs.
There are more than 16,000 high school football teams preparing for the 2018 season. Today we put the spotlight on the 25 best.
After six months of research, we roll out our Preseason Top 25 Early Contenders presented by Shock Doctor, setting the tone for 2018 and identifying our preseason No. 1.
Last year's champion Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the country, never trailing at any point in the season. Twelve other defending state champions are included in our initial Top 25 for 2018.
Four states — California, Florida, Georgia and Texas — account for 15 of the 25 teams selected. In total, 13 different states are represented.
1. St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)Head coach:
Read on for a complete look at high school football's elite as opening kickoff approaches.
Click on school names for complete team previews
12-3, No. 8 national ranking, lost to Mater Dei in CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship game, 49-24. 2. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)Head coach:
15-0, No. 1 national ranking, beat De La Salle in CIF Open Division state championship, 52-21.3. IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)Head coach:
8-0, No. 2 national ranking, outscored the opposition by an average margin of 21.5 points per game.4. Allen (Texas)Head coach:
16-0, No. 3 national ranking, beat Lake Travis in 6A-Division 1 state championship, 35-33.5. Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)Head coach:
10-2, lost to North Gwinnett in second round of 7A playoffs, 35-28. 6. St. John's (Washington, D.C.)Head coach:
9-2, No. 14 national ranking, beat Gonzaga in WCAC conference championship, 30-7.7. St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)Head coach:
13-0, No. 5 national ranking, beat Gilman in MIAA-A conference championship, 44-7.8. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)Head coach:
11-3, lost to Venice in 7A semifinals, 27-20. 9. Lake Travis (Austin, Texas)Head coach:
13-3, No. 16 national ranking, lost to Allen in 6A-Division 1 state championship, 35-33. 10. Chandler (Ariz.)Head coach:
13-2, No. 11 national ranking, beat Perry in 6A state championship, 49-42. 11. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)Head coach:
13-2, No. 13 national ranking, beat Reed in 4A state championship, 48-7.12. St. Louis (Honolulu, Hawaii)Head coach:
11-0, No. 15 national ranking, beat Kahuku in Division 1 Open state championship, 31-28.13. Central (Miami, Fla.)Head coach:
10-3, lost to Northwestern in 6A regional semifinals, 24-18. 14. Katy (Texas)Head coach:
12-1, No. 17 national ranking, lost to Lake Travis in 6A-Division 1 semifinals, 28-14.15. Marietta (Ga.)Head coach:
8-5, lost to North Gwinnett in 7A quarterfinals, 51-41. 16. Bingham (South Jordan, Utah)Head coach:
13-1, No. 19 national ranking, beat East in 6A state championship, 27-14.17. Centennial (Corona, Calif.)Head coach:
10-3, lost to St. John Bosco in CIF Southern Section Division 1 semifinals, 62-34.18. De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)Head coach:
11-2, No. 25 national ranking, lost to Mater Dei in CIF Open Division state championship, 52-21.19. Folsom (Calif.)Head coach:
16-0, No. 18 national ranking, beat Helix in CIF Division 1-AA state championship, 49-42. 20. Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)Head coach:
11-2, lost to American Heritage in 5A quarterfinals, 58-57 (3 OT). 21. Hoover (Ala.)Head coach:
11-3, beat McGill-Toolen in 7A state championship, 48-20.22. Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio)Head coach:
14-1, No. 20 national ranking, beat Mentor in Division 1 state championship, 56-28. 23. Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.)Head coach:
10-2, No. 21 national ranking, beat St. Peter's Prep in Non-Public Group IV state championship, 44-7. 24. Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.)Head coach:
12-3, beat Pittsburg in CIF Division 1-A state championship, 28-21. 25. Archer (Lawrenceville, Ga.)Head coach:
12-1, lost to Colquitt County in 7A quarterfinals, 12-7.