MaxPreps is celebrating its 10th anniversary this summer. In recognition of a decade as America's source for high school sports, we will look back at the top teams, athletes, games and moments of the MaxPreps era over the next month. MaxPreps debuted prior to the 2002-03 academic/athletic year.
Today we look at the most successful football programs in the nation, regardless of classification/division, measured by the number of state championships won since MaxPreps came on to the high school scene.
The benchmark number garners a shake of the head, as well as a double-check of the facts. Did four programs really each win eight state titles in the past 10 years
? Think about it: that's capturing championships at an 80-percent clip. Each also could add at least a third-consecutive title this fall.
Those four schools certainly stand together at the summit, but it's worth noting that 11 programs won seven championships during the MaxPreps era, while another 13 won six overall. No matter how one breaks down the numbers, that's a lot of trophies.
Here is a look at the Fab Four, followed by a list of the most championships by state since 2002 compiled by the MaxPreps database:
Bellevue has set the standard in the northwest, winning the Class 3A title in 2002-04, 2006, 2008-11. They also won the 2001 championship, the year before MaxPreps started.
The 2004 title team, which finished in the Top 10 nationally, is most notable because during that championship season the Wolverines ended the 13-year, 151-game win streak of De La Salle in a nonleague contest
in one of the Top 10 most memorable games of the MaxPreps era
Bellevue, coached by Butch Goncharoff, could ride its Wing-T offense to a fifth-consecutive title. The Wolverines start the season ranked No. 5 in the MaxPreps 2012 Preseason Xcellent 25
.Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.)
The Rebels long have been a fixture in the national rankings. The 2009 team started the season ranked No. 2 by MaxPreps, and this season Byrnes begins the
season ranked No. 13 in the Preseason Xcellent 25
Byrnes, coached by Chris Miller, won four in a row in AAAA from 2002-05. The next four titles for the Rebels came at the AAAA I level in 2007, 2008 and the past two seasons.
As with Bellevue, Byrnes has finished ranked in the Top 50 six times since 2004
. The Rebels get an early test Aug. 25 when they travel to Virginia
to meet defending Division 6 champion Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.)
For the Lancers, yes, eight titles in 10 years is notable, but they also might have a more impressive run going.
Since 1997, Longmeadow has played for the Central-Western Division 1 (or Division 1A or Division 2) championship in every season going back to 1997. Considering the Lancers won in 2002, 2003, 2005-08, 2010 and 2011, think about what the championship trophy haul could have been.
The challenge for Longmeadow this season will be dealing with a major transition. Former head coach Alex Rotsko, who guided the Lancers to the 15 consecutive title games in his 19 years, now is at Marshwood (South Berwick, Maine)
. Nick St. George, who has been Longmeadow's defensive coordinator, takes over as head coach.Maryville (Tenn.)
The Rebels enter the season on a 29-game win streak and are after their third-consecutive title at the Class 6A division. They won five in a six-year stretch (2002, 2004-07) in 4A before that, which included a 74-game win streak. Simply, Maryville wins - a lot.
For the first time in recent memory, though, Maryville starts the season outside of the Preseason Xcellent 25. The Rebels finished No. 8 in the final rankings last season after a 15-0 campaign.
One of the country's powerhouse programs isn't out of the spotlight entirely. Head coach George Quarles will lead the Rebels in a nationally televised game on ESPN2 Aug. 26 against local rival Alcoa
in a rare Sunday start.Continue reading to see the most championships by state in the past 10 years