The high school football season is just barely underway, but one of the most anticipated matchups of the season kicks off already Friday night when No. 9 Washington (Miami) travels to No. 3 Norcross (Ga.).
The big-time showdown of the defending Florida 4A champion against last year's Georgia 6A titlist headlines the first edition of the MaxPreps Top 10 Football Games of the Week and is one of five contests involving teams listed in the preseason MaxPreps Xcellent 25 rankings.
South Carolina is the location of two games that feature nationally ranked teams as No. 17 Apopka (Fla.) begins the season with a trip to perennial power Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.). About 75 miles north on Interstate 85, a premier in-state showdown is on tap with No. 22 Northwestern (Rock Hill, S.C.) playing host to defending 4A I champion Gaffney.
Meanwhile, No. 20 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) travels down the coast to take on perennial public school power Phoebus (Hampton, Va.). Out west, No. 25 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) will have its hands full with yet another top-notch out-of-state opponent. The Gaels entertain Mountain Pointe (Phoenix), which was runner-up in the Arizona Division I playoffs last season.
Here's a look at this week's Top 10 games along with predictions by MaxPreps staff writers and contributors Mitch Stephens, Steve Montoya, Stephen Spiewak, Kevin Askeland, Leland Gordon, Colin Ward-Henninger and Jamie DeMoney.
MaxPreps Top 10 Football Games of the WeekWashington (Miami) at Norcross (Ga.)
Washington begins a quest to climb to the top of the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 with a nationally televised game at defending Georgia 5A champion Norcross. The Tornadoes, who start the season ranked No. 9, also play No. 2 Central (Miami) and No. 25 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) later this year. Coach Tim "Ice" Harris has 14 returning starters including son Treon Harris
at quarterback. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior is committed to play at Florida State next season.
The good news for Norcross is the return of 15 starters from a team that was undefeated and captured Georgia's first Class 6A state championship. The bad news is that group does not include running back Alvin Kamara or quarterback Joseph Wilber. Kamara, now at Alabama, and Wilber (West Georgia) combined for almost 5,000 yards of total offense last season. But fear not: The Blue Devils have all five starting offensive linemen back and on defense, five-star end Lorenzo Carter
and Tennessee-bound linebacker Kevin Mouhon
lead the way. Mitch Stephens:
Norcross 28, Washington 27Kevin Askeland:
Norcross 21, Washington 20Jamie DeMoney:
Washington 28, Norcross 17Stephen Spiewak:
Norcross 24, Washington 21Leland Gordon:
Norcross 21, Washington 15Colin Ward-Henninger:
Norcross 21, Washington 17