With the exception of next weekend's state championship games in Texas, this is the final week of the high school football season and, likewise, the final installment of the MaxPreps Top 10 Games of the Week.
State title games in some of the game's blue-blood states – California, Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania – along with 5A semifinal games featuring showdowns between the nationally ranked teams from Texas, make up this week's slate of featured games.
Fresh off its upset of then-No. 1 ranked Manatee (Bradenton) last week, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) is back in a state championship game for the 13th time in the last 22 seasons in Florida. The 20th-ranked Raiders are taking on Lincoln (Tallahassee) in the 7A final. It is the first meeting between the teams since the 2001 Class 4A final, won by Lincoln, 28-20.
With only one week of games left to pick and a four-game lead on his nearest competition, it looks like Mitch Stephens will coast to the win in our season-long predictions contest. Mitch has correctly picked 113 out of 160 games this season (.706 percent).
Here's a look at this week's Top 10 games of the week along with predictions by MaxPreps staff writers and contributors Mitch Stephens, Steve Montoya, Stephen Spiewak, Kevin Askeland and Jamie DeMoney.
MaxPreps Top 10 Football Games of the WeekSt. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) vs. Lincoln (Tallahassee, Fla.)
St. Thomas Aquinas is shooting for its seventh state title since 1992. This is the Raiders' 13th finals appearance since 1991, made possible by a 35-18 headline-making upset of Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.) in last week's 7A semifinals. It was the high point thus far in a season that started off uncharacteristically with two losses in the first five games. Dominant blocking up front and elusive running from senior
allowed Aquinas (12-2) to upset what was then the nation's No. 1-ranked team.
Though it's never finished with an undefeated record, this is the fifth time Lincoln has reached a state championship game since 1999. The Trojans won it all in 1999, 2001 and 2010. This year they are 12-1 with the lone loss coming in early November to 5A finalist Godby (Tallahassee). Senior quarterback Cameron Joseph
has 1,819 passing yards and 15 touchdowns, with the bulk of that production distributed between a pair of super talented receivers in Taj Williams
(uncommitted) and Georgia recruit Reggie Davis
. On defense, the Trojans' anchor is Florida pledge James Hearns
, rated the fourth-best inside linebacker in the Class of 2013 by MaxPreps. Mitch Stephens:
St. Thomas Aquinas 35, Lincoln 34Jamie DeMoney:
Lincoln 27, St. Thomas Aquinas 25Stephen Spiewak:
St. Thomas Aquinas 30, Lincoln 27Leland Gordon:
St. Thomas Aquinas 28, Lincoln 24Kevin Askeland:
St. Thomas Aquinas 40, Lincoln 37Steve Montoya:
St. Thomas Aquinas 28, Lincoln 27