The high school football season in Indiana kicks off next week with 166 games scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 19-20. After going 14-1 and winning its second straight Class 5A state title last season, Cathedral (Indianapolis)
debuts at No. 1 in this year's preseason MaxPreps Top 25.
The Irish scored a 34-14 win over Zionsville
in the championship game last season to move within one title of tying Indianapolis Bishop Chatard
for the most in Indiana high school history. Cathedral has won 13 straight state championship games and 14 overall. Chatard owns 15 titles.
Cathedral also beat Zionsville (46-28) in the 2020 5A final.
The Irish field four of the state’s top 20 senior prospects, including defensive lineman Kendrick Gilbert
(6-5, 250, undecided), receiver Jaron Tibbs
(6-4, 190, Purdue commit), tight end Brennan Wooten
(6-4, 225, undecided) and defensive lineman Patrick Kendall
(6-4, 278, Army). Gilbert is the state's No. 4 overall prospect and a top 40 lineman nationally. Kentucky is considered the favorite among his 22 offers. Junior quarterback Danny O'Neil (6-0, 185) returns after throwing for 2,956 yards and accounting for 43 total TDs. He is one of the state's top 10 2024 prospects.
The only team to beat the Irish since 2019 is Center Grove (Greenwood)
, which won its second straight 6A state title last year. The Trojans, who open the season at No. 2, are 28-0 since losing to Carmel
in the 2019 big school state final.
Cathedral (No. 33) and Center Grove (No. 73) are the lone Indiana schools ranked in the Preseason MaxPreps Top 100
. The two square off Oct. 14 at CG, which has won two straight in the series. The two could also meet again in the postseason as Cathedral was bumped up to 6A this season due to the state's "success" factor.
No. 13 Andrean (Merrillville)
, the defending 2A champ, features the state’s top recruit in linebacker Drayk Bowen
(6-2, 225). A Notre Dame pledge, Bowen reps Indiana in the country’s top 100 prospects (regardless of position). He rushed for 171 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries and had six tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, a sack, forced fumble and blocked kick in last year’s state final.
LSU commit and Lawrence Central (Indianapolis)
senior defensive end Joshua Mickens
(6-5, 225) is a top 150 player nationally. The Bears debuted at No. 11.
The IHSAA state finals will be held Nov. 25-26 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Read on for a complete look at Indiana’s preseason top 25 for 2022.
Preseason Indiana MaxPreps Top 25
2. Center Grove (Greenwood)
6. Lawrence North (Indianapolis)
7. Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers)
10. East Central (St. Leon)
11. Lawrence Central (Indianapolis)
12. Warren Central (Indianapolis)
13. Andrean (Merrillville)
15. Evansville Reitz
16. Franklin Central (Indianapolis)
18. Roncalli (Indianapolis)
19. Ben Davis (Indianapolis)
20. Indianapolis Bishop Chatard
21. Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory (Indianapolis)
23. Decatur Central (Indianapolis)
25. Gibson Southern (Fort Branch)