MaxPreps has produced small school high school football rankings over the years, but this year the rankings will have a different look. Instead of focusing on schools with enrollments of under 1,000 students, we will produce Small Town Top 25 rankings. The focus will turn to those schools that play in towns with less than 10,000 people, where the town largely shuts down for Friday night football.
Schools on the list are ranked based on the MaxPreps preseason computer ratings and are listed with their 2020 season record and 2021 preseason rating. We've also included the enrollment of the school and the population of the town where the school resides. In some instances, the enrollment of the school is slightly larger than the population because the school district consists of several small communities.
Only schools with an enrollment under 750 and a population under 10,000 people are included on the list.
Top 25 small town football rankings
1. Hallettsville (Texas)
The Brahmas reached the 3A-1 state finals last year before falling to Jim Ned. Ten starters return on offense, although the one departure is a glaring one. MaxPreps All-America selection Jonathon Brooks graduated after rushing for 3,530 yards and scoring a Texas state record 70 touchdowns. Hallettsville should shine on defense, though, where seven starters return.2. Andale (Kan.)
The Indians won the 3A state championship for the third straight season. They've also won five straight league championships and enter the 2021 season on a 25-game win streak.3. Shiner (Texas)
The Comanches won the Class 2A-1 state championship last year and also had a win over Hallettsville. They have five starters back on offense and four on defense.4. Jim Ned (Tuscola, Texas)
The Indians defeated Hallettsville twice in 2020, including 24-21 in the 3A-1 championship game. Fourteen starters return, including seven on each side of the ball.5. Pierce (Neb.)
The Bluejays captured the C-1 state championship last year and No. 2 in the state of Nebraska by the MaxPreps preseason computer ratings. 6. Central Lyon/George-Little Rock (Rock Rapids, Iowa)
After losing to Waukon in the Class 2A state finals last year, the Lions start No. 1 overall in Iowa's MaxPreps computer ratings.7. Rabun County (Tiger, Ga.)
Winners of seven straight region championships, Rabun County has one of the nation's top quarterbacks in Gunner Stockton, a preseason MaxPreps All-America selection. 8. Brock (Texas)
The Eagles have developed into a sports powerhouse, winning close to 20 state championships since 2000, including a football state title in 2015. A total of 10 starters return.9. Kirtland (Ohio)
The Hornets own one of the longest active win streaks in the nation at 41. Another undefeated season and Kirtland would close in on the state record of 57 by St. John's (Delphos). The Hornets have won three straight state championships and six in the past 10 seasons.10. Grandview (Texas)
A three-point loss to Malakoff in the state playoffs prevented the Zebras from a three-peat as it won state championships in 2019 and 2018. They figure to challenge again with seven returning starters on offense and four on defense.11. Irwin County (Ocilla, Ga.)
The Indians overcame three regular-season losses last year to win the Class A Public state championship for the second straight season. 12. Limon (Colo.)
No Colorado school has won more state championships than the Badgers, who picked up their 20th state crown last year and its third in a row. They won more games than any school in the nation in the 1960s and are 178-29 since 2003.12. Southern Columbia Area (Catawissa, Pa.)
The Tigers have won 60 straight games, the second longest active streak in the nation. Under coach Jim Roth, who has 456 career wins, SCA has won four straight state championships and a state record 11 overall.14. Gunter (Texas)
Winner of a state championship in 2019, the Tigers return 16 starters, eight on offense and eight on defense, from a team that won 13 games last year.15. Franklin (Texas)
The Lions are loaded on both sides of the ball as nine starters are back on offense and eight return on defense.16. Central Valley (Monaca, Pa.)
The Warriors have one of the nation's top defensive linemen in Sean Fitzsimmons. He leads a team that was undefeated last year while winning the AAA state championship. 17. Cannon Falls (Minn.)
The Bombers did not play for a state championship last year despite going undefeated. Minnesota did not host state playoffs for football, but Cannon Falls has won two straight league championships.18. Springfield (New Middletown, Ohio)
A loss to Coldwater ended Springfield's season last year, but the Tigers are expected to be a big threat in Ohio's Division VI in 2021. They've won two straight league titles and five championships in the past seven years.19. West Lyon (Inwood, Iowa)
State champions in 2019, West Lyon lost twice to 2020 state champion Central Lyon. However, the Wildcats have plenty of experience returning with seven starters on offense and defense.20. Canadian (Texas)
Canadian has one of the top dynasties in Texas with a 225-31 record since 2003. The Wildcats return six starters from last year's state championship team and they have won five state titles since 2007.21. Harlan (Iowa)
Curt Bladt, who led Harlan to 11 state championships in 422 wins, no longer coaches, but his son Todd has taken over the reins. The Cyclones just missed winning their 13th state championship, falling to North Scott in last year's finals.22. Columbia (Miss.)
Columbia begins the season ranked as the No. 6 overall team in the state by the MaxPreps computer ratings. 23. Bedford (Pa.)
Central Valley kept Bedford from winning a state championship in 2020. The Bison averaged 37 points per game on offense last year.24. Coldwater (Ohio)
One of the top small town football programs of the past two decades, Coldwater has gone 220-31 since 2003 with seven state championships since 2005, including a Division VI title last year.25. Post (Texas)
The Antelopes fell short of a state title, falling to Shiner in the finals. They've won back-to-back district championships.