Attempting to select the top 25 high school football teams of all-time is guaranteed to do one thing — spark a debate. Just like the Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James or Tom Brady vs. anyone else debate, the answer lies in your own history and loyalty.
However, MaxPreps dives into the debate looking at several criteria to help rank teams. We took into account strength of schedule, teams that produced FBS and NFL talent, national ranking and margin of victory. A program could also only have one team chosen.
Teams are represented from the 1940s through the modern era and include traditional high school football hotbeds of Texas, California, Georgia and Florida. Ohio, Alabama, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Nevada and Virginia also are represented.
Let the debate begin ...
Head coach: Bob Ladouceur
Points for: 567
Points against: 96
Biggest win: 29-15 over Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) in No. 1 vs. No. 2 national showdown.
Notable players: RB Maurice Jones-Drew, DL Derek Landri, QB Matt Gutierrez.
Summary: During the Spartans legendary 151-game winning streak spanning 1992-2004, the 2001 team was the best of the bunch. They won every game by at least 14 points and De La Salle finished the season ranked No. 1 in the country in every media poll.
Head coach: Luther Booker
Points for: 659
Points against: 76
Biggest win: 37-0 over Permian (Odessa) in 5A state championship.
Notable players: RB Johnny Bailey, LB Melvin Foster, DL Santana Dotson, WR Quintin Smith.
Summary: Five players went on to sign with an NFL team. During the 1985 season the Lions posted eight shutouts and never allowed more than 16 points in a game.
Head coach: Bruce Rollinson
Points for: 724
Points against: 229
Biggest win: 49-24 over St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) in CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship.
Notable players: QB JT Daniels, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, DB Elias Ricks, LB Mase Funa, WR Bru McCoy, OL Tommy Brown.
Summary: Went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the country, never trailing at any point during the season. The Monarchs won every game by at least 10 points and had notable wins against Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.), Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.), Mission Viejo (Calif.) and St. John Bosco (twice).
Head coach: Paul Brown
Points for: 477
Points against: 6
Biggest win: 28-0 over Waite (Toledo, Ohio) snapping the Indians' 19-game winning streak.
Notable players: End/LB Horace Gillom, RB Tommy James, RB Ray Getz.
Summary: In Paul Brown's final season before leaving for Ohio State, he led the Tigers to nine shutouts. The most impressive win came in a spring scrimmage against Kent State, winning 47-0. Eleven players were named first team all-state.
Head coach: Kenny Sanchez
Points for: 794
Points against: 130
Notable players: QB Tate Martell, TE Brevin Jordan, DL Haskell Garrett, DB Bubba Bolden, WR Dorian Thompson-Robinson, LB Palaie Gaoteote.
Summary: Finished No. 1 in every media poll after one of the toughest out-of-state schedules. Had notable wins against Cedar Hill (Texas), Cocoa (Fla.), Kahuku (Hawaii), St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) and St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.).
Head coach: Bill Castle
Points for: 580
Points against: 93
Biggest win: 39-10 over St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) in 5A state championship.
Notable players: OL Maurkice Pouncey, OL Mike Pouncey, RB Chris Rainey, RB Jamar Taylor, DB Ahmad Black.
Summary: Nineteen Dreadnaught players played college football and featured numerous players who had success in the NFL led by the Pouncey twins. They combined for 13 Pro Bowl selections.
Head coach: Billy Rolle
Points for: 628
Points against: 143
Biggest win: 29-21 over Southlake Carroll (Texas) in No. 1 vs. No. 2 national showdown.
Notable players: QB Jacory Harris, LB Lavonte David, LB Sean Spence, WR Tommy Streeter, OL Brandon Washington.
Summary: This team had more than 10 players play college football. Harris was one of the best quarterbacks in Florida high school football history and David recently helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win a Super Bowl.
Head coach: Freddie James
Points for: 347
Points against: 117
Biggest win: 14-9 over Permian (Odessa) in 5A state semifinals.
Notable players: LB Jessie Armstead, QB Robert Hall, DB Clifton Abraham, RB Le'Shai Maston, DB Derric Evans, WR Gary Edwards.
Summary: When it comes to talent, this Carter team stacks up with anyone, especially on defense. Twenty-one players were offered college scholarships while Abraham, Armstead, and Maston all played in the NFL.
Head coach: Greg Toal
Points for: 452
Points against: 92
Biggest win: 22-16 over Manatee (Fla.) in Top 10 national showdown.
Notable players: ATH Jabrill Peppers, WR Leonte Carroo, DL Darius Hamilton, DB Yuri Wright.
Summary: Went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the country and had notable wins over Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.), Manatee (Fla.), Mission Viejo (Calif.), St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) and St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.). More than a dozen players received an FBS offer and Carroo and Peppers were both selected in the NFL Draft. Carroo was a third-round selection in 2016 and Peppers was a first-round selection in 2017.
Head coach: Tim "Ice" Harris
Points for: 579
Points against: 138
Biggest win: 28-17 over Miami Central (Fla.) in No. 1 vs. No. 2 national showdown.
Notable players: QB Treon Harris, RB Mark Walton, DL Chad Thomas.
Summary: Finished No. 1 in the country in four media polls — the MaxPreps Top 25, National Prep Poll (NPP), National Sports News Service (NSNS) and USA Today. Won every game by double digits, including an 11-point win against Dalvin Cook and a loaded Miami Central squad. Also had notable wins against Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), Bolles (Jacksonville, Fla.), Cocoa (Fla.) and Norcross (Ga.).
Head coach: Tom Westerberg
Points for: 807
Points against: 298
Notable players: QB Kyler Murray, OL Greg Little, WR Jalen Guyton, OL Bobby Evans, LB Christian Sam, LB Tay Evans.
Summary: Murray, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, leads four players on NFL rosters. During his junior season, the Eagles' offense averaged more than 50 points per game and won all but one by double digits.
Head coach: Gary Joseph
Points for: 778
Points against: 62
Biggest win: 34-7 over Lake Travis (Austin) in 6A Division 2 state championship.
Notable players: LB JoVanni Stewart, RB Kyle Porter, DB Collin Wilder, RB Deondrick Glass.
Summary: One of the top defenses in Texas high school football history allowed less than four points per game and posted 10 shutouts. The Tiger's finished the year ranked No. 1 in two polls — NPP and MaxPreps Top 25.
Head coach: Gerry Faust
Points for: 490
Points against: 40
Biggest win: 43-5 over Lincoln (Gahanna) in 3A state championship.
Notable players: QB Tim Koegel, LB Bob Crable, OL Jim Brown.
Summary: Named co-national champs with Warner Robins (Ga.) by the National Sports News Service. Faust's defense allowed less than four points per game that season. Crable was the most notable name on this team and was selected in the first round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the New York Jets after a great college career at Notre Dame.
Head coach: Tom DeSylvia
Points for: 512
Points against: 51
Biggest win: 21-7 over Medford in Class A state championship.
Notable players: QB Terry Baker, RB Mel Renfro, RB Mickey Hergert, FB Raye Renfro.
Summary: Baker and (Mel) Renfro were one of the most dynamic duos in high school football history. Baker won the 1962 Heisman Trophy at Oregon State and Renfro was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996 after a 14-year career with the Dallas Cowboys. They finished the year ranked No. 1, according to NSNS.
Head coach: George Smith
Points for: 695
Points against: 117
Biggest win: 56-7 over Lakeland in 5A state championship.
Notable players: RB Giovani Bernard, RB James White, WR Duron Carter.
Summary: A few different St. Thomas Aquinas teams could've made the list but the 2008 squad was the only unanimous national champion selected by all media outlets. They won every game by double digits and handed Lakeland (Fla.) its only loss of the season with a dominant 49-point victory in the state championship.
Head coach: Mike Smith
Points for: 811
Points against: 97
Biggest win: 51-0 over Patrick Henry (Ashland) in Division 5 state championship.
Notable players: QB Ronald Curry, WR/DB Ahmad Hawkins, TE Bobby Blizzard, LB Derrick White, DL William Perry.
Summary: Curry was one of the best prep players of all-time. The Crabbers won every game by an average margin of 51 points per game. Hampton finished No. 1 in the country in two polls — NPP and NSNS.
Head coach: Todd Dodge
Points for: 764
Points against: 256
Biggest win: 34-20 over Katy in 5A Division 2 state championship.
Notable players: QB Greg McElroy, RB Tre' Newton, DB Joseph Agnew, WR Clint Renfro.
Summary: Finished No. 1 in the nation according to three polls — Freeman, NPP and NSNS. McElroy threw for 4,682 yards and 56 touchdowns during his senior season before a successful college career at Alabama and being selected in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Head coach: Harold Clark
Points for: 387
Points against: 44
Biggest win: 41-7 over Berry in 6A state championship.
Notable players: RB Darrell Williams, WR Kevin Lee, QB Kelvin Simmons, OL Roosevelt Patterson.
Summary: The Wolves pitched eight shutouts while allowing less than four points per game. They won every game by at least 14 points and were named national champs by NPP.
Head coach: Wright Bazemore
Points for: 629
Points against: 138
Biggest win: 62-12 over Avondale (Atlanta) in 3A state championship.
Notable players: WR Stanford Rome, QB Stan Bounds, OL Steve Stanaland, TE Roger Rome, DB Gary Rowe.
Summary: It came down to this team and the 1962 Valdosta squad but Stanford Rome at wide receiver was a big reason why the '71'team was selected. In Bazemore's final season as head coach they finished the year ranked No. 1 by NSNS beating out T.C. Williams (Alexandria, Va.), the team featured in "Remember the Titans."
Head coach: Gary Gaines
Points for: 627
Points against: 97
Biggest win: 28-14 over Aldine (Houston) in 5A state championship.
Notable players: RB Chris Comer, QB Stoney Case, WR Lloyd Hill.
Summary: The 1988 Permian team was made famous in the 2004 movie, "Friday Night Lights" but the team the following season was the one who went undefeated and finished the year ranked No. 1 by NPP and NSNS. The Panthers defense posted eight shutouts and won all but one game by double digits.
Head coach: Thom McDaniels
Points for: 592
Points against: 151
Biggest win: 20-19 over St. Ignatius (Cleveland) in Division 1 state semifinals.
Notable players: DB Mike Doss, FB Jamar Martin, DL Kenny Peterson, RB DeMarlo Rozier.
Summary: Three players from this team went on to play in the NFL, led by Doss who also helped lead Ohio State to a 2002 BCS National Championship. They finished the year ranked at No. 1 by USA Today.
Head coach: Bob Shannon
Points for: 679
Points against: 53
Biggest win: 46-0 over Brother Rice (Chicago) in 6A state championship.
Notable players: LB Bryan Cox, QB Kerwin Price.
Summary: Shannon had some legendary teams but none stack up with the '85 squad. The Flyers dominated both sides of the ball, averaging over 48 points while surrendering less than four points per game. They finished No. 1 by NSNS and USA Today.
Head coach: Chuck Kyle
Points for: 527
Points against: 129
Biggest win: 38-20 over Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati) in Division 1 state championship.
Notable players: QB Scott Mutryn, OL Eric Gohlstin, DL/OL Mike Buzin, RB Eric Haddad.
Summary: Went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the country, according to USA Today, and also named national champs by NPP and NSNS.
Head coach: Jason Negro
Points for: 755
Points against: 264
Biggest win: 20-14 over De La Salle (Concord) in CIF Open Division state championship.
Notable players: QB Josh Rosen, RB Sean McGrew, OL Damien Mama, DB Jaleel Wadood, WR Shay Fields.
Summary: Negro has turned St. John Bosco into a national powerhouse and 2013 was the Braves' breakout year. They ran the table, snapping De La Salle's 40-game winning streak in the Open Division championship while finishing No. 1 in the Freeman rankings.
Head coach: Robert Davis
Points for: 614
Points against: 86
Biggest win: 34-0 over Griffin in 3A state championship.
Notable players: RB James Brooks, DL Ron Simmons, FB Jimmy Womack.
Summary: Co-national champs with Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati) by NSNS, the Demons won all but one game by double digits. They allowed less than six points per game with eight shutouts. Brooks played in the NFL for 12 years and Simmons was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.