Although the high school football season is barely underway, some of the best matchups of the season are already on tap this weekend.
The first edition of the MaxPreps Top 10 Games of the Week includes two head-to-head battles of teams listed in the preseason Xcellent 25
: No. 15 Miami Central travels to No. 3 Hoover and No. 24 Oscar Smith plays host to ninth-ranked and defending national champ Booker T. Washington.
Hoover brings a 30-game winning streak into the 2014 campaign. Among ranked teams, only No. 16 Bellevue (Wash.) and its 54 straight wins has a longer unbeaten run
. On the other side, Miami Central won Florida's 6A state title three of the last four years while being a fixture in the national polls. But the Rockets have lost three of their last four games against ranked opponents.
Other Week 1 action involving Xcellent 25 teams includes No. 11 St. John Bosco going Hawaiian for a matchup against traditional power St. Louis at Aloha Stadium. No. 20 McEachern opens the season at home against North Gwinnett, which eliminated the Indians from last year's playoffs. No. 22 Trinity Christian travels to Buford with plans to stop the Wolves' 28-game winning streak.
Here's a look at this week's Top 10 games along with predictions by MaxPreps staff writers and contributors Mitch Stephens, Stephen Spiewak, Kevin Askeland, Leland Gordon, Colin Ward-Henninger and Jamie DeMoney.
MaxPreps Top 10 Football Games of the WeekCentral (Miami) at Hoover (Ala.)
What to watch:
Third-ranked Hoover's quest for its first national championship begins against a team that had similar aspirations last year. No. 15 Miami Central was No. 2 in the preseason MaxPreps Xcellent 25 but ended the year fourth, with only a loss to national champ Booker T. Washington (Miami) on its resume. Hoover's lofty expectations this year are buoyed by seven returning offensive starters from a 15-0 team and a front seven featuring Auburn-committed senior linebacker Darrell Williams
and Alabama-bound defensive end Christian Bell
. For Miami Central, graduation decimated much of its experience on offense, but it has nine seasoned starters returning on defense. One of the unit's top players is senior defensive back Calvin Brewton
, a Florida State recruit. This game will be featured on Qwixcore, featuring live scoring updatesJust the facts:
A win Saturday would be Hoover's sixth in a row against out-of-state opponents. The Bucs haven't lost to a non-Alabama team since falling to Camden County in 2008, 44-16. … Central has lost three of its last five out-of-state games. Its only other game against an Alabama team was a 49-28 triumph over Prattville in 2010. Mitch Stephens:
Hoover 28, Central 21Kevin Askeland:
Central 24, Hoover 14Jamie DeMoney:
Hoover 21, Central 13Stephen Spiewak:
Hoover 20, Central 17Leland Gordon:
Hoover 14, Central 13Colin Ward-Henninger:
Hoover 20, Central 14