High-SchoolFlorida: FOOTBALL Weekly Rankings

FAB 50 Offseason Primer: Manatee

January, 19, 2012
Cord SandbergKynon Codrington/ESPNHSManatee (Bradenton, Fla.) quarterback Cord Sandberg led the Hurricanes to their fifth state title in 2011 and is at the head of a talented 2012 roster.
During the offseason, we’ll check out one team per week that looks like a sure bet to be among the best in the nation for next fall.

FAB 50 Offseason Primer Archive.

This week’s team: Manatee (Bradenton)

2011 Season: 13-2, Class 7A state champion, finished No. 12 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Projected 2012 Preseason Ranking: Top 10. The Hurricanes, with five state titles in three decades under coach Joe Kinnan, should enter the season as one of the top two or three ranked Florida teams in the FAB 50. The team’s schedule, which is a major factor in FAB 50 positioning, includes a rematch in Week 3 against defending FAB 50 champion Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.), which enters the season on a 46-game win streak. That includes a 22-16 win over Manatee last year in a game the Hurricanes led 10-9 midway in the fourth-quarter.

Team Strengths: Eleven starters, including six all-state honorees, return for a veteran team that was unbeaten the last two regular seasons versus in-state foes. The quarterback during this dominant in-state run returns in Cord Sandberg (6-2, 190), a first team all-stater and Florida Mr. Football finalist who passed for 2,185 yards and 19 scores and rushed for 814 yards and 10 touchdowns. Anthony Lauro will take over the primary rushing duties after leading the team with 51 receptions and running for 650 yards and eight touchdowns, mostly on reverses, in 2011. The offensive line should be anchored by all-state choice Thor Miller (6-2, 255). All four defensive linemen will be back, including three all-staters -- sophomore Derek Calloway (6-1, 305) and juniors Blake Keller and Marquis Dawsey. The three combined for 35 sacks in 2011.

Another Florida team to watch: Booker T. Washington (Miami) was bumped from the FAB 50 when the 12-2 record Tornadoes bowed to The Bolles School (Jacksonville, Fla.) 33-25 in the Class 4A state finals. Bolles finished No. 46 in the FAB 50. Washington welcomes back five players that all earned all-state recognition in 2011. That list includes rising junior quarterback Treon Harris, running back D'von Ballard, offensive lineman Denver Kirkland, and defensive linemen Matthew Thomas and rising junior Chad Thomas.

Florida Football Rankings: Final

December, 19, 2011
The 2011-12 Florida football season concluded in grand fashion this past weekend, as the state's best squads squared off in the final four championship games. For a roundup of state title games in Florida and beyond, click here.

More than a month ago, we predicted who would emerge as state champs, and we're happy to report a perfect 4-for-4 on large schools (5A-8A), correctly calling that Plant, Manatee, Armwood and Miami Norland would take home titles. In addition to being Florida's fantastic four, each school also finished in the top 20 nationally in the POWERADE FAB 50 ESPNHS Team Rankings.

The state's final top five looks like this:
1. Armwood (15-0)
Class 6A champs; FAB 50 #2
2. Miami Norland (14-0)
Class 5A champs; FAB 50 #7
3. Manatee (13-2)
Class 7A champs; FAB 50 #12
4. Plant (14-1)
Class 8A champs; FAB 50 #13
5. Miramar (13-1)
8A runner-up; FAB 50 #16

To see the full year-end POWERADE Florida Weekly Rankings, including capsules on the state's top 25 teams, click here.

Florida Football Rankings: Week 16

December, 12, 2011
Congrats to the champs!

Bolles did it again, winning its fourth state title in six years by capturing the Class 4A crown. In 3A, Greg Bryant proved unstoppable, running for 243 yards and three touchdowns as American Heritage-Delray capped an impressive playoff run that included wins over University School, Berkeley Prep and Madison County — three of the top four teams in the bracket. In 2A, North Florida Christian concluded a dominant campaign in which the Eagles went undefeated and outscored opponents 163-27 over their last three games. And in 1A, it was Jefferson County that stormed through the bracket to emerge victorious.

Four more state championship games remain this weekend: In Class 8A, it'll be Plant vs. Miramar, as we predicted. Manatee, one of our projected state champs, is in the 7A finals to face a First Coast team that took down Lakeland this past weekend. In 6A, our predicted matchup of Armwood vs. Miami Central has come to pass. And in 5A, our projected winner Miami Norland returns to the state championship game to face Wakulla.

If you're keeping score at home, we did better with our big school predictions, correctly picking six out of the eight eventual state finalists a month ago. We'll see which of those teams wins it all this weekend.

How does all this affect our state rankings? Click here to find out. Eight of Florida's top teams are now ranked in the national POWERADE FAB 50 ESPNHS Team Rankings.

Florida Football Rankings: Week 14

November, 28, 2011
The Thanksgiving weekend of regional semifinal (8A-5A) and final (4A-1A) contests brought no shortage of excitement, but a surprising number of the state's top 25 teams hung tough. The biggest upset of the week came as previous No. 7 University suffered its first loss of the season to American Heritage-Delrayin the Class 3A regional finals. Meanwhile, the Panther vs. Panther matchup of Plant-Dr. Phillips was surprisingly lopsided, with former No. 8 Plant winning big over No. 9 DP. And St. Thomas Aquinas got the last word with a win over previous No. 12 Cooper City.

The state's top 5 teams remain unchanged for the fourth consecutive week:

1 (1) Armwood, 12-0
2 (2) Miramar, 11-0
3 (3) Miami Norland, 11-0
4 (4) Manatee, 10-2
5 (5) Miami Central, 11-0

For the full POWERADE Florida Weekly Rankings, including capsules on the state's top 25 teams, click here.

Florida Football Rankings: Week 13

November, 21, 2011
The playoffs are in full swing, and it's only a matter of time before teams start dropping out of the top 25. This week's biggest upset came when No. 8 Lincoln, a perennial power which captured a state title last year and was in the top 10 all but one week this season, fell to Fleming Island in the 7A regional quarterfinals. Countryside (No. 15), Chaminade-Madonna (No. 20) and Lake Brantley (No. 22) also lost.

The most intriguing matchup of this upcoming weekend has to be Dr. Phillips and Plant. DP advanced to the state finals last year, a run that was vacated due to FHSAA rules violations, while Plant fell in last year's 5A championship to St. Thomas Aquinas. Both Panther squads are characterized by creative offenses and punishing defenses. Whoever wins will be positioned nicely to advance through the north bracket and into the 8A finals.

Here's how the state's top 5 looks as of Monday, Nov. 21:

1 (1) Armwood, 11-0
2 (2) Miramar, 10-0
3 (3) Miami Norland, 10-0
4 (4) Manatee, 9-2
5 (5) Miami Central, 10-0

For the full POWERADE Florida Weekly Rankings, including capsules on the state's top 25 teams, click here.

Florida Football Rankings: Week 12

November, 14, 2011
All but one of the state's top 25 teams (Godby) rested or emerged victorious in Week 12, but the real action begins this weekend. It's playoff time.

Here's how the top five fared:

1 (1) Armwood, 10-0
The Hawks enjoyed the bye week and open the first round of the Class 6A playoffs against Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton). Armwood was Class 4A state runner-up in 2010.

2 (2) Miramar, 9-0
Junior LB Jermaine Grace and the rest of the "Dark Side" defense were idle last week. Grace and senior DB Tracy Howard were in Tallahassee on visits for the Miami-FSU game. This week all the attention will be focused on Broward County foe South Plantation (Plantation).

3 (3) Miami Norland, 9-0
The Vikings toppled playoff-bound Dr. Krop, 58-21. Norland looks to return to Orlando, site of the state championships, after coming up short last year against Tampa Jefferson in the Class 3A final. The road to the Citrus Bowl starts this Friday against Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale).

4 (4) Manatee, 8-2
The Hurricanes discarded Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton), 38-7, after leading 31-0 at the break. Manatee begins its playoff run against Pinellas Park (Largo) on Friday.

5 (5) Miami Central, 9-0
Central thrashed North Miami Beach, (North Miami Beach), 42-0 in the season finale. Head coach Telly Lockette rested sophomore RB Joseph Yearby and others. The Rockets start defense of their Class 6A state crown against Pembroke Pines Charter (Pembroke Pines).

For the full POWERADE Florida Weekly Rankings, click here.

Florida Football Rankings: Week 11

November, 8, 2011
Armwood remained perfect atop the Florida rankings and continues to be rated the nation's No. 2 team in the POWERADE FAB 50. But the game of the week -- and maybe the year, thus far -- was the shootout between Miami Central and Belen Jesuit. The Rockets escaped with a 59-56 victory on an Emilio Nadelman field goal in the fourth overtime. Meanwhile, Cooper City (9-0) proved it was for real by topping St. Thomas Aquinas, 21-16, to claim the district title. The Cowboys vault into the top 10 as a result.

Heading into the playoffs, here's what the top five looks like:

1 Armwood (10-0)
2 Miramar (9-0)
3 Miami Norland (8-0)
4 Manatee (7-2)
5 Miami Central (8-0)

For capsules on the top 25 teams in the state, see the full POWERADE Florida Weekly Rankings.

Florida Football Rankings: Week 9

October, 24, 2011
The state's top 12 teams all took care of business this past weekend, so the top half of the rankings look almost identical to last week. There was some movement below that, however: Gainesville, Bolles and Bartram Trail all suffered their first losses of the season, while Miami Northwestern fell from the top 25 after the Bulls took their second L. Undefeated Lake Brantley and Berkeley Prep enter the fray for the first time after impressive wins over good opponents.

Two of the state's top six teams, Armwood and Plant, meet this Friday in a much-anticipated showdown. While the Hawks will be favored, the history of this rivalry shows it's anyone's game to win. Last year Armwood shut out the Panthers early in the season. Two years ago Plant won en route to a state title. The year before that, the teams split. Both squads are now ranked nationally in the POWERADE FAB 50 ESPNHS Team Rankings.

The top five teams in the state this week are as follows:

1 (1) Armwood, 8-0
2 (2) Miramar, 7-0
3 (3) St. Thomas Aquinas, 6-1
4 (4) Miami Norland, 8-0
5 (5) Manatee, 5-2

For the full POWERADE Florida Weekly Rankings, click here.

Florida Football Rankings: Week 8

October, 17, 2011
Armwood left no doubts about who should be No. 1 in Florida with a 70-0 win — the team's fourth consecutive shutout. The Hawks are ranked the nation's No. 2 team in the POWERADE FAB 50. Elsewhere, Dr. Phillips fell to No. 11 after Thursday's surprise loss to Edgewater, but the rest of the top 10 remains in tact. South Florida powers Booker T. and Miami Northwestern enter the fray after impressive wins over Miami Jackson and Miami Columbus, respectively.

Here's the top five (last week's ranking in parenthesis):
1 (1) Armwood, 7-0
2 (2) Miramar, 6-0
3 (3) St. Thomas Aquinas, 5-1
4 (4) Miami Norland, 7-0
5 (5) Manatee, 4-2

For the full POWERADE Florida Weekly Rankings, click here.

Florida Football Rankings: Week 7

October, 10, 2011
Miramar's huge upset of St. Thomas Aquinas shifts the rankings landscape this week. Armwood is the new No. 1 — and No. 2 in the nation in the POWERADE FAB 50 ESPNHS Team Rankings — while Miramar jumps all the way to No. 2 in the state. The rest of the top 25 either won or had a bye, though Dr. Phillips and Miami Central both escaped with narrow victories.

The top five look like this:

1 (2) Armwood
Seffner, FL
2 (10) Miramar
Miramar, FL
3 (1) Saint Thomas Aquinas School
Fort Lauderdale, FL
4 (3) Miami Norland
Miami, FL
5 (4) Manatee
Bradenton, FL

For the full POWERADE Florida Football Rankings, click here.

Florida Football Rankings: Week 6

October, 3, 2011
Finally, a little movement.

With some big games this past weekend, we have some big changes in the poll. Miami Central took down Miami Columbus, and the Rockets climb to No. 5 as a result. Dwyer, Miami Jackson and Pasco all enter the top 25 this week, while Southeast, DeLand (which fell to Dr. Phillips) and Monsignor Pace (which was hammered by Gulliver Prep) fall out.

Some things remain the same, however: Aquinas and Armwood continue to be a solid 1-2 punch, and both are in the top four in the nation in the POWERADE FAB 50 ESPNHS Team Rankings. Here's how the top five shakes out:

1 (1) St. Thomas Aquinas School (Fort Lauderdale) 4-0
Junior RB Fred Coppet ran for a season-high 134 yards and three touchdowns in the first half of the Raiders 56-13 romp over McArthur (Hollywood). St. Thomas Aquinas plays host to unbeaten Miramar on Thursday night at Brian Piccolo Stadium.

2 (2) Armwood (Seffner) 5-0
The Hawks blanked Jefferson (Tampa), 20-0, in a hard fought, closer than anticipated contest. Armwood's defense has pitched back-to-back shutouts. Next up is a road clash with Sickles (Tampa).

3 (3) Miami Norland 5-0
Last Saturday, the Vikings rolled past Hialeah (Hialeah), 42-6. Norland has outscored its last two opponents by a combined score of 110-6. This week, the Vikes draw Coral Reef led by DB Vernon Davis, a Miami pledge.

4 (4) Manatee (Bradenton) 2-2
Manatee throttled Southeast, 48-6, in the 30th game of the cross-town rivalry. The win came at the right time for head coach Joe Kinnan's club that posted close September losses to POWERADE FAB 50 No. 1 Don Bosco Prep and No. 8 Good Counsel.

5 (8) Miami Central 4-0
Sophomore RB Joseph Yearby ran for 292 yards and four touchdowns while adding a receiving score in Central's, 37-34 win over Columbus (Miami). Yearby scored the game-winning touchdown on a 3-yard plunge with less than thirty seconds left.

For the full POWERADE Florida Football Rankings, click here.

Florida Football Rankings: Week 5

September, 26, 2011

Led by its stingy defense, St. Thomas Aquinas dominated De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) in a nationally televised matchup on Friday night. The Raiders remain the nation's No. 2 team in the POWERADE FAB 50 ESPNHS Team Rankings and No. 1 in the state.

There was little movement elsewhere in the state rankings, as every top 25 team either won or was inactive. Aquinas, Armwood, Miami Norland, Manatee and Lincoln round out the top five. For the full POWERADE Florida Football Rankings, click here.

Florida Football Rankings: Week 3

September, 13, 2011
The rankings remain somewhat static from last week. Lincoln was the only team in the top 10 to lose, dropping a close one to an out-of-state opponent. Manatee got back on track with a drubbing of Sarasota Riverview, and the Hurricanes take a crack at the nation's No. 1 team this weekend.

Here's how the top teams fared:

1. (1) St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) 2-0
The Raiders blanked Cypress Bay, 34-0, for their 17th straight win. They are now No. 2 in the POWERADE FAB 50 national rankings.

2. (2) Armwood (Seffner, FL) 2-0

3. (4) Manatee (Bradenton, FL) 1-1
The Hurricanes get a shot at Don Bosco Prep (N.J.), the No. 1 team in the nation, this Friday.

4. (5) Miami Norland 2-0
Impressive 27-15 win over Miami Northwestern.

For a look at the rest of the rankings, check out the full POWERADE Florida Football Rankings.

Lucas O'Neill is a senior writer for ESPNHS and runs the Florida blog. Follow him on Twitter (@LucasESPN) or send him an email.

Florida Football Rankings: Week 2

September, 6, 2011
It was a big week for Florida football, and Sunshine State teams continue to represent in the national POWERADE FAB 50 ESPNHS Team Rankings. Manatee lost a tough contest to a nationally ranked squad, Armwood and Lincoln had big wins and Aquinas rested up. Here's the breakdown:

Florida Top 25, Week 2 (last week's ranking in parenthesis):

1. (1) St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale): 1-0
The Raiders enjoyed the bye week coming off their win over POWERADE FAB 50 ranked Prattville (Prattville, Ala.) to start the season. Aquinas opens district play against Cypress Bay (Weston) on Friday night.

2. (2) Armwood (Seffner): 2-0
Armwood led 33-6 at the half en route to a convincing 54-6 whipping of Brandon. The Hawks are off this weekend and return to action on Sept. 16.

3. (4) Lincoln (Tallahassee): 1-0
Head coach Yusef Shakir kicked off the season on the right note with a hard fought 20-7 win over Pensacola. Next up is a tough road contest with Valdosta (Valdosta, Ga.).

4. (3) Manatee (Bradenton): 0-1
The Hurricanes came up short in a 24-17 double overtime loss to POWERADE FAB 50 No. 11 Good Counsel. Junior QB Cord Sandberg threw for over 240 yards, but Manatee was held on a fourth and inches play in the second overtime frame. Sandberg and company look to get back on track against Riverview (Sarasota) this week.

5. (6) Miami Norland: 1-0
Senior LB Keith Brown led the defense with fifteen tackles in the Vikings' 23-7 win over American (Hialeah). Mr. Football USA candidate RB Randy "Duke" Johnson returns from suspension when Norland battles Miami Northwestern on Saturday.

6. (9) Glades Central (Belle Glade): 1-0
Big play DB/WR Will Likely returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown as the Raiders downed Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens), 24-10, on ESPN. Likely has started since his freshman year and made himself a household name with his performance. Glades takes on Seminole Ridge (Loxahatchee) this weekend.

7. (7) Dr. Phillips (Orlando): 1-0
Boise State-bound QB Nick Patti directed the Panthers to a 32-21 win over Apopka. The Elite 11 QB accounted for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. Dr. Phillips plays host to Olympia.

8. (14) Miami Central: 0-0
The Rockets had their game against Southridge (Miami) cancelled due to lightning. Central tangles with cross-town rival Booker T.

9. (16) Miami Columbus: 0-0
Mother Nature played a role in the action this weekend in Miami-Dade County. The Explorers had their game with Palmetto (Miami) cancelled due to weather. Columbus plays hometown rival Belen this week at FIU Stadium.

10. (13) Bolles (Jacksonville): 1-0
The Bulldogs crushed Bayside, 55-21. Next up for the Dogs is a contest against Plantation American Heritage.

See the rest of the Top 25, plus bubble teams and those that dropped from the rankings, after the jump.

Read More »

Florida Football Rankings: Week 1

August, 29, 2011
There isn't much movement in our Florida rankings this week, mostly because few teams have played official games. Aquinas and Armwood both won nationally-televised contests against out-of-state opponents and moved up in the POWERADE FAB 50 ESPNHS Team Rankings as a result. They are a clear 1-2 in the statewide rankings. Plant and Norland fell in preseason contests but will retain their spots for now. Cocoa saw its 38-game winning streak come to an end and still has a number of tough opponents to play in the coming weeks, but the Tigers remain positioned to win a fourth consecutive state title.

1. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale), 1-0

2. Armwood (Seffner), 1-0

3. Manatee (Bradenton), 0-0

4. Lincoln (Tallahassee), 0-0

5. Cocoa, 0-1

6. Miami Norland, 0-0

7. Dr. Phillips (Orlando), 0-0

8. Plant (Tampa), 0-0

9. Glades Central (Belle Glade), 1-0

10. Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens), 0-0

11. Booker T. (Miami), 0-0

12. Miramar, 0-0

13. Bolles (Jacksonville), 0-0

14. Miami Central, 0-0

15. Godby (Tallahassee), 0-0

16. Miami Columbus, 0-0

17. Lakeland, 0-0

18. Glades Day (Belle Glade), 0-0

19. Seabreeze, 0-0

20. Boone (Orlando), 0-0

21. Mount Dora, 0-0

22. Pensacola, 0-0

23. North Florida Christian (Tallahassee), 0-0

24. Leesburg, 0-0

25. Miami Northwestern, 0-0

On the bubble: American Heritage-Delray, Yulee, Edgewater (Orlando), Warner Christian (Daytona), Jupiter Christian, Plantation American Heritage (Fort Lauderdale), University School (Davie), Apopka, Olympia (Orlando), Monsignor Pace (Miami), Jones (Orlando)

Think we're missing someone? Let us know in the comments.