Let the games begin!
While Alaska and Hawaii were the first states to the party, the 2016 high school football season kicks-off this weekend with a great slate of games plenty of teams in the High School Football America Preseason Top 50. Actually, Clinton High School from Mississippi, got things rolling Thursday night with a solid 38-26 win over 11-time Mississippi state champ South Panola.
In all, six more teams in the High School Football America Top 50 will be in action this weekend. Two of the games will involve teams in the Top 50.
In Indiana, defending 6A champ Center Grove, which begins the season ranked #22 in our national poll, which is developed with our proprietary algorithm, takes-on #41 Warren Central. Center Grove is led by senior running back Titus McCoy, who ran for nearly 2,000 yards last year with 28 touchdowns.
In Georgia on Saturday, our defending “mythical” national champ, Colquitt County opens with Mill Creek. Colquitt County, which is riding a 30-game win streak after winning back-to-back AAAAAA state titles is ranked #43, while Mill Creek, which lost to the Packers in the state semifinals last year, are ranked #33 in our preseason poll.
Another big game in the Peach State features #15 Roswell taking-on Buford. The Hornets tough defense will be tested by the Wolves, who have won seven state titles in the last nine years in three different classifications.
Colquitt County, Mill Creek and Roswell, along with preseason #8 Grayson are in Georgia’s new Class AAAAAAA this season. Buford moves-up to Class AAAAA.
In Rock Hill, South Carolina, #19 Northwestern will square-off with cross-town rival South Pointe on Friday. Northwestern moves-up to South Carolina’s brand new Class 5A after winning the state’s 4A Division II title last season.
In North Carolina, #18 Mallard Creek begins its quest for a fourth straight Class 4AA state title against South Carolina state champ Dillon, which won the 2A title last year, it’s fourth straight. Dillon brings a 37-game win streak into the contest. Three years ago, Mallard Creek beat Dillon 27-21.
In Alabama, defending 7A champ McGill-Toolen squares-off against defending 6A champ Spanish Fort. Both teams enter 2016 ranked #1 in their respective classifications.
In Kentucky, #35 Trinity hopes to open the season on a high note against Tennessee’s Ensworth. The Shamrocks won last year’s contest between the two 45-0.
Speaking of Tennessee, #46 Brentwood Academy also opens with an out-of-state opponent as the Eagles take on Olive Branch from Mississippi.
And, finally in Florida, three of our of our seven nationally-ranked teams will be playing in kickoff classics that don’t count on their regular season schedule and also don’t affect our algorithm or the team’s rankings.
St. Thomas Aquinas, which is ranked #7 by High School Football America and #1 by USA TODAY, MaxPreps and PrepNation.com, shutout Dillard 51-0 Thursday night. Quarterback Jack Allen, who is a Florida verbal commit, tossed three TD passes.
Here are the rest of the kickoff classic games involving High School Football America Top 50 teams:
#2 IMG Academy vs. Carol City, Saturday
#32 American Heritage (Plantation) vs. #37 Booker T. Washington