St. John Bosco (CA) tops Preseason Top 25

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After an incredible four year run in Southern California’s Trinity League, one of the toughest high school football leagues in the nation, the St. John Bosco Braves (Bellflower, CA) are looking for one for the thumb heading into the 2016 season, which begins with the four-time Trinity League champs sitting atop the High School Football America Preseason Top 25, presented by Krossover Intelligence.

For those of you unfamiliar with our rankings, this is the fourth straight year that High School Football America will be using its proprietary algorithm to rank teams nationally, regionally and locally.  What that means is, our computer does all the work, there’s no opinion involved.  Over the past three seasons, our preseason poll included some opinion, but this year marks the first time that our algorithm is completely in-charge of determining our “mythical” national champ from start to finish.

St. John Bosco, which finished #9 in last year’s national rankings, climbed as high as #2 in 2015, before losing to then ranked #3 Corona Centennial (California) in the CIF-Southern Section PAC-5 championship game, begins the season as our #1 team.  Aside from its ultra-tough Trinity League schedule, the Braves, once again, have the type of non-league national schedule that could propel the school to a national title, if they run the table.

Head coach Jason Negro‘s squad, which returns about a half-dozen starters on both sides of the ball from last year’s 13-1 team, opens on the road in a nationally-televised game against St. Xavier from Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Braves then play defending California Division III-AA state champ La Mirada and Nevada’s Bishop Gorman, which is ranked #5 in our preseason poll.  Bishop Gorman is coming-off back-to-back USA TODAY Super 25 “mythical” national championships.

“It’s an honor to be considered as the top teams in the nation,” said Negro.  “It’s our goal to be part of the national discussion every year and luckily we’ve been able to hold-on to our high national rankings into December over the last several years.  It’s a real testament to our program and each and every kid that plays for us.”

Related: The Other 25, #26 through #50

Checking-in right behind Bosco is IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida) at #2.  The Ascenders will play another impressive national schedule with two trips to California to play SoCal powers Corona Centennial and Long Beach Poly.  The Ascenders will be tested in Week 1 against Georgia’s Grayson High School, which is ranked #7 in our preseason poll.  IMG will play teams from seven different states, plus Washington, D.C.  Of course, you can’t discuss IMG without pointing-out that there are many coaches around America that believe the Ascenders shouldn’t be in national polls, because of their ability to bring-in players from around the nation.

Speaking of being tested at the start of the season, Cedar Hill (Texas), our #3 team, will square-off with Bishop Gorman in a nationally-televised game in Texas on August 27th.  Some say that this is the most talented team that Longhorn head coach Joey McGuire has ever had.  Cedar Hill has won two state titles in the last three years.

St. John Bosco’s Southern California supremacy will be challenged by Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA), which enters the season ranked #4.  Legendary head coach Bruce Rollinson returns a ton of talent from a team that finished 10-3 and was ranked #37 by High School Football America last season.  Rollinson started sophomores in 2015 and a freshman quarterback named J.T. Daniels, who broke all of Matt Barkley‘s Mater Dei freshman records.

For those of you wondering, circle October 21st on your calendar.  That’s when Bosco and Mater Dei will square-off at Cerritos College.

Now, we’ve mentioned Bishop Gorman a couple of times, so far.  And, why not, the Gaels bring a 39-game win streak into the season, having won seven straight Nevada state championships.  Led by quarterback Tate Martell, who has given his verbal commitment to Ohio State, Gorman is loaded with talent to challenge its national schedule includes #2 Bosco, #3 Cedar Hill and #7 St. Thomas Aquinas (Florida).

While Gorman has done a fantastic job in taking-on and beating its out-of-state opponents over the last couple of years, the Nevada portion of the Gaels schedule has hurt them in our algorithm that uses a dozen different criteria to determine the rankings.  Gorman’s Nevada competition is fairly weak, which brings-down the team’s overall strength of schedule.

Since we began using our algorithm in 2013, Bishop Gorman has finished #4 in 2015, #3 in 2014 and #25 in 2013.

Overall, Texas leads the way in our preseason Top 25 with six teams ranked, followed by Florida with four teams.  California, Georgia and Maryland have two teams each.

High School Football America 2016 Preseason Top 25

#1 St. John Bosco Braves (Bellflower, California)

2015: 13-1

Final Ranking: #9

#2 IMG Academy Ascenders (Bradenton, Florida)

2015: 9-0

Final Ranking: #7

#3 Cedar Hill Longhorns (Texas)

2015: 9-2

Final Ranking: Not Ranked

#4 Mater Dei Monarchs (Santa Ana, California)

2015: 10-3

Final Ranking: #37

#5 Bishop Gorman Gaels (Las Vegas, Nevada)

2015: 15-0

Final Ranking: #4

#6 Katy Tigers (Texas)

2015: 16-0

Final Ranking: #3

#7 St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

2015: 13-1

Final Ranking: #12

#8 Grayson Rams (Loganville, Georgia)

2015: 13-1

Final Ranking: Not Ranked

#9 Cibolo Steele Knights (Texas)

2015: 14-1

Final Ranking: #31

#10 DeMatha Stags (Hyattsville, Maryland)

2015: 11-1

Final Ranking: #13

#11 Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings (Pennsylvania)

2015: 15-1

Final Ranking: #24

#12 Miami Central Rockets (Florida)

2015: 12-2

Final Ranking: #22

#13 St. Joseph Regional Green Knights (Montvale, NJ)

2015: 7-4

Final Ranking: #35

#14 Allen Eagles (Texas)

2015: 14-1

Final Ranking: #9

#15 Roswell Hornets (Georgia)

2015: 14-1

Final Ranking: #40

#16 Don Bosco Prep Ironmen (Ramsey, New Jersey)

2015: 9-3

Final Ranking: #20

#17 Westlake Chaparrals (Austin, Texas)

2015: 12-2

Final Ranking: #30

#18 Mallard Creek Mavericks (Charlotte, North Carolina)

2015: 14-2

Final Ranking: #26

#19 Northwestern Trojans (Rock Hill, South Carolina)

2015: 14-1

Final Ranking: #50

#20 Colerain Cardinals (Cincinnati, Ohio)

2015: 12-2

Final Ranking: #18

#21 Lake Travis Cavaliers (Austin, Texas)

2015: 15-1

Final Ranking: #29

#22 Center Grove Trojans (Greenwood, Indiana)

2015: 14-0

Final Ranking: #10

#23 Good Counsel Falcons (Olney, Maryland)

2015: 7-4

Final Ranking: Not Ranked

#24 McGill-Toolen Yellowjackets (Mobile, Alabama)

2015: 13-1

Final Ranking: Not Ranked

#25 Trinity Christian Academy Conquerors (Jacksonville, Florida)

2015: 14-0

Final Ranking: #49

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.

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