Washington Catholic Athletic Conference rivals St. John’s and Gonzaga are No. 1 and No. 2 in the year’s first rankings.
High school football season has arrived. A few teams started their seasons this past weekend, but many are still preparing for the new year.
Some are gearing up for a title defense. Gonzaga, Quince Orchard, Georgetown Prep, Friendship Collegiate, H.D. Woodson, and Flint Hill are among the local teams that won championships last season. Everyone else will be looking to put their name on that list. Here’s a look at where things stand as we head into the season:
1) St. John’s (Last year’s record: 9-1) Last year’s final ranking: 2
The Cadets are playing one of the toughest schedules in the country for a reason: Their roster is loaded with Division I talent, including senior quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava (BYU commit), senior wide receiver Rakim Jarrett (LSU) and senior linebacker Mekhail Sherman (Georgia). They beat Southridge (Fla.), 48-0, on Saturday.
2) Gonzaga (9-3) LR: 1
The defending Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champions have every reason to be hopeful for a repeat with junior Caleb Williams back under center. Last year’s championship-winning Hail Mary could be the start of an era for the Eagles.
3) DeMatha (8-3) LR: 3
The WCAC finalists brought back longtime coach Bill McGregor after Elijah Brooks left for a job at Maryland. The team’s success could rest on the shoulders of senior running back Marshawn Lloyd, a South Carolina commit. The Stags opened the season with a loss at St. John Bosco (Calif.), one of the nation’s top teams.
4) Westfield (13-1) LR: 11
The perennial Northern Virginia powerhouse’s winning streak of 37 games, including three state titles, ended in the state semifinals last season. Coach Kyle Simmons should have the Bulldogs back on track to start this fall.
5) Georgetown Prep (8-1) LR: 7
The defending Interstate Athletic Conference champions have an early-season rivalry game against Gonzaga, which will be a chance to prove they can do more than just dominate their conference. Senior Jalen Hampton is one of the most dangerous running backs in the area.
6) Stone Bridge (12-3) LR: 10
Coach Mickey Thompson enters his 19th season with the Bulldogs with plenty of offensive weapons at his disposal. Running backs Jared Cole and Zakias Moore and wide receiver Tai Felton will try to get Stone Bridge back to the Class 5 championship.
7) North Point (13-1) LR: 13
The Maryland 4A finalists lost All-Met Defensive Player of the Year Malik Lawrence to graduation but return quarterback Asa Williams from a team that went undefeated until the season’s final weekend.
8) Friendship Collegiate (10-3) LR: 18
The defending D.C. State Athletic Association champions will play a difficult, diverse schedule. They can prove themselves as one of the area’s best with games against DeMatha, Good Counsel, and National Christian.
9) Flint Hill (11-0) LR: 6
The Huskies lost a lot of their roster after a second straight undefeated season and Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association title. Star running back Jordan Houston graduated, and coach Tom Verbanic stepped down after seven years at the helm.
10) Lake Braddock (7-4) LR: NR
The Bruins steadily improved last year, running off a six-game winning streak in the second half of the season. Junior quarterback Billy Edwards and senior tight end Matt Hibner could help that growing process continue.