By Stephen Spiewak,

It was a particularly wild opening weekend this year, with a number of upsets, thrilling comebacks and huge rivalry games. One result that surprised no one was St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), the No. 1 team in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25, traveling to Ohio and smashing Upper Arlington 52-7. Right behind Aquinas are the Byrnes Rebels (S.C.), who once again displayed their dominance against out-of-state competition by thwarting Central Gwinnett (Ga.) 43-7.Watch for more movement in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 in the week to come.

High School Football Power Rankings
Last Week: -
St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) (1-0)
For the second straight year, the Raiders had a dominant showing at the Herbstreit Varsity Football Series, hammering Upper Arlington (Ohio) 52-7. Running back Gio Bernard ran for 188 yards as Aquinas rolled up 450 total yards on offense.
Last Week: -
Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) (1-0)
Marcus Lattimore led the way for the Rebels, rushing for three touchdowns as Byrnes dismantled Central (Gwinnett, Ga.) 43-7.
Last Week: -
Katy (Texas) (1-0)
The Tigers avenged a tight loss last season to North Shore, downing the Mustangs 9-7 and snapping North Shore's streak of 78 straight regular-season victories.
Last Week: -
Elder (Cincinnati) (1-0)
The Panthers began their season firing on all cylinders, exploding for 49 points against a very talented East St. Louis (Ill.) squad. Quarterback Mark Miller tossed three touchdowns, two of which went to receiver Tim O'Conner.
Last Week: -
Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) (0-0)
Notre Dame will be tested early, taking on Klein Oak (Texas) in the Herbstreit Varsity Football Series on Sept. 7.
Last Week: -
Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) (1-0)
The Tigers made a big statement about Virginia football, taking down Venice (Fla.) 27-13. Alabama recruit Phillip Sims threw for 265 yards for Smith.
Last Week: -
DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) (0-0)
A Week 2 showdown with rival Gilman (Md.) will be a good early barometer for just how good the 2009 Stags can be.
Last Week: -
Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.) (0-0)
Nick Montana, Malcolm Jones and Jordan Payton will lead this dynamic offense.
Last Week: -
John Curtis (River Ridge, La.) (0-0)
The Patriots have won five consecutive state titles, and show little sign of slowing down. Head coach J.T. Curtis is the nation's second-winningest coach all-time, with 471 victories..
Last Week: -
Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.) (0-0)
Jake Heaps and Kasen Williams make up one of the country's top quarterback-receiver duos. However, Skyline will be tested early on, as it opens with Oregon power Jesuit (Portland).
Last Week: -
Cedar Hill (Texas) (1-0)
The Longhorns overcame an early 21-point deficit and outlasted DeSoto (Texas) 44-41. Mason Hayes, replacing starting running back Ben Malena after he injured his ankle in the first quarter, rushed for 140 yards and two scores.
Last Week: -
Destrehan (La.) (0-0)
The two-time 5A state champions open their season Friday against Cox (Harvey, La.).
Last Week: -
Central (Miami) (0-0)
Central opens its season with a wildly anticipated game against Mainland (Daytona Beach, Fla.) next weekend.
Last Week: -
Central (Madison, Miss.) (2-0)
The Jaguars sent a message about football in the state of Mississippi, overwhelming Melrose (Tenn.) 43-28. Peyton Johnson scored two rushing touchdowns and tossed another to L.J. Hollins.
Last Week: -
Northwestern (Miami) (0-0)
The Bulls will begin their quest to return to the 6A title game when they travel to Carol City (Fla.) on Friday.
Last Week: -
Don Bosco (Ramsey, N.J) (0-0)
An opening matchup against perennial California power De La Salle will kick off a grueling schedule for Don Bosco Prep, which will also travel to Prattville (Ala.).
Last Week: -
Longview (Texas) (1-0)
The class of Texas 4A, Longview proved it can play with any team in the state, as the Lobos knocked off defending 5A champion Allen (Texas) 28-25.
Last Week: -
Centennial (Peoria, Ariz.) (1-0)
After a bye week, Centennial prepares for a brutal schedule the next four weeks, including games against Chandler (Ariz.), Brophy (Phoenix) and Millenium (Goodyear, Ariz.).
Last Week: -
De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) (0-0)
The Spartans will get a second chance at Don Bosco Prep, as De La Salle heads to Ramsey, N.J., for a major showdown Sept. 11.
Last Week: -
Lowndes (Valdosta, Ga.) (1-0)
The Vikings proved they will once again be a force on the national level, smashing Woodland 75-15 and breaking a school record for most points scored in a game.
Last Week: -
Bingham (South Jordan, Utah) (2-0)
Head coach Dave Peck's squad snapped a three-game losing streak against rival Alta with a thrilling come-from-behind win. Up next is elite program Trinity (Euless, Texas).
Last Week: -
Highlands (Fort Thomas, Ky.) (1-0)
The Bluebirds easily defeated Ryle (Union, Ky.). A game against nearby Cincinnati program St. Xavier looms in late September.
Last Week: -
Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg, Pa.) (0-0)
The Crusaders open this week against crosstown rival Harrisburg.
Last Week: -
St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.) (0-0)
With 14 total starters returning, St. Bonaventure will be well equipped to deal with an unforgiving schedule. A season opener with St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) will be followed by a duel with Poly (Long Beach, Calif.).
Last Week: -
Cathedral (Indianapolis) (2-0)
After slaying two of the Hoosier State's top 5A programs in Ben Davis and Warren Central, the 4A Fighting Irish will have a chance to make a real statement by beating St. Xavier (Cincinnati) on Friday.

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