Kevin Armstrong
Wednesday December 17th, 2008

Florida, are you ready for your close up? This week the focus is on the Sunshine State as top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) attempts to capture a national title with a win against rival Lakeland (Fla.). Accustomed to tight wins all season, Lakeland will try to regain the title belt that the Raiders seized last December. Similarly out in California, Poly (Long Beach) will play for the first ever Open Division title, but the best matchup might be De La Salle (Concord) against Centennial (Corona) for the Division I title. Both games will be played at the Home Depot Center in Carson.

High School Football Power Rankings
1
Last Week: 1
St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) (14-0)
In beating Largo (Fla.) 35-14, quarterback Ryan Becker improved to 28-1 as a starter the past two seasons.
Next: Grudge match Friday vs. Lakeland (Fla.) for the Class 5A title at Orlando's Citrus Bowl.
 
2
Last Week: 2
Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) (14-0)
The Jackrabbits earned their 18th CIF title the hard way. Tailback Melvin Richardson took a third-and-two handoff 60 yards for a touchdown to give Poly its first lead with 2:56 remaining in a 20-17 win over Texoro (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.).
Next: Open Division title game vs. Grant (Sacramento, Calif.) at Home Depot Center in Carson Saturday.
 
3
Last Week: 3
Don Bosco (Ramsey, N.J.) (11-1)
Non-Public Group IV champions.
Next: Season complete.
 
4
Last Week: 4
Allen (Texas) (14-1)
A dramatic, 21-yard touchdown connection between quarterback Tucker Carter and receiver Dakarai Pecikonis with 39 seconds remaining propelled Allen to a 23-21 win over Stony Point (Round Rock, Texas) in the 5A-1 semifinal.
Next: Class 5A-1 state final vs. Hightower (Missouri City, Texas) at Houston's Reliant Stadium Saturday.
 
5
Last Week: 5
Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) (15-0)
Texas-bound quarterback Garrett Gilbert threw for 253 yards and three touchdowns in a 56-22 win over Friendswood in a 4A-I semifinal.
Next: State 4A-1 final vs. Longview (Texas) Saturday.
 
6
Last Week: 6
De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) (12-1)
Dual threat quarterback Blake Wayne threw two touchdown passes and scrambled for a third as the Spartans downed Pittsburg 34-10 in North Coast Division I final.
Next: Division I title game vs. Centennial (Corona, Calif.) at Home Depot Center Friday.
 
7
Last Week: 7
Lakeland (Fla.) (13-0)
The Dreadnaughts' Javares McCoy hauled in two touchdown passes and rushed for a 23-yard score to secure a 22-21 5A semifinal win over Pine Forest (Pensacola).
Next: Class 5A title game vs. top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) Friday.
 
8
Last Week: 8
Skyline (Issaquah, Wash.) (14-0)
Class 4A state champions.
Next: Season complete.
 
9
Last Week: 9
Trinity (Euless, Texas) (13-1)
Lost to Allen (Texas) in Class 5A-1 quarterfinals.
Next: Season complete.
 
10
Last Week: 10
John Curtis (River Ridge, La.) (13-1)
The Patriots jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as they won their fifth straight Class 2A state title in beating Evangel (New Orleans) 35-14.
Next: Season complete.
 
11
Last Week: 11
Trinity (Louisville) (14-1)
A rare title-game shutout was recorded by the Shamrocks as quarterback Cameron Smyth (12-for-12 for 232 yards and three touchdowns) powered a 48-0 win over Kenton (Independence) for a fourth consecutive Class 6A state championship.
Next: Season complete.
 
12
Last Week: 12
Maine South (Park Ridge, Ill.) (14-0)
Class 8A state champion.
Next: Season complete.
 
13
Last Week: 13
Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) (14-1)
Class 4A-Division I state champion.
Next: Season complete.
 
14
Last Week: 14
Centennial (Corona, Calif.) (14-0)
Another barnburner ended with quarterback Taylor Martinez capturing the win with a 3-yard scoring run in a 23-17 victory over Chaparral (Temecula).
Next: Division I title game vs. De La Salle at the Home Depot Center Friday.
 
15
Last Week: 15
St. Ignatius (Cleveland) (14-1)
Division I state champion.
Next:Season complete.
 
16
Last Week: 16
Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) (15-0)
Division 6 state champion.
Next: Season complete.
 
17
Last Week: 17
River Hill (Clarksville, Md.) (14-0)
Class 2A state champion.
Next: Season complete.
 
18
Last Week: 4
Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) (12-1)
Class 4A semifinalist.
Next: Season complete.
 
19
Last Week: NR
Liberty (Bethlehem, Pa.) (15-1)
Do-it-all star Anthony Gonzalez rushed for 205 yards and three touchdowns and threw for another, but he saved his biggest play for last as he stepped in for a score-preventing interception in overtime to secure the 28-21 win over previously-ranked Bethel Park for the 4A title.
Next: Season complete.
 
20
Last Week: 20
Timpview (Provo, Utah) (13-0)
Class 4A state champion.
Next:Season complete.
 
21
Last Week: 24
Union (Tulsa, Okla.) (13-1)
Class 6A state champion.
Next: Season complete.
 
22
Last Week: 22
Center Grove (Greenwood, Ind.) (14-1)
Class 5A state champion.
Next: Season complete.
 
23
Last Week: NR
Plant (Tampa, Fla.) (13-1)
Mr. Fourth Quarter, Marco Cobb, recorded final period scoring runs of 21 yards and 10 yards to push the Panthers past Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens) 33-21.
Next:Class 4A title game vs. Lincoln (Tallahassee) at the Citrus Bowl Saturday.
 
24
Last Week: 25
Muskegon (Mich.) (14-0)
Class 4A state champion.
Next: Season complete.
 
25
Last Week: NR
Oceanside (Calif.) (12-0-1)
Tailback Jake Fely was the difference as he punched in the go-ahead score with a 1-yard touchdown to secure a 23-19 win over Helix (Calif.).
Next: Season complete.

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