South Florida’s four reigning high school football state champions are each ranked nationally by CBS MaxPreps, which released its preseason Top 25 poll Monday.
Miami Central, last year’s Class 6A champion and winner of two of the past three state crowns in that classification, will debut at No. 2 behind top-ranked De La Salle (Calif.). Miami Booker T. Washington, the defending Class 4A champion, is ranked
No. 9. Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, which won Class 7A last year for its seventh state title, is ranked No. 16. Davie University School, a first-time state champion in Class 3A last year, is ranked No. 24.
Central will enter its first season under the tutelage of former Miami Northwestern coach Roland Smith, who was hired last month to replace Telly Lockette following his departure to coach running backs at the University of South Florida.
Lockette guided the Rockets to the state final three consecutive seasons, winning two state championships.
The Rockets’ schedule includes an opening date with Plantation American Heritage, a Week 2 showdown with Booker T. Washington, a Sept. 21 road date at Don Bosco Prep (N.J.), and a regular-season finale against University School.
Booker T. faces a brutal opening stretch that begins with an Aug. 24 road game at Norcross High, Georgia’s defending large school state champion, which is ranked No. 3 by MaxPreps. Booker T. then faces Central, Carol City, and later on Northwestern and a road date at MaxPreps No. 25 Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas (Oct. 4).
St. Thomas Aquinas opens with a highly anticipated showdown with Northwestern on Aug. 31 at Sun Life Stadium and will take on defending consensus national champion John Curtis Christian (La.), ranked No. 8 by MaxPreps, on Sept. 13 at the Superdome.
University School will face Central, Norland, Belle Glade Glades Central, Bradenton Manatee, Weston Cypress Bay and Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson, and could potentially square off with Booker T. in the regional final round of Class 4A.
Hialeah Gardens Mater Academy announced the hiring of former Belen Jesuit coach Tony Meilan as its new baseball coach. Meilan coached nine years at Belen until the 2009 season and guided the Wolverines to the state tournament in 2003 and 2007.