No one has proven anything on the scoreboard and everyone is winless. Why do we put any credence in pre-season rankings? Titles are earned in the weight room, the film room and on the field. So why should we even speculate on how good a team is before they even step on the field for their first practice?
Because I am basically addicted to football and I need my fix to start breaking down the talent across the Dakotas. There’s no better way to kill time than to argue about which team will take the title.
So I’ll get the conversation started with the first installment of my “Power Rankings”. Each week I will put my own list together ranking the best teams in North Dakota and South Dakota high school football in all classes. I am the one and only voter so send all your "dislike" mail to me @AnderaMidcoSN on twitter or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is gonna be fun.
Last year’s O’Gorman team made it to the title game with junior play-makers and linemen. This season those seniors will be tough to beat. But the Warriors will have something to say about that. Junior quarterback John Hander and running back Devonte Clay will drive the Warriors quest for three straight titles. Defensive coordinators are already having bad dreams about the talented passing attack that Lincoln will offer up. Who knows who’ll be starting at quarterback for the Riders but I guarantee if it’s Scott Tyler or Andy Smith they’ll be in good hands. Watch out for the Kernels in the ESD. Mitchell’s Jason & Justin Greenway along with seasoned quarterback Brent Havlik have the most potential to have a break out season.
- SF O’Gorman
- SF Washington
- SF Lincoln
- SF Roosevelt
Dell Rapids has the best chance of any in South Dakota to repeat as champions. Cole Langer could be the best defensive player in the state. Zach and Channing Barber will get it done on offense. Traditional favorites Harrisburg and West Central will try to get in the Quarriers way. Nick Mears of Milbank could make some noise in the North.
- Dell Rapids
- West Central
- Dakota Valley
Look out for All-State junior quarterback Jake Sullivan as the Cavaliers move down a class to 11B. Bailey Friesz and Mobridge should be in the title hunt again. There will be plenty of competition in this class. I see about 12 teams that could be worthy of a ranking, but I decided on these five.
- St. Thomas More
- McCook Central/Montrose
The Seahawks of BEE are always in the hunt for a title. Anthony Huber and company are back to try to repeat. Look out for the new co-op of Woonsocket/Wess Springs/Sanborn Central to be contenders with Trevor Kennobie. Clark/Willow Lake could make a big jump in the standings now that they’re a nine-man squad.
- Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central
- Clark/Willow Lake
The Canistota Hawks have a lot of firepower with Troy Hofer, Trevor Schroeder, Eric Tieszen and Alex Robertson back from last season’s dominant team. Hanson won’t go down quietly with Reid Smith, Jacob Bartscher and company returning. My surprise team to watch out for is Corsica/Stickney.
- Chester Area
No surprise that Avon is number one. Get used to reading about Nick Poppe, Jackson Powers and Duffy Ducheneaux on our top performers list each week. Waverly-South Shore will ride the Zemlicka brothers as they try to take the next step into post-season success. Viborg-Hurley loses an all-world quarterback but they’re stocked.
- Waverly-South Shore
This is as wide open as 3A has been in a long time. The Demons return eight starters on defense. Layne Johs, Devin Shirado and Brett Adams will be offensive play-makers. You can’t count out Fargo South even though their depth has been depleted with their split. Mandan could be the sleeper to watch. Devin Coyle might be the best weapon at quarterback in the state. The Pats of Bismarck Century have made a name for themselves on defense and should be tough on offense as well. Minot’s experience up front starting with Dustin Adams will be the key to their success. Can they find enough play-makers to be a title contender?
- Fargo South
- Bismarck Century
The Spoilers have been waiting for this crop of seniors for a few years. Jake Hanson will lead this team at quarterback to a great season. Shanley has dominated this class and have talent back with Tyler Rivard, Matt Martino and Josh Berg. Lisbon and Kindred are also poised to make a title run this year.
- Fargo Shanley
- Bismarck St. Mary
Coach Larry Sander will have Velva in position to win another title no matter what. But Harvey looks to be in position to contend with All-State back MJ Stumpf toting the rock.
- Harvey/Wells County
- Milnor/North Sargent
LaMoure is coming down from 11-man and they’ll be able to make the transition in style with Tyler and Brady Thielges providing the speed. Napolean has Jonah Swartzenberger back at quarterback. Wyndmere/Liderwood is coming off a title run last year and should be in contention again. My surprise team is Thompson out of region 2 .
Make sure to follow me on twitter @AnderaMidcoSN for the latest high school football news.