As high school football season nears the start, excitement begins to build and preseason polls add to the hype.
There are the typical questions – Who has the best team? Who is the favorite for Mr. Football? Which black horse has a chance of competing in a state championship? Is there a chance a team can stop Center Grove?
As for the latter, it’s hard to say, but luckily MaxPreps provided us with their Top 25 preseason rankings to spark some interest before the coaches and Associated Press release the official rankings. The Trojans are surprisingly not listed in the top spot, despite going 28-0, along with back-to-back state championships, over the past two seasons.
Cathedral took first place. While it’s not necessarily shocking to see the Irish first, it’s a bit of a surprise given the Trojans’ record over the past two seasons and the fact that they beat Cathedral in a muddy game last season. . Perhaps the returning talent, especially with junior quarterback Danny O’Neil, over Center Grove, as well as the Class 6A Cathedral bump received gives them the go-ahead to go.
But while it’s fun to have drama up top, there are two local schools, two rivals, that have been honored to be recognized as top preseason teams. Mooresville and Decatur Central. Surprising? Maybe not. Both schools have been among the most consistent in recent years. But what if I mentioned that the Pioneers were higher than their Route 67 counterpart?
The Pioneers were ranked nearly 10 spots higher than the Hawks, ranking No. 14 (No. 3 in Class 4A) to No. 23 in Decatur Central (No. 2 in Class 5A). For context, this is important because historically this has hardly been the case. Last year’s preseason rankings saw the Hawks at No. 18 and the Pioneers at No. 22. The 2020 rankings featured Decatur Central at No. 16 but didn’t mention Mooresville at all.
Mooresville leading the Hawks in the standings will certainly add fuel to what has been a competitive rivalry decided by an average of 8.25 points over the past four games. The Pioneers have won just one of those four, coming away with a narrow 20-14 victory in 2020. Overall, the Hawks lead the series 34-12.
It will be Decatur Central hosting the Pioneers in week five for this year’s rendition of the rivalry. With both teams working to revamp their rosters, this has the potential to be much closer than the 2021 game, which ended in a 41-27 Hawks victory. Maybe Mooresville’s offensive weapons give him an early advantage, but there are three weeks of football left before anything can be determined.
As for the remaining home teams, Martinsville will enter the season as the 47th best team in MaxPreps (No. 11 in Class 4A). Monrovia is ranked at No. 147 (No. 28 in Class 3A) and Indian Creek at No. 253 (No. 55 in Class 3A).
Contact journalist Devin Voss at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @DevinVoss23.