SunStateFootball Top 10: 5A

Jacob Rudock

Florida high schools have played a Kickoff Classic and three regular season games. Here is SunStateFootball's first 5A top 10 for the season.

1. Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas(2-0)

2010 Games: at Skyline(Tx) 31-3, at Boyd Anderson 52-13

Why #1: We started them off lower, but no one has looked as good as the Raider's thus far after Friday night. Jacob Rudock is finding WRs Rashad Greene and Phil Dorsett while the running game has been better than expected. The defense is, as usual, terrific. They have some big tests coming with Camden County(Ga) and at Miramar. Long term the semi-final game is at home this year.

2. Bradenton Manatee(3-0)

2010 Games: at Woodland Hills(Pa) 39-16, vs. Palmetto 56-36, at Southeast 31-24

Why #2: Even though it does not count, the Hurricane's have an impressive win over Plant in the Kickoff Classic. They have just got past two local rivals and the offense is clicking with Cord Sandberg, Mike Blakely, and Quenton Bundrage. The front seven is as athletic as any in the state.


Plant's James Wilder is the leader on both sides of the ball
Chad Simmons, FoxSports.com

3. Tampa Plant(2-1)

2010 Games: at Tampa Bay Tech 10-0, Hillsborough 20-13, Lost at Abilene(Tx) 27-17

Why #3: They have won state title's three of the last four years and seem to improve as the year progresses. There are reasons for concern however, the offense is not really on track yet and they have been handled by Jefferson(Spring) and Manatee(Kickoff Classic)---even if the games don't count. Still their recent success speaks for itself and they don't have an in-state loss on record. The game October 1 vs. Armwood is a big one.

4. Lakeland(3-0)

2010 Games: vs. Venice 27-14, vs. Winter Haven 24-13, vs. Tenoroc 42-7

Why #4: The Dreadnaught's are quietly going about their business and will once again be a major factor in 5A. Javares McRoy should get some help from Steward Butler offensively and the defense will be tough as nails by November. Few teams are as consistent as Lakeland, we expect them to be playing ball once again in December.

5. Jacksonville First Coast(3-0)

2010 Games: vs. American Heritage-Delray 26-17, at Ribault 60-0, at Ed White 48-24

Why #5: This is easily one of the most talented teams in the state---even without star RB Eric Beverly. Rashod Byers has taken over at RB and Chris Black is an electric play-maker. The defense is headlined by Derrick Mitchell, Jared Henry, and Carl Williams. They could see Lakeland in the state quarterfinals which would be an intriguing match-up.

6. Clearwater Countryside(3-0)

2010 Games: vs. Boca Ciega 21-20, at Gibbs 21-7, vs. Osceola 48-21

Why #6: Running back's Diomi Roberts and Terry Johnson are getting big yardage behind the stout offensive line headlined by Tyler Moore and Tyler Pierson. Junior QB Gray Crow struggled the first two weeks, but came alive last week. The defense is good enough. Dangerous team come playoff time.


Ely's Johnson is one of the top junior's in the country
Geoff Vogt, FoxSports.com

7. Pompano Beach Ely(3-0)

2010 Games: vs. Stranahan 34-6, vs. South Plantation 45-7, vs. Taravella 41-15

Why #7: The always dangerous Tiger's are relying on super frosh Quarterback Danarius Graham to lead them offensively. Junior WR(and LSU commit) Avery Johnson is a special talent. The defense has been very strong. They battled STA in the state quarters last year and once again appear to be their top challenger in South Florida.

8. St. Pete(3-0)

2010 Games: at East Lake 36-13, vs. Lakewood 35-14, at Dixie Hollins 34-0

Why #8: The Green Devil's won at Venice in round one last year and appear to be better in 2010. They should win their district, but will have a tough road in the playoffs. The game with nearby Gibbs is a big one.

9. Venice(2-1)

2010 Games: Lost at Lakeland 27-14, vs. Braden River 41-2, at Booker 53-6

Why #9: They fought hard at Lakeland and the emergence of junior Running Back Danny Dillard is exactly what this offense needed. The defense is always strong and is headlined by Clay Burton and Dino Fanti on the Defensive Line. The Indian's have owned Manatee recently, once again that appears to be the big game in the district. They could get a test this week from Sarasota Riverview.

10. Palm Bay Bayside(2-1)

2010 Games: vs. Merritt Island 28-3, vs. Rockledge 38-7, at Astronaut 34-13, Lost vs. Jefferson 41-13

Why #10: It was Bayside still standing in the quarterfinals last year and they were impressive in weeks one and two. Jefferson is a great team and they will need to rebound. They probably have the easiest road through the playoffs.

Next Five: Boyd Anderson(2-1), Sarastoa Riverview(3-0), Brandon(3-0), Plant City(2-1), Fleming Island(3-0)

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