Posted: 12:17 pm Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
By Jeff Greer
The first few weeks of ranking teams warrant all kinds of cliches — shots in the dark, finding our way in dust clouds, etc. In other words, it’s an inexact science, to say the least.
Alas, your fearless Palm Beach Post writers took the leap Monday, tempting fate and encouraging late-season embarrassment at what we consider our first official top 10 of the regular season. Here’s the list that appeared in Tuesday’s Post.
1. Dwyer (1-0): D holding while QBs learn.
2. American Heritage (1-0): Tough schedule will produce some lumps.
3. Fort Pierce Central (1-0): Easily best team on the Treasure Coast.
4. Seminole Ridge (0-0): Faces good test Friday against Park Vista.
5. Royal Palm Beach (0-0): Defense will be tested Friday by Leonard air attack.
6. Palm Beach Central (0-0): Offense is there; secondary must catch up.
7. Glades Central (0-1): Raiders hung tough with very good Dwyer team.
8. Palm Beach Gardens (1-0): Air attack lethal in 45-7 win over Lakes.
9. Park Vista (1-0): Line play dictates how far Cobras go.
10. Cardinal Newman (1-0): Major offensive firepower on display Friday.
Also considered: Atlantic, Boca Raton, Glades Day, John I. Leonard, King’s Academy.
Dwyer looked sloppy in its 30-9 pull-away win over Glades Central. Yeah, it was a cool moment for the Panthers, who’d lost to Central in each of the previous six meetings, but coach Jack Daniels didn’t like the 20 penalties and two turnovers. Still, Dwyer’s defense is the difference-maker.
Fort Pierce Central jumps ahead of Seminole Ridge, though Ridge could easily jump back above FPC with a win over Park Vista. FPC appeared to make a return to its 2011 form with a shutout win over Fort Pierce Westwood, while Ridge didn’t play No. 6 Palm Beach Central because of Tropical Storm Isaac’s flooding. Royal Palm Beach didn’t play, either, but moved past Glades Central in the rankings after Central’s loss (and Royal Palm’s win over the Raiders in the preseason).
We kept Glades Central at No. 7 because we still believe the Raiders are a top-notch team, just a nudge below what we’re used to seeing out of Belle Glade. The Raiders have lost four in a row (Read more: Is it time to panic in Belle Glade?), but each of those games were against quality opponents. There’s hope this group of offensive linemen can grow with the season.
Gardens, Vista and Cardinal Newman round out the top 10. Each won its opening matchup, though in different fashion. Gardens dominated both sides of the ball in a 45-7 win over Lakes, while Vista’s offense seemed sluggish in a 14-0 victory over Santaluces. Meanwhile Newman could’ve scored even more in its 72-24 basketball-score-of-a-win over Inlet Grove.
We considered Atlantic, Boca, Glades Day, John I. Leonard and King’s Academy for the rankings. We see those teams as potential top-10 squads this fall. Interestingly enough, Atlantic hosts Boca this week, which will help clarify who’s ahead of who in the pecking order. Glades Day has a should-win game at home against Highlands Christian, and Newman should take care of business out in Pahokee.
The big game we’re watching is Leonard’s showdown with Royal Palm Beach. Leonard shut out Jupiter 41-0 in the season opener, and hasn’t allowed a point in two games this fall. Royal Palm’s defense was suffocating at Glades Central, but the Wildcats could be rusty after Friday’s game at Pahokee was washed out. Consider this one a major proving ground for Leonard, which won 49-26 in the first matchup last fall.
All the coverage of last week
Scattered throughout this post you’ll find links to all our coverage of Friday and Saturday’s games. If you’re a photo fan like we are, make sure you also check out the Dwyer-Glades Central photo gallery and the Atlantic-American Heritage gallery.