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August 5, 2010

RivalsHigh 100: Teams 20-16

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

RivalsHigh.com has begun its 2010 countdown, ranking the teams from No. 1 through No. 100.

We started at No. 100 on July 26 and will release two groups of five teams per day. Then, we'll do a daily countdown from No. 10 to No. 1. Our top team will be unveiled on Monday - two weeks from the start of the season.

After that, we will wait until Sept. 1 for the next rankings, then have them every Monday during the season.

The team rankings were compiled by high school sports senior analyst Dallas Jackson, the Rivals AMP team, football recruiting analysts and the entire RivalsHigh network of publishers.

In case you missed it: Previous ranking groups | Post your thoughts about teams 20-16

Top 100 countdown
No. 20 Corona Centennial, Calif.

COACH: Matt Logan
FINAL 2009 RANKING: No. 13 in California

KEEP AN EYE ON: The offensive line. Coach Matt Logan thinks that this offensive line will be one of the biggest, most physical - and possibly best - in recent memory at Centennial. The team only returns one true starter on the offensive line but will welcome back Jacob Olsson who missed all of the 2009 season with a torn ACL.

STRENGTH: The offense is generally the calling card at Centennial, and this year, the Huskies could have one of the better offenses in the Inland. Michael Eubank returns at quarterback and, after rotating in and out last year, will be at the helm full-time. Barrinton Collins will be the full-time running back with Dion Bass sliding over to the defensive side of the ball. The wideouts will be stronger than usual, as Larry Scott and Eric Finney both are in the 6-foot, 170 pound range with good speed and hands. Finney was the slot receiver last year but will slide outside this year opposite of Scott.

DIFFERENCE IN PHILOSOPHY: A sign of a good coach is one who will adjust his personal philosophy to match the players on the field and that is what Logan will have to do this year. Eubank is a more mobile quarterback than the Huskies are used to having and Logan has indicated the team will take some advantage of that. He said that the team would not want to make a living with running the quarterback but they will do it as needed.

QUOTABLE: "We bring back seven guys on offense," Logan said. "But we won't be a typical Centennial team. The personnel are different than we normally see. We will probably run the ball more. Our backs and offensive line are very good, so the things we normally do may have to switch based on that."

Top 100 countdown
No. 19 St. Peter's Prep, N.J.

COACH: Rich Hansen
FINAL 2009 RANKING: No. 2 in New Jersey

KEEP AN EYE ON: How the Marauders play as being the hunted and not the hunter. It is not a new thing for the school, as it has ended the year No. 1 in New Jersey before. But for the players on the team, being declared the preseason favorite is something new to all of them. Returning seven starters on offense and six on defense gives the team some supreme confidence. Having some of the best players in the state doesn't hurt either.

ONE-TWO PUNCH: Savon Huggins is one of the best running backs on the East Coast. He is a special athlete that can do a lot of things on the field. His teammate, Sheldon Royster, could have the same thing said about him. Between the two, look for St. Peter's to get the pair 35 touches per game. If Huggins wasn't on the field, Royster would have been a suitable running back as well. He is the most natural athlete on the team, according to coach Rich Hansen.

PASSING GAME? With Huggins and Royster being able to line up in the backfield, why would you ever pass? It's a good question and one that Hansen admitted is an internal battle for him this season. If he does choose to go to the air, a pair of young receivers will help make that an easier thing to do. Tyrell Gibbs, at 6-foot-3, and Trey Bell, at 6-foot, make for a pair of solid outside threats.

KEEPING SCORE: "We scored 470-something points last year," Hansen said. "And this year we should be able to put up some more." A scary thought for opponents, but when Huggins and Royster are both expected to go over 1,200 yards on the ground, it could be a long season.

QUOTABLE: "There is a quiet confidence all offseason," Hansen said. "We didn't talk about being this or doing that. It was all unspoken. You could just tell that the leaders on the team were preparing for something special and the other kids followed suit."

Top 100 countdown
No. 18 Phoebus, Virginia

COACH: Stan Sexton
LAST SEASON: 15-0, Virginia Division AAA State Champs
FINAL 2009 RANKING: No. 19 in RivalsHigh Top 100

KEEP AN EYE ON: The winning streak. Often overlooked in Virginia has been the steady and spectacular play of Phoebus. The team is up to a 30-game win streak and, if Phoebus can complete an undefeated season, the Phantoms will set a new state record. That's very impressive in a state with above-average football from top to bottom.

STRENGTH: Phoebus' depth this year is a little unusual, as the Phantoms tend to have more turnover. However, a rash of injuries last year has made this year's team even better. According to coach Stan Sexton, he had kids that he didn't expect to see the field at all last season that wound up starting seven or eight games and playing in the playoffs. This year, those kids come back ready to work hard, knowing what it takes to win. The team returns eight starters on offense and seven on defense. Good night, Virginia.

HELLO, UP THERE: The wide receivers for Phoebus will provide the youth of the team. They also will provide the height. The tallest receiver is 6-foot-4 Romond Deloatch. The shortest is slot receiver Breon Key. At 6-foot-2, he is the little guy. He is also the point guard on the basketball team.

D-FENCE: The defensive side of the ball is always the pride of the Phantoms and will be so once again. The team brings back the majority of its defensive line, with Daquan Romero and Tevin McGougan holding down the fort. Romero is already committed to North Carolina. McGougan is looking like a low-major prospect but could still get some Big Six conference looks. Linebacker Caleb Taylor is also a Division I prospect and is already committed to Virginia.

QUOTABLE: "It looks to me like some other teams are getting more national attention without having our success," Sexton said. "We have five state titles, but when we call ESPN, they are more interested in [Chesapeake (Va.)] Oscar Smith. Oscar Smith only has one title, but they like to throw the ball 40 times a game. I guess that is better for television, but that just means we will have to be happy holding up trophies at the end of the season, not at the beginning."

Top 100 countdown
No. 17 Good Counsel, Maryland

COACH: Bob Malloy
FINAL 2009 RANKING: No. 39 in RivalsHigh Top 100

KEEP AN EYE ON: How Good Counsel stacks up. A lot of teams in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area are "up" this year and Good Counsel is one of them. Those teams have taken the opportunity to see where they sit nationally. Good Counsel will play one of the more difficult national schedules, as it is slated to take on Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier, Baltimore (Md.) Gilman, State College (Pa.) High and Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha all before the middle of October. That's a tough road for anyone.

REAL DEPTH: The Falcons bring back one of the most complete offenses in the country with 10 starters returning this season. The team also returns five starters on defense. With only two of those guys playing both ways, it is true depth and not smoke, mirrors and Gatorade keeping the team afloat.

WHO CAN STEP UP? With a lot of positions going to incumbents, there really are not that many opportunities to compete for a starting role. Coach Bob Malloy thinks two players, however, will step up for the team. Senior linebacker Mike Jefferson should nail down a slot and Carl Green, a defensive end or linebacker, has moved to the school from Mississippi.

YOUNG BUCK: The star of the team could actually be the youngest guy out there. Freshman running back Dorian O'Daniel already has offers from Maryland, Ohio and Pittsburgh, and is listed at 6-foot-1 and 184 pounds. His skill on the field far surpasses his age. He definitely does not look like a kid who is only in the Class of 2013.

QUOTABLE: "This is the hardest schedule in the history of our school," Malloy said. "We spent the day watching St. X play and they are like great white sharks on defense. These games are going to let us know our place, with St. X, Gilman and the state runner-up from Pennsylvania - State College - all before we play DeMatha."

Top 100 countdown
No. 16 Serra, Calif.

COACH: Scott Attenberg
LAST SEASON: 15-0, California Division III State Champs
FINAL 2009 RANKING: No. 53 in RivalsHigh Top 100

KEEP AN EYE ON: The first-time starters. If they can fill the gaps left by the departing starters, it should be an extremely successful season for the Cavaliers. Depth, especially at cornerback, could be a problem out West. Teams in California that like to pound the rock are few and far between, so if the defensive backfield does not grow up quickly, there will either be a lot of shootout wins ... or some tough defeats.

STRENGTH: Serra has athleticism up and down its roster. Although it graduated last year's best player, Robert Woods, there is a plethora of talent that will be on display this year. The offense is loaded with the return of quarterback Conner Preston, running back Shaquille Richard and star wide receiver George Farmer. On defense, standouts return at every level in David Moala and Jason Gibson on the defensive line, Woodson Greer at linebacker and Marqise Lee at defensive back. The top-end talent is very reminiscent of that typically found at Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian, but depth could be a problem.

STAR OF THE SHOW: Farmer is the leader and is in a position to take this team a long way. He's the top-ranked wide receiver in the country by Rivals and is the No. 4 overall player in the country and No. 1 in the state. He averaged 22 yards per catch for 12 touchdowns last year alongside Woods. This year, his production should be even better as the spotlight is all his.

TO MOVE UP: There was some consideration given to making Serra the No. 1 team in the state as well as Top 10 nationally, but too many similarities to the 2009 Oaks Christian team crept in. Serra has just two tough measuring stick games in Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame and Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne. Combine that with a weak Mission League - not as weak as the Tri Valley, but still not strong competition - and doubts arise as to whether or not this could be the best team with a weak schedule. That, however, will be determined as the season progresses.

QUOTABLE: "There is plenty of reason for optimism," CaliforniaPreps analyst Dave Keefer said. "With all the athleticism, a strong front seven, and the passing/receiving combo of Preston and Farmer, Serra is primed to build on its 15-game winning streak that included a state division III championship last year. They have a great chance to repeat."

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