Legends Blog

Good Old Boys - Jason Williams & Randy Moss May 20 2019, 0 Comments

Randy Moss and Jason Williams

             Randy Moss and Jason Williams paired at DuPont High School to form one of the most entertaining duos in sports history. Born deep in the back country roads of West Virginia, the pair would shake up the nation with their exploits on and off the court. Featured in one of the greatest Nike commercials of all time. The short 30 second ad, shows footage of both Williams and Moss teaming up as kids in Belle, West Virginia. They were teammates for two seasons, leading the DuPont basketball team to the state finals in 1994. While both faced trying times in college and high school, each had serious success in the professional ranks. Two young men who grew up less than a mile apart, would have unmeasured success in their respective sports.

Childhood

             Welcome to Rand, a half-mile from Jason's boyhood home, Randy was raised here in a small house on Church Street. Rand is a small section tucked between the Allegheny Mountains and the Kanawha River. Although it’s only a 10-minute drive from the state capital, it’s rural in every other respect. As discussed in the ESPN feature Rand University, the town had several points of racial tension. But Moss and Williams always seem to ignore that, instead focusing on the bond between the two. Randy moved to Rand at a young age and football was big in his neighborhood. He played a game known as Razzle Dazzle, Moss attributes much of his dynamic play to the game he and his friends played.

             The two found each other long before high school. “We were in fourth grade, playing midget football on different teams,” Moss recalls. “He was quarterback and ran a bootleg. Next thing we knew, he was high-stepping into the end zone like Walter Payton. We wanted to kill him. But we never caught him.” By eighth grade, Moss was on the business end of Williams bombs. “I’d throw it as far as I could, and Randy would get it,” Williams says. “All I wanted to do was throw him the bomb.” Said Williams. “That’s the only play we really needed. I never wanted to throw any short passes to him because he was so fast. I used to drop back and throw it as high and as far as I could throw it. Randy would take care of the rest. He could run and jump and do it all”.

Jason Williams High School
             Jason's father, Terry, was a state trooper, and had the keys to the gym. Jason took full advantage, practicing for long hours throwing around the back passes against a tape square on the gym wall. The young Williams also spent hours dribbling with wrist weights on. At age four, Jason was already an accomplished ball handler, and by age seven he had determined that he would become an NBA player some day.

DuPont High School

DuPont Basketball 1994

             They both attended the now defunct DuPont High School in Belle, West Virginia. Williams won the Mr. Basketball award in West Virginia as a senior in 1993-1994. While Moss took home Mr. Basketball and Mr. Football award as a senior in 1994-1995.

             After taking advantage of his father having the gym keys, Williams started for the varsity as a freshman in 1990-91. The following year Moss followed and enrolled at DuPont. Williams had a spectacular high school career, starting all four years. He finished off his career with a senior average of 18 points and 10 assists. Williams was the only player in DuPont history to reach 1,000 points and 500 assists. As a senior Williams was invited to the Nike All-American camp, a prestigious honor, considering only one player from the state made the camp. While Jason turned some heads at camp, his play was not dominant.
Jason Williams High School
             Randy Moss excelled in football, basketball, baseball and track. He was also on the school's debate team. He took home the Mr. Basketball award for West Virginia as a senior in 1995. After Jason Williams attended All-American camp, Moss was chosen as the state representative for the Nike All-American camp the following summer. Moss instantly realized that his 6-4 frame, wasn't ideal to play a forward spot (after matching up with teenage superstar Kevin Garnett ). As a sophomore in 1992, Moss joined the track & field team and was the West Virginia state champion in the 100 and 200 meters with times of 10.94 seconds and 21.95 seconds. This was the only year he competed on the school's track team, but he would later join the Marshall track team and lower his 200 m time to 21.15 seconds. He even played center field for the baseball team for one season, where he excelled as a defensive player.
Randy Moss Dupont High School
             Moss was a national standout while on the gridiron at DuPont. He was at the top of recruiting list nationally and led the football team to three straight state titles. As a senior in 1994 he was named the West Virginia Football Player of the year. On the field, Moss teamed with future Chicago Bears linebacker Bobbie Howard and division one running back Sean Singleton. He was a star at wide receiver, but also played free safety, returned kickoffs and punts, and was the team's kicker and punter. Parade magazine named him to their annual All-American high school football team in 1995. The football squad was so dominant, they cut off all the lights in Rand when the DuPont team played home games, because everyone in town attended the games. Opposing teams in West Virginia simply weren't athletic enough to deal with Moss in any sort of situation on the gridiron. While everyone in the state wanted Randy to choose West Virginia, he committed to play for Lou Holtz and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
         The duo was easily the most exciting duo in the history of West Virginia basketball. As a junior and senior, he teamed up with Randy Moss on the hardwood for some iconic mixtape plays. The flashy Williams used his ball handling and passing ability to dazzle crowds. Moss was an all world athlete using his jumping ability. DuPont's gym held 1,000 people, if you weren't there an hour early, you were standing outside. In Jason's senior year, all the starters could dunk, and once all did in the same game. They drew hundreds of fans on game nights, forcing the school to install temporary bleachers to accommodate the overflow crowds. The duo led DuPont to the state championship before loosing to Martinsburg 79-73. Despite DuPont showcasing a bevy of highlights, Martinsburg came away with the win. In the last game they played together, Williams had 17 points, 11 assists and 9 rebounds. Moss went for 33 points and 14 rebounds.

           Moss and his friends were known to indulge in typical teenage actives like drinking and smoking Marijuana. But in the hallways of DuPont, racial tensions grew fierce. Moss was involved in 7 racially motivated fights over his high school career. Near the end of his senior year at DuPont, Moss took part in a fight that sent a student to the hospital. The incident would put his future in jeopardy and eventually result in jail time.

College Career

             Both Williams and Moss faced rather serious problems in college, each was dismissed from a college team. Each had issues in their college career with substance abuse. Moss and Williams were each caught multiple times failing drug tests in college.
Jason Williams Florida Gators
             Coming out of high school, Jason originally committed to play ball for Providence, feeling he had connected with coach Rick Barnes. But when Barnes left for Clemson, Jason got out of his letter of intent. That fall, he enrolled in Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. Which lasted all of three days, when he was handed a vocabulary quiz with 300 words on it, he had seen enough. Jason’s dad suggested he explore the possibilities at Division-II Marshall in West Virginia. He had met head coach Billy Donovan and was impressed. After red-shirting 1994-95, the redshirt freshman averaged 13.4 points and 6.4 assists for the Thundering Herd in 1995-1996. After sitting out the 1996–97 season, he followed coach Billy Donovan to Florida and became the starting point guard during the 1997–98 season. As a Gator, Williams had immediate success setting a school single-game record with 17 assists. Through twenty games, he averaged 17.1 points, 6.7 assists and 2.8 steals per game against top flight competition. He even led the Gators to an 86–78 upset of the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington. His darting, spinning drives, reckless penetration and impossible behind-the-back passes, majestic three-pointers, and uncanny showmanship brought fans out of their seats. Many compared him to another SEC legend, Pete Maravich. Jason was the hottest thing in college ball. However a series of failed drug test led Donovan to suspend Williams the first time. The second time he was caught, he was kicked off the team. His career at Florida lasted just 20 games before he was kicked off the team for a marijuana violation. All of his focus turned to the 1998 NBA draft.
Randy Moss Marshall
             After he was kicked out of DuPont high school, Randy Moss was denied enrollment at Notre Dame. Head coach Lou Holtz advised Randy to give Florida State’s Bobby Bowden a call. The Seminoles gave Randy a second chance, as he spent his freshman season as a redshirt. Moss dominated in spring ball so much that Bowden began referring to him as a bigger version of Deion Sanders. Just a few months later, Randy violated his probation by failing a drug test, thus resulting in more jail time and his dismissal from FSU. Few major programs had interest in Moss at that point. After dealing with a bevy of trouble and having to transfer from Florida State. He eventually found his way to local Marshall University for the 1996 and 1997 season. He signed to play at Marshall because they were Division I-AA at the time and he wouldn’t have to sit out another season. At Marshall, Moss vowed to change his ways. Choosing to spend all of his time in his apartment or at the Marshall practice facility, he removed himself from the hype of the outside world. He stared with future NFL pro bowl quarterback Chad Pennington and formed a dynamic offensive duo. His sophomore season saw Moss put up 1,709 receiving yards and 28 touchdowns. As a junior at Marshall, Moss went nuts racking up 1,820 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns. The small school star receiver finished 3rd in the Heisman voting.

Pro Career

             Both Williams and Moss were both drafted in the first round of their respective sports. To the surprise of many, Williams went higher than Moss in the draft. Moss sat a considerably longer time than most expected, being selected 21st overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL draft. For his childhood friend Jason, the experience was different. Williams surpassed draft experts elevations when he was selected 7th overall by the Sacramento Kings in the NBA draft. “Since I was little I wanted to play in the NBA," he says, "where you didn't have to deal with foolishness like homework.” Both players dazzled their respective leagues in their rookie season. Setting the sports marketing world on fire with their dynamic and unique on court style.

Randy Moss SI Cover
             When Moss burst onto the NFL scene in 1998, he was 6-foot-5, ran a 4.25 40, and made catches that defied physics. He instantly led the Vikings to a 15-1 regular-season record and an NFC championship playoff run, he intimidated every defensive coordinator in the league, and teammate Cris Carter admitted that Moss could be better than Jerry Rice. In 1998, Moss helped the Vikings to become the number 1 rated offense ever at the time, setting the single-season record for scoring (later surpassed by the 2007 New England Patriots, a team that also featured Moss) with 556 points. He was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year for his rookie-record 17 touchdown receptions and the third highest receiving yardage with 1,313.

             In 1999, Moss had another impressive season, catching 80 passes for 1,413 yards and 11 touchdowns. In 2000, Moss finished the season with a career-high 1,437 yards and league leading 15 touchdown catches. Making him the youngest player ever to catch for over 3,000 yards and 45 touchdowns. During the 2002 season Moss caught a career high 106 passes for only 7 touchdowns. The following year was one of his finest, playing only 12 games while catching for 1,632 yard sand 17 touchdowns.
             After an injury plagued 2004 season his off field antics eventually got him traded to the Oakland Raiders, where he spent the worst 2 seasons of his career. Eventually he found his way to the New England Patriots, where he would once again set the NFL on fire. His first year with the Patriots was his best, he caught a record 23 touchdowns to go along with 1,493 receiving yards. The Patriots remained undefeated until they lost in a Superbowl thriller to the New York Giants. During the 2008 season Tom Brady was injured and Moss caught for only 11 touchdowns and 1,008 yards. 2009 was his last good season as he returned to form, catching for 1,264 yards and 13 touchdowns. The twilight of his career saw the receiver bounce around with the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers, before finally retiring with the Minnesota Vikings. He was named to the All-Pro team 3 times in Minnesota and again in 2007 with the Patriots. Moss finished his career as the number 2 all time receiver in yards and touchdowns. Although Jason Williams was no slouch talent-wise, he and Moss don’t really belong in the same conversation when it comes to professional on field accomplishments. Moss retires as the most physically gifted wide receiver to ever put on cleats. Still Jason Williams managed to get the one thing that escaped Randy Moss, a championship ring.
 Jason Williams Slam Cover           
          It’s easy to forget Williams’ monumental arrival in the NBA. At the time, the NBA was looking for anything that could help them shoulder the loss of Michael Jordan. Jason’s game was electric, his flashy style of play gained him millions of fans almost overnight. Drafted seventh overall in 1998, Williams helped transform the revamped Sacramento Kings into the league’s most exciting team and an instant playoff contender. The NBA marketing machine loved Jason, and he gave them nightly highlight-reel material. His nickname, “White Chocolate,” became one of the league’s most widely known. His jerseys were among the NBA best sellers and he signed a big endorsement deal with Nike. Appearing in the Nike Freestyle Commercial, his personal signature commercial and his signature "Good old Boys" commercial (featuring him and Randy Moss). Jason's popularity grew by leaps and bounds. The behind-the-back and no-look passes were thrown with a flair seldom seen in the NBA. His play was one of the flashiest in league history, and the fans instantly recognized it. This led him to be compared once again to the legendary Pete Maravich. The elbow pass he threw rookie weekend was one of the most creative moves ever thought up on hardwood. Jason led the team with 299 assists in the shortened 1999 season, and the Kings finished with a decent 27-23 record. Sacramento's year ended in the playoffs with a 99-92 overtime loss, to Utah Jazz in the first round. Jason's rookie year saw him average 12.8 points and 6 assists per game. However his play was as much reckless as it was entertaining, often to dismay of his head coach Rick Adelman. 
             Williams spent another season with the Kings, winning 57 games in the 2000 season. The following season he was traded to Memphis, head coach Hubie Brown made a real impact on the philosophy of Jason’s game. His game blossomed, he made the basic plays and began to excel as a point guard. His finest individual year came with the Grizzlies during the 2001-2002 season, he averaged 14.8 points and 8 assists per game. Toward the twilight of his career he found his way to the Miami Heat. Where he paired with Gary Payton at point guard, to help Miami win the NBA Championship. He started all of Miami's playoff games in 2006 during their run to the championship. He would serve as the third leading scorer for Miami averaging 12.3 points a game, and only trailed Wade with 4.9 assists per contest. Williams spent the next two seasons in Miami before moving on to Orlando. In Orlando he played just a season and a half before retiring with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Retirement

             Randy Moss retired as the most physically gifted wide receiver to ever put on cleats. Bobby Bowden put it best: “He was as good as Deion Sanders. Deion’s my measuring stick for athletic ability, and this kid was just a bigger Deion.” When it was all said and done, Moss was a key factor in 2 different NFL record breaking offenses. While not as physically dominant in his pro career, Williams style remained one of the most unique in the history of basketball. It was one of the most crowd pleasing styles since the late Pete Maravich in the 1970’s. Both players impact is clear even years after both have retried from the game.

             Although they went their separate ways, the two always kept in touch during their pro career. Often exchanging calls and texts a couple of times a month. Eventually the two retired within months of each other. Both players significantly influenced the way youth played the game. The two remain two of the most exciting players to ever play in their respective sports. While both athletes faced their share of problems, each would face their demons. Both were able to overcome their mistakes, learn from them and ultimately have an enormous amount of success. Pretty good for a couple of kids that grew up on the backroads of West Virginia.


Top 10 High School Football Teams Ever October 30 2017, 22 Comments

       An overly complicated list to research and judge. High School Football has been played in this country for over 90 years. Choosing the 10 best teams was a big task. While the Football might span several decades, their were many similarities between these all time juggernauts. Teams were ranked based on a few characteristics, Division 1 or NFL talent, their strength of schedule and their margin of victory. Several of these individual teams served as big time pipelines to major college programs. Many of the players would go on to decide future National titles in college.

De La Salle Football 2001

#1) De La Salle (Conord, California) 2001
        Most sports fans have heard of the infamous 151 game winning streak by De La Salle High School in Concord, California. Led by head coach Bob Ladicer, the Spartans didn’t loose for over 12 years. During that streak they boasted numerous NFL and division 1 prospects.
        The team that standouts over the others, is the 2001 version of the Spartans. They started the season ranked 1 nationally in some publications, but the USA Today ranked them 2nd behind Long Beach Poly. There defense only returned four starters and had to replace All-American linebacker Kevin Simon, who moved on to Tennessee. Their defense still managed four shutouts. Unlike some seasons in the streak, the Spartans faced two nationally ranked teams in the 2001 season. Although, they were never in danger of loosing a game.
        Head coach Bob Ladicer was probably the best high school football coach ever. The 2001 team exemplified everything the program was about. Their veer offensive illustrated their simple approach to the game. Instead of flashy gimmicks De La Salle was simply more discipline and hard working than any team they ran into. While effort and fundamentals were their backbone, the team had no shortage of talent.
        Led by junior running back and future NFL star Maurice Jones-Drew, the 5-7 bulldozer racked up 1,043 yards and 22 touchdowns on just 75 touches during the 2001 season (13.9 YPC). He performed even better in big games, racking up 365 yards rushing (14.6 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns in three postseason games. Quarterback Matt Guiterez had his pick of big time schools, as he was ranked 88th in the country. He was recruited by the likes of Michigan, Notre Dame and Tennessee, eventually he spent some time in the NFL. He had a big senior season in 2001 with 3,300 passing yards and 33 touchdowns. The team had another big time weapon in two way starter Demetrius Williams. A blur with the Spartans, he was a three-year starter at wideout for Oregon, where he had 11 100-yard receiving games. He played in the NFL for 5 seasons. The standout lineman was two way starter and nationally ranked Derek Landri. The tackle was the highest rated prospect the Spartans had. During his senior season of 2001, he was named California’s Mr. Football. He went on to start at Notre Dame for three years, before staring in the NFL for 5 years. The depth of the program was unquestioned. Defensive back and future Oregon Duck, Willie Glasper was a sophomore on the team. Juniors Chan and Erik Sandie were both Division I recruits on the offensive line. Sophomore and future NFL pro bowler TJ Ward wasn't good enough to play a down the Spartans that year. Future top 25 recruit nationally, wide recover Cameron Colvin only played occasionally for the team.
        Their biggest match-up of the season was the 5th game, which was against the number 1 ranked Long Beach Poly. Known as “The Streak vs The Beach” the game has been documented as the first No. 1 vs No. 2 game in US prep football history. Since the start of the 1997 season The Beach went 57-1-1. 20001 Long Beach Poly was widely regarded as the most talented in school history, with six players listed in SuperPrep's top 100. The New York Times as well as 120 other media outlets requested credentials for the game. A live telecast was available nationwide on DirecTV, and attendance at Veterans Stadium in Long Beach swelled to 17,321. Scalpers were charging up to $50 for $10 tickets. The Spartans were peeved about going into any game relegated to second. De La Salle hadn’t lost since Dec. 4, 1991.
        Although the game was competitive, Long Beach was no match for De La Salle’s ground game as they won 29 to 15. Before the game, no one knew the name of junior running back Maurice Drew. He finished the game with 165 total yards and 4 touchdowns. After the game he said “I read the quotes in the paper, and it was like they had all these star players and we didn't have anybody."
        The National champions demolished every other team that came in their path. They won 56-14 over defending Central Section champ Buchanan of Clovis, then two weeks later in Stockton took apart southern California powerhouse Mater Dei 34-6. They outplayed foes in the playoffs outscoring them 147-28 in the 4A Playoffs.
        The Spartans finished the season undefeated and were able to push the streak forward. When the season finished they were ranked as the number one team in the nation by USA today and Rise/ESPN.

 

Vigor High School Football 1988

#2) Vigor (Prichard, Alabama) 1988
        1988 Vigor was the greatest team the state of Alabama has ever produced. Five members of the 1988 team went on to play professionally in the NFL or CFL, Mitch Davis, Roosevelt Patterson, Willie Anderson, Albert Reese and Kevin Lee, all went on to play professionally in the NFL or CFL. Over 20 players ended up playing division 1 football. The Entire defense returned from the season before. Their speed, size and skill was simply unmatched. The Wolves outscored their opponents 387-44, including 148-7 in the playoffs. No foe got closer than 14 points. By season’s end, the Wolves had a 25-game winning streak. The only team from Alabama that can boast a national title on its resume. "The players bought into our system -- whatever you asked them to do," head coach Perine said. "You know a lot of kids you can't find? Those kids were there and ready to go each and every week.”
        The talent level at Vigor was ridiculous, 11 players went on to play at mid major division 1 programs, while 9 played at major college football schools. Future Auburn Tiger Darrell "Lectron" Williams was named Mr. Football after rushing for 1,706 yards on 235 carries, before injuring his knee in the championship. Vigor quarterback Kelvin Simmons, was a dual threat at quarterback. He threw for 1,498 yards and accounted for 22 touchdowns. Kevin Lee, Bruce McGree and Ryan Blakeley returned at wide receiver. The trio known as McBlakeLee combined for 44 catches and 1,097 yards along with 8 touchdowns. Kevin Lee ended up catching passes at Auburn. Duane Lewis, 5-11, 180, fullback played at Jackson State. Their two most talent players ended up never playing in college or the NFL, mostly due to their criminal record.
        Every position had a potential Division I football player in it," Darrell Williams said. "Twenty-two people, 11 on defense, 11 on offense and each a Division I talent. People ask me all the time: What made you guys so much better than everybody else? We had no weaknesses. The most competition that we experienced was at practice. If you wanted to see some hellacious competition, come to our practice and see our first-string offense go against our first-string defense". Defensive end Adrian Jackson 6-3, 210 was an excellent pass rusher before he went on to Auburn. Lineman Roosevelt Patterson played at Alabama, where he helped the Tide win the national title in 1992. Norvie Chambers, 6-0, 170, defensive back signed with Florida A&M and defensive back Bradley Craig, signed with Memphis State. Linebacker Mitch Davis, a junior in 1988, signed with Georgia the next year. The hard hitting Cleon Jones was a junior on the squad that went on to sign with South Carolina.
        The Wolves won their 25th straight game in front of over 20,000 fans, including Auburn Coach Pat Dye, Alabama Coach Bill Curry and Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden. During the contest Vigor put on a display and assured their legacy as one of the best high school football teams to ever take the field. Vigor became the first team to win back to back championships in Alabama's largest classification since 1976. Their opponents, Berry high school did not cross midfield until the second half. Berry was able to get on the scoreboard shortly before halftime on a 6 yard touchdown pass, breaking a scoreless streak of 25 straight quarters for the defense. Vigor completed its 13-0 season by beating Berry 41-7 in the 6A championship game at Legion Field.
        Roosevelt Patterson, a 1988 All-State lineman for Vigor, "I don't think there's a team that compares to our team. We had all the pieces to the puzzle. Teams like that probably come along once in a lifetime. We were hard-working and talented. Most teams that might be talented, they don't be hard workers. We worked all year 'round. I think it's going to take a while for another team to be like that '88 team."
        Vigor received national recognition following the season and were named by ESPN as the 1988 high school national champions. They finished 2nd in the USA Today poll behind Pine Forest of Pensacola, Florida. At the end of the year, there were efforts to get them together, but the high school associations squashed the idea. This might have been the first ESPN nationally televised high school game had it been played.

St Thomas Aquinas Football 2010

#3) St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) 2010

       Saint Thomas Aquinas has always been known as a football dynasty in Florida. In 2010 they lost 4 future NFL players from the previous year and still had enough talent to win a national title. This team was able to pull talent from across the nation, a clear advantage that most high schools don’t have. Aquinas had a superior passing game which featured 3 big time weapons. Their point and turnover differential was among the best of all time. The 2010 team was back for revenge, off their 2009 state championship defeat.
        The prep school circuit has given birth to new teams that are loaded, with out of town talent. Although they are allowed to pull talent from around the nation, they usually faced far stiffer competition than other powerhouse schools. Aquinas thrived under intense national competition and a reasonable amount of travel. A number of their players contributed at big time college football programs.
        Jacob Rudock was a feared Quarterback in high school, he eventually went to Iowa after he had his pick of big time schools. His biggest weapons were future NFL players receivers Phillip Dorsett and Rashadd Greene. The speedster Dorsett went on to the U, before staring in the NFL. Greene helped Florida State win a championship in 2014. Star tackle Bobby Hart protected Rudock’s blindside, he also went on to play for the Seminoles. Austin Barron who signed with Florida Sate, was a bruiser on the inside line for Aquinas. Did I mention they had future Olympic sprinter Arman Hall at wide receiver.
        The defense was just as nasty as the offense. Defensive back Marcus Robertson was a standout corner for Aquinas before he went on to be drafted by the Rams. Defensive end Bryan Cox Jr clogged running lanes before going off to play for the Gators. Sophomore defensive end and future NFL superstar Joey Bosa made a significant impact at a young age. Linebackers Cole Champion and Tyler Drake were also division 1 prospects. Johnny Joseph a top 100 corner back nationally, went to Bowling Green. Pass rusher Jelani Hamilton went on to Akron and running back Fred Coppet played at Bowling Green.
        They played several supposed national powers in the pre-season. They throttled Skyline of Dallas, 31-3 in week 1. In week 4 they destroyed Georgia power Camden County 42-28, in which they racked up over 600 yards of offense. The 42-28 score was the closest any team would get to upsetting Aquinas all season. The playoffs were their own personal joke racking up nearing 200 points, while only giving up only 27 points. Completing an undefeated season they finished 1st in the ESPN national poll. The Raiders capped off a dominant season by dismantling defending 5A champion Plant 29-7.
        While South Panoa high school of Mississippi was named the number one team in the country by multiple polls, there is much doubt that they could have competed with the excellence of Aquinas. Many cried foul that the two teams couldn't agree on a match-up date, leaving the mystery forever unanswered. One thing isn't up for debate however, Aquinas faced a way tougher schedule than South Panoa ever thought about playing.

1985 Yates Football

#4) Jack Yates (Houston, Texas) 1985
       The 1985 Yates Lions were special, they finished 16-0 while racking up a record 659 points. A great pool of talent and depth separated the team from its opponents. Their offense was unstoppable and their defense posted 8 shutouts giving up only 4.8 points per game. They were voted the team of the decade by the Texas media. The players made ultimate sacrifices to ensure their path to success, "We gave up everything," running back Johnny Bailey said after the state championship game. How determined were the Lions you ask? Linebacker Melvin Foster admitted that the team “Even gave up girls”.
        Five players from the team, including Johnny Bailey, Melvin Foster, Quinton Smith, Zeno Alexander and Santana Dotson, went on to play in the NFL. Quarterback Charlie Price threw for 25 touchdowns in 1985. His best receiver Quinton Smith played college football at Kansas. Zeno Alexander, Darron Nash, Ronald Moore, Charles Price, Quinton Smith, James Goode, Larry Gill, Gregory Garrett, Kenneth Payne, Reginald Breggs and James Christian were all on the 1985 Chronicle All-HISD Team. The roster was so loaded that Santana Dotson, a future NFL starter came off the bench.
        Their biggest star might have been middle linebacker Melvin Foster. Foster was a top 40 player nationally and recruited by a bevy of big time programs. The all-state selection was the leader of the defense, before moving on to an All Big-Ten career at Iowa.
        They faced a bevy of legit challengers on their way to a state record 16 wins. They faced Odessa Permian in the final, as well as powerhouses Milby, Jones, Skyline and Westmount. The Lions would clean shop in the playoffs, getting in only one close game. They pulled out a close 21-15 win over Jones in the semi-finals. In the 5A state championship, the media widely predicted Yates would loose by 2 touchdowns. True to form, the Lions performed at their peak, in their biggest game of the season. They went on to dominant the defending champs Odessa Permian, 37-0.
        There has been much debate about the greatest football team in the history of Texas. Among the teams discussed are 1988 Carter, 1985 Yates, 2015 Allen, 2006 Southlake, 1983 Daingerfield and Abilene 1956. The 85’ team was voted “Team of the Decade” by the Houston Chronicle and Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Yates defense was known for their overwhelming speed, which suffocated every offense they faced. Several media members argued that the Yates defense is the deciding factor for the discussion of best team in Texas history. Many analysts also point to the Lions potent offense which still holds the record for points scored in a season. 
        Yates displayed characteristics that often lead to success at any level. They were the ultimate collection of players willing to make unique sacrifices. The Lions displayed a discipline style that might have been the difference. My nod for the best team in Texas history goes to the 85 Yates Lions.

 

McKinley Football 1997

#5) McKinley (Canton, Ohio) 1997
        Led by a bevy of players that went on to star at Ohio State, the 1997 McKinley team is the best team Ohio ever produced. McKinley scored 592 points on the season while only giving up 151. They went wire to wire as the number 1 ranked team in the nation.
        The 1997 team featured three future NFL players, senior FB-LB Jamar Martin, senior TE-DE Kenny Peterson and junior RB-S Mike Doss, all of whom attended Ohio State after graduation. McKinley boasted several other Division I college players, including a trio of future Kent State players. Demarlo Rozier was that season’s County Player of the Year and Ben McDaniels finished as the school’s career passing leader.
        McKinley played a murderous schedule facing 5 powerhouse teams in the state of Ohio. They also played St. Thomas Aquinas a national power from Florida. The toughest game, came against Cleveland St. Ignatius in which they won 35-32. The Bulldogs generally depressed their opponents, in their first six games they beat Akron Garfield, GlenOak, Jackson, Mentor, Glenville and Central Catholic by a combined score of 314-31. They destroyed St. Thomas Aquinas 70-0 and then Massillon 27-14. In week 8 they beat Warren Harding 30-9 at Youngstown State. The game cost McKinley a key player, LB Rashan Hall (who tore the MCL in his right knee and was lost for the year).
        “They were all very decisive wins and we had to manage that the right way so the kids didn’t become complacent,” Thom McDaniels said. “I know in their churches and barber shops and neighborhoods, they were being told they were even better than the scores indicated. The coach continued “To be honest with you, I never really felt like we were going to lose ever. Whether it was before the game, before the season, during the week, during the game, during the fourth quarter, I never felt like we were going to lose in high school.”
        McKinley faced some elite competition in the playoffs. While there was close games, McKinley showed their ability to grind out tough games. In the second round of the playoffs they gutted out a 25-22 win over St. Francis. In the semifinal they faced they're rival St. Ignatius, the game was a war. It took all 48 minutes for the Bulldogs to pull out the 20-19 victory. In the state final they faced national power Moeller of Cincinnati, claiming the state crown with a 31-16 victory.
        Head coach McDaniels saw how a committed group of high school kids can achieve something special. They set a number of records during the season most wins 14, most points 592, most TDs 84, most offensive yards 5,062. That atmosphere was probably the coolest atmosphere I’ve ever been a part of,” head coach Ben McDaniels said. “I’ve coached at ‘The Horseshoe,’ I’ve coached in Ann Arbor, I’ve coached in a playoff game in the NFL and I’ve coached on Monday Night Football.”
        They finished the number 1 ranked team by any media outlet that mattered. Debate between the two best teams Ohio ever produced always starts and end with McKinley 1997 vs Moeller Cincinnati 1976. My money is on the 97 Bulldogs.

Carter High School Football 1988

#6) Carter High School (Dallas, Texas) 1988

       The focus of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary, What Carter Lost highlighted this ultra talented team. Featuring future NFL players Jessie Armstead, Le'Shai Maston and Clifton Abraham, Carter went 14-0-1 in 1988. Although troubled, the 88 team is thought by some to be the best team Texas has ever produced. The speed and pure talent of Carter overwhelmed a schedule riddled with powerhouse opponents. The Cowboys beat nationally ranked Odessa Permian, the team that inspired Friday Night Lights. Their defense was exceptionally fast and physical, several teams were scared to compete with them. They allowed 7.9 points per game and never surrendered more than 24 points in any contest. Their pass rush was easily one of the greatest in high school history. On the other hand, a cloud of scandal and regret will forever shape the memory of their team.
        The 1988 team had 21 players who were offered college scholarships. A few division 1 prospects wound up being charged with robbery (more on that later) and their scholarships were pulled. Still 15 seniors from that team earned FBS scholarships.
        The straw that stirred the drink was two-way All-American Jesse Armstead. The future five time NFL pro bowler was unstoppable to say the least. Armstead stated himself that Carter’s defense was the "best ever in Texas high school and in the nation.” During his career Armstead made some crippling hits, leading one of the best group of pass rushers in high school history. One local newspaper claimed that the linebacker injured 20 different players during his senior season. He even made the winning touchdown catch in the state title game.
        Carter’s QB that year, Robert Hall, went on to a banner career at Texas Tech and is a member of the program’s Hall of Fame. Wide Receiver Gary Edwards was one of the top receivers in the nation. He had a long list of division one schools after him. Edwards originally signed with Houston, and Derric Evans, signed with Tennessee, although neither would ever play college ball. Evans was known as a dominant defensive back who announced his decision to attend Tennessee while sitting in a hot tub. Le'Shai Maston, a running back, signed with Baylor and went on to play for five seasons in the NFL. Clifton Abraham, a defensive back, played at Florida State and went on to have a three-year NFL career.
        The Dallas school faced a good schedule that featured several out of district Texas programs. The only close game they played all year was against the legendary Odessa Permian. They also played powerhouses John Tyler and Killeen in the regular season.
        Carter faced a unique hardship that few others had to deal with. Because of a mistake made by a teacher, one of their star players was ruled ineligible. The team faced multiple court hearings with the Texas state legislator, the hearings would determine if they would be eligible to continue playing. The controversy was a hot topic in the state, it was complicated by mysterious academic rule changes 3 years either. Star receiver Gary Edwards, was originally ruled ineligible with the University Interscholastic League and the Texas Education Agency. They tried to remove Carter from the playoffs and the Dallas Independent School District ended up appealing the decision. Carter was allowed to play, and they beat Permian 14-9 in that semifinal. Carter then beat Converse Judson 31-14 to win the state title.
        After their 88 season the players were cult figures in their local community. Cops would stop them to take pictures, they ate free at restaurants and even autographed a baby. However, Edwards, Evans and 10 other teammates were arrested for armed robbery in Dallas in May 1989. The players were eligibly part of 21 different armed robberies. Edwards was sentenced to 16 years in prison. Evans, a high school All-American, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on four armed robbery counts.
        Head coach Dennis Parker of Marshall High School, that had played all the best talent of the era. He had played against 1985 Yates, lost to Carter in 1988, and lost twice to Permian in 1989. He was quoted as saying “Carter was the best team because of its exceptional speed on defense.” D.W. Rutledge head coach of Judson high lost to Carter in the 1988 final also thinks that Carter was the best team of the 80’s. Coach Dan Hooks, whose West Orange-Stark team lost to Yates in 1985, agrees that Carter had the superior talent.

 Lakeland Football 2006

#7) Lakeland (Florida) 2006
        Florida has a rich history of football second to only Texas. 2006 Lakeland may be their crowning jewel. This team possessed a running game that most division one colleges would envy. Their state championship culminated for their 3rd consecutive and their 2nd straight USA Today Championship. Although they outscored opponents by 500 points, they faced some tough games. The tough games strengthen their resume, all of the close games were against top 50 teams nationally. The defense allowed only 93 points in 15 games. 10 players went on to play football in the SEC. This team went wire to wire as the number one ranked team in the nation.
        Seven players went on to star at the University of Florida, they become known as the Gator Naughts. The future Gators would later prove to be a serious contributors to Florida's championship runs of the late 2000’s. They may have had the greatest rushing attack in high school football history. This teams mentality was simple, run, run and run some more. Although the passing game wasn't chopped liver, no one in the state could contend with the pure power of the burly offensive line. Led by future NFL pro bowl twins Maurkice and Mike Pouncey, the two obliterated defensive lines. The Pouncey twins cleared space for All-American running back Chris Rainey, he flew around the field on his way to 2,478 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns. The speedster had 15 touchdown runs of 50 yards or more. To compliment the running game Wide receiver Paul Wilson was a sure handed target for the Dreadnaught's. Defense tackle John Brown overwhelmed opponents and originally signed with Tennessee before his grades forced him the junior college route. Amahad Black rounded the defense out at the Safety position. Black was an intimidating presence on defense, later he played 3 years in the NFL with Tampa Bay. Linebacker Steve Wilks was a hard hitting linebacker for the Lakeland.
        Besides the bevy of players that signed with Florida, 3 other players went on to play SEC football. Jamar Taylor was a great addition to the running game before heading off to Alabama. Tight ends Jordan Hammond and Jordon Corbin both signed with LSU.
        With the nickname Dreadnaught's one could expect the school and fan base to have pretty crazy traditions, this assumption would be correct. Many of their fans wear a full fledged battle ship hats to all of the games. Their also known for their famous golf cart, which features a Lakeland helmet as the outer shell of the cart.
       In 2006 the Dreadnaught's played the toughest schedule in the entire country. Their monster schedule began with their first real test in St. Xavier of Cincinnati Ohio. In a brut physical game the Dreadnaught's won by 3 in overtime. Local Florida school Osceola High School gave them a scare in a close 7 - 3 victory. In a rivalry game they beat Kathleen High 29-26.
        They faced loaded national power St. Thomas Aquinas in the State Final. They featured future NFL players James White, Giovanni Bernard, Phillip Dorsett and Rashad Greene. They won in 2OT by a score of 45 - 42. In the contest, Rainey worked Aquinas with over 270 yards on the ground.

Miami Northwestern Football 2007

#8) Miami Northwestern Senior High School (Florida) 2007
       Northwestern has a tradition that is among the best in the nation. The rare public school that dominates year after year. Miami Northwestern might soon hold the distinction of producing the most players to excel at the NFL level. Over 14 NFL pro bowlers have walked the halls of Northwestern. The school has produced football stars such as Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Bryant, Denver Broncos linebacker Nate Webster, and Miami Dolphins offense tackle Vernon Carey. Despite their winning tradition and continued dominance, the school has only been named the number one team by USA today one time.
        By all accounts the 2007 team was simply remarkable. That team holds the title of the greatest team in the programs history. They had numerous division one players, including 8 players that would go on to play at the University of Miami. Similar to many teams on this list, Northwestern served as a feeder to their local University. Star Quarterback Jacory Harris threw for 3,445 yards and 49 touchdowns as a senior. Aldarius Johnson, Kendal Thompkins and Tommy Streeter were a nasty trio at wide recover, together they accounted for over 2,400 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns. Linebacker Sean Spence and lineman Marcus Forston, Ben Jones, Brandon Washington also signed with Miami.
        Besides the future Hurricane players, the Bulls had plenty of talent. Future NFL Pro Bowler Lavonte David went largely unnoticed and unappreciated. He was outstanding, but despite his play, division 1 major colleges cited his size as a major concern. David would go on to star at Nebraska where he would break their school record for most tackles. As a senior, David made more than 100 tackles, with three quarterback sacks, two interceptions. Future West Virginia running back Daquan Hargett was featured at running back and recorded over 880 yards and 12 touchdowns. Although just a sophomore future Louisville running back Corvin Lamb rushed for 350 yards and 4 touchdowns.
        Ranked the No. 1 team in the country, Northwestern traveled to No. 2 Southlake (Texas) Carroll. Northwestern's superior speed beat out Carroll's historic four-year run of 49 consecutive wins. A crowd of 31,896 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium watched as Miami Northwestern won the contest 29-21.
        They won their second straight Class 6A state championship, defeating Boone 41-0. Miami-bound QB Jacory Harris passed for 281 yards and 2 TDs. The defense recorded its fifth shutout and coach Billy Rolle pocketed a 3rd state championship. They beat up Deerfield Beach 19-14, in Class 6A semifinals at the Orange Bowl. Tyresse Jones' five-yard TD run with 18 seconds remaining capped a 12-play, 99-yard drive. The Bulls won their 29th straight and equaled the Dade County record for most consecutive victories.
        Northwestern won back-to-back state titles in 2006 and 2007. They were listed as mythical national champions by USA Today in 2007. Giving the state of Florida a 3 year run, with one of their high school teams winning the high school national championship.

1976 Warner Robbins Football

#9) Warner Robbins (Georgia) 1976
       The best team the state of Georgia has ever produced, was the 1976 Warner Robbins team. They only gave up 86 points all year, while scoring 614 points. Their defense is considered one of the greatest ever, they had 8 shutouts (including the state championship). Robbins had plenty of stars with 5 future NFL players. Perhaps their greatest weapon was their star studded running game.
        One of the best ground attacks ever, featured two future college standouts in the backfield. The powerful Jimmy Womack was a big bruising full back who blocked for future NFL player James Brooks. In college Womack led the way at Georgia for Hershell Walker’s Heisman winning season. Womack racked up 1,467 yards on the ground as a senior in 1976. Future 4 time NFL pro-bowler James Brooks was a dynamo with the ball, quick but still strong enough to break tackles and stay on his feet. He would go on to star at Auburn before staring for both the Bengals and Chargers in the NFL. Brooks rushed for 1,810 yards as a senior. Another standout was two way star Ron Simmons, who went to star at Florida State. There he was an All-American nose guard, before he spent 4 years playing pro football. Simmons even finished 9th in Heisman voting despite being a defensive tackle. Wide receiver Phil Williams accepted a scholarship to Florida State. Jesse Canion played at East Carolina and fellow defensive back Rusty Smith played at Navy.
        They faced the top competition of Georgia throughout the season. Like others on the list, they won all their games by a pretty good margin. Their closest game of the season was against Hardaway, in a 35-28 win. Besides that game no other team came within 14 points.
        They went insane in the playoffs beating down three teams by a total score of 132-7. They shutout powerhouse Griffin high school 34-0 in the state final. After their dominant playoff run they were named Georgia state champions and "mythical" co-national champions with Moeller High School of Ohio.

Allen High School Football 2013

#10) Allen High School (Texas) 2013
       The most recent team on our list was 2013 Allen, a dominant collection of college talent. The star power was overwhelming with more than 18 division 1 prospects. Although the changing of rules has made it much easier for teams to score, this team was simply an offensive god. No team held them under 31 points the entire season.
        Kyler Murray, who is regarded as arguably the top Texas high school football quarterback of all time, was the leader of this Allen squad. Murray had his pick of schools before ultimately ending up at Oklahoma. He was so outstanding at Allen that he was invited to the ESPY’s during his senior season. “The ESPYs had to be the pinnacle. It was like I was just walking on a cloud while I was there,” Murray said. During his junior season he threw for 3,669 and 46 touchdowns. He also racked up 1,328 yards on the ground to go along with 18 touchdowns. Eventually he was invited to play in the Under Armour All-American football and baseball games. He was the Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior.
        Offensive tackle Bobby Evans protected Murray's blind side, he also signed with Oklahoma. Future Notre Dame wide receiver Jalen Guyton, provided a reliable target and was a constant threat in the passing game. Center Cody Wheeler, a future Texas Tech signee sured up the o-line. Linebacker Tay Evans was leader of the defense, the future Sooner intimidated opponents and provided a pass rushing nightmare for offenses. On the opposite side linebacker Christian Sam played an important role before going off to Arizona State. They also had two future division 1 players at defensive back. Chad Adams accepted a scholarship at Arizona State as did Maayomi Olootu jr at Northern Illinois. Tejan Koroma was a load on the offensive line, he would eventually suite up for BYU. Although only sophomores on the team, future Ole Miss signees OT Gregory Little and safety Jaylon Jones provided a spark for the Eagles. So ya, there star power was immense.
        They cruised through the regular season, with victories over the likes of Carroll and Cedar Hill. The only really competitive game Allen played was against DeSoto, which it won, 42-35.
       They finished the season ranked 2nd by Max Preps and 1st by USA today. Thus capturing the mythical national crown. There is no doubt this Allen team is among the best in Texas state history.

Honorable Mention

1956 Abilene Texas 14-0, 1961 Washington Massillon Ohio 11-0, 1969 Coral Gabels Florida 11-0, 1971 Valdosta Georiga, 1976 Archbishop Moeller Ohio, 1978 Spring Branch Texas, 1983 Daingerfield Texas 16-0, 1987 North Hills Pennsylvania, 1988 Pine Forest Florida, 1989 Crenshaw California, 1989 Odessa Permian Texas 15-0, 1990 Ruston Lousiana, 1991 Inglewood High California, 1992 Valdosta Georgia 14-0, 1994 John Tyler Texas, 1998 West Monroe Lousiana, 1999 Evangel Christian Lousiana, 1999 De La Salle California 13-0, 1999 Madison Central (Miss), 2001 Long Beach Poly California 12-1, 2003 Pine Bluff Arkansas 15-0, 2004 Colerain Ohio, 2005 Southlake Caroll Texas 16-0, 2006 Oaks Christian California, 2007 Miami Northwestern Florida 15-0, 2007 St. Xavier Ohio 15-0, 2008 Centennial California, 2010 South Panola Mississippi 14-0, 2011 Don Bosco Prep New Jersey 11-0, 2015 Katy Texas, 2016 Bishop Gorman Nevada 15-0.

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