High school football: How Palm Beach County teams stand in first FHSAA release

With Hurricane Ian looming, the Florida High School Athletic Association's first set of power rankings have dropped for the 2022 football season.

This week, I decided to relieve myself of my ranking duties and leave them to the state's governing body of high school sports, which posted its first list on Tuesday.

I'm sure that a data algorithm can accurately rank who the Top 10 teams in Palm Beach County are.

Where were the Eagles in Week 5: Atlantic vs. Lakewood canceled due to 'unforeseen issues'

More Week 5:Forest Hill escapes with 26-21 victory over Lake Worth

Here are your best area programs as Week 6 approaches as determined by the FHSAA:

1. Cardinal Newman (5-0)

The Benjamin School Buccaneers hosts the Cardinal Newman Crusaders during first half action of boys football at Theofilos Field in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on September 9, 2022.
The Benjamin School Buccaneers hosts the Cardinal Newman Crusaders during first half action of boys football at Theofilos Field in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on September 9, 2022.

FHSAA standing: No. 12 overall, No. 4 in Class 1M

With a 42-7 road win at Clewiston last Friday, the Newman offense has posted four performances exceeding 40 points this season. The Crusaders only fell short once, if you can even call it that, by four points against Benjamin, sealing a 36-14 win.

Can they do it against John Carroll Catholic?

Compared to a 9.56-strength for Chaminade-Madonna – who knocked Newman out in region finals last fall – and the programs that precede it in 4M, Newman plays a relatively weak schedule, rated 2.61.

John Carroll's is even weaker, a 0.49, but they're also in Class 1S. The Crusaders won't know the grade on their toughest test until the No. 27 overall Rams are on the bus back to Fort Pierce this week.

This week: vs. John Carroll (4-0), Friday, 7p

2. Santaluces (4-0)

Santaluces athlete Jaden Joseph (29) completes a backflip as Santaluces takes the field prior to the start of the game between Inlet Grove and host Santaluces in Lantana, FL., on Thursday, August 25, 2022. Final score, Santaluces, 32, Inlet Grove, 20.
Santaluces athlete Jaden Joseph (29) completes a backflip as Santaluces takes the field prior to the start of the game between Inlet Grove and host Santaluces in Lantana, FL., on Thursday, August 25, 2022. Final score, Santaluces, 32, Inlet Grove, 20.

FHSAA standing: No. 25 overall, No. 4 in Class 4M

Well, my bold prediction entering the season was Palm Beach County would see Santaluces in region finals.

By the looks of it, the FHSAA agrees.

Generally, schedules in Class 4M aren't that tough, minimizing concerns for how a soft docket of opponents, rated 0.59, would affect the Chiefs' postseason success.

This week: at Lake Worth (2-2), 6:30p

3. Pahokee (4-1)

FHSAA standing: No. 37 overall, No. 2 in Class 1R

Pahokee returned to the Muck with another win, this one against Palm Beach Gardens. However, the 38-30 final tells us more about the longevity of this defense when compared to a 32-14 lead at the half.

I'm not saying Pahokee doesn't have one of the best defenses in the county – or the state. Even the FHSAA thinks so.

The physicality and speed that the Blue Devils exert in one half is just what a better, standard team can muster in four quarters. If we can find stamina and consistency here, we should see some new hardware in the trophy case come December.

This week: vs. Dwyer (3-2), Thursday, 6:30p

4. Palm Beach Gardens (3-2)

FHSAA standing: No. 73 overall, No. 10 in Class 4M

Remember how I said 4M schedules aren't that tough? "Generally" was the key word.

Just like last year, Palm Beach Gardens has one of hardest schedules around the county – and the state. Four teams ahead of Gardens in 4M have negative strength-of-schedules. Similarly to their week-to-week second half resilience, the Gators stand strong with a schedule rating of 7.72.

Only five teams across all classes in the FHSAA Top 100 have a stronger schedule than Gardens: Chaminade, Miami-Central (8.37), Miami-Northwestern (9.52), Venice (12.37) and Dillard (11.93).

The most critical thing to Gardens keeping a high billing is maintaining that winning record.

This week: vs. Palm Beach Lakes (0-5), Friday, 6:30p

5. King's (4-1)

Lions players Dartayvious Saintelus (left), Nick Cueto (middle), and Marion Victor (right) all celebrate a Lions touchdown in the first quarter of King's Academy's 24-21 win against St. Andrew's on Aug. 26, 2022.
Lions players Dartayvious Saintelus (left), Nick Cueto (middle), and Marion Victor (right) all celebrate a Lions touchdown in the first quarter of King's Academy's 24-21 win against St. Andrew's on Aug. 26, 2022.

FHSAA standing: No. 79 overall, No. 12 in Class 2M

On a three-game win streak with a 28-6 win at North Broward Prep, things have turned around for the Lions since a loss to Glades Central.

Yet, once again, a weaker schedule could prove costly for a King's team that's still in rebuild since Keith Allen, the last coach to take King's to state, stepped away in 2021.

This week: Bye

6. Inlet Grove (3-1)

Inlet Grove head coach Rashad Jackson speaks to players prior to the start of the game between Inlet Grove and host Santaluces in Lantana, FL., on Thursday, August 25, 2022. Final score, Santaluces, 32, Inlet Grove, 20.
Inlet Grove head coach Rashad Jackson speaks to players prior to the start of the game between Inlet Grove and host Santaluces in Lantana, FL., on Thursday, August 25, 2022. Final score, Santaluces, 32, Inlet Grove, 20.

FHSAA standing: No. 101 overall, No. 17 in Class 2M

The Rashad Jackson-effect seems to have spread to Inlet Grove as the former Glades Central coach navigates his first season out of the Muck. This time last fall, Inlet Grove was 1-3. It was the Hurricanes' first squad to compete since not fielding a group in 2019.

Jackson's arrival has seen existing Inlet receivers Teremun Lott,  Timothy Mann, Jr., and Kian Johnson realize their full potential as sophomore quarterback Legend Felican nears 1,000 passing yards.

The additions of E'Javious Boswell, Jacory Brown and Sebastien Christian from programs around the county have balanced out the Hurricanes' run-game into a top-caliber offense that can compete with the best of them in 2022.

This week: at Benjamin (1-3), Friday, 6:30p

7. Atlantic (3-2)

FHSAA standing: No. 113 overall, No. 14 in Class 3M

Had Lakewood not cancelled on Atlantic last minute for Week 5, you bet the Eagles could've been found amongst the top.

This is one of Atlantic's youngest rosters in years. Still, that doesn't take away from their talent. It would've been nice to verify with a win over a state contender last Friday, but a blowout of Boca Raton suggested the consistency necessary to come out in the win column.

A week to rest before taking on Pahokee will give the Eagles a little longer to make sure that they're firing on all cylinders for the Blue Devils.

This week: Bye

8. Saint Andrew's (3-1)

St. Andrew's Jacob Cashion runs the ball for a large gain during the Scots' 24-21 loss to King's Academy. Cashion had a big second half in the game, rushing for a score and throwing one to help fuel the Scots' rally on Aug. 26, 2022.
St. Andrew's Jacob Cashion runs the ball for a large gain during the Scots' 24-21 loss to King's Academy. Cashion had a big second half in the game, rushing for a score and throwing one to help fuel the Scots' rally on Aug. 26, 2022.

FHSAA standing: No. 132 overall, No. 19 in Class 2M

Allowing just 20 points and scoring 141 in their last three wins is impressive compared to the Scots' 1-3 start in 2021.

An 0.15-rated schedule suggests that may not pull St. Andrew's through a stacked postseason though. And 2022 was tabbed to be the program's best chance in years with lights out talent in dual-threat quarterback Jacob Cashion and the Super 11's Bill Young on deck for senior seasons.

This week: at American Heritage-Delray (2-3), Friday, 7p

9. Dwyer (3-2)

Dwyer’s Kyle McNeal (7) looks for running room against Jensen Beach in the fourth quarter on Friday, September 1, 2022 in Palm Beach Gardens.
Dwyer’s Kyle McNeal (7) looks for running room against Jensen Beach in the fourth quarter on Friday, September 1, 2022 in Palm Beach Gardens.

FHSAA standing: No. 146 overall, No. 23 in 3M

A 21-18 win over Glades Central propelled Dwyer into the Top 10 this week and rightfully so. The Panthers proved team injuries and weather delays – and the Muck – were no match for Dwyer dominance.

Ahead of Week 6, Hurricane Ian could prove to be Dwyer's greatest weapon should it bar the Panthers from traveling to Pahokee. Luckily for Blue Devils coach Emmanuel Hendrix, Al Shipman will be heading the trip for Dwyer instead of former Jack Daniels.

This week: at Pahokee, Thursday, 6:30p

10. Seminole Ridge (4-1)

FHSAA standing: No. 151 overall, No. 24 in 3M

Not to sound like a broken record, but a -3.00-rated schedule left a previously undefeated Seminole Ridge surprised against Inlet Grove.

In a rare occurrence for the county, the Hawks were given the option to finish the game the night it was suspended in the third quarter.

Hopefully, Ridge takes the loss as fuel for the backend of its schedule because it could be a long stretch with Boynton Beach, Dwyer, Atlantic and Wellington ahead.

This week: Bye

Where did the rest of Palm Beach County fall among Florida's Top 200 teams?

Schools in bold were ranked by the Palm Beach Post in Week 5 and have the chance to hop back in the Top 10 after Week 6.

  • Somerset Academy-Canyons – No. 155 overall, No. 22 in Class 2M

  • Palm Beach Central – No. 156 overall, No. 20 in Class 4M

  • Boca Raton – No. 172 overall, No. 22 in Class 4M

  • Boynton Beach – No. 190 overall, No. 26 in Class 2M

  • Benjamin – No. 192 overall, No. 13 in Class 1M

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Palm Beach County football rankings: FHSAA initial release