AHS tops ESPN preseason rankings

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AHS tops ESPN preseason rankings

Post  CerealKiller on Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:21 am

AHS tops ESPN preseason rankings

By Sam Waller

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Abilene High Eagles drew quite a bit of attention late last fall as they made their run to the Class 5A Division II state championship.

The attention is starting much earlier in 2010.

The Eagles are the No. 1 high school football team in the nation according to the Powerade Fab 50 ESPN Rise Team Rankings, and are ranked No. 3 in two other polls.

The ESPN rankings site the return of quarterback Ronnell Sims, running backs Herschel Sims and Tony Curtis and wide receiver Darius Joseph for making Abilene High the preseason No. 1.

Tampa (Fla.) Plant is ranked No. 2 after winning the Florida Class 5A state title in 2009. Plant visits Abilene for a Sept. 16 game that will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

The Eagles were ranked No. 3 by both the National Prep Football Poll and the MaxPreps Xcellent 25. Plant is No. 2 in the National Prep Poll and No. 11 in the MaxPreps rankings.

The No. 1 spot in both of those rankings went to Euless Trinity, the defending Class 5A Division I state champion. The Trojans, coached by Abilene High graduate Steve Lineweaver, are No. 6 in the ESPN rankings.

Another Texas team drawing notice is reigning Class 4A Division I champ Austin Lake Travis. The Cavaliers are ranked No. 3 by ESPN, No. 4 in the National Prep Poll and No. 10 by MaxPreps.

Abilene High begins preseason workouts Monday and kicks off the 2010 season Aug. 27 against Belton as part of the Texas Football Classic at the Alamodome in San Antonio.


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Plant takes preseason No. 1

Post  CerealKiller on Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:33 am

Plant takes preseason No. 1

Coming off back-to-back state titles in Florida, the Tampa (Fla.) Plant Panthers have dealt with expectation.

Starting the season as the No. 1 team in the RivalsHigh 100 is something else altogether.

Head coach Robert Weiner says neither will affect the team.

"When you have won like we have won and have the players coming back we have, expectations are going to happen," he said. "We lost 44 seniors after our first state title and we lost 43 seniors from last year's team. So this is a completely different group that is facing the expectations placed on them. We have to approach each year differently, rankings or not."

The rankings, and therefore expectations, are certainly there for a team that has won the Florida Class 4A state title in 2008 and the Class 5A state title in 2009.

It also doesn't hurt that the Panthers are bringing back one of the best players in the country, James Wilder Jr., and a two-time state championship quarterback, Phillip Ely.

Wilder, the son of the former NFL great by the same name, is ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect in the Rivals 100 for the Class of 2011. Where he'll play next season will be known soon.

Weiner confirmed on Monday to FlaVarsity.com that Wilder will announce his college decision on Aug. 18, likely around 5 p.m.

He also recognizes the talent he has on the field and admits to being in awe of the ability of Wilder.

"James is a maniac and I am not sure he knows it," Weiner said. "It is like going for a run with your dog. Your dog doesn't know how far you are going so he just takes off. That is just like James. He goes as hard as he can until the whistle. Then he does it again. I have never seen a player with that kind of intensity from start to finish."

But it doesn't end there with Wilder.

"What people don't know about James is what makes him truly special," Weiner said. "I have seen good players who just rely on their natural ability, but James' effort actually exceeds his ability. He works his butt off to get better. He has amazing effort and he plays with an incredible passion. He is also a sponge. Anything we try to teach him he absorbs, he loves to learn and loves to be coached."

Ely follows in those accolades from Wiener.

"When Phillip first came up with us, he was to follow Aaron Murray, and heck he may have been 5-foot-9 then," Weiner recalled. "And he couldn't bench press two 45-pound plates. Now, he is 6-foot-1 and a real football player."

Weiner wouldn't comment on his bench, but it's safe to assume that it has improved too.

The main part of Ely's game, though, is one that is often overlooked.

He's a winner.

Ely is now 19-0 as a starter and has won two state titles.

"He doesn't have a 'wow factor,'" Weiner said. "But when you measure a quarterback you can look for yards or arm strength, but what is most important is - does he know how to win? Does the team buy into him as a leader? And the kids know with Phillip they have a chance to win."

All of the accolades aside, the team still will need to get it done on the field.

After an up-and-down spring and summer, one that included a spring game loss to nearby Tampa (Fla.) Jefferson - who is ranked No. 61 in the RivalsHigh 100, but a team Plant beat 46-13 last season - the games can not start soon enough for Plant.

"We will know pretty much everything we will need to know after our first six games of the season," Weiner said.

Those games include a jamboree game against No. 49-ranked Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee; a season opener at Tampa (Fla.) Tampa Bay Tech, who handed Plant its only loss last year; rival Tampa (Fla.) Hillsborough; a nationally-televised game against the RivalsHigh100 No. 3 team in Abilene (Texas) High; and finally a home contest against No. 26 Seffner (Fla.) Armwood.

"If you want to play the kind of football we want to play, that is the kind of schedule you want to have," Weiner said. "Week in and week out, we are taking on the best we can."

It all starts in less than three weeks.

1 Plant Tampa FL
Plant has won back-to-back state titles in Florida and returns all-world athlete James Wilder Jr and quarterback Phillip Ely.
2 Poly Long Beach CA
Poly ended 2009 with a 7-5 record. The team brings back nine starters on both offense and defense.
3 Abilene Abilene TX
Texas 5A Division II winners bring back Herschel and Ronnie Sims to lead the charge.

4 Glenville Academic Campus Cleveland OH
The most talented team in Ohio thinks this is the year it takes home the state title.
5 South Panola Batesville MS
The famed 89-game win streak had to start somewhere. The Tigers enter 2010 with 13 consecutive wins.
6 Trinity Euless TX
A summer off doesn't figure to slow one of the best teams in Texas.

7 West Monroe West Monroe LA
West Monroe has won two national titles and brings back a defense good enough to take home a third.
8 Hoover Hoover AL
Hoover wants to win games after it wins off the field.
9 Hamilton Chandler AZ
Hamilton's offensive line anchors its high hopes for a state title.
10 Dorman Roebuck SC
The Cavaliers enter the 2010 season as the best in South Carolina. A place it feels it should be more frequently.

For full list of teams visit: http://highschool.rivals.com/viewrankhs.asp?ra_key=751

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Re: AHS tops ESPN preseason rankings

Post  Kevin on Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:47 pm

Watched the katy game on tv last year. here's a couple highlight vids of the sims cousins

first we have Herschel

and Ronell

Both of those have some cool ideas for some stuff I want to do. in Herschel's vid I like the closeup's of his face through his helmet. Something about the intensity in a players eyes during a game that comes through. I dunno. Hope Abilene does well this year tho


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