The 2023 high school football season has arrived, with teams kicking off across the country in August.
That means the first USA TODAY Sports Super 25 is nearing, which marks another start to an iconic franchise that began back in 1982.
Last year’s Super 25 was one of the tightest races of all time, as St. John Bosco narrowly won out over Mater Dei and Bishop Gorman, as well as Texas power Duncanville and Miami Central (Fla.).
How will things stack up this season? Ahead of the opening Super 25, USA TODAY HSS is looking around the country at the five regions we use to create the national rankings:
First up, is the Midwest region, which includes schools in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Archbishop Moeller (Ohio)
Moeller’s 2023 squad is led by one of the most exciting players in the nation: Senior running back Jordan Marshall, who is ranked the No. 1 overall player in the state. Last season Marshall averaged 10.9 yards per carry and scored nine touchdowns from scrimmage. Meanwhile, the Crusaders went 13-2 against some heavy hitters, both in and out of state. This year they open the season at home against Ben Davis on Friday, August 18.
St. Edward (Lakeland, Ohio)
Always among the top teams in the Midwest, the Eagles went 15-1 last season en route to their sixth state championship since 2010. That run included a shutout (6-0) win over Archbishop Moeller. Their only loss of the year was by a field goal on the road against Washington. St. Edward will begin defending their title at Center Grove on Saturday the 19th.
East St. Louis (Ill.)
The Flyers only lost two games in 2022, both coming early in the year by one score against national powerhouse teams at St. Frances Academy (Md.) and Creekside (Ga.). They rolled over everyone else, finishing the season 14-2 and culminating in a 50-point blowout victory in the state championship game against Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge. It was their 10th state title and the second in three years. East St. Louis plays their first game of the season at home on Saturday, August 26, against Chicago’s Mt. Carmel.
Center Grove (Ind.)
The Trojans went 12-2 last season, with one of their losses coming in double overtime by one point against Kentucky’s Trinity. This year they’ll continue to be led by four-star quarterback and Duke commit Tyler Cherry, who posted 2,269 passing yards and 26 total touchdowns as a Junior. They’ll face a difficult test to open the season as they begin their 2023 schedule on the road against St. Edward (Ohio) on the 19th.
Mill Valley (Kan.)
Only one team got the better of the Jaguars last year, as Olathe North won out 20-16 in mid-October. Mill Valley pulverized the rest of their competition, culminating in a 28-14 win over Maize in the Kansas state championship game – their fourth consecutive state title. Their new season begins at home on Friday, September 1 against Olathe Northwest.
St. Xavier (Ky.)
The Tigers are coming off a strong 10-2 campaign, which ended in a thrilling 22-21 overtime loss to Male at home. Senior three-star defensive lineman Ashton Jones (2 sacks, 4 tackles for a loss last year) will be among those welcoming Floyd Central on Friday, August 18, for St. Xavier’s first matchup of the 2023 season.
Belleville boasts one of the top prospects in the nation in five-star quarterback Bryce Underwood, who’s ranked No. 1 overall in the class of 2025. As a Sophomore Underwood led the Tigers to a 14-0 record and a second straight state title, throwing for 2,762 yards and 37 touchdowns. The Tigers open the 2023 season at River Rouge on Friday the 25th.
Southeast Polk (Iowa)
The Rams stumbled just once last season, losing to Ankeny 31-14 at home in September. It was smooth sailing from there, as Polk finished 14-1 and blew away Valley 49-14 in the state championship game. Abu Sama (who scored six touchdowns in the title game) is now at Iowa State, but Polk still has starting quarterback Connor Moberly. The Rams’ first game of 2023 will also be a rematch against Valley on the 25th.
Mankato West (Minn.)
The Scarlets survived a few close calls during the 2022 season but kept a perfect record intact all the way to the state championship game, where they lost to Elk River by a field goal. Mankato West will face Northfield at home on Friday, September 1, to open the new season.
Christian Brothers College (Mo.)
The Cadets were handily defeated by East St. Louis by a score of 64-19 in their second game last season. After that, they totally dominated everyone they faced until the state championship against Lee’s Summit North. It went to overtime, with Christian Brothers coming out on top, 35-28. This year they’ll begin their title defense on the road against Howell on Friday the 18th.
Others: Omaha Westside (Neb.) and Shanley, (Fargo, N.D).
Live-stream high school football: NFHS Network