Lakeland, Lake Wales in FNF Football Preseason Top 25

The cover of the FNF Florida preseason football magazine for 2012.

One of my favorite annual purchases for the past few years has been the Friday Night Football Florida preseason magazine for high school football in the state.

There are overviews of each team in Florida, rankings, recruiting notes, predictions, etc. If

you’re a fan of high school football, this should definitely be something you go buy. Or you can let me recap some of the highlights for you.

Since we’re in Polk County, I figured I would keep the first post from the magazine focused on our local teams and the magazine’s predictions. So, I’ll start with the top 25 teams in the state with Polk schools in bold:

1. Manatee (Bradenton)
2. Plant (Tampa)
3. Booker T. Washington (Miami)
4. Armwood
5. Glades Central
6. St. Thomas Aquinas
7. Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens)
8. Cocoa
9. American Heritage (Delray)
10. Lakeland
11. Christopher Columbus (Miami)
12. Cypress Bay (Weston)
13. Central (Miami)
14. Immokalee
15. Lincoln (Tallahassee)
16. Norland (Miami)
17. Miramar
18. First Coast (Jacksonville)
19. Madison County
20. Palmetto
21. University School (Davie)
22. Mainland (Daytona Beach)
23. Lake Wales
24. Bolles (Jacksonville)
25. Fletcher (Neptune Beach)

And here are the top teams in the “Heartland,” which encompasses Polk County as well as Pasco, Hardee and Highlands.

1. Pasco (Dade City)
2. Lakeland
3. Winter Haven
4. Lake Gibson
5. Lake Wales

As you can see, the Heartland rankings don’t exactly follow the state top 25. If they did, then Pasco would be in the state rankings, and either Winter Haven or Gibson would be in the state rankings ahead of Lake Wales. My best guess is different people did each ranking, and they just compared notes. Not too uncommon for something like this, as freelancers are typically hired to do the local rankings and reports.

Overall, there’s some pretty solid respect for Polk County. I’ll pull out some more notes later, but suffice it to say there are some big athletes and big games coming up this season. Can’t wait!

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