Power rankings: Here's how Treasure Coast high school football programs stack up ahead of Week 1
It's go time for Treasure Coast high school football teams as the regular season begins with two teams playing Thursday and everyone else in action Friday night.
Preseason kickoff classics were primarily a success for the area with a number of teams scoring impressive victories against quality opponents.
On Thursday, John Carroll Catholic, Sebastian River and Tradition Prep kick off their seasons on the road with the Rams heading down to take on a talented Benjamin squad and the Sharks will take on Golden High from Colorado in Kissimmee and the Pirates tangle with Delray Beach American Heritage in their first-ever varsity game.
Marquee matchups Friday include Treasure Coast going to Osceola, Martin County traveling to Bartow, two local-local matchups with South Fork taking on Vero Beach and Fort Pierce Central battling Jensen Beach.
Kickoff Classics:What did we learn about the Treasure Coast entering Week 1?
With teams getting a look at what they have post preseason preparing for a game that counts, TCPalm unveils its first power ranking poll of the season and from each week going forward will list its Top 10 every Tuesday.
1. Treasure Coast
The Titans earned a hard-fought 16-14 win over Rockledge with Manuel German de Leon's 25-yard field goal with just over two minutes remaining the difference.
Going against some of Brevard County's best athletes and size up front was a great preview for what Treasure Coast will see waiting in its season opener.
New names produced offensively as George Roberts and Shomari Pettigrew ran in touchdowns on the ground and controlling the clock and generating push against an Osecola defensive front buoyed by John Walker (UCF commit) and Derrick LeBlanc (Oklahoma commit) will be critical for success.
This week: at Osceola
2. Vero Beach
It took the offense a bit to kick into gear putting up points for Vero Beach but 28 second-half points helped them roll to a 34-3 win over Boca Raton in their preseason game.
Junior and SMU commit Tyler Aronson threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns and nine different Vero receivers had a catch. Florida State commit Vandrevius Jacobs and sophomore Justin Woulard each bringing in eight catches and a touchdown.
Welcoming in a South Fork team hungry to make a name for themselves, Vero Beach's defense will want to back up a strong showing with an impressive season opener.
This week: vs. South Fork
3. John Carroll Catholic
John Carroll Catholic's offense hit numerous chunk plays, a handful that went for touchdowns in their 34-0 preseason win over Port St. Lucie.
Senior quarterback Dawson Maehl threw for over 300 yards on just nine completions with classmates Marion Frederick, Lehigh commit Aidan Singleton and Freddie Pittman all making big plays.
A stout test on the road at Benjamin, who can match the Rams with athletes on the field, likely comes down to the lines of scrimmage where John Carroll is very strong and a win would be a kick start to what could be a special 2022 for this team.
This week: at Benjamin (Thursday)
4. Martin County
One of the more interesting results in the preseason was how easily Martin County's defense made it look against Seminole Ridge on the road pitching a shutout and forcing four turnovers in a 47-0 romp.
The Tigers felt good about their offense in camp and with one of the area's fastest players Denzel Alexander breaking a long touchdown run and punt return for a score, head coach Rod Harris and his staff has to feel good as they begin 2022.
A tough road trip out to a Bartow team that always fields a competitive team is a great test for Martin County and sophomore quarterback Jayden Vega making his first varsity start that counts.
This week: at Bartow
One of the disappointments of the preseason was Centennial not being able to see how they would have fared against a talented Pahokee team due to inclement weather.
For the Eagle coaching staff, being unable to evaluate their roster before games count was unfortunate but Centennial returns skill and experience they feel good about entering the season.
Clewiston is another out of area opponent that always provides a challenge year in and year out and if the Eagles can start fast and play with a lead early they should be in good shape.
This week: at Clewiston
6. Jensen Beach
It was an impressive preseason game for Jensen Beach led by Dennis Palmer, Jr. scoring two touchdowns on the ground and taking a kickoff back 95 yards for a score in the Falcons' 20-13 win at Heritage.
The defense also had a nice showing allowing only one touchdown against a Brevard County team that has athletes who can make plays.
A home game to begin 2022 against Fort Pierce Central is a great opportunity for Jensen Beach to start strong if the team can keep their confidence high.
This week: vs. Fort Pierce Central
7. Port St. Lucie
A tough ask having to play one of the area's most talented teams left Port St. Lucie on the wrong end of a 34-0 defeat to John Carroll Catholic in the preseason.
For most of the first half, the Jaguars showed flashes in particular on the offensive line and at linebacker which were two areas in which the team lost depth and experience from last year's district title winning team.
A road trip to St. John Paul II down south is a chance to get back on the right side of the scoreboard and after seeing several Division I caliber players, the Jaguars will feel ready for the games that matter.
This week: at St. John Paul II
8. Fort Pierce Westwood
Good vibes were what Fort Pierce Westwood and its new coaching staff were looking for after the preseason and coming away with an 18-12 double overtime win over Forest Hill was exactly what the program needed.
An interception return for a touchdown by star junior Jaylyn Monds and a pair of rushing touchdowns in overtime by sophomore Todd Jackson accounted for the scoring and those two names will be key the success the Panthers have in 2022.
A fun matchup to begin the season for first year head coach Chris Kokell is against a former area head coach Chuck Kenyon and Royal Palm Beach on the road.
This week: at Royal Palm Beach
9. South Fork
Another team that needed some positive momentum entering the regular season got it as South Fork got a late interception return for a touchdown by junior Jason Curry was the difference in a 13-8 win over John I. Leonard in the preseason.
The Bulldogs had quality performances on defense last season and despite featuring many new faces, the defense had a great debut collecting seven sacks.
An unenviable task lies ahead for head coach Antwan Blatch and his kids going to Vero Beach in the season opener and if the team can put up a competitive fight, Blatch will be pleased.
This week: at Vero Beach
10. Fort Pierce Central
Another team that had a strong showing in the preseason was Fort Pierce Central, going all the way up to Ocala and scoring a 19-13 victory over Forest.
Three touchdown passes from sophomore Ahmar Atwell are exactly what a young quarterback needs to build confidence entering the regular season.
A season opener at Jensen Beach is a chance for the Cobras and head coach Mike Watkins to battle a quality opponent and a game that over the years always tends to be played very close into the fourth quarter.
This week: at Jensen Beach
11. St. Edward's
It was a successful preseason for St. Edward's earning a 28-7 win over Melbourne Central Catholic as the Pirates prepare to back up a strong 2021 with more success.
Senior quarterback Dylan Redmon threw two touchdown passes and the Pirate defense ushered in some new faces and had success entering the start of the regular season.
A massive game to begin the year at home against a Jupiter Christian team they could see in the SSAC playoffs down the road is a tone setter for 2022 for a team that wants to continue making noise locally and on the state level.
This week: vs. Jupiter Christian
12. Sebastian River
A long road trip for Sebastian River against a quality opponent resulted in a 33-6 preseason loss to Tallahassee Chiles and former head coach Kevin Pettis.
The Sharks did play a scoreless fourth quarter and outside of a rough second quarter did hang in well defensively against an opponent with size and speed.
A fun road trip to Kissimmee taking on Golden High School from Colorado to kick off 2022 is an opportunity for head coach Tony Perry and his kids to represent Florida with a quality showing.
This week: vs. Golden, Co. in Kissimmee (Thursday)
The preseason ended for Okeechobee and first year head coach BJ Pryor incomplete as their game against Jupiter ended early due to weather in the fourth quarter with the Brahmans losing 14-0.
A home opener against DeSoto County awaits with Okeechobee wanting some revenge after losing 24-7 to the Bulldogs in last year's season opener.
This week: vs. DeSoto County
14. Tradition Prep
Tradition Prep was the only other team besides Centennial that did not play a preseason game instead opting to scrimmage against each other to prepare for its first season at the varsity level.
Their first game against the big boys takes the Pirates down to Delray Beach against an American Heritage program in a rebuild so it's an opportunity for head coach Shawn McGrath and his kids to see what they have.
This week: at American Heritage (Thursday)