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PaPreps Fine 15 | PaPreps.com | last sorted on 12/27/2013TweetFollow @achiappazzi
PaPreps has been doing the Fine 15 for four seasons now, and this might have been the most tumultuous. A fairly even group of teams in both Class AAAA and AAA led to upsets, blowouts, and the rise and fall of teams throughout the year.
In the end, though, one of the teams we pegged as the state's best at the beginning of the year ended up on top. Oddly enough, our ranking for SJP raised some eyebrows early on, especially when the Hawks were pasted by Don Bosco Prep (NJ) in early September. But Gabe Infante's crew stuck with it and their talent, plus some quality coaching, led to their first state title.
They're joined at the top by fellow Philadelphia Catholic League brethren Archbishop Wood, which is used to finishing high in the Fine 15.
The surprises might come later in the rankings. Parkland shoots up by virtue of their strong season, including a close loss to SJP at the end. West Allegheny and Cathedral Prep also adjust accordingly by virtue of the Class AAA result that sent Bishop McDevitt down to the fifth spot.
The questions that most people will probably have surround No. 14 and 15, though. Imhotep Charter was being bandied about as potentially the best team in the state. PaPreps had concerns over the meat of their schedule, although Albie Crosby did a nice job scheduling up where he could. South Fayette could also probably compete with most of the rest of the state, regardless of class. In the end, the overall resumes aren't enough to push them into the Top 10.
The look ahead to next year is intriguing. The eastern part of the state actually looks stronger from the outset, as Imhotep joins Wood in Class AAA with both returning a number of key pieces. St. Joseph's Prep and Neshaminy do as well. Quad-A in the west is wide open, while Class AAA will be stacked with Bishop McDevitt, West Allegheny and Central Valley all returning large portions of their rosters.
Much has been written about the state of Pennsylvania football. Is it as good as it has been? Probably not. But one thing is certain: 2013 proved that at the very least, it's definitely not boring.
PaPreps publisher Andrew Chiappazzi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @achiappazzi