Football fever is sweeping the nation and we are just weeks away from week one of the high school football season.

We looked at two resources which feature the top five high school football teams in the state. The rankings differ though depending on where you look.

First, there's the Super 25 Computer Rankings. This particular set of rankings is a product of USA Today and when looking at them, careful consideration needs to be taken.

These rankings are set completely by a computer. The computer takes into account strength of schedule, home field advantage, and margin of victory. The folks over at USA Today admit that, "because some of the data is based on past performances, the computer will be more accurate as the season progresses."

However, let's look at the top 5 based on the rankings before a game has been played:

  1. Park River
  2. Beulah
  3. Saint Mary's (Bismarck)
  4. Century (Bismarck)
  5. Carrington

MaxPreps.com widely known for their High School sports prowess takes a more human approach at the rankings. Here are the site's 'Fab 5' schools heading into the season according to Max Preps:

  1. Century (Bismarck)
  2. Minot/Dakota Memorial
  3. Bismarck
  4. Park River
  5. Beulah

But when looking at Max Preps overall state rankings, it looks like this:

  1. Park River
  2. Century (Bismarck)
  3. St. Mary's (Bismarck)
  4. Beulah
  5. Shanley (Fargo)

Let's take a closer look at some of the schools that made these lists.

Park River:
Robert Goll is the man in charge of this squad who finished the 2015 season at 11-0. Park River has won two straight Class A titles and their winning streak extends beyond last season. They were undefeated last year but the Aggies have actually won 19 in a row.

During last year's 11-0 season, Park River averaged over 50 points per game and the team scored at least 60 points in three of their games. Quarterback Levi Cudmore was last year's Class A State Player of the Year but he has since graduated. Cudmore signed a national letter of intent to play at Moorhead State as a defensive back.

All-State Linebacker Jackson Hankey returns to this year's squad however.

Beulah:
The Miners are led by Jim Dooley and last year defeated Shanley in the Class AA championship 33-18.

Beulah has a top notch running back in Mikey Morris who last year as a sophomore was an all-state second team selection. Morris had 13 TD's and 1,346 rushing yards last year. Morris also is a baseball shortstop.

Century:
Rob Wingenbach head coaches the Patriots and last year the team finished with a second place finish in the Western Dakota Association but dominated in the playoffs en route to a Class AAA championship.

The stud on this team was Quarterback Dalton Feeney who is also a baseball standout and was drafted just a few months ago in the MLB draft. Unfortunately for Century High School, Dalton Feeney has graduated.

However a key player in protecting Feeney, offensive lineman Seth Braun returns and linebacker Jacob Rader returns to the defense. Rader is no stranger to hard hitting as he also wrestles for Century.

St. Mary's:
Dan Smreakar enters his 39th year as head coach of the Saints who last year shared the Class AA West Region title with Beulah and Valley City. The team finished 9-2 last year.

Unfortunately for St. Mary's they lost a solid core of players to graduation including running back Jacob Heinert, tight end and linebacker Casey Uhler, and defensive back Sam Wilk.

However linemen Ian Brown and Sam Harris return who earned All-State honors last year. Additionally, All-State linebacker Cole Spies returns along with quarterback Cole Gendreau who suffered a mid-season injury last year.

Bismarck:
Bismarck is led by head coach Mark Gibson who enters his 18th year in that role. The team finished 7-3 last year but has won four state titles since 2008.

Jaxon Ford who rushed for over 3,000 yards the past two seasons has graduated but the team returns All-Conference defensive end Lucus Butts.

Check this page for potential further updates and other team previews over the next week plus as we get closer to the start of the season.

[USA Today | Max Preps | Bismarck Tribune]