Before players can make it to the NFL they must compete on the gridiron at the college level. And before that, these gladiators first clash in high school in epic showdowns that culminate with national championships. There are good teams, and then there are legendary ones. These are the greatest high school football teams of all time – did your favorite make the list?
Mater Dei High School: 15-0 In 2017
J.T. Daniels helped secure the first of back-to-back National Championships for Mater Dei High School in 2017. On the way to glory, the program took down 10 others ranked in the top 100 in the nation!
Daniels was named the National Player of the Year by Gatorade and MaxPreps. He committed early to USC and started 11 games for the school in 2018. In 2020, he transferred to Georgia.
Masillon Washington High School: 10-0 In 1940
Coached by Paul Brown, the 1940 undefeated Massillon Washington High School football team is where the legend began. The team outscored its opponents 477-6 on the season, proving Brown was a big fish in a little pond.
After leaving the high school, Brown would go on to coach Ohio State, and eventually help found the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals.
Lakeland High School: 15-0 In 2006
Several future NFL stars played on the 2006 Lakeland High School football team in 2006 – most notably Mike and Maurkice Pouncey. The brothers protected the quarterback together throughout high school and college before finally being drafted by separate teams in the pros.
In 2006, Lakeland High School was the number one ranked team in the nation and won their second straight National Championship.
Canton McKinley High School: 14-0 In 1997
Canton McKinley in 1997 was loaded with talent. Three of their players went on to have major careers in the NFL, while a fourth, QB Ben McDaniels, found his way into coaching.
As for the high school itself. They were the top-ranked team from the start of 1997 until the end, never relinquishing their ranking.
Bishop Gorman High School: 15-0 In 2016
Led by QB Tate Martell, Bishop Gorman High School was absolutely unstoppable in 2016. The team went undefeated against one of the toughest schedules in the country and Martell was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year.
In the Nevada State Championship, the school put a cherry on top of its season, crushing Liberty High School 84-8. Yes, that’s a real high school football score.
De La Salle High School: 12-0 In 2001
Future NFL star Maurice Jones-Drew was the lead back for De La Salle High School in 2001. The Concord, California powerhouse never slowed down on its way to a perfect season.
The biggest moment in the legendary season came against the number one ranked Long Beach Poly. De La Salle won 29-15 in front of 18,000 fans and with over 120 media members in attendance.
Katy High School: 16-0 In 2015
Over the course of 16 games in 2015, Katy High School only gave up 62 points, an accomplishment that puts the defense in contention for the greatest in high school history.
Powering through opponents on the strength of their defense, Katy High School easily went undefeated. Jovanni Stewart led the defensive attack with 10 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, and 101 tackles.
Booker T. Washington High School: 14-0 In 2013
Booker T. Washington High School played one of the toughest schedules in the nation in 2013 and somehow managed to go 14-0. The season culminated with them winning the state championship.
In 2018, several players from the team were drafted into the NFL, including quarterback Treon Harris and defensive lineman Chad Thomas.
Archbishop Moeller High School: 12-0 In 1976
The year 1976 was the first year of title runs for Archbishop Moeller High School. The school won four championships in five years. The championship program was engineered by head coach Gerry Faust, who would leave to become the head coach at Notre Dame.
Linebacker Bob Crable followed Faust to the Fighting Irish, becoming a two-time All-American and future star for the New York Jets.
Southlake Carroll High School: 16-0 In 2004
When your team’s QB finishes the season with over 5,500 passing yards and 68 touchdown passes, you’re going to make this list. Those numbers are exactly what Chase Daniel did under cent with Southlake Carroll High School in 2004.
Daniel went on to play college for Missouri (pictured) before becoming a career backup in the NFL.
St. Thomas Aquinas High School: 15-0 In 2008
George Smith took home Coach of the Year honors for his work with the 2008 St. Thomas Aquinas High School football team in 2008. The team’s statement win came at the end of the season, a 56-7 thumping of Lakeland.
Two of the team’s star offensive players, James White and Giovanni Bernard, would find their way to the NFL.
St. Ignatius High School: 14-0 In 1993
St. Ignatius High School was a force to be reckoned with during the era it won five consecutive state championships. 1993 was the third of those titles, and for our money, it was the most impressive.
The school played Archbishop Moeller for the state championship in the snow in 1993, creating a spectacle bigger than high school. Two players, Chris Gizzi (pictured) and Dan O’Leary would play in the NFL.
Hampton High School: 14-0 In 1996
Led by Mike Smith, one of the winningest head coaches in high school football history, the 1996 Hampton High School football team was a true force of nature. Ronald Curry (pictured) was the quarterback. He was also heavily recruited by colleges as a dual-sport athlete.
Hampton scored 819 points over the season, setting a state record.
Northwestern High School: 15-0 In 2007
The top-ranked high school program at the start of the season, Miami Northwestern cemented their season three games in, taking down second-ranked Southlake Carroll in front of over 30,000 fans.
The end of the season might have been more impressive than that early win. The last five games of the year saw the school’s defense give up zero points. ZERO. POINTS.
Berwick Area High School: 15-0 In 1992
1992 Berwick Area High School quarterback Ron Powlus was one of the most recruited players ever and for good reason. He was a winning machine, throwing for over 3,000 yards and winning the National Player of the Year award.
Powlus would commit to Notre Dame and make his way to the NFL as a backup QB for multiple seasons.
Abilene High School: 14-0 In 1956
Abilene High School won its third consecutive championship in 1956. The title came as part of a 49-game winning streak directed by coach Chuck Moser.
How did Abilene High School become so dominant? The program, which seemed to shoot out of a cannon in the ’50s, benefitted from massive population growth in the area.
Don Bosco Prep: 11-0 In 2011
Located in Ramsey, New Jersey, Don Bosco Prep went 11-0 in 2011 to help earn their spot on our list. It was the school’s second title in three years, dominating run that would see the school send a dozen players to Division I schools.
Most notably, free safety Jabrill Peppers was on the team. In 2017, he would be selected with the 25th overall pick in the draft by the Cleveland Browns.
St. Thomas Aquinas High School: 15-0 In 2010
Joining the 2008 St. Thomas Aquinas high school football team on this list is the 2010 version. Seven players on this iconic team made it to the NFL, including WR Phillip Dorsett and DE Joey Bosa.
The high school has become a factory for talent, almost always topping the list of schools with athletes on active NFL rosters.
Coral Gables High School: 13-0 In 1967
Coral Gables High School broke boundaries in 1965, becoming one of the first schools to integrate. Part of that push was by football program head coach Nick Kotys, who made headlines in 1967 when he chose Craig Curry to be his starting QB.
The controversial decision paid off, and Coral Gables went undefeated and won the National Championship.
Valdosta High School: 13-0 In 1971
Valdosta High School won its third championship in ten seasons in 1971. That season was arguably head coach Wright Bazemore’s best work, and it ended with him winning the national title.
In total, Valdosta scored 612 points that season, a school record and that took 23 years to break. In the State Championship, they took down Avondale 62-12.