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August 17, 20121. Giltner: Led by brilliant passing quarterback Jake Findlay and speedy running back/receiver Kyle Hawthorne, the Hornets are the class of the class. Add Gothenburg transfer Dillon Gartner and, yikes, these guys are scary.
2. Humphrey St. Francis: Flyers will be good, as always, and might be really good if some of those sophomores emerge as expected. Opening game with Osmond (see below) will tell much about both teams.
3. Kenesaw: This ranking is a vote for the importance of senior QB Tyler Schnitzler, the best dual-threat QB in eight-man football. New running backs need to emerge, though.
4. Falls City Sacred Heart: Been a while since the Irish have been to the mountain top - last state final, 1994; last semifinal, 2000 - but this bunch could be that good. The return from injury of senior Lane Barnhill provides a huge boost.
5. Osmond: Despite widespread injuries last season the Tigers still managed a playoff berth. They drop from D-1 and should prosper. I'm tellin' ya, keep an eye on that Osmond-St. Fran opener...
6. Sterling: The Jets have some good young talent, including junior tight end Kody Benson and should become a postseason factor.
7. Medicine Valley: Have a good fibe from the Raiders, who feature the dynamic passing duo of QB Riley Garey and all-state receiver candidate Lucas Gliesberg as part of a strong senior class.
8. Wausa: Vikings haven't been in the playoffs since 2004 but are a deep, experienced team with some playmakers at skill positions. Our surprise top ten team.
9. Shelton: Bulldogs enjoyed a great 2011, bagging their first playoff win since 1992, and feature all-state running back Luke Glenn.
10. Lindsay Holy Family: Program's got a lot of seniors in it this season and that sort of depth, and the program's long history of success, makes it a good bet to press for a top ten ranking.