Booker T. Washington (Miami) may be the No. 1 team in the preseason Super 25 rankings, but Tornadoes coach Tim "Ice" Harris knows his team has a little history to overcome when it plays at No. 6 Norcross, Ga., Saturday night at 7 p.m. (ET) on ESPN.
For the past 10 years, Florida high school football teams have fared well against every state in the nation except Georgia, where they're 28-55-2, according to Calpreps.com.
MORE: Super 25 Schedule
"The two states are always vying for who has the best football," Harris said. "For us, we're hoping that we can put it together to turn the tide. It's on us to try to level the playing field a little bit."
The teams are defending state champions and have plenty of Division I-caliber athletes. The most interesting matchup may be whether Booker T. Washington's defense, led by defensive end Chad Thomas, can overcome the Blue Devils' front line that includes seniors Joseph Ledford (6-foot-3, 283 pounds), Caleb Crum (6-1, 241), Trent Jenkins (6-4, 320), Ryan Northrup (6-3, 280), Horatio Walker (6-4, 320) and Blake Wood (5-10, 240).
"They have a big line. They will try to blow you off the ball," Harris said. "We have to make sure we're playing our type of football."
Norcross may have its hands full with the Tornadoes' offense. Led by quarterback Treon Harris, Booker T. Washington scored more than 50 points a game last season.
"They have a tremendous amount of speed," Norcross coach Keith Maloof said. "That's a different kind of game for us. Most teams have one guy who can fly. They have four or five who are the same size that are speedy. You have to be aware of all of them."
In 2008, the last time Booker T. Washington ventured into Georgia, it was also coming off a state championship, but Northside (Warner Robins) defeated the Tornadoes 31-7.
"For me, that game doesn't really doesn't matter," Harris said. "I wasn't the coach that year. We do things a whole lot differently now.
We feel good about going in this direction. We feel good about our student-athletes to be in this setting."
There are plenty of big games this weekend, including several on television. Two of the most interesting matchups:
No. 18 Ensworth (Nashville, Tenn.) at No. 2 Trinity (Louisville), Friday, 8 p.m., ESPNU
Both have been dominant in their respective states in recent years with Ensworth winning the past three Division II-AA titles and Trinity taking the past three state 6A titles. The big question for Trinity will be whether its inexperienced defense can handle Ensworth running back D’Andre Ferby.
No. 19 Good Counsel (Olney) vs. No. 50 Gilman (Baltimore), Friday, 8:30 p.m., ESPNews
Always an intense rivalry, Good Counsel's Falcons escaped with a 20-19 overtime defeat of the Greyhounds last season. An added bit of intrigue is both teams have new, but promising junior quarterbacks with good family football connections. Bryan Strittmatter is the son of John Strittmatter, who was a quarterback for current Good Counsel coach Bob Milloy when Milloy was at Springbrook (Silver Spring, Md.) in 1981. The younger Strittmatter, who is 6-foot and 180 pounds, brings mobility to Good Counsel's offense and throws well on the run. Kai Locksley is in his first year as a starter for the Greyhounds but the 6-4, 200-pound junior already has scholarship offers from Florida State, Michigan State, Maryland and Virginia. He is the son of Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley.