This according to Stephen Spiewak, national football editor for MaxPreps, who listed Class 8A second on his list of the top 10 toughest football brackets in the country.
"In many years, some of the medium-sized brackets in the state of Florida have the deepest fields," Spiewak wrote. "This season, Class 8A presents the most intrigue."
Manatee (16th) and Miramar (15th) are ranked in MaxPreps' Xcellent 25, and Apopka set the state record for points in the season before hanging 77 on Orlando University last week. The Blue Darters, who play Winter Park in a Region 1 semifinal, won the Class 8A crown last year and have recorded 601 points this season.
No one thinks the 11-0 Hurricanes will have an easy time Friday against 9-1 Fort Pierce Central in a Region 2 semifinal, nor will the winner get an easy draw next week, when its either Orlando Dr. Phillips or Tampa Plant in the regional final.
Then there is undefeated Deerfield Beach, which rolled past Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas during the regular season. Deerfield Beach meets Miramar on Friday in a Region 3 semifinal, with the winner getting Palm Beach Gardens or Palm Beach Central next week for the regional championship.
Florida was one of two states (California being the other) to land two brackets on the list: Spiewak ranked Class 6A at No. 6. That class features national powers such as Miami Central, the 6A defending state champion, and Seffner Armwood.
The No.1 ranking went to Texas' Class 5A-Division I bracket of the University Interscholastic League, which includes Allen, currently at the top of MaxPreps' national composite rankings.