Football FAB 50 countdown (36-40)

We continue the football FAB 50 count down to No. 1 with teams ranked 36-40. This group includes teams from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Utah and Wisconsin. No. 40 might even tug at the heartstrings a little.

40. Columbine (Littleton, Colo.)

2002 Record: 14-0, Class 5A state champion

Key players:
*RB Logan Wright (5-11, 185)
OL Garrett Collins (6-3, 260)
OL Chris Wood (6-4, 285)
QB/K Tyler Monteith (6-0, 180)
*OL/DL Joe Laviolette (5-11, 220)
OL/DL Andrew Fuller (5-10, 190)

Analysis: Lowry has gained national acclaim for what he's done with the Rebels, especially in 1999 when they won the first of their three state titles less than eight months after the horrific shootings at the school made it known throughout the world. Last year's team has to go down as one of Colorado's best-ever with dominant playoff wins of 41-21 over Heritage, 38-14 over Mullen, 42-14 over Thomas Jefferson and 38-10 in the final over Fairview. But the team leader and state player of the year, quarterback Tanner Rogers, is gone. Wright returns after rushing for nearly 1,700 yards as a sophomore and Monteith will take over at quarterback. In Lowry's option offense, the quarterback doesn't throw much, anyway and Monteith is just the type of versatile athlete who should be able to run it. Wright and Monteith also will have an impressive group of linemen blocking for them. That's been called the bread-and-butter of Columbine football and this year that bread-and-butter will be extra tasty. Collins has been called the top line recruit in the state for this season and he's already committed to the University of Colorado. Wood probably will get a similar ride.

39. Northridge (Layton, Utah)

2002 Record: 11-2, Class 5A state champions

Key players:
RB Lynwood Johnson (6-2, 205)
*RB/WR Cody Caputo (5-10, 170)
LB Rustin Miller (6-1, 190)
QB Antoine Lamar (6-1, 180)
OL Gordon Milligan (6-1, 280)
*WR T.J. Canales (5-11, 160)
RB Jamar Lee (5-9, 185)

Analysis: It can now be officially stated that Northridge -- and not longtime perennial power Skyline of Salt Lake City -- has become the top program in Utah. Last year's wild 41-39 win in the Class 5A final by the Knights over Skyline put that argument to rest, for at least one season anyway. It was Northridge's third state title game win over Skyline in the last four years and the 2003 season could see the school field a team that might approach the one from 2001 that not only was the state champion but was an unbeaten and dominant state champion. Although QB Brian Kusuda is gone, the rest of the skill positions will be manned by talented veterans. Johnson scored four TDs in the 2002 state final and had 18 touchdowns overall. He was joined as one with all-state honors by Caputo, who was a threat as a receiver and rusher. Lamar might be better athletically than Kusuda, but will have to learn how to run the team as well as Kusuda did at the end of the season. Miller returns after leading the team in tackles as a junior with 169. There are plenty of good skill people to plug in behind him, but in front of him Fernandes will have some rebuilding to do on the defensive line.

38. Arrowhead (Hartland, Wis.)

2002: 12-2, Division I state runner-up

Key players:
DE Nick Hayden (6-5, 265)
OL Joe Niklash (6-4, 275)
LB Tim Hoy (6-3, 240)
OT Jason Siacco (6-1, 290)
OT Benji Rossman (6-3, 295)
*QB Jordan Krause (6-1, 175)
RB Dan Tshancz (6-1, 190)

Analysis: Behind big-time recruit Hayden, who also plays basketball, Arrowhead is the clear favorite in Wisconsin. The program has reached the state finals eight of the last 10 seasons, including last year's state runner-up finish. Arrowhead returns seven starters on each side of the ball. In addition to Hayden, another key returnee is Tshancz, who rushed for 1,600 yards as a junior.

37. Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.)

2002: 12-1, Class 4A state champions

Key players:
WR John Peel (6-2, 190)
QB Darren Mougey (6-4, 205)
LB Dustin Kleven (6-3, 215)
*DL Ekom Udofia (6-3, 255)
RB Billy Beran (5-9, 165)
RB/WR Kam Kranz (6-1, 195)
DE Vince Marcantonio (6-4, 235)
OL Eric Singh (6-3, 260)
DB/WR Mike Molina (6-0, 175)
DB Zach Hons (6-0, 180)
TE Adam Levandowsky (6-1, 215)
OL Alex Levandowsky (6-1, 200)

Analysis: Too bad the Firebirds can't play any of Arizona's top Class 5A teams. And if both Mountain View (Class 5A) and Chaparral go unbeaten this year and repeat as state champions, too bad those two wouldn't be playing. Oh well, there's always the Sun Devil Stadium parking lot. Eleven starters are back for the Firebirds and the offense should be able to surpass last year's with Peel and Mougey back. Peel caught 59 passes last year, including a record total of 10 in the state final. Mougey finished with 2,130 passing yards and is getting strong Div. I recruiting interest. On defense, Kleven was the team's leading tackler and Udofia could be one of the top underclass linemen in the West. Estabrook is very high on Kranz, who only played the first six games a year ago and then sat out the rest of the season with a cut tendon in his arm. The coach will be going for the sixth state title of his career. The first two were at Tahoe-Truckee High of Truckee, Calif., a school that actually competes in the Nevada state playoffs. This year's schedule will be highlighted with matchups against Sunnyside of Tucson, Greenway of Phoenix, Centennial of Peoria and Saguaro of Scottsdale.

36. Edison (Miami, Fla.)

2002: 9-2

Key players:
LB Brouce Mompremier (6-0, 205)
OL Jacky Claude (6-5, 305)
WR Jackie Chambers (5-10, 170)
LB Jarrel Guyton (6-1, 205)
LB Jermaine Harris (6-0, 200)
RB Chad Simpson (5-11, 185)

Analysis: Edison made national news last year, not for what it did on the field, but rather what happened after a playoff loss. Edison, which was ranked as high as No. 2 in Class 2A, watched its season end on a controversial field goal by Palm Beach Dwyer in an 11-10 decision. Edison argued the officials stopped the clock, allowing Dwyer the opportunity to set up for the field goal. Edison claims the clock should have wound down, ending the game. Edison took its case to court, but the injunction was dissolved and Dwyer advanced while Edison's season was ended. This year's team is eager to showcase its talent in the Miami football hotbed, which includes Carroll City and Northwestern. Mompremier and Claude were all-state selections last year. Edison also is picking up several key transfers.

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