Armwood, which returns 11 starters from last season’s Class 7A state semifinal team, is the bay area’s highest-ranked football program in MaxPreps’ preseason top 25 for Florida.
In all, five local schools made the rankings. Gaither, which returns 17 starters from its 2019 team that reached the 6A semifinals, is the area’s only other top-10 representative (10th).
Tampa Bay Tech (14th), Clearwater Academy (17th) and Jesuit (25th) also made the list. All won at least eight games last season.
Armwood, 12-2 in 2019, will be led in part by University of Florida pledge Charles Montgomery, who had 41 receptions for 720 yards and eight touchdowns last season, adding more than 300 on the ground. The Hawks roster includes another Gators pledge, 6-foot-6, 300-pound defensive tackle Desmond Watson, and cornerback Noah Biglow, who has committed to Pitt.
Gaither’s loaded roster includes no fewer than five Division I-A pledges, including running back Ricky Parks (Utah), cornerback Jordan Young (Florida), quarterback Kiael Kelly (Ball State), cornerback Jordan Oladokun (Iowa) and offensive lineman Andrew Kilfoyl (USF).
Hillsborough County public school programs begin practice Monday, with the first night of the regular season set for Sept. 11.