The first Blade high school football poll for the 2006 season is out and three divisional champions from last year's final poll have held onto their top spots.
Two of those happen to be defending state champions Central Catholic in Division II and Patrick Henry in Division V.
Central (3-0) has recorded three quality wins so far, coming from behind in the fourth quarter to edge both Detroit Catholic Central (21-17) and Hilliard Darby (14-7), and last week clipping previously unbeaten Anthony Wayne (16-8).
Patrick Henry (3-0), which suffered huge losses to graduation from last year's high-scoring 15-0 squad, has apparently reloaded well. Three weeks into the season, the Patriots have outscored their foes 145-15. Division V has the strongest grouping of teams, as all five included in this first poll carry 3-0 records.
In Division VI, Hardin Northern (3-0) picks up where it left off after winning the 2005 Blade small-school poll title. The Polar Bears have topped their three foes by an eye-popping count of 177-53. But their edge over No. 2 Hopewell-Loudon is a slim one. The Chieftains, D-VI state semifinalists last year, have outscored their opposition 110-20.
The last team to beat Central Catholic before its current 16-game winning streak was Fremont Ross, and the 3-0 Little Giants hold down the No. 1 spot in the first Division I poll of the season.
In Division III, Napoleon (3-0) is the only unbeaten team, but the Wildcats should expect a big challenge from Bellevue and 2005 state semifinalist Clyde.
Only two Division IV teams in the Blade circulation area have posted winning records thus far, and they make up the first D-IV poll with Oak Harbor (3-0) rated above Otsego (2-1).
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