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Decade's best: Our picks for the top teams

Full disclosure: with the possible exception of selecting the All-Met teams, there is no more difficult job for the Post’s high school sports staff than our weekly rankings. It doesn’t matter the sport: Whether it’s football, basketball, soccer, anything, how do you compare teams that don’t play one another, don’t play common opponents, and play different levels of competition? No matter how many games you watch or how many opinions you solicit, it’s impossible to get it right.

Given all that, we figured we would try something even tougher – choose the best teams of the entire decade. Now, we’re throwing in another variable – comparing one year to the rest.

Sometimes, it takes a couple of years to best consider teams’ abilities and accomplishments. The test of time often shows not only whether those teams were memorable past their terrific season, but subsequent teams also provide a good basis for comparison.

With that said, here are our choices for the five best teams of the decade, listed in chronological order:

- 2001 Urbana – This was the team that set the standard for dominance. The Hawks completed their fourth consecutive undefeated season, meaning Urbana’s Class of 2002 went its entire high school career without seeing the varsity football team lose a game. The Hawks’ 50-0 mark over that span is simply amazing; for comparison, no Virginia team has won more than 40 straight. When critics said the Hawks fattened up their record by winning their first three titles in Maryland 2A, Urbana was reclassified to 3A for the 2001 season, and rolled through its schedule again behind senior All-Met wide receiver Billy Gaines and sophomore do-it-all Eric Lenz. The Hawks opened the season by beating Baltimore private school power Gilman, and then closed it with playoff victories over Gwynn Park, Seneca Valley (a 29-23 double-overtime whopper that some called the greatest high school game they’d ever seen), and a 7-6 squeaker over previously-undefeated Patuxent in the final.

-2002 Georgetown Prep – The Post caught a bit of heat in 2002 when we named the Little Hoyas our top-ranked team at the end of the season. Critics said we were overrating a team that played in a weak conference. Maybe the caliber of football in the Interstate Athletic Conference pales in comparison to, say, the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. Yet in 2002, the Little Hoyas completed their third straight undefeated season, and after winning the IAC again the following year, their football team was kicked out of the league for being too good. The 2002 team, led by All-Met Offensive Player of the Year, running back Marcus Mason, and All-Met wide receiver Rice Moss, were the linchpins behind Prep’s 30-game winning streak.

-2003 DeMatha – While Urbana’s 2001 team capped the end of a brilliant run, this DeMatha team started one, going 12-0 and winning the first of six consecutive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles. The funny thing about this group of Stags is that it probably wasn’t DeMatha’s most highly-touted or hotly-recruited bunch. Aside from a 15-7 victory over Gilman in the second week of the season, no opponent played DeMatha closer than 17 points. Only one opponent scored more than seven points, and Good Counsel still lost, 48-17 – and that came after DeMatha scored the game’s first 21 points. The Stags only allowed 20 first-half points all season, often taking their starters out in the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand. Yet, the Stags may not have even been the area’s best team that season because ….

-2003 Westfield – Here’s where you look back several years later and say, ‘Wow.” The Bulldogs went 14-0 and won the Virginia AAA Division 6 crown, the school’s first state title. How’d they do it? Three skill-position players who are currently or one day could be playing in the NFL – senior wide receiver and All-Met Offensive Player of the Year, Eddie Royal, senior quarterback Sean Glennon, and sophomore running back Evan Royster. Together, they led an offense that put up 522 points, and Westfield’s last three playoff opponents – Robinson, Hylton (the defending champion) and Landstown – all came into their meetings with Westfield undefeated.

-2006 Friendly – They may not have won points for their sportsmanship – the Patriots used to dance on the field during pregame warm-ups – but they wouldn’t have done it if they didn’t know they were good. Friendly got its closest game of the season in the Maryland 3A final – it beat River Hill, 37-18. Led by All-Met Offensive Player of the Year Joe Haden, who had top targets including Lamaar Thomas and Vincent Hill, the Patriots averaged 42 points per game.

By Alan Goldenbach  |  December 17, 2009; 3:57 PM ET
Categories:  Decade's Best  
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