Panthers again locked and loaded 

University of Michigan commit Blake Corum is one of many talented players for St. Frances. The Panthers are ranked No. 2 in the nation by MaxPreps and 6th in USA Today’s Super 25 entering the 2019 season.

With practice for the 2019 high school football season underway, Varsity Sports Network’s Derek Toney takes a look at the regular season itinerary for select area teams.

St. Frances Academy Panthers

2018 record: 10-0 (MIAA A Conference champions)

Overview: The Panthers were awarded the MIAA A title last season after fellow MIAA A opponents decided late last spring not to play them for competitive and safety concerns. The East Baltimore school, which will play an independent schedule in 2019, is among the nation’s elite with 11 players rated four-stars or better by national recruiting sites, led by University of Alabama commit Chris Braswell (defensive end/linebacker), defensive back Jordan Toles and defensive end Demon Clowney (both committed to LSU) and Michigan pledges Blake Corum (running back) and Osman Savage (linebacker).

Toughest 2019 opponent: Mater Dei. The defending mythical national champions in USA Today’s Super 25 won its second straight California Interscholastic Federation Open Division state title last year. Mater Dei (ranked No. 1 by MaxPreps and 3rd by USA Today) will feature USC commit Bryce Young (quarterback), Washington commit Myles Murao (offensive line), wide receiver Kody Epps and defensive linemen Sefita Tupe.

Most intriguing 2019 opponent: IMG Academy. The Florida school is the last team (in 2016) to beat the Panthers. IMG features a crop of Division I recruits including LSU commit Elias Ricks (defensive back), defensive linemen Demonte Capehart (Clemson), Miami commit Michael Redding (wide receiver) and defensive back Lejond Cavazos (Ohio State).

By a number: 4. Nationally-ranked teams St. Frances will play in 2019.

2019 schedule

Aug. 24 Florida’s Central (11-3 in 2018)

Aug. 31 vs. Illinois’ Simeon (11-1) at Patterson Park

Sept. 6 vs. Florida’s American Collegiate Academy (5-4) at Patterson Park

Sept. 14 at California’s Mater Dei (13-2) at St. John’s Bosco (CA)

Sept. 20 vs. Florida’s Norland (4-7) at Patterson Park

Sept. 28 at New Jersey’s St. Joseph Regional (10-2)

Oct. 4 at Florida’s Venice (12-2)

Oct. 18 at Florida’s IMG Academy (7-1)

Oct. 26 vs. Connecticut’s St. Thomas More (5-3) at Patterson Park

Nov. 2 vs. Canada’s Clarkson North (6-6) at Patterson Park

Nov. 9 at Virginia’s Life Christian Academy (2-6)

Nov. 15 vs. Royalty Institute (0-0) at Patterson Park