The Globe’s preseason football Top 20 is based on what coaches tell us. But the final Top 20, released Sunday along with the Boston.com 100, is based on what our eyes tell us.
The Globe also announced final Top 20s for soccer, volleyball, and field hockey, the latter two on Boston.com/schools.
For the third consecutive season, the No. 1 football team is Everett. The Crimson Tide will receive the Bob Walsh/Boston Globe Trophy, first presented in 1996 and named after the Globe’s longtime football historian who died in 1998. Everett (11-1) started the year at No. 1, fell to No. 2 after losing to Barnstable in double overtime, then reclaimed its place on top after beating the Red Raiders in the Division 1A Super Bowl.
St. John’s Prep (11-1) finishes No. 2 for a simple reason. After seeing more than 100 games this fall, the school sports staff felt the Eagles were the second-best team. Reading (13-0) moves up from No. 5 to No. 3 after beating Tewksbury and Mansfield in the postseason. Barnstable (11-1) settles for No. 4, with unbeaten Beverly (13-0) rounding out the top five.
And who’s No. 100? That would be Cardinal Spellman (6-5).
Eastern Mass. teams cashed in, securing three state championships. Top-ranked Franklin (22-0-1), led by All-American Kristi Kirshe (40 goals), rewarded Coach of the Year Tom Geysen for his 28 years of service with the program’s first Division 1 state title.
What a senior group Division 2 state champion Medfield (22-0-3) had the privilege of sending onto the pitch. The second-ranked Warriors’ 14 seniors went out in style, outscoring opponents, 15-3, in postseason play.
After taking 14 games to record its fourth win of the season, No. 12 Weston (10-7-4) completed one of the great midseason turnarounds in recent history to claim the Division 3 title.
No. 5 Peabody (17-2) looked like a world-beater all season, except in the eyes of Acton-Boxboro, which ended the Tanners’ run as the top team in the national poll and then their season in the first round of the Division 1 North playoffs. If only the Colonials (11-7-3) could have found more ways to score!
Look out for Caitlin Harty and No. 6 Beverly next season. The junior striker netted an eye-popping 50 goals and 14 assists, as she led the Panthers (18-4) to their first Division 1 North title.
There was no doubt that Needham would finish at No. 1 after capturing the Division 1 state title. Needham (21-1-3) hovered in the top five all season, but never made it to the top until now.
Somerville (20-1-2) finished No. 2, suffering its only defeat to the top-ranked Rockets in the Division 1 EMass final.
Ranked in the top spot for much of the season, Masconomet (18-1-2) slipped to fifth after catching its only loss of the season in the Division 1 North semifinals against No. 3 St. John’s Prep (17-2-2), which quite possibly boasted the best defense in the state.
The final Top 20 includes five teams that were not in the poll heading into the postseason. Of course, No. 6 Medway (19-4-1) headlined the big climbers after its spectacular run to a Division 2 EMass title.