There are no truly official national high school football rankings because there is no high school equivalent of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which tracks and tabulates national rankings for its affiliated teams. However, private company MaxPreps tracks and ranks high school football teams nationally on an annual basis.
Although the National Federation of State High School Associations establishes the rules for United States high school football, it does not track scores or tabulate rankings.
To determine its MaxPreps Freeman rankings, MaxPreps employs a computer program that adds and appraises game results stored in the MaxPreps database. MaxPreps members each maintain a team wall on MaxPreps.com, and a network of related scorekeepers and coaches uploads scores as each season progresses.
The type of win or loss also affects a team's final ranking. MaxPreps tends to penalize a team's ranking more severely when it loses to a lower-ranked team than to a higher-ranked team. Playoff games are worth 2.1 times the amount of a regular season game. Winning the playoffs impacts a team's ranking that much more.
MaxPreps is an industry leader in tracking and ranking national high school sports. The National Guard annually recognizes the 50 best high school football teams per MaxPreps' final rankings.
Other rankings, such as the MaxPreps Xcellent 25, are slightly more subjective. MaxPreps.com writers review a list of the 25 teams who rank highest nationally and evaluate each team's overall record, losses and quality wins.