St. Frances announces 2020 football schedule

Return trips to California and Florida along with a first visit to Texas highlight the St. Frances Academy’s football team’s 2020 schedule.

The Panthers, who went 11-1 last season and were the area’s No. 1 team for a fourth straight season, debut Aug. 28 against New Jersey’s Woodrow Wilson. Wilson (10-2 in 2019) won the New Jersey state Region 3 championship last season.

St. Frances will play seven games in Baltimore, including matches with Nevada’s Liberty and Palmetto from Florida. Liberty (10-5) won the Nevada state title last year, defeating perennial national power Bishop Gorman, in the region final.

Bishop Gorman had won 10 consecutive state championships and had not lost to an in-state opponent since 2008.

Palmetto (12-2) reached the Florida Class 6A state semifinals last season. USA Academy (AL), Canada’s West Toronto Prep, Life Christian Academy (VA) and Ohio’s YouthBuild make up the remainder of St. Frances’ home slate.

The Panthers, whose only 2019 loss came at California’s Mater Dei, return to the West Coast on Labor Day weekend for a match with Centennial (CA). Centennial (9-3) reached the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division I semifinals last year.

The following week, St. Frances visits Texas powerhouse Duncanville, which finished No. 6 nationally by USA Today and MaxPreps last year. Duncanville (13-1) reached the Texas Class 6A state championship game last season.

The East Baltimore school concludes its season at Florida’s IMG Academy. St. Frances handed IMG (ranked No. 7 nationally by USA Today) its only loss last season with a 35-7 decision at Morgan State University’s Hughes Stadium.

St. Frances has been ranked in the Top 5 nationally the past three seasons. The Panthers won the MIAA A Conference title outright in 2016 and 2017, and was awarded a third in 2018 by the MIAA Executive Committee, after A league opponents announced late in the spring of 2018 they would not play them, citing safety and competitive imbalance concerns.

The Panthers will play an independent schedule for a third straight year, along with Loyola Blakefield.

Loyola Blakefield decided to go independent following the 2017 season.

Loyola and St. Frances remain MIAA members.