For years, the Seattle Times High School football poll has been recognized as the leading authority on high school football rankings in the state of Washington.

Utilizing a wide range of sports writers, coaches and others, the poll has come to reflect what's happening from the class "B" up through the biggest schools in 4A.

While some critics say it's a little West-side biased, it's improved each year, and this year, three Mid-Columbia teams are included.

Coaches will be the first to tell you preseason means nothing, and everything has to be earned on the field. But it gives you at least a barometer of where teams stand.

In the 2A rankings, defending champs Prosser are rated atop the poll again. Here's what the Times had to say about them:

"Defending champs Prosser (13-1 last season) did nothing but reload."

In the 3A rankings Kamiakin from Kennewick is #4. Virtually the entire backfield and skill positions all return, and a talented group of seniors and upcoming juniors will offset some small but significant departures due to graduation. The Times said:

    "Braves (8-3 last season) seek a return trip to state playoffs after an early 2015 exit at the hands of Lakes High School."

The Braves lost a wild shootout after leading at halftime against Tacoma power Lakes High School. Lakes went on to lose to eventual state champion Eastside Catholic. Kamiakin and other schools will benefit from the fact that Bellevue is on probation for years of cheating, and banned from postseason play for two years. So at least the 3A bracket will be fair. Kamiakin was the Mid Columbia Conference 3A champion.

In the 4A ranks, Richland is picked 5th. The Times says:

"Bombers, (11-2) semifinalists in 2015, got a taste of what's needed to make a run."

The defending state champion Gonzaga Prep Bullpups, who ended Richland's playoff run, are again ranked #1 in 4A. Richland won the Mid Columbia Conference 4A title.

In the 2A class, Ellensburg and Clarkston are also in the top ten,  Kamiakin is the only East side school in the 3A rankings.  In 4A, the only other East side school ranked is Spokane's Central Valley.

Teams open play, many of them, a week from Friday. Kamiakin faces Eastmont from Wenatchee at Lampson Stadium.