High school football national rankings have been around almost as long as the forward pass.
In fact, end of the season rankings have crowned national champions since 1927 when a 21 year old Minnesota prep multi-sport coach and official named Art Johlfs originated his National Sports News Service. The service later retroactively determined national football title claimants back to 1910.
The late hobbyist originated NSNS with the football ratings and added boys basketball rankings in 1944 and a girls basketball rating in 1975 before he retired and turned over the rankings in 1978 to current compiler Barry Sollenberger of Tempe, Arizona.
Source: 2001 edition of the National High School Football Record Book