There are reasons why numerous high school football teams in the Baton Rouge metro area should be exchanging high fives and collecting congratulations.

In just five weeks, this season has provided more plot twists than a mystery novel and enough big plays to fill up a highlight show.

These factors have already made 2011 one of the best in recent memory. Here’s why:

Everybody loves a Cinderella story. But why settle on just one when there are several to consider.

It starts with Scotlandville (5-0). The Hornets have never had a start like this, especially in Class 5A.

In 1A, there’s East Iberville (5-0). Of course, in between you have Port Allen (5-0) in 3A and 4A St. Michael (5-0).

Skeptics can point out all these teams have played less than challenging schedules, though Scotlandville has a win over 3A power Parkview Baptist.

But to be in the conversation with top teams, first you have to win. At the least, these teams have given us something to talk about.

Once you get past the Cinderellas, there’s a group of teams I’ll call ranked and ready. It starts with second-ranked Dutchtown (5-0) in Class 5A and also includes No. 3 University (5-0) and No. 7 Episcopal (5-0), both of 2A. These teams deserve their rankings until someone comes along and beats them to prove otherwise.

I know John Curtis and Evangel Christian seemingly make their reservations to play in the 2A title game months in advance. It’s the yearly high school equivalent to the running of the bulls. You don’t want your team in their path.

You’ve got to admit that the Cubs and Knights squaring off in 7-2A this week brings a new excitement.

How about a group of resurgent 5A programs riding the wave of success? St. Amant (4-1), winner of three straight, and East Ascension (4-1) are in this group along with Zachary (4-1).

There’s also a group of teams I refer to as down, but not out. Parkview Baptist (2-3) and East Feliciana (2-3) of 3A belong here. I’ll throw Woodlawn (2-3) of 5A in the group, too.

All three started the season with high expectations and have taken some lumps. The good news: There is time left for these teams and others to make their mark.

For some the biggest shocker is two of the area’s most successful programs, 5A Catholic High (0-5) and 2A Redemptorist (1-4), are a combined 1-9. Add defending 1A state champion White Castle (1-4) and the mark is 2-14.

Just as the surprising unbeatens have something to prove, so do these teams.

There have been plenty of outstanding performances, but I think there is no doubt who the top local player is.

Dutchtown’s Landon Collins entered the season as one of the nation’s top senior prospects as a linebacker-safety. What many did not know until now is that Collins is just as dangerous an offensive weapon.

Going into a Week 5 game at Destrehan, Collins was averaging 19 yards a carry and has made some of the most electrifying runs I’ve seen since the heyday of two Catholic High stars from the 1990s, Warrick Dunn and Travis Minor.

And just think, the regular season still has five games left. Yes, we have plenty to look forward to.