JACKSONVILLE, FLA – Week 1 of high school football is in the books and I’ll throw out a few thoughts on the week in a Snaps notebook following games.
Can’t say I remember another Week 1 like we just saw.
• No. 1 Trinity Christian? Popped 38-7 by No. 4 Columbia.
• No. 3 Raines? Clobbered 40-15 by Orlando Jones.
• No. 6 Lee? Rocked late by No. 8 Bartram Trail, 48-20.
• No. 10 Bolles? A first-ever loss to University Christian, 21-14.
Most surprising of those four losses? I think any time your No. 1 team gets clubbed by 31, that’s probably the biggest surprise, although Raines losing by 25 at home is a close second.
I don’t think that 38-7 loss is as much of an indictment on Trinity being overrated, as I’ve seen mentioned on social media, as it is Columbia being very, very good. The fact that the Tigers put up yards without much resistance (519, according to the Florida Times-Union) is telling. QB Jordan Smith accounted for 415 of those.
That Trinity-Columbia series has been wild recently. The Conquerors won 34-0 in 2016, lost 24-14 the following season and won 31-30 in 2018. But Friday night's was the wildest of them all.
• The Publix Bold City Showcase was an incredible experience, with an announced total of 21,204 fans taking in the three-game day at Bolles. Thank you to everyone who tuned in, showed up, reached out to say thanks, and helped support this one-of-a-kind event.
• I couldn't be more excited that WJXT will air the Northwest Classic on Oct. 12, as well as some of the companion events surrounding the 50th meeting between Raines and Ribault.
This began as idea thrown out during an afternoon sports conversation, and WJXT general manager Bob Ellis took that suggestion and ran with it. On Friday, the Northwest Classic made the announcement and I couldn't be more excited about it. Game is probably the wrong word for it.
It's an event.
If you've never been to a Raines-Ribault game, I'll make a suggestion: Go.
It's such a unique and enjoyable afternoon that just saying it's a game doesn't do it justice.
• When the final pass was batted down to preserve University Christian’s 21-14 win over Bolles on Saturday night, it ended an 0-for-forever streak against the Bulldogs.
When I spoke to UC coach David Penland III after the game, his first word was telling.
The Christians have been a state power for probably as long as anyone currently involved with high school football can remember. And Bolles is Bolles, owner of a state-record 11 championships.
UC started a freshman quarterback (Desirrio Riles) and ran headlong in to a program that it has never had even remote success against. The closest game in the series was a 19-point game. UC got punted by 40 last year to Bolles. This isn’t the same team.
The big plays will get the attention, Riles’ 86-yard TD to Ja’won Grey the headliner, but don’t let that cloud things. This win was all about the defense. Joe Carter was relentless on both sides of the ball. Jackie Dinh. Dewayne Wakefield. Cody Kopp. UC outphysicaled Bolles.
“I think we have a chance to be pretty good this year,” said Penland, who has three state championships at UC.
It’s also going to be a pretty good month, too, for Penland. He’s in countdown mode to becoming a first-time father by the end of the month. He and wife, Ciara, are on the parenthood clock.
• Reigning Mr. Football Carson Beck was solid in Mandarin’s 28-12 win over Atlantic Coast. He finished 10 of 18 for 223 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to Jaylen Smith. He also had a rushing touchdown. If Mandarin’s defense, led by Travis Moss, Jerome Jolly and Co., play like they did Saturday, Beck won’t have to light it up like he did in 2018.
• Play of the week, if I’m getting a vote. Jordyn Williams’ acrobatic pick in the end zone against Mandarin is it.
• Very impressed with Atlantic Coast receiver Patrick Bryant II. I mentioned during Bold City Showcase prep work that Bryant has the potential to be the best player to come out of Atlantic Coast. No need to change that thought. He's in the conversation as the area's best wideout. Bryant's second touchdown catch on Saturday was a lesson in how to run a route. And while it didn't count, Bryant's catch in the end zone that was ruled out of bounds was exceptional footwork.
• Always good to see Corky Rogers make an appearance and take in the moment as he did Saturday night during halftime of the Bold City Showcase. The Bolles icon won 466 career games, sixth-most in high school history, and he was honored with a special plaza during the game. Rogers' legacy is unmatched in high school history. But it's good theater to hear Rogers tell stories, like he did on Saturday, going back to his first coaching job at Ribault in 1969.
• I’ve seen Parker the last two weeks, at Trinity Christian in the preseason, and the first half of the Braves’ 20-14 loss to Sandalwood in Week 1.
This rivalry used to be the game involving Arlington/Southside when I was growing up, and it has fallen on difficult times, largely due to Parker’s extended rebuilding mode.
Over the last 10 years, the teams had played seven times entering this season. Parker hasn’t sniffed a close game in six of those. I spent the first half at this game Friday night and think the Braves are much closer to turning the corner than they’ve been in quite some time.
Without some late first-half hard running by Sandalwood's Jeff Sims and Jeremiah Huntley, as well a gamble by Sandalwood’s coach Adam Geis in going for a TD and not a field goal, this could have been a major upset.
• Wishing a speedy and continued recovery to Hilliard QB Nathan Dowie, who suffered a brain injury in Friday's 21-18 loss against Gainesville Oak Hall and underwent surgery. Scary for everyone involved, but initial reports following surgery have been positive. More information on Dowie, his recovery and how you can help can be found here.
• Bartram Trail’s defense, take a bow.
The Bears have been known for two things in recent years — scoring a lot of points and giving up a lot of points. Of course, the giving up a lot only comes into focus when you score 50 or 60 points in a game … and lose.
Probably one of the things that stood out to me the most from the Publix Bold City Showcase on Saturday was that Bartram defense.
Very good showing from defensive coordinator Keith Cromwell’s unit against a young, but fast-as-lightning Lee offense. Bartram took this game over with physical play at the line of scrimmage. The Bears forced six turnovers. They scored 31 points … in the fourth quarter.
Linebacker Clarke Hamilton was everywhere (pick 6, fumble recovery, forced fumble). And same goes for Dylan Chiedo. Very impressed from front to back with this unit.
And welcome back, Chad Dodson. The Bartram quarterback missed the latter part of the 2018 season after suffering a knee injury. He moved around well, broke off a lengthy run and was largely kept upright by the offensive line that did a nice job against a quick Generals rush. Dodson, along with running backs AJ Jones and Eric Weatherly, looked solid. Jones had three TDs and Weatherly two.
• The best matchup in Week 2: Columbia at Oakleaf.