JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Week 5 of the high school football season is in the books. We look back at it in this week's edition of Snaps.
• Verlon Dorminey knew the schedule was going to be difficult. He knew that his Trinity Christian football team was going to endure some losses. He knew that the Conquerors were going to take their lumps.
How could they not?
Trinity loaded up its schedule in the offseason to include eight teams that had won state championships at some point. That list grew to nine when it swapped out Ribault for Venice.
But if the Conquerors could somehow scratch out a few wins against that type of schedule, then the Class 3A playoffs would be their easiest month of the season. In theory, that's excellent. Pulling that off is something else though.
The start hasn't been easy. Entering their Week 5 game against state power Miami Carol City, the Conquerors, at 1-3, were reeling in the win-loss column. They heard the whispers of overrated.
Trinity then promptly went out and eviscerated Carol City 42-21 in a running clock game that wasn't remotely that close. If there was a time for a much-needed win, Friday night was it for the Conquerors.
"No doubt, no doubt, no doubt," Dorminey said when asked if Trinity was in what he considered must-win territory at the halfway point of the season. "We had a conversation in the office with a bunch of kids we have in first period and told them, ‘look, we can be frustrated, we can be upset.' People think we're not winning because we're not good. That's not the case. We told them to match up our first four opponents from last year with this year's team and asked them what they thought our record would be. They said, ‘4-0.'
"The difference is competition. You're playing great coaches, great athletes. Most skill position guys [we're playing] will be Division I football players, and you're in the game with them. If we're getting beat 38-7 like we did by Columbia [in Week 1], then we made a bad choice [with the schedule]. But that hasn't been the case."
Trinity's first four in 2018: Braden River, Ribault, Parker and Bolles. Solid schedule. And Trinity was 4-0 in that slate.
Trinity's first four in 2019: Columbia, Tallahassee Godby, Venice and Plantation American Heritage. Brutal. The Conquerors were 1-3 in that stretch and could have just as easily been 0-4 or 3-1.
Wins and losses are as black and white as it gets. But when you see a team sitting at 1-3 and, others at 4-0 or 3-1, it's easy to assume that those records tell the whole story. From a playoffs perspective and, the all important strength of schedule, they do not.
Carol City had a first down on its first offensive play of the game. By the time the Chiefs moved the sticks again, Trinity was up 21-0. Kyjuan Herndon rushed for 138 yards and a pair of TDs, moving closer to the area's first 1,000-yard back of 2019. He's at 912 yards and 11 TDs. WR Marcus Burke hauled in two TDs. QB Jacory Jordan had a 98-yard TD pass to Jaylen Fowler on the first Trinity snap of the game.
And the defense, which has no doubt been strafed this season (teams are averaging 36.4 ppg), turned in a clinic against Carol City.
"We'd surely love to be 5-0, but that's not the case," Dorminey said. "We think that what we're doing is really going to help us [for the playoffs]. The good thing is they haven't bought into [the negative talk]. We have to keep working. Every week is a different week with new challenges."
• University Christian's 22-13 win over First Coast on Friday night was impressive to me, and, quite an anomaly.
Why, do you ask? UC, a Class 2A program, seldom faces local public schools of significant size.
UC has an enrollment of 287 students, according to the last student population report from the FHSAA. First Coast has an enrollment of 2,087.
I can't think of a recent local game that UC has played against an area public school of that size. It has faced the likes of the Atlantic Coast in 2010, Stanton and Paxon multiple years, Clay the last two seasons and Nease back in Tim Tebow's junior season in 2004.
But I do believe that First Coast is the largest local public school that the Christians have taken on in recent memory. Coach David Penland III said after UC's win over Bolles in the Bold City Showcase that this team had the potential to be a special one. Beating First Coast is a big, big victory for UC.
• A 24-7 week in the predictions column, with one very, very bad loss mixed in there. My Sandalwood pick over Ribault was 35-7. The Trojans won 21-14. That was a very nice win for the Trojans, who didn't need to be sitting at 0-3 with games like Lee and Raines looming.
• After an 0-19 start against St. Augustine, Bartram Trail is on a two-game winning streak after fending off the Yellow Jackets 43-40 on Friday night.
• Parker had one of the finishes of the night on Friday, edging Atlantic Coast 40-39 in OT. The Stingrays opted to play for the win in OT, attempting a two-point conversion. When the pocket broke down, it sent Ridge Jacobs off and running to his left, and that's where Parker LB Javis Brooks angled off and stopped him before he could get in the end zone. That's two big wins in a row for the Braves.
• Another late winner was Parsa Pordeli's 20-yard field goal to give Bolles a 24-21 win over Creekside. Bolles QB Ben Netting had a solid game in that one, amassing 235 yards of offense and a TD and DB Patric Menk had a pick-6 for the Bulldogs.
• At the halfway point of the season, here's where we stand on the record checks.
The unbeatens, we've got nine of them: Bartram Trail (5-0), Camden County (5-0), Christ's Church (4-0), Columbia (4-0), Flagler Palm Coast (4-0), Fleming Island (4-0), Keystone Heights (3-0), Pierce County, Ga. (4-0), Ponte Vedra (4-0).
The teams still in search of their first wins, we've got six of them: Atlantic Coast (0-4), Bishop Snyder (0-5), Clay (0-4), Joshua Christian (0-4), Ridgeview (0-4), Stanton (0-4).
• Let's do a county-by-county top four (in counties where there are more than four teams, obviously). Those without more than four schools (Baker, Bradford, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, Union
Top four by county.
Clay: 1. Oakleaf, 2. Fleming Island, 3. Orange Park, 4. Keystone Heights.
Duval: 1. Trinity Christian, 2. Lee, 3. Bolles, 4. University Christian.
St. Johns: 1. Bartram Trail, 2. Ponte Vedra, 3. Creekside, 4. St. Augustine.
Other counties ranking: 1. Columbia, 2. Flagler Palm Coast, 3. Baker County, 4. West Nassau.
WEEK 4 SCOREBOARD
- Baker County 35, Suwannee 21
- Baldwin 35, Episcopal 7
- Bartram Trail 43, St. Augustine 40
- Bolles 24, Creekside 21
- Branford 44, Bishop Snyder 13
- Christ's Church 45, All Saints Academy 20
- Eagle's View 36, Gainesville St. Francis 14
- Fernandina Beach 27, Stanton 12
- Fleming Island 33, Ridgeview 3
- Flagler Palm Coast 10, Fletcher 7
- Fort White 45, North Florida Educational 0
- Lee 33, Mandarin 27
- Trinity Christian 42, Miami Carol City 21
- Middleburg 42, Englewood 7
- Nease 33, Yulee 8
- Palatka 40, Clay 28
- Parker 40, Atlantic Coast 39
- Pierce County, Ga. 10, Bradford 0
- Ponte Vedra 14, Menendez 10
- Port Orange Atlantic 44, Matanzas 14
- Providence 40, Quincy Munroe 28
- Raines 48, Paxon 7
- Ribault 21, Sandalwood 14
- St. Johns Country Day 30, Warner Christian 22
- Hilliard 24, St. Joseph 9
- Tavares 35, Union County 16
- University Christian 22, First Coast 13
- Westside 28, Orange Park 0
- West Nassau 31, Bishop Kenny 20
- Oakleaf 26, White 7
- Jackson 41, Wolfson 0
OFF: Cedar Creek Christian, Columbia, Crescent City, Interlachen, Joshua Christian, Keystone Heights, Ware County