JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A glance at five games to watch in Week 9 of the high school football season. All games Friday at 7 p.m. unless indicated. District games indicated by an * and district records shown where applicable.
Lee (5-2) at Trinity Christian (3-5), 7 p.m.: One of nine Thursday night games and one the area's best in Week 9. The Generals knocked off former No. 1 Columbia last week in an OT thriller and will try and stack another top team to their list in a season that also includes victories over Mandarin, Raines and West Nassau. This is going to feel like a playoff game for Trinity. The Conquerors have faced a brutal schedule this season. Lee is the only team among Trinity's 10 games that has never won an FHSAA state football championship at some point. The Conquerors are teetering on the RPI playoff cutline, sitting in the sixth and final spot in Region 1-3A. Winning here and next week against Raines is crucial. Over the last 15 seasons, Trinity has mauled Duval County public school programs, going 14-1, winning 12 of those games by 16 points or more and another by forfeit.
Yulee (3-4, 2-0) at Raines (4-2, 3-0), 6 p.m.: After hanging on to edge Ribault in the Northwest Classic, 10-7, Raines is positioned to win the District 4-5A title and earn a top four seed in Region 1-5A. The Vikings can thank their lockdown defense for that one. The Hornets, too, have a solid defense, having knocked off Ribault in a 10-7 game and enter this one perfect.
Baldwin (7-1) at University Christian (6-1), 7:30 p.m.: One of the best matchups in Week 9 comes in this game between smaller programs. The Class 3A Indians have shredded teams this year with a passing attack led by Bryce Tompkins, who set the school's single-game passing mark of 414 yards last week against a solid Fort White team. While they gave up a substantial amount of points and yardage last week against Foundation Academy, the top-ranked team in 2A Christians have a very good defense. They're also versatile when they've got the ball, although a 544-yard rushing performance last week somewhat skews how diverse the Max McClendon-powered offense can be.
Bartram Trail (7-0, 2-0) at Oakleaf (5-2, 1-1): The Bears, who moved to No. 1 in the Super 10 this week, control their District 1-8A destiny. Win here, and get a Mandarin victory over Sandalwood, and they will wrap up the district championship. An Oakleaf win this week and then next over Nease, and Bartram dropping its final two district games would make things interesting, and potentially a three-team RPI tiebreaker with either Sandalwood or Mandarin. Bartram has weathered every challenge this season, from a Week 1 game against Lee to county showdowns against Ponte Vedra and St. Augustine. The Bears have never been unbeaten this late in a season. And they won't have to worry about trying to keep the area's top pass rusher (Oakleaf's Chantz Williams) off of QB Chad Dodson. Williams suffered an arm injury in last week's loss to Mandarin that will keep him out.
Mandarin (4-3, 2-1) at Sandalwood (3-3, 1-1), 7 p.m.: This game is being televised on ESPNU due to the recruiting matchup between Elite 11 quarterbacks Jeff Sims (Florida State) of Sandalwood and Carson Beck (Georgia). And note the 7 kickoff due to that TV time slot. Duval County Public School games this season are typically 6 p.m. Beck and the Mustangs were excellent on the road last week in a 34-33 win over Oakleaf. The Mustangs need to win here and pull for victories by Oakleaf (over Bartram) and then Sandalwood over Bartram to win the District 1-8A title. The Saints aren't eliminated from the district race yet, but they need to end their three-game losing streak in a hurry. Sandalwood needs a win here, pull for Bartram to beat Oakleaf and then beat Bartram next week, which would give them the 1-8A title in a head-to-head over the Bears.
Week 9 schedule
- Atlantic Coast (2-5, 1-2) at First Coast (1-5, 0-3), 6 p.m.
- Bishop Snyder (1-6) at Wolfson (5-2), 6 p.m.
- Episcopal (6-1) at Paxon (2-5), 6 p.m.
- Jackson (2-5) at Englewood (1-6), 6 p.m.
- Lee (5-2) at Trinity Christian (3-5), 7:30 p.m.
- Middleburg (2-5) at Parker (4-2), 6 p.m.
- Stanton (1-5, 1-1) at Ribault (2-4, 0-2), 6 p.m.
- White (3-4, 1-2) at Westside (6-1, 2-0), 6 p.m.
- Yulee (3-4, 2-0) at Raines (4-2, 3-0), 6 p.m.
- Baldwin (7-1) at University Christian (6-1), 7:30 p.m.
- Bartram Trail (7-0, 2-0) at Oakleaf (5-2, 1-1)
- Bradford (2-4) at Palatka (2-5)
- Bronson (4-3) at Christ's Church (6-1)
- Cedar Creek Christian (1-6) at Eagle's View (4-4)
- Clay (0-7) at Bolles (5-1), 7:30
- Creekside (3-4, 1-2) at Fletcher (4-3, 2-1), 6 p.m.
- Crescent City (3-3) at Zephyrhills Christian (5-2)
- Delray Beach Atlantic (4-2) at Columbia (6-1), 7:30 p.m.
- Gainesville Buchholz (4-3, 2-1) at Fleming Island (6-0, 3-0), 7:30
- Georgia Christian (1-7) at St. Johns Country Day (2-3)
- Hawthorne (5-2) at Union County (3-4), 7:30 p.m.
- Hilliard (4-3) at Fernandina Beach (3-5)
- Interlachen (4-3) at Branford (4-4), 7:30 p.m.
- Joshua Christian (1-5) at Aucilla Christian (7-0)
- Keystone Heights (5-1) at Taylor (3-3)
- Lyman (0-7) at Matanzas (1-6)
- Mandarin (4-3, 2-1) at Sandalwood (3-3, 1-1), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
- North Florida Educational (3-4) at Chiefland (4-4), 7:30 p.m.
- Ocala West Port (1-6, 0-3) at Flagler Palm Coast (6-1, 2-1)
- Orange Park (4-3, 2-0) at Gainesville Eastside (2-5, 1-2), 7:30
- P.K. Yonge (2-5) at Fort White (2-5)
- Ridgeview (1-6, 1-0) at Menendez (4-2, 2-0)
- St. Augustine (4-3) at Nease (1-6)
- West Nassau (6-1) at Baker County (4-3)
- Effingham County (2-5, 0-1) at Brunswick (3-4, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.
- Colquitt County (6-1, 0-0) at Camden County (7-0, 0-0), 7:30 p.m.
- Charlton County (1-5, 0-3) at Wilcox County (5-1, 2-1), 7:30 p.m.
- Glynn Academy (2-3, 0-0) at Richmond Hill (3-3, 1-0), 7:30 p.m.
- Pierce County (6-0, 1-0) at Long County (1-5, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.
- Ware County (3-3, 0-0) at Statesboro (3-3, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.
OFF: Bishop Kenny, Ponte Vedra, Providence, St. Joseph, Suwannee