JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4Jax sports editor Justin Barney reveals his high school football Week 1 playoff predictions. Picks are published each Thursday during the season. All games are Friday at 7:30 p.m. unless indicated. Seeds are listed in parentheses.
Last week: 13-5. Season: 278-100 (.735).
(3) Apopka (9-1) at (2) Bartram Trail (11-0): Tough game for the Bears, but not one I see them losing at home. N4J pick: Bartram Trail 34, Apopka 24.
(3) Fleming Island (10-0) at (2) Niceville (11-0): Excellent matchup of unbeatens. Strength of schedule favors the Eagles in this one. N4J pick: Niceville 28, Fleming 20.
(6) Columbia (8-3) at (2) Lee (8-3), 7 p.m.: Learned my lesson from this game. N4J pick: Lee 28, Columbia 27.
(4) Raines (6-4) at (1) Wakulla (11-0): These trips have been unkind for area teams through the years, but not here. N4J pick: Raines 33, Wakulla 29.
(5) South Walton (6-4) at (1) Bolles (8-1): Recharged Bulldogs were on a bye last week and roll here. They're going to the state semifinals in two weeks in case you were interested. N4J pick: Bolles 36, South Walton 10.
(6) Bradford (5-5) at (2) West Nassau (8-2): Tough and close game goes to the Tornadoes. N4J pick: Bradford 19, West Nassau 17.
Episcopal (10-1) at (2) Florida State University School (9-1): What a win for the Eagles last week. Winning here will be significantly more difficult. N4J pick: Florida State University School 38, Episcopal 17.
(4) Tallahassee North Florida Christian (4-5) at (1) University Christian (9-1): These teams know one another very well. Regardless of the records, this is always a tough game. N4J pick: UC 39, NFC 21.
(6) St. Joseph (5-5) at (2) Tallahassee Maclay (8-2): Not unwinnable, but a challenge for the Flashes. N4J pick: Maclay 41, St. Joseph 21.
(4) Hilliard (7-4) at (1) Madison County (8-2): Great win for the Red Flashes last week, but Boot Hill is where dreams die for many teams. N4J pick: Madison County 45, Hillard 13.
(6) Union County (6-5) at (2) Mayo Lafayette (9-1): Union had a big victory last week over a tough Dixie County team that it lost to in the regular season. Tempted to pick an upset here, but I defer that to the braver prognosticators. N4J pick: Lafayette 28, Union County 23.