High school football 2020: Five games to watch in Week 5

Fleming Island running back Timothy Thomas breaks free from Atlantic Coast defenders in the first quarter of a 2019 game. (Ralph D. Priddy, Contributed photo)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s Week 5 of the high school football season and there are some excellent matchups on deck.

A look at five top area games to watch on Friday night.

Five to watch in Week 5

Baker County (3-0) at Westside (2-1), 6 p.m.: In a normal season, this game would likely determine the district champion. Westside won this game a year ago (24-20) but lost to Parker and had to settle for a points berth into the playoffs. But with district games not factored in to 2020, it’s just a solid matchup. The Wolverines have bounced back strong since a Week 2 offensive dud against Baldwin (6 total points in a game that went into triple OT). Westside QB DJ Otis (468 passing yards, 5 TDs) has found his stride, and a new favorite target in TE Chris Johnson (162 yards, 2 TDs receiving). DL Chadwick Martin leads the team in tackles (27) and sacks (6). Baker County has shaken things up this year, dominating its first three opponents by a combined 129-6. Those teams aren’t on Westside’s level this season, so the challenge increases this week. RB Scooby Graham fronts a talented Wildcats offense, but all eyes are on what the Baker County defense can do against Otis and Co.

Camden County (3-1) at Oakleaf (2-1): A Georgia-Florida battle with a bit of recent history. These teams have split their all-time series, with Oakleaf winning in 2016 (27-13) and Camden (19-6) winning the following year. The Wildcats are coming off of a solid win against Marietta last week. QB Joshua Brown has passed for 632 yards and 6 TDs for the Wildcats. LB Hudson Tucker has half of Camden’s 16 sacks this season. Oakleaf already faced a Peach State opponent this year, nationally ranked Lowndes in Week 3, and lost 37-17. The Knights bounced back strong last week with a convincing 45-28 win over University Christian. Cobie Bates is an all-purpose machine who is averaging 214.7 ypg. QB Walter Simmons III has 632 passing yards and 5 TDs and has added 4 rushing scores. There’s a big showdown next week for Oakleaf against unbeaten Fleming Island.

Creekside (2-1) at Fleming Island (3-0), 7:30 p.m.: Possibly the best all-area game in town this week featuring a pair of Super 10 teams in the Golden Eagles (No. 2) and Knights (No. 5). This series hasn’t been close at all (Fleming leads it 6-1). Creekside won 32-27 in 2017. Four of Fleming’s wins in the series have been by 10 points or more. But this sets up to be a very good clash this year. The Knights are coming off of a 31-24 overtime win over previous No. 1 Bolles and flashed poise in that game on the road. WR Jack Goodrich (13 catches, 328 yards, 3 TDs) and RB Preston Strope (91 carries, 447 yards, 10 TDs) are the playmakers for Creekside. QB Daniel Plummer has thrown for 599 yards and 4 TDs. S Walter Stovall and LB Tucker Owens combined for 40 tackles last game for the Knights. Fleming is a run-heavy squad, with its back-by-committee approach headlined by Timothy Thomas (242 rushing yards, 5 TDs), Sam Singleton (163 rushing yards) and Musthafa Marshall (136 rushing yards on 12 carries). TK Kocak has 3 rushing TDs and has to be accounted for inside the 10. DE Hunter Williams (23 tackles, 2.5 sacks) and DL Jourdan Haynes are strong at the line of scrimmage for Fleming. Haynes is coming off of a 3.5-sack game against Ridgeview.

Plantation American Heritage (2-0) at Bartram Trail (3-0): On paper, the best clash in the area this week. The Super 10 No. 1 Bears have handled the early tests on their schedule (Creekside, Mandarin and St. Augustine), but the Patriots, ranked No. 21 in the country by MaxPreps, represent a different type of challenge. American Heritage has allowed just a field goal in its two games this season and provide a mountain of a test for QBs Santino Marucci and Brody Davis, RBs AJ Jones and Eric Weatherly. Marucci is completing 63% of his passes and has yet to throw an interception this season. Jones and Weatherly do damage in different ways, but the duo has amassed 976 all-purpose yards and 7 TDs thus far. This is no doubt the most difficult game on the schedule for Bartram. Unbeaten Ponte Vedra is next up for the Bears

University Christian (1-2) at Baldwin (3-0), 6 p.m.: Another solid matchup in Week 5. This game last year triggered an end-of-season slide for the Indians, who lost 41-31 to the Christians in a physical game that was the first of three straight defeats to end the year. Reason to believe things change this time around? Yes. Baldwin has been a very good story this year, knocking off three playoff teams from 2019 in the first three weeks. S/LB Tyson McClendon (10 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries) fronts a defense that knows how to pressure the quarterback and alter plans at the line of scrimmage. QB Bryce Tompkins has passed for 665 yards and 6 TDs for Baldwin. But so far, Baldwin has shown that defense is the hallmark of this year’s team. UC has lost to 5A (Clay) and 7A (Oakleaf) programs, so the record is a bit deceiving. QB Desirrio Riles and the Christians have had games of 33 and 28 points the last two weeks after a clunker in Week 2.



Friday, Oct. 2

Baker County (3-0) at Westside (2-1), 6 p.m.

Bishop Kenny (1-2) at White (1-2), 6 p.m.

Bishop Snyder (1-3) at Christ’s Church (3-0)

Bradford (1-3) at Madison County (3-1), 7:30 p.m.

Camden County (3-1) at Oakleaf (2-1)

Cedar Creek Christian (2-2) at St. Edward’s (0-0)

Clay (2-0) at Gainesville Eastside (0-3)

Clearwater Academy (0-2) at Sandalwood (2-0), 6 p.m.

Creekside (2-1) at Fleming Island (3-0), 7:30 p.m.

Eagle’s View (1-3) at Ocala St. John Lutheran (0-1), canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

Episcopal (2-1) at Crescent City (0-3), canceled

Fernandina Beach (3-1) at Jackson (2-1), 6 p.m.

First Coast (0-1) at West Nassau (1-2)

Fletcher (2-1) at Atlantic Coast (1-1), 6 p.m.

Florida High (2-0) at Columbia (0-1)

Gainesville Buchholz (1-1) at Suwannee (3-1), 7:30 p.m.

Halifax Christian (1-2) at Joshua Christian (0-1), 6 p.m.

Hilliard (4-0) at Wolfson (0-3), 6 p.m.

Interlachen (2-2) at Bell (1-2), 7:30 p.m.

Lee (2-0) at Middleburg (0-3)

Mandarin (1-2) at Nease (1-2)

Matanzas (1-1) at Ponte Vedra (3-0)

Menendez (1-2) at St. Augustine (1-2), canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

NFEI (0-3) at Trinity Christian (1-1)

Orange City University (0-2) at Flagler Palm Coast (1-1)

Palatka (0-4) at Bolles (2-1), 7:30 p.m.

Parker (1-2) at Raines (1-2), 6 p.m.

Plantation American Heritage (2-0) at Bartram Trail (3-0)

Providence (1-2) at Father Lopez (1-1)

Ridgeview (2-1) at Orange Park (0-3)

St. Joseph (0-3) at Keystone Heights (2-1), canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

Taylor County (1-2) at Fort White (0-2), 7:30 p.m.

Union County (2-1) at Hamilton County (1-2), 7:30 p.m.

University Christian (1-2) at Baldwin (3-0), 6 p.m.

Yulee (2-2) at Ribault (0-2), 6 p.m.

Zarephath Academy (1-2) at Zephyrhills Christian (3-1)

Off: Crescent City, Englewood, Episcopal, Keystone Heights, Paxon, St. Augustine, St. Joseph, Stanton.


Friday, Oct. 2

Bainbridge (1-2) at Ware County (3-0), 7:30 p.m.

Camden County (3-1) at Oakleaf (2-1), 7 p.m.

Charlton County (2-1) at Tift Area Academy (2-1), 7:30 p.m.

Clinch County (1-1)at Pierce County (3-0), 7:30 p.m.

Glynn Academy (2-1) at Coffee (3-1), 7:30

Off: Brunswick.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.