JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – High school football season is back and so are our weekly predictions.
News4Jax sports editor Justin Barney reveals his weekly high school football picks each Thursday. All games are 7 p.m. unless indicated.
Last week: 23-7. Season: 120-45 (.727).
Thursday, Oct. 15
Jackson (3-2) at Episcopal (3-1): Tough game for both teams here but I’ll take the Eagles at home in this one. N4J pick: Episcopal 30, Jackson 23.
Stanton (0-3) at Paxon (1-3), 6 p.m.: Brain Bowl is always one of the highlights of the season. N4J pick: Paxon 28, Stanton 13.
White (2-3) at Parker (2-3), 6 p.m.: Braves have been more consistent this season so they get the edge here. N4J pick: Parker 28, White 14.
Friday, Oct. 16
Atlantic Coast (2-2) at Creekside (3-2): Knights have been solid, while Stingrays have won back-to-back games. N4J pick: Creekside 33, Atlantic Coast 23.
Baldwin (5-0) at Fort White (0-3), 7:30 p.m.: No slowing down the Baldwin Express this week. N4J pick: Baldwin 30, Fort White 13.
Bartram Trail (4-1) at Nease (1-3): Bears won’t be tripped up here. N4J pick: Bartram Trail 35, Nease 14.
Bolles (4-1) at Baker County (5-0): Game of the week is a good one. I think the Bulldogs' schedule makes the difference here. N4J pick: Bolles 30, Baker County 27.
Bradford (2-4) at P.K. Yonge (2-4): What a comeback win by the Tornadoes last week. N4J pick: Bradford 27, P.K. Yonge 20.
Clay (4-0) at Menendez (2-2): Blue Devils have been one of the area’s biggest surprises this season. N4J pick: Clay 30, Menendez 20.
Eagle’s View (3-2) at Bishop Snyder (2-4): Snyder picked up a big win last week, but Warriors have been more consistent. N4J pick: Eagle’s View 27, Snyder 14.4
First Coast (2-1) at Fleming Island (4-1), 7:30 p.m.: Buccaneers have won consecutive games. Can they do it against an upgrade in competition? N4J pick: Fleming Island 28, First Coast 20.
Gainesville Eastside (0-4) at Ridgeview (4-1): Panthers hit the five-win mark a year after notching just one victory. N4J pick: Ridgeview 30, Eastside 22.
Interlachen (3-2) at Wolfson (0-5), 6 p.m.: First win not on the menu this week for the Wolfpack. N4J pick: Interlachen 27, Wolfson 14.
Jefferson County (0-4) at Keystone Heights (3-1): Indians win big at home. N4J pick: Keystone Heights 35, Jefferson County 7.
Lee (3-0) at Columbia (0-3): Always an excellent matchup, this is an oddity when there’s nothing at stake. N4J pick: Lee 30, Columbia 20.
Middleburg (0-5) at Orange Park (1-4): Raiders put back-to-back wins together. N4J pick: Orange Park 33, Middleburg 27.
Oakleaf (3-2) at Mandarin (1-3), 6 p.m.: Big win last week for the Knights, who have yet to lose to a team from Florida. N4J pick: Oakleaf 34, Mandarin 14.
Palatka (0-6) at Hawthorne (3-1), 7:30 p.m.: Panthers have scored 13 points all season and been shut out four times. N4J pick: Hawthorne 31, Palatka 6.
Ponte Vedra (4-1) at Englewood (1-3), 6 p.m.: Sharks will have an interim head coach on the sidelines and a new QB under center but it shouldn’t matter here. N4J pick: Ponte Vedra 35, Englewood 7.
Providence (2-2) at Zarephath Academy (1-4): Stallions have no trouble in this one. N4J pick: Providence 35, Zarephath Academy 7.
St. Augustine (2-2) at Matanzas (2-2): Yellow Jackets put back-to-back wins together. N4J pick: St. Augustine 34, Matanzas 14.
Sandalwood (4-0) at Ocala Trinity Catholic (2-2), 7:30 p.m.: Intriguing matchup and could be the Saints most challenging game to date. N4J pick: Sandalwood 28, Trinity Catholic 24.
Trinity Christian (3-1) at Plantation American Heritage (3-0), 7:30 p.m.: Conquerors have been rolling since a Week 2 loss to Bolles, but this is a brutal assignment. N4J pick: American Heritage 30, Trinity 14.
University Christian (1-3) at Foundation Academy (5-0): Christians have struggled this season, but they go on the road and scratch out a win here. N4J pick: UC 23, Foundation 21.
Williston (2-4) at Union County (3-2), 7:30 p.m.: Tigers get back on the winning track. N4J pick: Union County 21, Willison 14.
Westside (2-2) at Bishop Kenny (1-4): Wolverines get a win before a road trip next week to face Georgia powerhouse Valdosta. N4J pick: Westside 30, Bishop Kenny 20.
West Nassau (2-4) at Fernandina Beach (4-2): Don’t know quite what to make of the Warriors this season. N4J pick: West Nassau 23, Fernandina Beach 20.
Saturday, Oct. 17
Ribault (1-3) at Raines (1-3), 2 p.m.: Not a typical Northwest Classic collision for these two. N4J pick: Ribault 19, Raines 13.
OTHERS (home team in CAPS, local team in bold)
BRANFORD (3-1) over Joshua Christian (0-2); Pierson Taylor (2-2) over CRESCENT CITY (0-4); SANFORD SEMINOLE (4-0) over Flagler Palm Coast (2-2); Wakulla (4-0) over SUWANNEE (4-2), 7:30 p.m.: ZEPHYRHILLS CHRISTIAN (5-1) over NFEI (0-4), 4 p.m.
Off: Cedar Creek Christian, Christ’s Church, Fletcher, Hilliard, St. Joseph, Yulee.