JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s Week 8 of the high school football season and we take a look at the top games and full schedule for area teams. All games Friday at 7 p.m. unless indicated.
FOUR FOR FRIDAY
Bolles (5-1) at University Christian (2-3), 7:30 p.m.: An excellent matchup between two of the most successful football programs in state history. Bolles has a state-best 11 championships and UC has nine. The Christians beat the Bulldogs for the first time ever last year, a 21-14 win in the Bold City Showcase, and wound up reaching the Class 2A state semifinals. The Bulldogs didn’t lose again until the Class 4A championship game. It’s been a slower start this season for UC, whose losses have all come to bigger schools (Baldwin, Clay and Oakleaf are a combined 15-2). RB Azeh Kani has seen a heavier workload (457 rushing yards, 2 TDs) as Kade Frew has battled back from injury. Kani has averaged 144 rushing yards over the past three weeks. Kani, QB Gunner Boree and Frew combined for 311 yards on the ground last week against a Baker County squad that had been suffocating opponents defensively. UC has a solid QB in Desirrio Riles, and two-way stars in ATH Joseph Carter and RB/DB Orel Gray. Depth could be an issue late here against the Bulldogs.
Fernandina Beach (5-2) at Hilliard (5-0): An excellent Nassau County clash between two very good and still improving teams. The Pirates controlled this series in the 2010s (7-3), but the Red Flashes have won three of the last five meetings. RB Tywuan Lee (55 carries, 674 yards, 9 TDs) has been a monster out of the backfield for Hilliard and has carried the offense all season. QB Lyle Bennett (598 passing yards, 8 TDs) and WR Jason Sheffield (11 catches, 312 yards, 3 TDs) are the threats when it comes to the passing game. Fernandina Beach is led by a powerful ground game fronted by electric QB Cam Miller, a dual-threat player who is positioning himself as the Pirates' biggest star in years. Miller has passed (728 yards, 7 TDs) and run the ball (714 rushing yards, 10 TDs) exceptionally well. RB Khamari Barksdale (499 rushing yards, 9 TDs) is a weapon out of the backfield, too. LB Josiah Rauls (63 tackles, 5 sacks) headlines the defense. For the Pirates, this is a chance to secure a six-win season for the first time since 2008. And with an abundance of underclassmen on the roster, there’s a sense that the best is yet to come for Fernandina Beach.
Oakleaf (4-2) at Bartram Trail (5-1): Arguably the game of the night in the area. The Knights have yet to lose to a team from the state and knocked off previous Super 10 No. 1 Fleming Island in OT two weeks ago. QB Walter Simmons III (1,175 passing yards, 13 TDs) picked Mandarin apart last week and was responsible for four TDs in that 35-12 win. WRs Terrance Anthony (552 receiving yards, 6 TDs) and Cobie Bates (438 yards, 5 TDs) are a nightmare to account for. The Bears have spent several weeks at No. 1 in the Super 10 and have a diverse and explosive offense. In addition to RB AJ Jones and Eric Weatherly, QB Santino Marucci has been getting TE Eli Sutherland more and more active in the offense. The Bears get unbeaten Sandalwood next and close things out against Raines. Oakleaf has a showdown for Clay County bragging rights on tap Nov. 6 against the Al’querious Ray-powered and unbeaten Clay Blue Devils.
Trinity Christian (4-1) at Lee (4-0), 6 p.m.: Another contender for game of the week status. Trinity is surging, winners of four straight following a Week 2 loss to Bolles and is coming off of a stunning 3-0 win at nationally ranked Plantation American Heritage last week. Defense has been the story. Since that loss, the Conquerors have buttoned up things on that side of the ball. Trinity is allowing just 8.5 points per game during its winning streak. Trinity has posted shutouts over the past several years, but none against that caliber of opponent. It was arguably Trinity’s best defensive showing since a 30-3 lashing of Delray Beach American Heritage in the 2015 state title game. DE Johnathan Goddard headlined a stellar Conquerors defense against Heritage and has been a terror in getting into the backfield (team-best 11.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks). The passing game has been nonexistent for Trinity (363 yards in 5 games), but RB Treyaun Webb (448 rushing yards, 8 TDs) and Darnell Rogers (181 rushing yards, 2 TDs) have done well on the ground. Lee’s offense has been paced by QB Cale Zarah (503 passing yards, 8 TDs), and RBs Dayon Rawls (296 yards, 6 TDs) and Alvin Gibson (243 yards, TD). DE/LB Elijah Harris has a team-best six sacks for Lee.
Week 8 schedule
Friday, Oct. 23 (all games at 7 p.m. unless indicated)
Baker County (5-1) at West Nassau (2-5)
Bolles (5-1) at University Christian (2-3), 7:30 p.m.
Branford (4-1) at Interlachen (4-2), 7:30 p.m.
Central Florida Christian (3-1) at Cedar Creek Christian (2-4)
Clay (5-0) at Middleburg (0-6)
Columbia (0-4) at Wakulla (4-1), 7:30 p.m.
Crescent City (0-5) at Mount Dora Christian, 7:30 p.m.
Daytona Beach Father Lopez (3-2) at NFEI (0-5), canceled due to COVID-19 concerns
Englewood (1-4) at Stanton (0-4), 6 p.m.
Fernandina Beach (5-2) at Hilliard (5-0)
First Coast (2-2) at Atlantic Coast (2-3)
Fleming Island (5-1) at Gainesville Buchholz (3-1), 7:30 p.m.
Fletcher (4-1) at Creekside (4-2), canceled due to COVID-19 concerns
Gainesville Eastside (0-5) at Orange Park (2-4)
Gainesville PK Yonge at Fort White (0-4), 7:30 p.m.
Leesburg First Academy (0-6) at Eagle’s View (4-2)
Matanzas (2-3) at Lyman (1-4)
Mayo Lafayette (3-3) at Joshua Christian (0-3)
Menendez (2-3) at Ridgeview (5-1)
Nease (1-4) at St. Augustine (3-2)
Oakleaf (4-2) at Bartram Trail (5-1)
Palatka (0-7) at Bradford (3-4), 7:30 p.m.
Paxon (2-3) at St. Joseph (1-4)
Pierson Taylor (3-2) at Keystone Heights (4-1), 7:30 p.m.
Ponte Vedra (5-1) at Suwannee (5-2), 7:30 p.m.
Providence (4-2) at Episcopal (3-2), canceled due to COVID-19 concerns
Raines (2-3) at Yulee (2-4)
Ribault (1-4) at White (3-3), 6 p.m.
Sandalwood (5-0) at Mandarin (1-4), 6 p.m.
Trinity Christian (4-1) at Lee (4-0), 6 p.m.
Union County (4-2) at Hawthorne (4-1), 7:30 p.m.
Westside (3-2) at Valdosta (2-2), 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 24
Wolfson (0-6) at Christ’s Church (4-0)
Off: Baldwin, Bishop Kenny, Bishop Snyder, Creekside, Episcopal, Flagler Palm Coast, Fletcher, Jackson, Parker, Providence, Zarephath Academy.
Friday, Oct. 23
Coffee (5-1) at Ware County (5-0), 7:30 p.m.*
Glynn Academy (3-3) at South Effingham (0-5), 7:30*
Pierce County (4-1) at Brantley County (0-6), 7:30 p.m.*
Statesboro (1-4) at Brunswick (4-2), 7:30 p.m.
Off: Camden County, Charlton County.