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: 27-6. Season: 147-51 (.742).
Friday, Oct. 23
Baker County (5-1) at West Nassau (2-5): Wildcats get back on track as Warriors' slide continues. N4J pick: Baker County 35, West Nassau 20.
Bolles (5-1) at University Christian (2-3), 7:30 p.m.: Bulldogs have been a bit more consistent this season. N4J pick: Bolles 36, UC 21.
Branford (4-1) at Interlachen (4-2), 7:30 p.m.: Rams in a close one. N4J pick: Interlachen 23, Branford 20.
Clay (5-0) at Middleburg (0-6): Al’Querious Ray and Tre Griner have been unstoppable for the surging Blue Devils. N4J pick: Clay 48, Middleburg 7.
Columbia (0-4) at Wakulla (4-1), 7:30 p.m.: Tigers have struggled mightily against a challenging schedule. N4J pick: Columbia 23, Wakulla 21.
Englewood (1-4) at Stanton (0-4), 6 p.m.: Rams played Ponte Vedra tough for a half last week. N4J pick: Englewood 34, Stanton 14.
Fernandina Beach (5-2) at Hilliard (5-0): Excellent Nassau County battle. Pirates in a thriller. N4J pick: Fernandina Beach 28, Hilliard 21.
First Coast (2-2) at Atlantic Coast (2-3): Tossup game. Both teams have been a bit all over the place this year. N4J pick: Atlantic Coast 21, First Coast 20.
Fleming Island (5-1) at Gainesville Buchholz (3-1), 7:30 p.m.: Tough game for the Golden Eagles, but they squeeze out a win. N4J pick: Fleming Island 23, Buchholz 21.
Gainesville Eastside (0-5) at Orange Park (2-4): Surging Raiders are a dropped TD pass in the end zone away from being a .500 team right now. N4J pick: Orange Park 35, Eastside 13.
Gainesville PK Yonge (2-5) at Fort White (0-4), 7:30 p.m.: Indians get their first W of the season. N4J pick: Fort White 19, PK Yonge 17.
Leesburg First Academy (0-6) at Eagle’s View (4-2): Warriors keep things rolling. N4J pick: Eagle’s View 36, First Academy 12.
Menendez (2-3) at Ridgeview (5-1): Panthers' lone loss has been to a strong Fleming Island team. N4J pick: Ridgeview 27, Menendez 21.
Nease (1-4) at St. Augustine (3-2): Yellow Jackets shouldn’t get pressed too much in this one. N4J pick: St. Augustine 38, Nease 13.
Oakleaf (4-2) at Bartram Trail (5-1): Perhaps the area’s best game this week. N4J pick: Oakleaf 31, Bartram Trail 30.
Palatka (0-7) at Bradford (3-4), 7:30 p.m.: Tough season continues for the Panthers. N4J pick: Bradford 34, Palatka 6.
Paxon (2-3) at St. Joseph (1-4): Golden Eagles looked sharp last week in taking apart rival Stanton. N4J pick: Paxon 33, St. Joseph 14.
Pierson Taylor (3-2) at Keystone Heights (4-1), 7:30 p.m.: Indians keep on moving along. N4J pick: Keystone 31, Taylor 21.
Ponte Vedra (5-1) at Suwannee (5-2), 7:30 p.m.: Tough game on the road for the Sharks. N4J pick: Suwannee 28, Ponte Vedra 23.
Raines (2-3) at Yulee (2-4): Vikings were relentless on defense in the Northwest Classic. Don’t throw it near Kyree Hammond. N4J pick: Raines 34, Yulee 13.
Ribault (1-4) at White (3-3), 6 p.m.: Commanders notched a big win last week. Can Trojans slow Jaison Patterson down? N4J pick: White 28, Ribault 12.
Sandalwood (5-0) at Mandarin (1-4), 6 p.m.: Powerful Saints defense is poised to smother the Mustangs. N4J pick: Sandalwood 33, Mandarin 13.
Trinity Christian (4-1) at Lee (4-0), 6 p.m.: What a win on the road last week for Conquerors. N4J pick: Trinity 27, Lee 14.
Westside (3-2) at Valdosta (2-2), 8 p.m.: Wolverines travel to TitleTown for a nice paycheck game in one of the top areas for high school football in the country. N4J pick: Valdosta 45, Westside 0.
Saturday, Oct. 24
Wolfson (0-6) at Christ’s Church (4-0): Eagles have been off for nearly two weeks due to COVID-19. N4J pick: Christ’s Church 23, Wolfson 17.
Off: Baldwin, Bishop Kenny, Bishop Snyder, Creekside, Episcopal, Flagler Palm Coast, Fletcher, Jackson, NFEI, Parker, Zarephath Academy.
OTHERS (home team in CAPS; locals in bold)
Central Florida Christian (3-1) over CEDAR CREEK CHRISTIAN (2-4); HAWTHORNE (4-1) over Union County (4-2), 7:30 p.m.; Matanzas (2-3) over LYMAN (1-4); Mayo Lafayette (3-3) over JOSHUA CHRISTIAN (0-3); MOUNT DORA CHRISTIAN (3-3) over Crescent City (0-5), 7:30 p.m.