High school football 2020: Area’s 4 unbeatens remain that way in Week 9 picks

Oakleaf running back Adrian Grey shakes off Bartam Trail defenders for a big gain in the third quarter of an Oct. 23, 2020 game. (News4Jax)

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: 21-8. Season: 168-59 (.740).


Friday, Oct. 30

Baldwin (6-0) at Yulee (2-5): Biggest obstacle remaining for an unbeaten regular season for Indians. N4J pick: Baldwin 30, Yulee 20.

Bishop Kenny (1-5) at Baker County (6-1): Wildcats are rolling along. N4J pick: Baker County 38, Bishop Kenny 18.

Crescent City (0-6) at University Christian (2-4): UC gets back on track here. N4J pick: UC 38, Crescent City 6.

Eagle’s View (5-2) at Providence (4-2): Excellent small school collision here. Sunshine State Athletic Conference playoff tests ahead for both. N4J pick: Providence 34, Eagle’s View 30.

Fernandina Beach (5-3) at NFEI (1-5): Pirates hit six wins for the first time in what feels like an eternity. N4J pick: Fernandina Beach 33, NFEI 13.

Fleming Island (5-2) at Atlantic Coast (2-4), 6 p.m.: Golden Eagles get back on track after recent struggles. N4J pick: Fleming Island 30, Atlantic Coast 20.

Gainesville (1-2) at Lee (4-1), 6 p.m.: Generals bounce back after a defensive war against Trinity Christian. N4J pick: Lee 23, Gainesville 21.

Gainesville Buchholz (4-1) at Creekside (4-2): Playoff preview between these teams. Bobcats are a tough out. N4J pick: Creekside 28, Buchholz 27.

Hilliard (6-0) at Halifax Academy (3-3): Red Flashes thinking unbeaten regular season. As long as Tywuan Lee is in the lineup, they’ll get there. N4J pick: Hilliard 28, Halifax Academy 14.

Keystone Heights (5-1) at Interlachen (4-3), 7:30 p.m.: Indians keep on keeping on. N4J pick: Keystone Heights 27, Interlachen 13.

Madison County (7-1) at Flagler Palm Coast (2-3): Cowboys are one of the best teams in the state every year. N4J pick: Madison County 23, FPC 13.

Matanzas (3-3) at Englewood (2-4), 6 p.m.: Rams' Rashaud Clark may be one of the area’s most exciting players to watch. N4J pick: Matanzas 27, Englewood 13.

Nease (1-5) at Oakleaf (4-3): Knights bounce back after a tough loss to Bartram Trail last week. N4J pick: Oakleaf 38, Nease 14.

North Miami Beach (1-0) at Columbia (0-5), 7:30 p.m.: Tigers slide stops here. N4J pick: Columbia 35, North Miami Beach 21.

Orange Park (3-4) at Menendez (2-4): Raiders are surging. They win their fourth straight here. N4J pick: Orange Park 28, Menendez 20.

Palatka (0-8) at Middleburg (0-7): Well, someone has to win. N4J pick: Middleburg 33, Palatka 20.

Parker (2-4) at Westside (3-3), 6 p.m.: This decided the district championship last season. N4J pick: Westside 27, Parker 21.

Paxon (3-3) at Episcopal (3-2): Host Eagles will eclipse the Golden Eagles. N4J pick: Episcopal 35, Paxon 14.

Ponte Vedra (5-2) at St. Augustine (4-2): Sharks have won the last two games in this series but have struggled the last three weeks. N4J pick: St. Augustine 27, Ponte Vedra 17.

Raines (3-3) at Trinity Christian (5-1), 7:30 p.m.: Will anyone score in this game? That may be a better question. N4J pick: Trinity 13, Raines 6.

Ridgeview (6-1) at Clay (6-0): Who would have thought this game would feature two of the best teams (recordwise) in Clay County? Can Panthers slow Al’querious Ray? N4J pick: Clay 35, Ridgeview 20.

St. Joseph (1-5) at Christ’s Church (5-0): Eagles stay unbeaten and prep for the Sunshine State Athletic Conference playoffs. N4J pick: Christ’s Church 28, St. Joseph 14.

Sandalwood (5-1) at Bartram Trail (6-1): Good matchup but I think the Bears have too many weapons to account for. N4J pick: Bartram Trail 37, Sandalwood 20.

West Nassau (2-6) at Jackson (4-2), 6 p.m.: Warriors have been inconsistent, and the Tigers have turned things around. N4J pick: Jackson 28, West Nassau 26.

White (4-3) at Mandarin (2-4), 6 p.m.: A nice matchup here. Mustangs locked down previously unbeaten Sandalwood last week and the Commanders have Jaison Patterson running strong. N4J pick: Mandarin 21, White 19.

Zarephath Academy (1-6) at Stanton (0-5), 6 p.m.: Blue Devils get a win on homecoming. N4J pick: Stanton 21, Zarephath 20.

OTHERS (home team in CAPS; local teams in bold)

BRADFORD (4-4) over South Sumter (1-3), 7:30 p.m.; BRONSON (5-3) over Bishop Snyder (2-5); Cedar Creek Christian (2-5) over OCALA CHRISTIAN (1-6); Newberry (7-1) over FORT WHITE (0-5), 7:30 p.m.; Union County (4-3) over CHIEFLAND (1-5), 7:30 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 2

Fletcher (4-1) at First Coast (3-2), 6 p.m.: Senators have been off for what’s felt like a year due to COVID-19 issues. N4J pick: Fletcher 27, First Coast 21.

Off: Bolles, Ribault, Suwannee, Wolfson.

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