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High school football 2020: Glance at playoff games in Classes 1A-4A

Bolles RB Azeh Kani (34) breaks off a long run against Bishop Kenny during a scrimmage at Skinner-Barco Stadium on Sept. 4. (Ralph D. Priddy)
Bolles RB Azeh Kani (34) breaks off a long run against Bishop Kenny during a scrimmage at Skinner-Barco Stadium on Sept. 4. (Ralph D. Priddy) (News4Jax)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The full slate of high school football playoffs have arrived, with games Friday this week.

News4Jax takes a look at playoff matchups in Classes 1A-4A. All games are Friday at 7:30 p.m. unless indicated. If teams have already been in a playoff game, their playoff path is shown.

Region 2-4A, regional quarterfinals

Keystone Heights (6-2) at Bradford (4-5)

Winner gets: Bradford or Keystone Heights would host either South Sumter or Palatka in the regional semifinals on Nov. 20.

Glance: A slow start for the Tornadoes spun off into a solid finish, with three victories in their final four games. Bradford beat Keystone in Week 2, 26-0, and the Indians didn’t lose again until Week 10. RB Erric Smith (1,011 rushing yards, 7 TDs) and QB Dae’jon Shanks (1,075 passing yards, 390 rushing yards, 15 total TDs) lead Bradford. RB Colton Tibbetts (601 rushing yards, 11 TDs) is the top ball carrier for the Indians in an offense that prefers to keep things on the ground and the clock moving. Tibbetts and DB Bryson Channell have three picks apiece on defense.

Bolles (6-2) at Villages Charter (6-0)

Winner gets: Bolles would travel to face either West Nassau or Fernandina Beach in the regional semifinals on Nov. 20.

Glance: The road back to the state title game begins for the Bulldogs and they should be favored from here through the state semifinals should they make it that far. RB Kade Frew (764 rushing yards, 8 TDs) is closing in on a 1,000-yard rushing season and fellow back Azeh Kani is riding a four-game, 100-yard rushing streak. WR Davis Ellis is usually good for one or two highlight reel grabs a game (694 receiving yards, 6 TDs) and chews up big chunks of yardage week after week. LB Mack Marrone (82 tackles, 2 INTs) and ATH Caden Fordham (61 tackles) lead a solid defensive unit. If Bolles can stay healthy, it is a strong pick to play on into December. It wouldn’t face a team from the stronger Region 3-4 cluster until the state championship.

South Sumter (3-4) at Palatka (1-9)

Winner gets: Palatka would host either Bradford or Keystone Heights in the regional semifinals on Nov. 20.

Glance: It has been a rough season for the Panthers, whose lone victory came against winless Middleburg. Are their signs of life for Palatka? Perhaps. The Panthers have scored points in each of their last three games, including a 20-15 win over Middleburg, an output that surpassed what they had in their previous eight games combined (19). The Panthers are looking for their first playoff win since 2002.

West Nassau (4-6) at Fernandina Beach (6-3)

Winner gets: Fernandina Beach or West Nassau would host Bolles in the regional semifinals on Nov. 20.

Glance: After cranking out eight-, nine- and 10-win campaigns the last few years, this wasn’t the regular season that the Warriors expected. But West Nassau enters this on a two-game winning streak and with a bit of momentum. RBs Conner Nobles (783 rushing yards, 10 TDs) and Jesse Rochay (483 yards, TD) lead the Warriors rushing attack. Versatile playmaker Chaz Davis can, and will, line up anywhere on the field. He’s closing in on a 2,000-yard all-purpose season. Davis has 15 total TDs. It’s an excellent county showdown for the right to keep going this season. The Pirates won this game in a 56-50 OT shootout in Week 7. Dual-threat QB Cam Miller (910 rushing yards, 845 passing yards, 23 total TDs) and RB Khamari Barksdale (750 rushing yards, 10 TDs) are two big reasons why the Pirates hit six wins for the first time since 2008.

Region 1-3A, regional quarterfinals

Episcopal (5-2) at Interlachen (5-4), 7 p.m.

Road here: Episcopal d. Wolfson, 42-7.

Winner gets: Episcopal or Interlachen would host Baldwin or Trinity Christian in the regional semifinals on Nov. 20.

Glance: The playoff draw worked out well for the Eagles, who pasted Wolfson last week in the play-in game and get an opponent in the Rams who they should be favored against. RB Ershod Jasey (900 rushing yards, 15 TDs) is poised to crack the 1,000-yard rushing barrier for the second straight season. TE Nick Elksnis is averaging a TD catch every 3.6 receptions and also leads the team in receiving yardage (390). QB Tucker Tomberlin has passed for 1,217 yards and 13 TDs. Episcopal won the first playoff game in school history last year and added No. 2 last week. Interlachen is making just the fourth playoff appearance in program history and first since 1986. The Rams have yet to win a playoff game.

Florida State University High (7-0) at Jackson (4-4), 7 p.m.

Road here: Florida High d. Walton, 64-7.

Winner gets: Jackson would host Pensacola Catholic in the regional semifinals on Nov. 20.

Glance: Welcome back to the playoffs for the Tigers, who were denied a chance to play in the postseason two years ago by losing out on a coin flip to a winless Gadsden County team. The Tigers have been waiting for another shot at the playoffs since their last visit in 2010. This is, no doubt, Jackson’s best team since that year. The Tigers have an exceptional QB-WR combo. QB Jalen Sonnier is one of the better underclassmen in the area (1,583 passing yards, 15 TDs) and RB Darnell Cummings (568 rushing yards, 2 TDs) allows the passing game room to operate. WR Rickie Shaw has 11 TD catches and 603 receiving yards. LB Grayson Howard (107 tackles) leads the defense. The best news for coach Christopher Foy — all of those players are underclassmen. Florida High is on another level. The Seminoles have pulverized teams this year and allowed just 48 points all season.

Trinity Christian (7-1) at Baldwin (8-0), 7 p.m.

Winner gets: Baldwin or Trinity Christian would travel to either Episcopal or Interlachen in the regional semifinals on Nov. 20.

Glance: The headliner of the week among area games features Super 10 programs who enter having won a combined 15 consecutive games. Baldwin QB Bryce Tompkins (1,442 yards, 14 TDs) has run this offense very well and limited mistakes (just 3 turnovers all season). Four receivers — Armale Dubose, Larry Worth, Jamal Lee and Dejuan Malpress have 260 yards or more and 13 of Baldwin’s 14 TD catches. The Indians' real strength is on the defensive side of the ball. LB Gregory Washington, S Tyson McClendon, DL Dale Walker and LB Robert Kitchen have combined for 202 tackles, 21 sacks and 11 TFL. Can they have success against Trinity? The Conquerors haven’t been what they once were offensively as injuries and youth have clipped them early, but that hasn’t mattered. Trinity has limited mistakes (just 6 giveaways) and found ways— and new playmakers — to move the ball. RB Treyaun Webb (716 rushing yards, 10 TDs) is the big name on offense. No receiver has more than Kaleb Killian’s 194 yards, but Florida commit Marcus Burke is making his way back into the lineup and he was QB Jacory Jordan’s field stretcher a year ago. Trinity’s defense is arguably the area’s best and gets contributions from everywhere. LBs Lucius Lattimore (53 tackles) and Caden Morrell (47 tackles) lead the defense, but there are impact players throughout even if they aren’t the typical three- four- and five-stars that Trinity has been loaded with in years past. Any team that can go on the road and pitch a shutout at nationally ranked Plantation American Heritage (3-0) is stout. Fourteen Trinity players have record at least ½ a sack, led by DE Johnathan Goddard Jr’s. 5.5.

Region 1-2A, regional quarterfinals

Aucilla Christian (6-2) at University Christian (4-4)

Road here: UC d. Quincy Munroe, 42-0.

Winner gets: UC would travel to face either Florida A&M or St. John Paul II in the regional semifinals on Nov. 20.

Glance: Anyone who needs a refresher on uneven records and the 2A playoffs just needs to take a glance at UC’s playoff game last week. Quincy Munroe entered that game 8-0 and UC fileted them. Opponents can typically keep things close for a bit but UC’s schedule is built to help it overwhelm teams the later it gets. The Christians scored 35 second-half points last week to kickstart their drive for a 10th state championship. ATH Orel Gray has stepped up his contributions on both sides of the ball, but notably out of the backfield. He rushed for 173 yards and 3 TDs last week. DB Mark Brown leads UC in tackles (43) and DE Jerome Manning has 5 of UC’s 18 sacks. The by-committee approach has worked well for UC in recent years.

Rocky Bayou Christian (3-5) at North Florida Educational (1-6)

Winner gets: NFEI would travel to face either Tallahassee North Florida Christian or Tallahassee Maclay in the regional semifinals on Nov. 20.

Glance: It’s the first postseason trip for NFEI, and while the challenge is a steep one, it’s not unwinnable. NFEI’s schedule was tough, including a trip to Trinity Christian as well as games against Fernandina Beach (6-3), Zephyrhills Christian (8-2) and American Collegiate (6-2).

Victory Christian (5-4) at St. Joseph (1-7)

Winner gets: St. Joseph would travel to face Halifax Academy in the regional semifinals on Nov. 20.

Glance: The Flashes have potential when they are healthy and in sync. They hung with unbeaten Christ’s Church for three quarters in a 24-7 loss on Oct. 30 and put up 27 in a loss to Providence in early October. Depth is a major concern against a Victory Christian squad that has gone at least three rounds deep in the state playoffs every season since 2013.

Region 3-1A, regional quarterfinals

Fort White (1-6) at Branford (6-1)

Road here: Fort White d. Hamilton County, 14-6.

Winner gets: Fort White would host either Union County or Bell in the regional semifinals on Nov. 20.

Glance: The Indians lost six straight before getting a win last week and are poised to finish with their worst record since going 1-9 in 2004, its fourth season. Dual-threat QB Tyler Jefferson has rushed for a team-best 376 yards and 5 TDs. Turnovers and offensive issues have been the culprit for Fort White. The Indians have more giveaways (13) than offensive TDs (11). They are coming off of their best defensive showing of the season, holding Hamilton County to one score in a 14-6 win last week.

Bell (2-6) at Union County (6-3)

Winner gets: Union County would travel to face either Branford or Fort White in the regional semifinals on Nov. 20.

Glance: A solid first season in Lake Butler for coach Andrew Thomas and the Tigers will look to build off of a three-round postseason run from 2019. The road shapes up well for them. The Tigers have a pair of RBs who eat up yardage almost in tandem, with Cade Vaughn and Manny Covey splitting 1,305 rushing yards almost evenly. LB Trevor Holtzendorf (81 tackles) and S Cortez Slocum (5 INTs) lead the Union County defense.

Lafayette (5-4) at Hilliard (7-0)

Winner gets: Hilliard would host either Madison County or Dixie County in the regional semifinals on Nov. 20.

Glance: Can the Red Flashes keep their perfect season going? As long as Tywuan Lee (78 carries, 816 yards, 10 TDs) is getting touches, Hilliard is able to win ballgames. The Red Flashes certainly expect to keep this season going and they’ve built off of momentum from 2019. Their OT playoff win over Branford was their first postseason victory since 2004. A monster in Madison County awaits whomever wins this one.

Football playoff schedule, Week 1

Nov. 5

Region 1-5A, Play-in game, Round 1

Westside 32, Yulee 7

Region 1-5A, Play-in game, Round 1

White 34, Bishop Kenny 31

Nov. 6

Region 1-6A, Play-in game, Round 1

Columbia 41, Englewood 7

Region 1-3A, Play-in game, Round 1

Episcopal 42, Wolfson 7

Region 1-2A, Play-in game, Round 1

University Christian 42, Quincy Munroe 0

Region 3-1A, Play-in game, Round 1

Fort White 14, Hamilton County 6

Region 4-1A, Play-in game, Round 1

Bronson 33, Crescent City 8

Week 2 playoffs

Friday, Nov. 13, all games 7:30 p.m. unless indicated

Region 1-8A, Play-in game, Round 1

Oakleaf (6-3) d. Nease (1-7) by forfeit due to COVID-19 concerns

Mandarin (3-5) at Sandalwood (6-2), postponed to Monday at 6 p.m.

Byes: Bartram Trail, Flagler Palm Coast, Oakleaf.

Region 1-7A, Play-in game, Round 1

Creekside (5-3) at Gainesville Buchholz (6-1)

First Coast (3-3) at Tallahassee Lincoln (5-1)

Fletcher (5-1) at Atlantic Coast (3-5), 7 p.m.

Tate (1-5) at Fleming Island (6-2)

Region 1-6A, Play-in game, Round 2

Fort Walton Beach (2-4) at Lee (5-1), 7 p.m.

Mosley (4-3) at St. Augustine (6-2)

New Smyrna Beach (3-4) at Matanzas (5-3)

Pensacola Escambia (7-0) at Middleburg (0-9), 6 p.m.

Ponte Vedra (5-4) at Columbia (2-5)

Region 1-5A, Play-in game, Round 2

Baker County (7-2) d. Arnold (2-4), by forfeit, Arnold canceled due to COVID-19

Raines (3-6) at Westside (5-3), 7 p.m.

Ribault (1-6) at Fort Walton Beach Choctawhatchee (0-7), 8:30 p.m.

Suwannee (7-2) at Parker (2-5)

Tallahassee Godby (3-3) at Paxon (3-4), 6 p.m.

Tallahassee Rickards (4-1) at White (5-4), 7 p.m.

Bye: Baker County.

Region 2-5A, Play-in game, Round 2

Citrus (1-6) at Orange Park (3-5)

Mount Dora (1-6) at Menendez (3-5)

Leesburg (0-6) at Clay (7-1)

Tavares (3-4) at Ridgeview (6-3)

Region 2-4A, Regional quarterfinals

Keystone Heights (6-2) at Bradford (4-5)

Bolles (6-2) at Villages Charter (6-0)

South Sumter (3-4) at Palatka (1-9)

West Nassau (4-6) at Fernandina Beach (6-3)

Region 1-3A, Regional quarterfinals

Episcopal (5-2) at Interlachen (5-4)

Florida State University High (7-0) at Jackson (4-4)

Trinity Christian (7-1) at Baldwin (8-0), 7 p.m.

Region 1-2A, Regional quarterfinals

Aucilla Christian (6-2) at University Christian (4-4)

Rocky Bayou Christian (3-5) at North Florida Educational (1-6)

Victory Christian (5-4) at St. Joseph (1-7)

Region 3-1A, Regional quarterfinals

Fort White (1-6) at Branford (6-1)

Bell (2-6) at Union County (6-3)

Lafayette (5-4) at Hilliard (7-0)

Sunshine State Athletic Conference playoffs

Class A

Cedar Creek Christian (4-5) at Out of Door Academy (1-4)

Eagle’s View (7-2) at Bishop Snyder (4-5)

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.