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High school football 2020: 10 area teams still going in 1A-4A state playoffs

Bolles QB Gunner Boree (7) eludes Bishop Kenny LB Miles Cameron (8) during a scrimmage at Skinner-Barco Stadium (Ralph D. Priddy).
Bolles QB Gunner Boree (7) eludes Bishop Kenny LB Miles Cameron (8) during a scrimmage at Skinner-Barco Stadium (Ralph D. Priddy). (News4Jax)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s officially the third week of the high school football playoffs and the area has 28 teams still in contention for a state championship. Ten of those teams are in Classes 1A-4A, which we take a look at below. Classes 5A-8A will be published Wednesday. All games this week are Friday at 7:30 p.m. unless indicated. Schedule and times subject to change.

Region 2-4A

Bolles (7-2) at Fernandina Beach (7-3)

Road here: Bolles d. Villages Charter, 44-14; Fernandina Beach d. West Nassau, 34-22.

Winner gets: The winner would travel to face the Bradford/South Sumter winner in the regional finals on Nov. 27.

Glance: The Bulldogs go on the road to face a former district opponent in the Pirates, a team that is having its best season ever. The Pirates, led by dual-threat QB Cam Miller, won their first playoff game ever last week and are having their best year, record-wise, in more than 12 years. RB Khamari Barksdale had a monster game last week (23 carries, 264 yards, 3 TDs) and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Miller is creeping up on 1,000 yards on the ground (973, 15 TDs) as well as through the air (922, 9 TDs). Bolles is a bit banged up offensively, losing RB Azeh Kani and TE Justin Cayenne to injuries. More of the offensive workload will fall to RB Kade Frew (955 rushing yards, 11 TDs). He had 23 carries last week, his second-highest total of the season.

Bradford (5-5) at South Sumter (4-4)

Road here: Bradford d. Keystone Heights, 40-14; South Sumter d. Palatka, 28-7.

Winner gets: Bradford would host the Bolles/Fernandina Beach winner in the regional finals on Nov. 27.

Glance: A 1-4 start didn’t derail the Tornadoes, a regional finalist last season and a state semifinalist as recently as 2017. RB Erric Smith (1,221 rushing yards, 9 TDs) is one of the area’s few 1,000-yard backs this season. Freshman QB Dae’jon Shanks has thrown for 1,199 yards and 15 TDs. S Dontae Balfour leads Bradford in both tackles (34) and picks (3). The Tornadoes don’t have to look too far back for motivation in this one. South Sumter beat them 31-20 to end the regular season as well as 28-26 last year.

Region 1-3A

Trinity Christian (8-1) at Episcopal (6-2), 7 p.m.

Road here: Trinity d. Baldwin, 20-3; Episcopal d. Wolfson. 42-7; d. Interlachen, 41-19.

Winner gets: The winner would host the Florida High/Pensacola Catholic winner in the regional finals on Nov. 27.

Glance: Another matchup between former district opponents. The Conquerors are rooted in defense. With no Treyaun Webb last week, Trinity rode the legs of Christian Ellis out of the backfield and he delivered with a 16-carry, 140-yard rushing effort. Trinity’s vertical game hasn’t gotten going yet, with just 865 passing yards (96.1 ypg) but that hasn’t slowed the Conquerors down. It may have to show some life the deeper that Trinity goes into the postseason, but it hasn’t needed a major burst through the air. The defense has been rock solid and keeping scores low and putting the brakes on all challengers. LBs Lucius Lattimore and Caden Morrell, and DE Johnathan Goddard Jr. are a force up front. And the secondary may flex, but seldom gets beat. For never having won a playoff game until last season, Episcopal has three postseason wins now. RB Ershod Jasey will have his work cut out for him to reach 1,000 rushing yards this season (945, 17 TDs) but it’s within reach. Kirk Reed (465 rushing yards, 7 TDs) has been a solid complementary back to Jasey. TE Nick Elksnis (425 receiving yards, 5 TDs) and QB Tucker Tomberlin (1,430 passing yards, 15 TDs) need to be in sync to take the pressure off of Episcopal’s ground game.

Region 1-2A

University Christian (5-4) at St. John Paul II (5-3)

Road here: UC d. Quincy Munroe, 42-0; d. Aucilla Christian, 41-16; St. John Paul won by forfeit over Florida A&M.

Winner gets: UC would travel to face the North Florida Educational/North Florida Christian winner in the regional finals on Nov. 27.

Glance: Here’s a quick reminder of how far ahead UC has been against Class 2A competition this season — 118-16. The Christians have faced three 2A schools this year, two of them unbeaten at the time, and fileted them. Foundation Academy was unbeaten in Week 7 and UC crushed them 35-0. Munroe was 8-0 and UC rolled 42-0. Aucilla Christian scored twice last week in running clock garbage time. The Christians haven’t typically gotten a test in 2A until they run into North Florida Christian, be it in the second or third round. RB Orel Gray had 2 carries for 120 yards and a TD last week. Joe Carter carried 4 times for 48 yards and a score. Sophomore Peyton Penland has played 2 games and picked off 3 passes, including one against Aucilla inside the 10-yard line.

North Florida Educational (2-6) at Tallahassee North Florida Christian (5-2), 7 p.m.

Road here: NFEI d. Rocky Bayou Christian, 40-0; NFC d. Maclay, 46-19.

Winner gets: NFEI would host the University Christian/St. John Paul winner in the regional finals on Nov. 27.

Glance: NFEI cruised in its playoff debut and thumped Rocky Bayou, a benefit of playing a challenging regular season against the likes of teams like Fernandina Beach, Seffner Christian and Trinity Christian. ATH Joshua Ealey is among NFEI’s top two-way stars. He had a pair of rushing scores as well as recovered a couple fumbles last week. QB Samuel Brooks had two TD passes in the playoff opener. Despite NFC’s playoff pedigree, don’t think that the Eagles are going to enter this one overwhelmed.

Region 3-1A

Union County (7-3) at Fort White (2-6)

Road here: Union County d. Bell, 42-0; Fort White d. Hamilton County, 14-6; d. Branford, 21-20.

Winner gets: The winner would host the Hilliard/Madison County winner in the regional finals on Nov. 27.

Glance: Talk about turning it on during crunch time. The Indians were seldom even competitive in regular season games, losing in blowout fashion (24.7 average loss weekly). Since the playoffs began, Fort White has won two in a row including a 21-20 win over a 6-1 Branford last week. QB Tyler Jefferson accounted for all 3 TDs last week (2 rushing and a passing TD). The Indians played well on defense, too, with DL Mahri Roberts leading the way with 12 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 TFL. Roberts has 4 sacks in 2 playoff games. The road toughens up this week against an improving Union County squad. RB Cade Vaughn (730 rushing yards, 5 TDs) and Manny Covey (663 rushing yards, 8 TDs) lead the backfield. QB AJ Cortese is on the verge of 1,000 passing yards this season (956, 13 TDs). LB Curran Webb has 10.5 of Union’s 28 sacks and S Cortez Slocum has 5 picks.

Madison County (8-2) at Hilliard (8-0)

Road here: Madison County d. Dixie County, 48-19; Hilliard d. Lafayette, 22-21 in OT.

Winner gets: Hilliard would travel to the Union County/Fort White winner in the regional finals on Nov. 27.

Glance: It has been an excellent two-year stretch for Hilliard and coach John Pate. They won their playoff opener last season for the first time since 2004 and did it in dramatic fashion, 34-33 in OT against Branford. Fast forward to this year and what do the Red Flashes do? Only go unbeaten in the regular season and then win their playoff opener in OT, 22-21. RB Tywuan Lee is the big name for Hilliard. He’s been the workhorse all season. QB Lyle Bennett tossed the winning two-point conversion in OT to Jason Sheffield last week to get the Red Flashes into the second round. The bad news? Madison County awaits. The Cowboys are the state’s best team in 1A and zeroing in on their fourth straight state title.

Playoffs, Week 3 schedule

Friday, Nov. 20

All games 7:30 p.m. unless indicated

Region 1-8A

Oakleaf (7-3) at Bartram Trail (8-1)

Flagler Palm Coast (4-3) at Sandalwood (7-2)

Region 1-7A

Fleming Island (7-2) at Tallahassee Chiles (1-5)

Tallahassee Lincoln (6-1) at Atlantic Coast (4-5), 7 p.m.

Region 1-6A

Lee (6-1) at Pensacola Pace (4-3), 8:30 p.m.

Pensacola Escambia (8-0) at St. Augustine (7-2)

Daytona Beach Seabreeze (4-4) at Columbia (3-5)

Daytona Beach Mainland (7-1) at Matanzas (6-3)

Region 1-5A

Tallahassee Godby (4-3) at Ribault (2-6), 6 p.m.

Baker County (7-2) at Raines (4-6), 7 p.m.

Suwannee (8-2) at Pensacola Pine Forest (3-4), 8:30 p.m.

Region 2-5A

Menendez (4-5) at Orange Park (4-5)

Ridgeview (7-3) at Ocala Vanguard (6-1)

Atlantic (1-5) at Clay (8-1)

Region 2-4A

Bolles (7-2) at Fernandina Beach (7-3)

Bradford (5-5) at South Sumter (4-4)

Region 1-3A

Trinity Christian (8-1) at Episcopal (6-2), 7 p.m.

Region 1-2A

University Christian (5-4) at St. John Paul II (5-3)

North Florida Educational (2-6) at Tallahassee North Florida Christian (5-2), 7 p.m.

Region 3-1A

Union County (7-3) at Fort White (2-6)

Madison County (8-2) at Hilliard (8-0)


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