Week 8 high school football picks: Make-or-break district games take center stage

Bartram running back Eric Weatherly (21) breaks a tackle at the end of the first half and scores a touchdown against Creekside on Saturday night in a 2019 game. (Photo by Ralph D. Priddy)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – High school football season is back, and with it, our weekly predictions on games in the area. News4Jax sports editor Justin Barney reveals his weekly high school football picks every Thursday. A glance at all Week 8 games. All games Friday at 7 p.m. unless indicated. District games indicated by an *.

Last week: 22-10. Season: 168-64 (.724).

Week 8 picks

Thursday, Oct. 14

Episcopal (5-1) at Jackson (4-3), 6:30 p.m.: Excellent game to open the week. And it’s a tossup. Eagles have been cooking, including back-to-back classic Ws and four straight victories. Going with the home team in a close one. N4J pick: Jackson 23, Episcopal 20.

Friday, Oct. 15

Bishop Kenny (4-1, 0-1) at White (4-1, 2-0), 6:30 p.m.*: Commanders stay on pace to play for a district crown next week in Macclenny. N4J pick: White 31, Bishop Kenny 14.

Bishop Snyder (4-2) at Eagle’s View (5-1): Very good small school clash. Snyder won the Sunshine State Athletic Conference state championship last season. Eagle’s View’s lone loss came by a point. N4J pick: Eagle’s View 23, Snyder 20.

Bradford (3-3) at Baldwin (3-2), 6:30 p.m.: Indians have to pull their offense out of its slump. N4J pick: Bradford 33, Baldwin 13.

Branford (3-3) at Hilliard (6-0): Red Flashes haven’t lost a regular season game since last decade. OK, 2019. But still. N4J pick: Hilliard 27, Branford 21.

Clay (4-2, 2-0) at Menendez (3-3, 1-0)*: Good district matchup. Blue Devils take the lead in the district race. N4J pick: Clay 28, Menendez 14.

Creekside (6-1, 2-0) at Bartram Trail (5-1, 1-0)*: Back and forth on this one, but the history is daunting. N4J pick: Bartram Trail 28, Creekside 24.

Columbia (5-2, 3-0) at Orange Park (2-4, 0-1)*: Tigers’ win last week means the district championship can be had with a win here. N4J pick: Columbia 36, Orange Park 13.

Dixie County (3-2) at Fort White (3-2), 7:30 p.m.: Indians in a close one. N4J pick: Fort White 22, Dixie County 19.

Fernandina Beach (2-5) at West Nassau (2-3): Warriors have found their rhythm. N4J pick: West Nassau 33, Fernandina Beach 14.

Fleming Island (3-3, 1-1) at First Coast (0-6, 0-2), 6:30 p.m.*: Golden Eagles need to keep winning to have a district championship shot. N4J pick: Fleming Island 34, First Coast 14.

Foundation Academy (5-1) at University Christian (4-2), 7:30 p.m.: UC gets back in sync with back-to-back wins. The Christians beat Foundation twice last season. N4J pick: UC 36, Foundation 28.

Hollis Christian Academy (2-2) at Union County (6-0), 7:30 p.m.: No problem for the Tigers. N4J pick: Union County 34, Hollis Christian 20.

Interlachen (2-4) at Christ’s Church (5-2): Tough matchup for the Eagles here. N4J pick: Interlachen 21, Christ’s Church 20.

Lake Mary (6-0, 1-0) at Flagler Palm Coast (2-3, 0-2)*: Rams stay unbeaten here. N4J pick: Lake Mary 35, FPC 21.

Middleburg (4-2, 1-1) at Gainesville (4-2, 1-0)*: Broncos need a win here (and some help) to stay in the district race. N4J pick: Gainesville 37, Middleburg 17.

Nease (5-2, 3-0) at Fletcher (3-3, 2-0), 6:30 p.m.*: Crucial District 3-7A game for both. Panthers’ offense is the difference here. N4J pick: Nease 31, Fletcher 20.

North Marion (3-3, 1-0) at Palatka (1-4, 0-1)*: Colts are going to push for a district title and can’t slip up here. N4J pick: North Marion 36, Palatka 21.

Oakleaf (4-2, 1-0) at Mandarin (3-4, 0-2), 6:30 p.m.*: Another tough one to pick. Mustangs are hot, but can they control Oakleaf’s powerful ground game? N4J pick: Mandarin 29, Oakleaf 27.

Parker (4-3, 1-1) at Ribault (1-6, 0-1), 6:30 p.m.*: Braves have major problems on offense, but they still win here. N4J pick: Parker 22, Ribault 7.

Paxon (1-5, 0-2) at Suwannee (3-4, 0-1)*: Bulldogs snap out of a recent slide. N4J pick: Suwannee 36, Paxon 6.

Ponte Vedra (3-4, 1-2) at Atlantic Coast (3-3, 0-2), 6:30 p.m.*: Stingrays run hot and cold, but they’ve shown that they’re capable of big things weekly. N4J pick: Atlantic Coast 27, Ponte Vedra 20.

Ridgeview (1-5, 0-1) at Matanzas (2-5, 0-2)*: Host Pirates in a close one. N4J pick: Matanzas 28, Ridgeview 26.

Stanton (0-6) at Englewood (2-4), 6:30 p.m.: Rams have played better than their record. N4J pick: Englewood 45, Stanton 0.

Taylor Pierson (2-2) at Crescent City (3-3): Raiders trying to get over the .500 hump. N4J pick: Taylor Pierson 28, Crescent City 20.

Trinity Christian (6-1) at Tallahassee Florida High (5-1): Continuation of last year’s playoff beatdown. N4J pick: Trinity 34, Florida High 14.

Yulee (3-3, 1-1) at Raines (4-2, 1-0), 6:30 p.m.*: Vikings will wrap up the district crown this week. N4J pick: Raines 27, Yulee 14.


Home team in CAPS; local teams in bold

Aucilla Christian (4-2) over HARVEST (1-4); GAINESVILLE OAK HALL (4-1) over Cedar Creek Christian (0-6); JORDAN CHRISTIAN (3-3) over Zarephath Academy (1-5); Zephyrhills Christian (5-1) over NORTH FLORIDA EDUCATIONAL (3-3); Young Kids in Motion (2-4) over HALIFAX ACADEMY (0-6).

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.