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High school football ‘21: Another slate of high stakes district showdowns in Week 9

Bolles RB Kade Frew scores a 12-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter against St Augustine. (Ralph D. Priddy, News4Jax)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s Week 9 of the high school football season. A glance at the top four games this week, the next four and the full schedule. All games Friday at 7 p.m. unless indicated. District games indicated by an *. Super 10 rankings in parentheses.

TOP FOUR

(2) Bartram Trail (6-1, 2-0) at Oakleaf (4-3, 1-1)*: The Knights need to pull an upset here, beat Creekside next week and root for Sandalwood to upset the Bears next week to create chaos in District 1-8A. A win here for Bartram all but wraps up the district title. The Bears are coming off of a huge district and rivalry win over Creekside last week, a 16-13 classic decided on a walk-of field goal by Liam Padron. Defense and special teams have been superb for the Bears this season. They’re built to win smashmouth football games this year and have been doing just that. Bartram will key in on a bevy of ball carriers of Oakleaf, headlined by RB Devin Outlaw. He’s averaging 10.8 yards per carry and has rushed for no less than 149 yards in the three games that he’s played.

Mandarin (4-4, 1-2) at Sandalwood (2-5, 0-2), 6:30 p.m.*: The Mustangs are probably the area team that no one wants to see right now. They’re clicking. The Mustangs have three losses this season by a combined eight points. While winning the district title is out of the equation, reaching the state playoffs is not. But Mandarin can’t afford a loss. The Mustangs are currently 10th in RPI in the region and only the top eight qualify for the playoffs. Sandalwood has come down to earth after going 8-3 last season. Still, they’ve played very well in their district losses, dropping both by a combined five points. RB Jordan Bean (1,045 rushing yards, 6 TDs) and QB Chris Calhoun (884 rushing yards, 10 TDs) give the Saints an explosive element on offense and remain dangerous. With freshman QB Tramell Jones (1,253 passing yards, 14 TDs) likely out injured in this one for the Mustangs, look for Mandarin’s ground game of TJ Lane (578 rushing yards, 6 TDs) and Terrance Johnson (493 rushing yards, 2 TDs) to see a heavier workload.

(5) Riverside (6-1) at (3) Trinity Christian (6-2), 7:30 p.m.: The headliner of Week 9, a Super 10 clash. Both teams are coming off losses, the Generals in Week 7 to Columbia and the Conquerors last week to Tallahassee Florida High. A good test for Trinity’s offense. Can QB Colin Hurley (1,405 passing yards, 20 TDs) avoid a tough Generals defense and stretch the field? Will RBs Darnell Rogers (816 rushing yards, 7 TDs) and Treyaun Webb (213 rushing yards) find room to run? The Generals, like Trinity, can move the ball very well. RB Alvin Gibson (768 rushing yards, 12 TDs) is poised for a 1,000-yard season on the ground. WR Freddie Manning III (430 receiving yards, 4 TDs) has been the top target of QBs Cale Zarah and Daniel Plummer. Despite Riverside’s loss to Columbia, this defense has been lights out every other game. This continues a rugged second half of the season schedule for Trinity, a slate that has included Bolles, Plantation American Heritage, Florida High and a Week 11 game at Tallahassee Lincoln.

White (5-1, 3-0) at Baker County (5-2, 2-0)*: The de facto District 2-5A championship game. The Commanders wrap up the title with a victory. The Wildcats wrap it up with a win and a Suwannee loss to Bishop Kenny. White tops the RPI standings in this district (.620) and Baker County follows at .583. The Commanders have been solid this season, but they’ve had some speed bumps in recent weeks, struggling to beat winless First Coast (22-18) and then needing a comeback to top Bishop Kenny (28-22). Christian Ellis remains the big name to keep an eye on. He’s poised to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing this week (he enters at 933 yards, 8 TDs) and the Wildcats will try and limit the damage he does. Fellow RB Davaughn Patterson is coming off his best game of the season (134 rushing yards, TD) and provides another wrinkle to the White offense. Baker County’s diverse offense features RBs Cam Smith (623 rushing yards, 8 TDs) and Jamarian Baker (571 rushing yards, 8 TDs) lead that attack. DB Jamil Jones has six of Baker County’s 13 interceptions, but don’t expect the Wildcats to see many passes in this game.

NEXT FOUR

Atlantic Coast (4-3, 1-2) at Fleming Island (4-3, 2-1), 7:30 p.m.*: A significant game with major stakes for both teams. The Stingrays, much like Mandarin, aren’t going to win the district title. But their RPI has got them very much alive for a playoff berth in Region 1-7A. The Golden Eagles are in the playoff hunt, too, but a lower RPI makes this must-win territory for Fleming Island. They’re poised for big RPI gains the final three weeks, with Nease and Oakleaf up next. The Golden Eagles erupted on offense last week in a 41-28 win over First Coast. RB Sam Singleton had 177 yards on the ground and three TDs. RB Arthur Walker (896 rushing yards, 12 TDs) will have the full attention of Fleming Island’s defense. He’s closing in on a 1,000-yard rushing season.

Bolles (6-0) at Gainesville Buchholz (6-1): The Bulldogs have been out of action since a win over Trinity Christian in Week 6. They lost an opponent due to weather and had a scheduled Week 8 bye. The return for a road game against a Bobcats team that is arguably the most difficult opponent on their schedule. These defenses are both wicked tough. Buchholz’s lone loss was a 16-7 game against defending Class 4A state champ Cardinal Gibbons, a team that Bolles saw in the finale last year. The Bulldogs’ defense, powered by DL Hayden Schwartz (35 tackles 3 sacks), LB Jack Pyburn (55 tackles, 15 TFL, 7 sacks), and DBs Kavon Miller and Spencer Surface (both 3 INTs) are smothering teams. Outside of 27 points allowed against St. Augustine and 14 to Fernandina Beach, the Bulldogs haven’t allowed a point this season on defense. The touchdown Bolles allowed to Columbia came on an Adeon Farmer pick-six. Buchholz’s defense is a machine, too. The Bobcats are allowing just 6.9 ppg.

First Coast (0-7, 0-3) at Fletcher (4-3, 3-0), 6:30 p.m.*: Looks like a mismatch, doesn’t it? Not quite. Fletcher has found a rhythm under coach Ciatrick Fason, putting together impeccable defensive performances week after week. RB Jabarri Williams (493 rushing yards, TD this season) lifted the Senators last week in a gut-check, 14-13 win over Nease. The Senators need a win to nail down District 3-7A title, but it won’t be easy. Despite its winless mark, the Buccaneers can score behind QB Larry Edwards. He had three passing TDs against a solid Fleming Island team last week. They’ve played well in waves this season. A Fletcher loss would make things interesting in this district going into Week 10.

(8) University Christian (5-2) at Parker (5-3), 6:30 p.m.: Another good clash. The Braves have a very good defense. DB Damani Dent (45 tackles, 3 INT) is a weapon in the secondary, while CJ Dorsey (1,009 all-purpose yards, 27 tackles, 5 INT) is unquestionably Parker’s top all-around player. It’s no secret Parker has had its issues moving the football. How will it fare against a strong UC defense? The versatile Orel Gray returned last week for UC and made his presence felt (176 rushing yards, 2 TDs). He’s so important in UC’s scheme and has a team-high three INTs. DE Kaydrick Robinson (47 tackles, 13 sacks) leads a physical UC front.

Florida Week 9 schedule

Thursday, Oct. 21

Gainesville 49, Ridgeview 7

Keystone Heights 50, Taylor Pierson 7

Friday, Oct. 22 (all games 7 p.m. unless indicated; district games indicated by an *)

Atlantic Coast (4-3, 1-2) at Fleming Island (4-3, 2-1), 7:30 p.m.*

Baldwin (4-2) at Paxon (1-6), 6:30 p.m.

Bartram Trail (6-1, 2-0) at Oakleaf (4-3, 1-1)*

Bolles (6-0) at Gainesville Buchholz (6-1)

Bradford (3-4) at Yulee (3-4)

Cedar Creek Christian (0-7) at Branford (3-4), 7:30 p.m.

Columbia (6-2) at Madison County (4-3), 7:30 p.m.

Eagle’s View (6-1) at Faith Christian (2-4)

Fernandina Beach (2-6) at Englewood (3-4), 6:30 p.m.

First Coast (0-7, 0-3) at Fletcher (4-3, 3-0), 6:30 p.m.*

Flagler Palm Coast (2-4, 0-3) at DeLand (3-2, 0-2)*

Interlachen (3-4) at Chiefland (6-0)

Gainesville P.K. Yonge (3-3) at Fort White (4-2), 7:30 p.m.

Mandarin (4-4, 1-2) at Sandalwood (2-5, 0-2), 6:30 p.m.*

Matanzas (3-5, 1-2) at St. Augustine (4-2, 2-0)*

Menendez (3-4, 1-1) at North Marion (4-3, 2-0)*

Middleburg (4-3) at Clay (5-2)

North Florida Educational (3-4) at Harvest (2-4)

Orange Park (2-5, 0-2) at Westside (1-6, 0-2), 6:30 p.m.*

Palatka (1-5, 0-2) at Gainesville Eastside (0-7, 0-3)*

Providence (3-4) at Episcopal (5-2)

Riverside (6-1) at Trinity Christian (6-2), 7:30 p.m.

Seffner Christian (3-3) at St. Joseph (1-5)

Stanton (0-7) at Mayo Lafayette (5-1)

Suwannee (4-4, 1-1) at Bishop Kenny (4-2, 0-2)*

Tocoi Creek (1-4) at Umatilla (4-3)

Trenton (3-4) at Hilliard (7-0)

Union County (7-0) at Santa Fe (0-7)

University Christian (5-2) at Parker (5-3), 6:30 p.m.

West Nassau (3-3) at Titusville Astronaut (1-5)

White (5-1, 3-0) at Baker County (5-2, 2-0)*

Wolfson (2-5) at Crescent City (4-3)

Saturday, Oct. 23

Raines (5-2, 2-0) at Ribault (1-7, 0-2), 2 p.m.*

Off: Bishop Snyder, Christ’s Church, Creekside, Jackson, Nease, Ponte Vedra, West Nassau, Young Kids in Motion, Zarephath Academy.

Georgia Week 10 schedule

Friday, Oct. 22 (all games 7:30 p.m.; region games indicated by an *)

Camden County (4-4, 0-1) at Tift County (5-3, 0-2)*

Glynn Academy (3-4, 2-2) at Richmond Hill (2-5, 2-2)*

Irwin County (6-2, 4-0) at Charlton County (5-3, 1-3)*

Pierce County (5-2, 1-0) at Long County (4-4, 1-1)*

Off: Brunswick, Ware County.


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.