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High school football ‘21: Glance at Friday night’s second-round playoff matchups

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

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The second round of the high school football playoffs arrives on Friday night. A look at the area matchups. All games are 7:30 p.m. unless indicated.

Region 1-8A

3. Apopka (9-2) at 2. Bartram Trail (9-2)

Road here: Apopka d. Creekside, 42-0; Bartram d. Lake Brantley, 42-6.

Winner gets: 5. Lake Mary (10-1) or 1. Seminole (10-1) in the regional finals. Bartram would host Lake Mary but travel to Seminole.

Glance: The Bears started their playoff road with a bang. After winning with defense and special teams in the first slice of the season, Bartram has put up its three highest point totals of the season over the last four weeks. Credit that to players like QB Riley Trujillo feeling more confident and experienced. That strong defense will need emerge to rein in an Apopka team that is averaging 30.7 points per game. It is allowing just 5.9 ppg, presenting arguably the biggest challenge of the season to Trujillo, RB Eric Weatherly and TE Eli Sutherland. The Blue Darters are perennial state powers, winners of three state championships under former coach Rick Darlington. Apopka has had excellent success against area teams in the state playoffs. The Blue Darters are 6-1 all-time in the state playoffs against local teams (beating Sandalwood, 31-21 in 2004, Fletcher, 52-19 in 2012, First Coast, 42-20 and 64-48 in 2012-13, Flagler Palm Coast, 42-25 in 2019 and Bartram, 34-13 in 2019). Only Sandalwood, which beat Apopka 20-18 in 2006, has managed to end the Blue Darters’ season.

Region 1-7A

7. Nease (8-3) at 3. Niceville (10-1)

Road here: Nease d. Spruce Creek, 24-21; Niceville d. Atlantic Coast, 20-6.

Winner gets: 5. Orange City University (7-2) or 1. Gainesville Buchholz (10-1) in the regional finals. Nease would travel to face either.

Glance: The Panthers went on the road last week to upend the region’s No. 2 seed. QB Marcus Stokes (2,273 passing yards, 21 TDs) and WR Dom Henry (1,368 receiving yards, 11 TDs) are the area’s top passing-receiving tandem in the area. Nease can move the ball, but it’s going to have to limit what the Eagles do offensively. Niceville is averaging 36.3 points an outing and moves the ball extremely well among a contingent of ball carriers, including dual-threat QB Addison Moore. Atlantic Coast made things difficult on Niceville last week. Nease must do the same, with S Creed McClafferty (6 INTs) and LBs Ben Bogle (164 tackles, 16 sacks, 2 INT) and Zach Harmon (119 tackles) keeping the Eagles’ battalion of runners in front of them. Last week’s playoff victory was Nease’s first since a 43-13 win over Gainesville Eastside in 2008. The Panthers are 2-2 all-time against teams from the Panhandle, beating Pace twice (2005, ‘07) and losing to Pace (1992) and Fort Walton Beach (2015).

Region 1-6A

5. Riverside (10-1) at 1. Pine Forest (9-1)

Road here: Riverside d. Columbia, 17-3; Pine Forest d. Rickards, 26-7.

Winner gets: 2. Mosley (9-1) or 7. Gulf Breeze (7-3) in the regional finals. Riverside would host Gulf Breeze but travel to face Mosley.

Glance: It’s a tough playoff road trip for the Generals, who make the trek to the Panhandle one week after using defense to beat Columbia in Lake City. QBs Cale Zarah and Daniel Plummer have combined to throw 24 touchdown passes. Plummer has accounted for 1,244 of Riverside’s 1,746 passing yards. RB Alvin Gibson (963 rushing yards, 16 TDs) is approaching a 1,000-yard rushing season. Should Gibson reach that, he’d be the first Riverside player to crack the 1K mark since Derrick Jones and Cameron Wakefield reached the milestone in 2016. Defense is Riverside’s hallmark. The Generals are allowing teams just 10.5 points per game this season. It went 5-1 against playoff teams in the regular season and atoned for that lone loss last week. The defensive line is tough with Masiah Wells (9 sacks), De’Avery Weeks (8 sacks) and Zaire Moody (7 sacks) accounting for more than half of Riverside’s sacks. DB Jaheim Singletary has four of the Generals’ 13 interceptions.

Region 1-5A

5. West Florida (9-1) at 1. Baker County (9-2)

Road here: West Florida d. North Marion, 35-14; Baker County d. White, 28-12.

Winner gets: 3. Wakulla (9-2) or 2. Raines (8-2) in the regional finals. Baker County would host either.

Glance: These teams met in the 2017 playoffs and that provided a good omen for the Wildcats. Baker County rolled 48-28 and wound up reaching the state championship game that season. Baker County does what it needs to very well. QB Noah Ray has thrown for 1,245 yards and 12 TDs. He’s backed by a ground game that includes one 1,000-yard rusher in Cam Smith (1,247 yards, 15 TDs) and potentially another in Jamarian Baker (840 rushing yards, 12 TDs). WR Jaymodd Ruise (551 yards, 8 TDs) provides a legitimate big play threat in the receiving game. The Wildcats’ defense is stout, especially in the secondary. DBs Jamil Jones (9 interceptions) and Ronnie Ellis (4 picks) lead a defense that has 20 takeaways. DE Orlando Holland (56 tackles, 17 sacks), and LBs Camilo Rollins (111 tackles, 4 sacks) and Toby Kinghorn (69 tackles, 5 sacks) headline an excellent Wildcats defense. The Jaguars’ lone loss was a 20-14 OT defeat to Wakulla. West Florida has held eight opponents this season to two touchdowns or less.

3. Wakulla (9-2) at 2. Raines (8-2)

Road here: Wakulla d. Bishop Kenny, 52-34; Raines d. Parker, 24-10.

Winner gets: 5. West Florida (9-1) or 1. Baker County (9-2) in the regional finals. Raines would host West Florida but travel to face Baker County.

Glance: The Vikings have hit their stride since a loss to Clearwater Academy on Sept. 24, rattling off six straight wins. RB Kareem Burke (1,492 all-purpose yards, 10 TDs) remains Raines’ top playmaker alongside receiver Quincy Burroughs (402 receiving yards, 3 TDs). QB Carleton Butler has passed for 868 yards and seven TDs this season. When he’s been out with injury, Reshawn Latimer has performed very well (574 passing yards, 7 TDs, 63% completion percentage). The Vikings have won with both of those players under center. Defense has been the consistent for Raines. LB Rashaad Hall (75 tackles, 3 sacks), DB Kyree Hammond (63 tackles, 2 INT) and LB Craig Jenkins (62 tackles, 4.5 sacks) power a very good Raines defense.

Region 1-4A

4. Baldwin (7-3) at 1. South Walton (9-1)

Road here: Baldwin d. Marianna, 28-14; South Walton, bye.

Winner gets: 6. Gadsden County (3-6) or 2. Bolles (6-2) in the regional finals. Baldwin would host Gadsden County but travel to face Bolles.

Glance: Despite some very good teams in recent history, the Indians hadn’t won a state playoff game before last week’s victory over Marianna. QBs Ethan Krause (982 passing yards, 12 TDs) and Jalen Hitchens (532 passing yards, 7 TDs) have divvied up the passing duties to lead the Indians. WRs Jahad Miller (448 receiving yards, 6 TDs) and Dejuan Malpress (374 receiving yards, 3 TDs) have led a balanced pass catching corps. LBs Malcolm Harvin (77 tackles) and Octavious Barnes (66 tackles) and DB Cortez Martinez (62 tackles, 2 INTs) pace a Baldwin defense that has kept the Indians in all but one game this season. That defense will be tested this week. The Seahawks are putting up 42.2 points per game this season.

6. Gadsden County (3-6) at 2. Bolles (6-2)

Road here: Gadsden County d. Jackson, 16-14; Bolles, bye.

Winner gets: 4. Baldwin (7-3) or 1. South Walton (9-1) in the regional finals. Bolles would host Baldwin but travel to face South Walton.

Glance: The Bulldogs are back in action after two straight losses followed by two weeks off. They get a tough and familiar opponent to open their quest for another state championship berth. Bolles saw Gadsden County in the state semifinals last season and needed a Herculean finish to beat the Cougars in a 10-7 OT thriller. Gadsden County erased Bolles’ offense last year, limiting it to just 108 total yards and reining in big play RB Kade Frew. Frew is Bolles’ biggest and only true offensive threat. He’s rushed for 1,130 yards and 16 TDs this season. The Bulldogs will have to clear the way for Frew or hope to get production elsewhere on offense. The passing game has been slow to develop (821 yards, 3 TDs, 8 TDs). The offensive line and defensive side of the ball are where Bolles’ strengths lie. LB Jack Pyburn (71 tackles, 21 TFL, 9 sacks), DL Hayden Schwartz (47 tackles, 14 TFL, 6 sacks) and DBs Kavon Miller (29 tackles, 4 interceptions) and Spencer Surface (43 tackles, 6 takeaways) have been relentless this season.

Region 2-4A

3. Keystone Heights (10-1) at 2. Villages Charter (10-0)

Road here: Keystone d. Umatilla, 50-0; Villages Charter, bye.

Winner gets: 4. South Sumter (7-4) or 1. Cocoa (8-1) in the regional finals. Keystone would host South Sumter but travel to face Cocoa.

Glance: After 11 previous trips to the state playoffs, the Indians finally broke through and notched the first postseason win in program history. There’s no surprise in what Keystone wants to do. RBs Dalton Hollingsworth (1,321 rushing yards, 21 TDs) and Logan Williams (834 rushing yards, 8 TDs), and QB Tyler Jenkins (691 rushing yards, 11 TDs) chew up yardage. The Indians have rushed for nearly 4,000 yards this season and passed for just 253. The Indians will look to slow Villages’ offensive attack, with QB Brandon Kennard (1,392 passing yards, 19 TDs, INT) and RB Ed Williams (1,182 rushing yards, 13 TDs) leading a Buffalo offense that averages nearly 34 points a game.

Region 1-2A

4. St. Johns Paul II (9-2) at 1. Trinity Christian (6-4)

Road here: St. John Paul II d. Tallahassee North Florida Christian, 41-35; Trinity Christian, bye.

Winner gets: 3. University Christian (7-4) or 2. Quincy Munroe (7-2) in the regional finals. Trinity would host either.

Glance: After a bye week, the Conquerors open up their state playoff road with competition that should be easier than what they faced in the second half of the season. Trinity has lost three consecutive games entering the playoffs, albeit, to higher classification teams. QB Colin Hurley (1,677 passing yards, 21 TDs), RB Darnell Rogers (1,001 rushing yards, 9 TDs) and WR Fred Highsmith (474 receiving yards, 11 TDs) are all in the midst of excellent seasons for the Conquerors on offense. LB Caden Morrell has been one of the most active tacklers in the area (112, 2 sacks). LBs Keaton Tomas and Thomas Fryer have combined for seven interceptions. Trinity’s defense will be honed in on QB Tremaine Hughes Jr. (1,484 passing yards, 21 TDs). Trinity has its sights fixed on back-to-back state championships. The Conquerors won the Class 3A state title last season and are presumptive favorites to win the 2A crown this season. But coach Verlon Dorminey will be quick to remind his team about the pitfalls of looking ahead. After dropping from Class 5A back to 3A in 2019, the Conquerors scheduled extremely tough in the regular season to help prepare them for a playoff run in a smaller classification. Trinity lost its playoff opener to Trinity Catholic that season.

3. University Christian (7-4) at 2. Quincy Munroe (7-2)

Road here: UC d. Rocky Bayou Christian, 66-0; Munroe, bye.

Winner gets: 4. St. John Paul II (9-2) or 1. Trinity Christian (6-4) in the regional finals. UC would host St. John Paul II but travel to face Trinity.

Glance: The Christians head to the road for their second round game. RB Orel Gray is back and running strong for UC. Gray had 121 rushing yards and three TDs on just eight carries last week. Fellow RB Alan Woods had three TDs and 80 yards on 10 carries. With Gray (685 rushing yards, 13 TDs), QB Desirrio Riles (613 rushing yards, 9 TDs) and Woods (836 rushing yards, 9 TDs) all healthy, UC should be able to name its score. The Christians’ losses have come to upper classification schools or a lower classification power (Madison County). LBs Luke Thomas (80 tackles) and Ryan Oakley (3 INTs), DE Kaydrick Robinson (14 sacks) and Gray at DB (3 INTs) are the headliners on a very good at all three levels UC defense. Coach David Penland III will make it clear to not look ahead. A UC win likely sets up an all-local regional final with Trinity Christian.

Region 3-1A

3. Union County (11-0) at 2. Hilliard (9-1)

Road here: Union County d. Trenton, 49-13; Hilliard, bye.

Winner gets: 4. Lafayette (8-3) or 1. Chiefland (9-1) in the regional final. Both Hilliard and Union County would host Lafayette but travel to face Chiefland.

Glance: An excellent matchup of small school headliners. The Red Flashes have been a tank in the regular season the last two and a half years. QB Lyle Bennett (1,250 passing yards, 16 TDs), RB DJ Coston (1,040 rushing yards, 12 TDs, 388 receiving yards, 4 TDs) and WR Bradyn Matto (352 receiving yards, 5 TDs) have kept Hilliard moving all season. DEs Carson Newkirk and Tucker Pickett have combined nearly evenly for 15.5 sacks. LB Walker Avera (74 tackles) leads Hilliard’s tacklers. That defense will have to focus on eliminating the big play out of the backfield from the Tigers. Rayvon Durant eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark last week with a 207-yard game against the Trenton. RBs Caleb Crawford, Thomas Williams, Daylyn Diston and AJ Cortese have combined for 1,726 yards on the ground and 31 TDs. On defense, LB Curran Webb has a team-best 87 tackles and 13 sacks.

Region 4-1A

3. Bradford (6-5) at 2. Pahokee (7-1)

Road here: Bradford d. Newberry, 61-13; Pahokee, bye.

Winner gets: 4. Wildwood (6-4) or 1. Hawthorne (7-0) in the regional final. Bradford would host Wildwood but travel to Hawthorne.

Glance: The Tornadoes always find a way into the postseason and wind up accomplishing something. Can Bradford solve a strong Blue Devils defense? Pahokee is holding teams to 10 points a game QB Amari Jones (2,047 passing yards, 18 TDs) has ample receiving targets, but Jontez Williams (592 passing yards, 4 TDs) and Chalil Cummings (399 receiving yards, 6 TDs) are two of the biggest play pass catchers. LB Chason Clark (76 tackles) and Cummings at DB are the top defensive players.

Florida playoff schedule

Regional semifinals, Nov. 19, all games 7:30 p.m. unless indicated

Region 1-8A

5. Lake Mary (10-1) at 1. Seminole (10-1)

3. Apopka (9-2) at 2. Bartram Trail (9-2)

Region 1-7A

5. Orange City University (7-2) at 1. Gainesville Buchholz (10-1)

7. Nease (8-3) at 3. Niceville (10-1), 8 p.m.

Region 1-6A

5. Riverside (10-1) at 1. Pine Forest (9-1), 7:30 p.m.

2. Mosley (9-1) vs. 7. Gulf Breeze (7-3), 8:30 p.m.

Region 1-5A

5. West Florida (9-1) at 1. Baker County (9-2), 7 p.m.

3. Wakulla (9-2) at 2. Raines (8-2), 6:30 p.m.

Region 1-4A

4. Baldwin (7-3) at 1. South Walton (9-1), 8 p.m.

6. Gadsden County (3-6) at 2. Bolles (6-2)

Region 2-4A

4. South Sumter (7-4) at 1. Cocoa (8-1), 7 p.m.

3. Keystone Heights (10-1) at 2. Villages Charter (10-0)

Region 1-3A

4. South Sumter (7-4) at 1. Ocala Trinity Catholic (6-2)

3. Florida State University High (9-1) at 2. Walton (9-1)

Region 1-2A

4. St. Johns Paul II (9-2) at 1. Trinity Christian (6-4)

3. University Christian (7-4) at 2. Quincy Munroe (7-2)

Region 3-1A

4. Lafayette (8-3) at 1. Chiefland (9-1)

3. Union County (11-0) at 2. Hilliard (9-1)

Region 4-1A

4. Wildwood (6-4) at 1. Hawthorne (7-0)

3. Bradford (6-5) at 2. Pahokee (7-1)

Georgia high school football schedule

Second round, Nov. 19

Class 6A

3. Dacula (7-4) at 1. Brunswick (11-0), 7 p.m.

Class 5A

2. Calhoun (9-2) at 1. Ware County (9-1), 7 p.m.

Class 3A

2. Dawson County (7-4) at 1. Pierce County (8-2)


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.