JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – This week’s matchup between Trinity Christian and Bolles has been circled on the calendar since the schedules were made.
And until last Friday, it looked like it would be a matchup of the top two teams in the News4JAX Super 10 rankings. But then Bolles lost its first game of the season to Brunswick as part of the Georgia-Florida Border Classic, making this game a redemption game for both teams.
For Trinity, it’s redemption from the last two meetings with the Bulldogs, won handily by Bolles.
For Bolles, it’s a chance to bounce back.
“I think we’re lucky, there’s no opponent I would rather have following a game where we shoot ourselves in the foot and don’t play very well‚” said Bolles head coach Matt Toblin. “With Trinity Christian, there’s no letdown. There’s no time to feel sorry for yourself. One of the best teams in the area and we’re making a trip over there. And so there’s no time to lick our wounds. We’ve got to get going.”
Between them, Bolles and Trinity Christian have won 20 state football championships. They are the two of the three most successful programs in northeast Florida (University Christian, like Trinity, also has nine titles). And Friday, they meet for the seventh time in the last six seasons. Bolles has a number of veterans who have beaten Trinity each of the past two seasons, but they know Friday will be no easy task, especially facing two excellent running backs in Treyaun Webb and Darnell Rogers.
“Everybody should be motivated for this game from freshmen all the way to seniors,” said Bolles senior defensive back Kemani Wilson. “No matter if you’re a waterboy or anything like that. I mean, it’s a big game for both sides of atmosphere. So, I feel like you should be motivated.”
After kicking just a field goal against Brunswick, the Bulldogs offense must step up if they are to beat the No. 1-ranked team in the News4JAX Super 10. And while there are lessons to be learned from the loss to Brunswick, Bulldogs players say they have already turned the page.
“Coach Toblin and my dad [former Jaguars tackle Todd Fordham] both said you only have 24 hours to go over what you did wrong,” said Bolles center Cooper Fordham. “Then you’ve got to move on to the next week and get ready for the next opponents and watch the film. So, the 24 hours are really hard but then you have to move on.”
Each of the past two seasons, Bolles beat Trinity Christian and the Conquerors went on to win the state title, so it’s inaccurate to call this a defining game for either team. Still, it seems more important for Bolles considering their performance last week.
“There is a little bit of redemption,” Toblin said. “We have a sour taste in our mouth for the way that we played. We don’t feel like we put our best foot forward and we need to make sure that we’re playing better.”