JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – High school football season is back. That means our football predictions are back, too.
News4JAX sports editor Justin Barney will reveal his picks for the week each Thursday. All game times are 7 p.m. unless indicated. District games are indicated by an *.
Last week: 26-9 (.743). Season: 208-63 (.768).
More Week 9 coverage
Polling the coaches | Area leaders talk biggest issues, best coaches in area
Big honor for OP star | Rod Kearney gets All-America honor
Jackson’s back! | Renaissance of the Tigers’ program under Christopher Foy
District races tighten | A look at who’s clinched titles and what games are left
How the season has gone | Week-by-week results, 2022 television coverage archive
Week 9 predictions
Thursday, Oct. 20
Trinity Christian (7-0, 2-0) at Christ’s Church (1-6, 0-2)*: Conquerors coast and take the their foot off the gas pedal by halftime. N4J pick: Trinity 42, Christ’s Church 0.
Friday, Oct. 21
Baker County (5-2) at Jackson (6-1), 6:30 p.m.: Wildcats need to be able to score, which Jackson hasn’t allowed much of lately. The Tigers’ recent offensive issues scare me in this one. N4J pick: Baker County 20, Jackson 19.
Bishop Snyder (5-2) at Seven Rivers Christian (5-2): Snyder won this game in slugfest last year. N4J pick: Bishop Snyder 24, Seven Rivers 23.
Branford (5-3) at Cedar Creek Christian (4-2): Bucs knock off the Saints. N4J pick: Branford 38, Cedar Creek 7.
Creekside (5-2, 1-2) at Fleming Island (4-2, 0-2)*: Knights still in good position for the playoffs. Golden Eagles need to keep stacking wins. N4J pick: Creekside 33, Fleming Island 28.
Crescent City (4-3) at Beachside (4-3): Barracudas took a tough loss to Paxon last week. They bounce back here. N4J pick: Beachside 27, Crescent City 20.
Dunnellon (5-2) at Bradford (7-0), 7:30 p.m.: The most challenging game of the season yet for the fortress that is the Tornadoes defense. N4J pick: Bradford 21, Dunnellon 14.
Englewood (3-4) at Westside (1-6), 6:30 p.m.: Rams are better than many realize. N4J pick: Englewood 28, Westside 18.
Episcopal (5-2) at Yulee (3-3): Hornets try and stay in the playoff conversation. N4J pick: Yulee 27, Episcopal 26.
First Coast (4-2) at Paxon (2-5), 6:30 p.m.: Buccaneers stumbled last week and Golden Eagles shocked Beachside. N4J pick: First Coast 27, Paxon 7.
Flagler Palm Coast (5-3) at Celebration (0-6): District champs add another W. N4J pick: FPC 35, Celebration 7.
Fort White (4-3) at Ridgeview (1-7): Slide continues for the Panthers. N4J pick: Fort White 27, Ridgeview 21.
Gadsden County (2-5) at Columbia (4-3), 7:30 p.m.: Tigers keep on winning. N4J pick: Columbia 28, Gadsden County 14.
Gainesville (0-8, 0-3) at St. Augustine (4-3, 2-0)*: Yellow Jackets take another step toward district title. N4J pick: St. Augustine 39, Gainesville 13.
Gainesville Buchholz (6-0, 2-0) at Bartram Trail (7-0, 2-0)*: Game of the week in the area. Bears’ showing last week flipped my pick in this one. N4J pick: Bartram 42, Buchholz 40.
Halifax Academy (2-5) at Interlachen (7-0), 7:30 p.m.: Rams are marching towards perfection. N4J pick: Interlachen 33, Halifax 14.
Harvest Community (2-4) at Providence (3-4): Stallions get back to .500. N4J pick: Providence 35, Harvest 13.
Hilliard (6-2) at Destin (1-5): A long road trip for the Red Flashes. They get a win in a vacation destination. N4J pick: Hilliard 34, Destin 20.
Impact Christian (1-5) at Wolfson (3-4), 6:30 p.m.: Wolfpack have a tough two games after this but a season at .500 or better is possible. N4J pick: Wolfson 34, Impact 6.
Madison County (2-5) at Oakleaf (3-4): Knights have been in all but one game this season. N4J pick: Oakleaf 28, Madison County 20.
Matanzas (3-4, 1-1) at Clay (2-5, 1-1)*: Blue Devils need this win (and some help) to keep their slim district hopes alive. N4J pick: Clay 21, Matanzas 17.
Orange Park (2-5) at Ponte Vedra (3-4): Sharks are better than their record. N4J pick: Ponte Vedra 28, Orange Park 13.
Palatka (7-0) at Fernandina Beach (3-3): Panthers set up next week’s Bradford showdown with win here. N4J pick: Palatka 33, Fernandina Beach 21.
Parker (2-6) at University Christian (7-1), 7:30 p.m.: Despite the record differences, this isn’t a walk in the park for UC. N4J pick: UC 27, Parker 20.
Raines (5-1) at Atlantic Coast (0-7), 6:30 p.m.: Vikings stay on a district collision course with Jackson for the district title. N4J pick: Raines 30, Atlantic Coast 7.
Riverside (2-6) at Sandalwood (4-3), 6:30 p.m.: Saints have been on a tear and have a district title shot against Mandarin next week. Generals have lost six straight but have been in several of those games late. N4J pick: Sandalwood 21, Riverside 8.
St. Joseph (2-5) at Stanton (0-6), 6:30 p.m.: Flashes keep the Blue Devils hunting for their first win. N4J pick: St. Joseph 30, Stanton 13.
Santa Fe (1-6) at Union County (4-2), 7:30 p.m.: Tigers get back on track after OT loss last week. N4J pick: Union County 28, Santa Fe 13.
Taylor Pierson (1-6) at Keystone Heights (1-6), 7:30 p.m.: Indians add a second W. N4J pick: Keystone 20, Taylor Pierson 10.
West Nassau (2-6, 0-2) at Baldwin (6-1, 3-0), 6:30 p.m.*: This battle goes to the district champs. N4J pick: Baldwin 35, West Nassau 14.
White (4-2) at Ribault (3-4), 6:30 p.m.: Commanders face another tough defense. N4J pick: White 28, Ribault 14.
Home team in CAPS
Faith Christian (3-4) over EAGLE’S VIEW (1-5)
SEFFNER CHRISTIAN (3-4) over Young Kids in Motion (3-3), 7:30 p.m.
Zarephath Academy (2-4) over JORDAN CHRISTIAN PREP (1-3)
Off: Bishop Kenny, Bolles, Fletcher, Hollis Christian, Mandarin, Menendez, Middleburg, Nease, Suwannee, Tocoi Creek.