High school football ‘22: Glance at opening round matchups in the Metro division

Mandarin receiver Jaime Ffrench lines up during a game against Creekside this season. (Kevin Nguyen, News4JAX)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The high school football playoffs begin on Friday night, with games on Saturday and Monday night, too, due to Hurricane Nicole. A glance at the matchups in the Metro division. Breakdowns for the Suburban and Rural divisions are here. All games are Friday at 7 p.m. unless indicated.

Region 1-4M

(1) Seminole (8-2) at (8) Mandarin (5-4), Monday, 6:30 p.m.

Winner gets: (5) Hagerty or (4) Lake Mary in the regional semifinals on Nov. 18. Mandarin would travel to face either.

Region glance: The Mustangs won their district in coach Toby Bullock’s first season. The reward for that is a matchup against the top-rated team in Region 1-4M in Seminole, a state champ in 2020. While it may look like a mismatch on paper, Mandarin has some heavy hitters across the field which gives it a shot in any game. QB Tramell Jones (2,084 passing yards, 21 TDs) is one of the best sophomores in the country. RB Tiant Wyche (736 rushing yards, 8 TDs) and WR Jaime Ffrench (601 receiving yards, 5 TDs) are underclassmen, too. WR Kieren Jackson (557 receiving yards, 10 TDs) is a gamer and leads the team in scoring. LB Carmello Murphy (101 tackles, 18 TFL, 8.5 sacks) leads the team in tacklers.

Region 1-3M

(8) First Coast (6-3) at (1) Orlando Edgewater (10-0), Saturday, 6 p.m.

Winner gets: (5) Tampa Bay Tech or (4) Fletcher in the regional semifinals on Nov. 18. First Coast would travel to face either.

(5) Tampa Bay Tech (8-2) at (4) Fletcher (8-2), Saturday, 6 p.m.

Winner gets: (8) First Coast or (1) Orlando Edgewater in the regional semifinals on Nov. 18. Fletcher would host First Coast but travel to Edgewater.

Region glance: It’s been an excellent season for both the Buccaneers and Senators, district rivals and Gateway Conference mainstays. In Year 2 of Ciatrick Fason’s head coaching tenure, he’s gotten a far more thorough result from his team. The offense is humming with QB Marcelis Tate (1,682 passing yards, 12 TDs; 590 rushing yards, 8 TDs) has looked comfortable running things. RB Keandre Harold (531 rushing yards, 9 TDs) and Anthony Vaglienti (713 receiving yards, 8 TDs) are also playmakers for Fletcher. DE/LB Matteo Davis (62 tackles, 15 TFL, 12.5 sacks) and LB Eli Durden (79 tackles, 7 TFL) give the Senators a presence on defense. Fletcher is in search of its first playoff win since 2014. … First Coast’s turnaround has been special. The Buccaneers entered this season on a 12-game losing streak dating back to 2020. Longtime coach Marty Lee has turned back time this year in what could be his final season before retirement. The Buccaneers last qualified for the playoffs in 2014, the final year of Mr. Football DeAndre Johnson’s record-setting career. They needed a Week 11 upset of a red-hot Jackson to snatch the No. 8 seed. QB Rodney Tisdale Jr. is at the forefront of the First Coast offense and he’s a gamer. Tisdale has passed for 1,779 yards (17 TDs). RB Auston Harris (768 rushing yards, 7 TDs) and WR Thomas Jackson (657 receiving yards, 8 TDs) have given the Buccaneers a nucleus of playmakers who are all juniors.

Region 1-2M

(8) Riverside (4-6) at (1) Jackson (8-2), 6:30 p.m.

Winner gets: (5) Raines or (4) White in the regional semifinals on Nov. 18. Riverside would travel to face either team; Jackson would host either team.

(5) Raines (7-2) at (4) White (7-2), 6:30 p.m.

Winner gets: (8) Riverside or (1) Jackson in the regional semifinals on Nov. 18. Both teams would host Riverside; both teams would travel to Jackson.

(7) Bishop Moore (7-3) at (2) Bishop Kenny (8-2), Saturday, 6 p.m.

Winner gets: (6) Episcopal (8-2) or (3) Bolles in the regional semifinals on Nov. 18. Kenny would host either team.

(6) Episcopal (8-2) at (3) Bolles (6-4), 7:30 p.m.

Winner gets: (7) Bishop Moore or (2) Bishop Kenny in the regional semifinals on Nov. 18. Bolles and Episcopal would host Bishop Moore but travel to Kenny.

Region glance: The area’s most stacked region and the one all but guaranteed to produce a state semifinalist (Region 1-1M, with Trinity Christian and University Christian is the other). So many good storylines here. Jackson hasn’t been to the state playoffs as a district champ since 2009, the last time it won a postseason game. The turnaround under coach Christopher Foy has been remarkable. A Week 11 loss to First Coast ended an eight-game winning streak but the Tigers still held on to the No. 1 seed here. Riverside handled Ribault in Week 11 to wrap up its state playoff berth and a rematch with Jackson. The Tigers edged the Generals 6-2 in a regular season game that saw both teams have opportunities to win that game. Jackson’s defense has been the backbone of the team. LB Grayson Howard (171 tackles, 18 TFL), DB Seth Brooks (5 INT) and LB Tyler Fann (94 tackles, 12 sacks) are three of the team’s top defenders. ATH Fred Gaines (837 total yards, 8 TDs) is Jackson’s most versatile offensive threat. QB King Johnson (1,517 passing yards, 11 TDs) has become a consistent leader of the offense. The Generals have been a different team down the stretch, largely due to confidence. QB Devin Herring (588 rushing yards, 6 TDs; 697 passing yards, 6 TDs) has gotten more consistent by the week. WR Taeshaun Gelsey (442 receiving yards, 4 TDs) had two TD grabs last week. Defense is where Riverside is the best at. DL Lovell Vereen (67 tackles), DE Zaire Moody (60 tackles, 15 TFL), DL DeAvary Weeks (55 tackles, 13 TFL) and DE Jamal Harvey-Jackson (36 tackles, 18 TFL, 11 sacks) are tough every week. … Raines is always a pick to go deep into the postseason. The Vikings haven’t faced White since 2018 and have won nine straight in the series against the Commanders. QB Roman Doles (642 rushing yards, 5 TDs) and RB Sincere Cohen (308 rushing yards, 5 TDs) power the Vikings offense but it’s the defense that is the headliner. DB Jamari Whitehead (64 tackles, 14 TFL, 9.5 sacks) and DB Kenton Kirkland (35 tackles, 2 INT) lead a battalion of solid Raines defenders. White has had to adapt offensively after losing QB Isiah Teal to a midseason injury. The good news is that they’re equipped with the area’s deepest rushing attack. Tavales Thomas (675 rushing yards, 6 TDs), Davaughn Patterson (587 rushing yards, 13 TDs) and Benny Lewis (543 rushing yards, 3 TDs) have all taken turns ripping off big play after big play. A win would be White’s first in the playoffs since 2014. … Episcopal’s reward for an eight-win season is a rematch against a Bolles team that it lost to badly (45-7) in the regular season. QB Joseph Wiesner (1,250 passing yards, 15 TDs) has enjoyed a very good season under center. RB Christian Davis (1,021 rushing yards, 7 TDs) and WR Corey Scott (1,071 receiving yards, 10 TDs) give Episcopal the rare 1,000-yard back and receiver. Scott also has a team-best five interceptions from his DB spot. LB Matthew Jenkins (67 tackles, 11 TFL) leads the Episcopal defense. Bolles played the area’s most difficult schedule and dealt with a young team and some big injuries. RB Ty Neal (758 rushing yards, 9 TDs) has emerged as the No. 1 back for Bolles. QB DJ Moore (849 passing yards, 10 TDs) and Naeem Burroughs (503 receiving yards, 6 TDs) are an electric combination in the vertical game. DBs Kavon Miller and Kemani Wilson have combined for six of Bolles’ 15 interceptions. … Bishop Kenny beat Bolles 14-13 to win the district title, its first win over the Bulldogs since 1977. The Crusaders have done a 180 under coach Tim Krause, going from a one-win year in 2020 to a district champ this season. QB James Resar (1,656 passing yards, 15 TDs; 466 rushing yards, 6 TDs) is one of the area’s most versatile signal callers, with big targets in WRs Jayden Harris (597 receiving yards, 4 TDs) and Jackson Burnett (570 receiving yards, 4 TDs). LB Kolbe Sexton (67 tackles, 4 sacks) and Harris (team-best 3 INTs) lead a Kenny defense that’s holding teams to 14.4 ppg.

High school football playoffs

Regional quarterfinals, Friday

All games 7 p.m. unless indicated

Region 1-4S

(8) Flagler Palm Coast (4-6) at (1) Bartram Trail (10-0)

(4) Creekside (8-2) at (5) Navarre (8-2), 7:30 p.m.

(7) Crestview (6-4) at (2) Niceville (9-1), 8 p.m.

(6) Pace (7-3) at (3) Buchholz (7-2), 7:30 p.m.

Region 1-3S

(8) Rickards (4-6) at (1) Pine Forest (9-0), 8:30 p.m.

(5) Choctaw (5-5) at (4) St. Augustine (7-3), Saturday, 6 p.m.

(7) Middleburg (5-5) at (2) Escambia (7-3), 8:30 p.m.

(6) Lincoln (5-5) at (3) Columbia (6-3), 7:30 p.m.

Region 1-2S

(8) South Walton (7-3) at (1) Florida High (10-0)

(5) Wakulla (7-3) at (4) Pensacola Catholic (9-1), 8 p.m.

(6) Panama City Bay (8-2) at (3) West Florida (7-2), 8 p.m.

(7) Walton (7-3) at (2) Suwannee (8-2), 7:30 p.m.

Region 2-2S

(8) Crescent City (4-6) at (1) Bradford (9-1)

(4) North Marion (7-3) at (5) Eastside (7-2)

(7) Palatka (7-3) at (2) Baldwin (8-2), Saturday, 6 p.m.

(6) Yulee (6-4) at (3) Baker County (7-3), 7:30 p.m.

Region 1-4M

(1) Seminole (8-2) at (8) Mandarin (5-4), Monday, 6:30 p.m.

(5) Hagerty (8-2) at (4) Lake Mary (6-3), 7:30 p.m.

(7) Boone (6-4) at (2) Apopka (7-3)

(6) Lake Brantley (5-5) at (3) Winter Park (9-1)

Region 1-3M

(8) First Coast (6-3) at (1) Orlando Edgewater (10-0), Saturday, 6 p.m.

(5) Tampa Bay Tech (8-2) at (4) Fletcher (8-2), Saturday, 6 p.m.

(7) Wekiva (5-5) at (2) Orlando Jones (8-2)

(6) Tampa Wharton (8-2) at (3) Oviedo (9-1)

Region 1-2M

(8) Riverside (4-6) at (1) Jackson (8-2), 6:30 p.m.

(7) Bishop Moore (7-3) at (2) Bishop Kenny (8-2), Saturday, 6 p.m.

(6) Episcopal (8-2) at (3) Bolles (6-4), 7:30 p.m.

(5) Raines (7-2) at (4) White (7-2), 6:30 p.m.

Region 3-1R

(5) Fort White (6-4) at (4) Madison County (3-6)

(6) Branford (7-3) at (3) Mayo Lafayette (8-2)

(1) Union County (6-2) and (2) Hilliard (8-2), first-round bye

Regional semifinals

Friday, Nov. 18

Region 1-1M

(4) Orlando Christian Prep (6-4) at (1) Trinity Christian (10-0)

(3) First Academy (8-2) at (2) University Christian (9-1)

Georgia High School Association playoffs

All games Friday at 7:30 unless indicated

Class 7A

(4) East Coweta (6-4) at (1) Camden County (7-3), Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

Class 6A

(4) Glynn Academy (6-4) at (1) Northside Warner Robins (6-4)

Class 5A

(4) Houston County (8-2) at (1) Brunswick (10-0)

(4) Jones County (6-4) at (1) Ware County (9-0), Saturday, 5:30 p.m.

Class 2A

(3) Laney (8-2) at (2) Pierce County (9-1)

Class 1A Division 2

(4) Seminole County (4-6) at (1) Charlton County (7-2)


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.