Week 1 high school football playoff picks: 13 local teams will get Round 1 wins

Raines and QB Roman Doles face White in the Region 1-2M quarterfinals on Friday night. (Kevin Nguyen, News4JAX)

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.

Last week: 23-11 (.676). Season: 285-86 (.768).

Region 1-4S

(8) Flagler Palm Coast (4-6) at (1) Bartram Trail (10-0): A very good opener. The Bulldogs are 7-3 on the field and a district champ. Their record looks bad due to forfeits. Bartram is my pick to make it out of this region. N4J pick: Bartram Trail 34, FPC 21.

(4) Creekside (8-2) at (5) Navarre (8-2), 8:30 p.m.: The Knights trek to nearly Alabama for this one. N4J pick: Creekside 34, Navarre 30.

Region 1-3S

(5) Choctaw (5-5) at (4) St. Augustine (7-3), Saturday, 6 p.m.: Yellow Jackets are good this year and they’re going to be exceptional next year with all of the underclassmen on their roster. N4J pick: St. Augustine 33, Choctaw 20.

(7) Middleburg (5-5) at (2) Escambia (7-3), 8:30 p.m.: Panhandle trips are never easy. N4J pick: Escambia 34, Middleburg 21.

(6) Lincoln (5-5) at (3) Columbia (6-3), 7:30 p.m.: Tigers have turned things around since an 0-2 start. N4J pick: Columbia 28, Lincoln 20.

Region 1-2S

(7) Walton (7-3) at (2) Suwannee (8-2), 7:30 p.m.: Walton is coming off a loss to 1R Union County. The Bulldogs just ended Bradford’s perfect season. N4J pick: Suwannee 24, Walton 20.

Region 2-2S

(8) Crescent City (4-6) at (1) Bradford (9-1): Tornadoes are a state semifinal pick out of this region. N4J pick: Bradford 42, Crescent City 0.

(7) Palatka (7-3) at (2) Baldwin (8-2), Saturday, 6 p.m.: One of the better matchups in the opening round and one where we could see an upset. N4J pick: Palatka 21, Baldwin 20.

(6) Yulee (6-4) at (3) Baker County (7-3), 7:30 p.m.: Another good matchup in this region. The Wildcats stung the Hornets in the regular season. Yulee repays the favor here. N4J pick: Yulee 28, Baker County 27.

Region 1-4M

(1) Seminole (8-2) at (8) Mandarin (5-4), Monday, 6:30 p.m.: Not many times do you see an 8 seed hosting a 1. The Seminoles won the Class 8A state championship in 2020. N4J pick: Seminole 33, Mandarin 20.

Region 1-3M

(8) First Coast (6-3) at (1) Orlando Edgewater (10-0), Saturday, 6 p.m.: The Buccaneers last qualified for the state playoffs in 2014 so it’s been awhile. The reward for sneaking as the No. 8 seed is a clash with one of the best teams in all of Florida. N4J pick: Edgewater 42, First Coast 14.

(5) Tampa Bay Tech (8-2) at (4) Fletcher (8-2), Saturday, 6 p.m.: Ciatrick Fason gets his first state playoff win coaching his alma mater. N4J pick: Fletcher 27, Tampa Bay Tech 21.

Region 1-2M

(8) Riverside (4-6) at (1) Jackson (8-2), 6:30 p.m.: This game was ugly in the regular season, a 6-2 Jackson win. The Tigers have run hot and cold down the stretch. Was that loss to First Coast a hangover from the Raines win? The Generals have played much better as of late. N4J pick: Jackson 21, Riverside 14.

(7) Bishop Moore (7-3) at (2) Bishop Kenny (8-2), Saturday, 6 p.m.: This is a tough game for the Crusaders against a state rival in the Hornets. Crusaders in a close one to set up a rematch with Bolles in Round 2. N4J pick: Bishop Kenny 27, Bishop Moore 23.

(6) Episcopal (8-2) at (3) Bolles (6-4), 7:30 p.m.: Bulldogs took the Eagles apart in the regular season during Hurricane Ian week. Another hurricane and the same result. N4J pick: Bolles 42, Episcopal 17.

(5) Raines (7-2) at (4) White (7-2), 6:30 p.m.: A tossup game here. Commanders have a tough ground game and that’s the difference. N4J pick: White 26, Raines 21.

Region 3-1R

(5) Fort White (6-4) at (4) Madison County (3-6): Cowboys are always a monster in the postseason: N4J pick: Madison County 21, Fort White 17.


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.