High school playoffs ‘22: Glance at Suburban regional final matchups

Football Friday: Bartram Trail at Oakleaf

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s the third round of the high school football state playoffs. A glance at the matchups in the Suburban and Rural divisions. All games are Friday at 7 p.m. unless indicated.

Regional finals

Region 1-4S

(3) Buchholz (9-2) at (1) Bartram Trail (12-0)

Road here: Buchholz d. (6) Pace, 35-34; d. (7) Crestview, 54-33; Bartram d. (8) Flagler Palm Coast, 50-20; d. (4) Creekside, 42-15.

Winner gets: Teams will be reseeded 1-4 for the state semifinals. With a 19.631 power rankings total, Bartram Trail would be seeded No. 1 and host a state semifinal game. Lakeland (18.562), Vero Beach (14.786), Venice (14.058), Osceola (12.800), Lake Minneola (10.471) and Sarasota Riverview (3.213) are the other teams in Class 4S regional finals.

Glance: The second meeting of the season between the district rivals and third meeting since last year. The Bobcats reached the state semifinals a season ago, beating Nease in the regional final to get there. Bartram is the St. Johns County team standing in Buchholz’s way. The Bears have been untouchable this season, including two routs of rival Creekside. RB Laython Biddle (1,325 rushing yards, 24 TDs) seems to get more lethal by the game. QB Riley Trujillo (1,666 passing yards, 13 TDs) and a punishing defense led by LBs Caden Baldwin, Zeke Cromwell and Davis Houk and DB Sharif Denson, have Bartram clicking. The Bears are 4-4 all-time in third-round playoff games. They’ll have a target on Buchholz QB Creed Whittemore, a dual-threat player who can torch teams with his feet just as well as with his arm. These programs have met three times in the state playoffs, all Bartram victories. Bartram’s Darrell Sutherland, the only coach in program history, is climbing the win chart. Suthlerland is 187-118 all-time, with all but five of those victories coming with Bartram.

Recent Bartram Trail-Gainesville Buchholz series

YearResult
2022Bartram Trail 21, Gainesville Buchholz 6
2021Gainesville Buchholz 28, Bartram Trail 13
2018Bartram Trail 38, Gainesville Buchholz 35
2017Bartram Trail 53, Gainesville Buchholz 21
2016 playoffsBartram Trail 27, Gainesville Buchholz 0
2016Gainesville Buchholz 17, Bartram Trail 10
2015 playoffsBartram Trail 35, Gainesville Buchholz 21
2015Gainesville Buchholz 35, Bartram Trail 28
2014Bartram Trail 32, Gainesville Buchholz 7
2013Gainesville Buchholz 24, Bartram Trail 21, 3 OT
2006 playoffsBartram Trail 24, Gainesville Buchholz 13
2004Gainesville Buchholz 55, Bartram Trail 34

Region 1-3S

(5) Choctaw (7-5) at (3) Columbia (8-3)

Road here: Choctaw d. (4) St. Augustine, 42-35; d. (1) Pine Forest, 30-29; Columbia d. (6) Lincoln, 29-6; d. (2) Escambia, 17-15.

Winner gets: Teams will be reseeded 1-4 for the state semifinals. With a 7.897 power rankings total, Columbia would be ranked lowest of the four teams and have to travel for the final four. Lake Wales (13.408), Naples (12.065), Jensen Beach (11.716), Fort Myers Dunbar (11.329), Daytona Beach Mainland (9.227) and Zephyrhills (7.917) are the other teams in Class 3S regional finals.

Glance: The start of the season was a tough one for the Tigers. Since then? Columbia has won eight of its last nine games, the lone blemish a setback to Trinity Christian. Defense has been a major reason for the shift. Since a 43-30 shootout loss to Trinity in Week 5, the Tigers, led by LB Jaden Robinson (Florida commit) and DB Amare Ferrell (Indiana commit), Columbia has given up just 64 total points. The Tigers still have plenty of ammo on offense. RB Tony Fulton (593 rushing yards, 8 TDs), QB Tyler Jefferson (1,081 passing yards, 9 TDs, 475 rushing yards, 5 TDs) and WR Camdon Frier (502 receiving yards, 5 TDs) have some juice. Columbia hasn’t been past the third round of the postseason since 2015 when it beat Bartram Trail to reach the state semifinals. The Tigers are 3-1 all-time in the playoffs against Choctaw, the last meeting coming in 2003. Choctaw has five losses but those have been to teams with seven wins or more. It atoned for one of those last week with a win over Pine Forest. The Indians roared back from a 28-6 deficit in the third quarter to stun St. Augustine 42-35 in the first round.The start of the season was a tough one for the Tigers. Since then? Columbia has won eight of its last nine games, the lone blemish a setback to Trinity Christian. Defense has been a major reason for the shift. Since a 43-30 shootout loss to Trinity in Week 5, the Tigers, led by LB Jaden Robinson (Florida commit) and DB Amare Ferrell (Indiana commit), Columbia has given up just 64 total points. The Tigers still have plenty of ammo on offense. RB Tony Fulton (593 rushing yards, 8 TDs), QB Tyler Jefferson (1,081 passing yards, 9 TDs, 475 rushing yards, 5 TDs) and WR Camdon Frier (502 receiving yards, 5 TDs) have some juice. Columbia hasn’t been past the third round of the postseason since 2015 when it beat Bartram Trail to reach the state semifinals. The Tigers are 3-1 all-time in the playoffs against Choctaw, the last meeting coming in 2003. Choctaw has five losses but those have been to teams with seven wins or more. It atoned for one of those last week with a win over Pine Forest. The Indians roared back from a 28-6 deficit in the third quarter to stun St. Augustine 42-35 in the first round.

Region 1-2S

(2) Suwannee (10-2) at (1) Florida High (12-0)

Road here: Suwannee d. (7) Walton, 39-15; d. (3) West Florida, 17-14; Florida High d. (8) South Walton, 63-44; d. (4) Pensacola Catholic, 18-14.

Winner gets: Teams will be reseeded 1-4 for the state semifinals. Bradford (14.828), South Sumter (14.313), Suwannee (12.393), Cocoa (12.033), Bishop Verot (11.783), Baker County (8.301) and Frostproof (5.517) are the teams in Class 2S regional finals.

Glance: The Bulldogs have been on a tear since a 1-3 start (one loss was later reversed by forfeit), ripping off eight straight wins for their best postseason run since 2015. RB Marquavious Owens (1,026 rushing yards, 6 TDs), WR Javarion Smith (913 receiving yards, 11 TDs) and QB Bronsen Tillotson (1,800 passing yards, 18 TDs) are the headliners on the offensive side of the ball for Suwannee. While those offensive numbers are impressive, the Bulldogs have leaned on defense as the season has dragged on. It beat Bradford 10-7 in Week 11 and then kept West Florida in check last week. Smith, and LBs Kodi Lang and Brandon Robinson are the big names on that side of the ball. They’ll need another sharp defensive showing against a Florida High team that is averaging 35 ppg. Pensacola Catholic dragged the Seminoles into a dogfight last week, something that Suwannee and coach Kyler Hall will try and replicate. The Seminoles have had their season end six times against a local team (twice to Union County, three times to Trinity Christian and once to Bolles).

Region 2-2S

(3) Baker County (9-3) at (1) Bradford (11-1)

Road here: Baker County d. (6) Yulee, 16-6; d. (2) Baldwin, 31-29; Bradford d. (8) Crescent City, 48-0; d. (5) Gainesville Eastside, 37-0.

Winner gets: Teams will be reseeded 1-4 for the state semifinals. Teams will be reseeded 1-4 for the state semifinals. Florida High (15.742), Bradford (14.828), South Sumter (14.313), Suwannee (12.393), Cocoa (12.033), Bishop Verot (11.783) and Frostproof (5.517) are the other teams in Class 2S regional finals.

Glance: A rematch of a Week 1 game that was never finished and ultimately called in favor of the Tornadoes, who were leading 21-0 before storms halted it. They’ll finish this one. This rivalry has gone on for decades but they’ve only met once in the playoffs, a 30-14 Bradford win in 2001. While the Tornadoes do have a state championship to their credit (Class A title in 1965) they could do something here that they’ve never done before — play a fourth-round playoff game. Bradford coach Jamie Rodgers has a bit of experience with that. Baker County had never been past three rounds deep in the state playoffs before 2017. That’s when Rodgers, then in his second season at his alma mater, Baker County, led the Wildcats to not only past the third round, but all the way to the state title game. Now in his first year at Bradford, Rodgers’ team has been a vise grip on opposing offenses. Bradford has allowed 31 points all season long, including back-to-back shutouts in the state playoffs. The Tornadoes have posted nine shutouts, with players like DB Khalil Cummings, and LBs Chason Clark, Torin Brazell and Bryson Bowen leading the way. Baker County has been steady and very good under coach Kevin Mays, including a state semifinal appearance last year. While graduation chipped away at a wicked defense, not everything left. LBs Seth Chestnut (135 tackles) and Orlando Holland (118 tackles, 12.5 sacks) are tackling machines. And DB Davion Dean has six interceptions. On offense, RB Cam Smith is a gamebreaker (1,474 rushing yards, 15 TDs). Can he solve the Bradford defense this time around?

Regional finals, Florida

Friday, Nov. 25; games at 7 p.m. unless indicated

Region 1-4S

(3) Buchholz (9-2) at (1) Bartram Trail (12-0)

Region 1-3S

(5) Choctaw (7-5) at (3) Columbia (8-3)

Region 1-2S

(2) Suwannee (10-2) at (1) Florida High (12-0)

Region 2-2S

(3) Baker County (9-3) at (1) Bradford (11-1)

Region 1-2M

(5) Raines (9-2) at (3) Bolles (8-4), 7:30 p.m.

Region 1-1M

(2) University Christian (10-1) at (1) Trinity Christian (11-0), 7:30 p.m.

Region 3-1R

(3) Lafayette (10-2) at (1) Union County (7-2)

Georgia High School Association playoffs

Quarterfinals; games at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 25

Class 5A

(1) Calhoun (9-3) at (1) Ware County (11-0)

Class 2A

(2) Pierce County (11-1) at (1) Fellowship Christian (9-3)


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.