High school football 2023 primer: Top players, top games this season

Everything you need to know about the high school football season

Colin Hurley (2) and Mandarin's Tramell Jones (bottom left); Trinity Christian coach Verlon Dorminey and Tocoi Creek (far right) Julio Santiago, (News4JAX)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – High school football season is here. We get you up to speed quickly on all you need to know about the 2023 season.

When do games start?

Week 1 of the regular season starts this week, with the bulk of games on Friday night. Most area games are 6:30 p.m., 7 and 7:30 p.m. Make sure to check for schedule adjustments before you go out.

When does the season end?

The regular season in Florida lasts 11 weeks, with the final regular season games on Nov. 3. The Florida High School Athletic Association playoffs begin the following week and last five rounds. The Sunshine State Athletic Association playoffs are Oct. 27, Nov. 3 and Nov. 10.

What about the playoffs?

The Suburban-Metro system began last year and returns. That split the state’s eight largest counties — Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Seminole — from the others and into their own playoff bracket. The remaining 59 counties and put them in Suburban or Rural.

A big storyline

By the numbers, last year was the worst season in area football history. Last year’s new playoff system produced a shutout in championship games. For the first time since 2000 and just the 10th time in the last 50 years, no area team reached a state final. In 2000, there were six classifications. Last year, there were nine classifications (four Metro, four Suburban and Rural). Five local teams reached the state semifinals (Bolles, Bradford, Columbia, University Christian, Union County) and none moved on. Was last season an aberration or the start of a new trend?

Where can I find the schedules?

Here are the weekly schedules. Results and television highlights will be posted in this throughout the season so be sure to bookmark it and check back often. If you’re looking for a specific team, you can find our team schedules here.

More high school football content

Our weekly Super 10 rankings are published on Tuesdays. Our V4RSITY podcast is published Wednesdays. Our weekly predictions are unveiled on Thursdays. Check our Football Friday page for all of that content and more. We want to hear from you, too. Send in your pictures and videos during the season through our SnapJAX channel and have a chance to see your photos and videos on air during our show on Friday night.

News4JAX Terrific 12 recruits

Position, Player

CB, AJ Belgrave-Shorter

Height/weight: 6-0, 180

High school: Mandarin

Committed to: Penn State

Notable: Another thumper in the secondary for the high-powered Mustangs. He has 55 tackles the last two seasons. Picked off three passes last year. Three-star player who is the 80th-best player in Florida, according to 247Sports.

DL, Garrison Butler

Height/weight: 6-2, 270

High school: Bolles

Committed to: Cincinnati

Notable: Brute force on the line for the Bulldogs who has been starring since his sophomore year. Has 79 total tackles, 27 tackles for loss, 7 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries in his career. Consensus three-star prospect. Rated as the 99th-best player in the state by 247Sports.

ATH, Chalil Cummings

Height/weight: 5-11, 190

High school: Bradford

Committed to: Uncommitted

Notable: Consensus three-star prospect by the four major recruiting services. Rated as the state’s No. 66 player by Rivals, No. 84 by 247Sports and 96th by On3. Multitalented player for the Tornadoes on defense. Has 191 career tackles, 6 interceptions. Offensively a weapon at receiver, he has 34 career catches for 879 yards and 10 touchdowns.

WR, Camdon Frier

Height/weight: 6-0, 175

High school: Columbia

Committed to: Florida State

Notable: Big playmaker for the Tigers and one of just three local players to be ranked by the four major recruiting services. ESPN 300 player is the 36th best player in Florida, according to ESPN. Rated as the No. 47 player in the state by Rivals, 56th by the 247Sports Compoosite and 61st by On3. Had 27 catches for 538 yards, 5 TDs for the Tigers last season. Four-star player by ESPN and Rivals.

IOL, Jake Guarnera

Height/weight: 6-4, 290

High school: Ponte Vedra

Committed to: Michigan

Notable: Interior presence is a multisport star who will get work at both guard and at center for the Sharks. Rated as the 55th-best player in Florida by 247Sports, the 56th by On3 and 65th by ESPN. Comes in at No. 80 by Rivals.

EDGE, Camden Hardy

Heightt/weight: 6-3, 220

High school: Atlantic Coast

Committed to: Wake Forest

Notable: Son of former Jaguars great Kevin Hardy. Had 7.5 sacks last season, 52 tackles. High motor player who is a force as a rusher and in coverage. Rated as the 113th-best player in the state by 247Sports Composite.

QB, Colin Hurley

Height/weight: 6-1, 215

High school: Trinity Christian

Committed to: LSU

Notable: He’s a year younger than most seniors as Hurley reclassified from a junior to a senior. He’ll graduate at 16 years old and be in Baton Rouge by January. Is 237 for 437 for 3,673 yards and 40 touchdowns in his career. One of just three players to be ranked by ESPN 300, Rivals, On3 and 247Sports. Already has two state championships with Trinity. One of just five local players to earn Elite 11 finalist honors.

Trinity Christian quarterback Colin Hurley at high school football media day. (News4JAX)

CB, Jon Mitchell

Height/weight: 6-0, 185

High school: Mandarin

Committed to: Penn State

Notable: Has 65 tackles in his last two seasons. Has picked off three passes in those years. Also 13 total passes defended. He can lay a hit, too. Joins Colin Hurly and Camdon Frier as the only three local players in the Class of 2024 to be ranked nationally by the ESPN 300, Rivals, On3 and 247Sports.

OT, Deryc Plazz

Height/weight: 6-5, 290

High school: Mandarin

Committed to: Miami

Notable: Big offensive tackle who helped Jackson win a historic district championship last season for coach Christopher Foy. Will help protect Florida State commit Tramell Jones this season. Comes in at No. 104 in the state, according to ESPN.

QB, James Resar

Height/weight: 6-4, 200

High school: Bishop Kenny

Committed to: Iowa

Notable: Completed 127 of 211 passes (1,992 yards) and 16 TDs. Rushed for more than 500 yards and added 6 TDs to earn first-team All-News4JAX selection. Four-star prospect who is rated as the No. 35 overall player in Florida by 247Sports. Deceptive speed for a taller player, Resar can tuck it and move.

QB, Marcelis Tate

Height/weight: 6-2, 190

High school: Fletcher

Committed to: USF

Notable: Three-star is a four-year starter for the Senators and coach Ciatrick Fason. Comes in as the No. 155 player in Florida by 247Sports. Has passed for 2,426 yards (171 for 306 passing) and 18 TDs. Rushed for career-best 709 yards, 8 TDs last season.

QB, Riley Trujillo

Height/weight: 6-3, 200

High school: Bartram Trail

Committed to: Wake Forest

Notable: Consensus three-star prospect. Rated as the No. 85 player in Florida by Rivals, No. 93 by On3. The latest in a lenghty line of college-ready QBs to hail from Bartram Trail. Has passed for 2,888 yards, 24 TDs the last two seasons. Rushed for 710 yards and 5 TDs last year.

Notable Class of 2024 recruits

Position, First, Last, Height, Weight, School, College

LB, CJ Allen, 5-11, 205, Sandalwood, Ga. Southern

S, Nash Beenan, 6-2, 200, Bishop Kenny, Navy

RB, Laython Biddle, 5-9, 200, Bartram, Navy

ATH, Kyle Boylston, 5-10, 170, Trinity, FAU

WR, Miles Burris, 6-2, 190, Trinity, Charlotte

LB, Trent Carter, 6-2, 220, Bolles, Louisville

EDGE, Mason Carter, 6-5, 200, Baldwin, Vanderbilt

LB, Chason Clark, 6-2, 200, Bradford, Marshall

EDGE, DeNigel Cooper, 6-3, 230, Camden County, App State

IOL, Braden Cunningham, 6-4, 325, Fleming Island, FAU

WR, Bryce Gee, 6-2, 185, Beachside, App State

S, Dahkari Gilley, 6-2, 190, UC, Rutgers

TE, Rylan Hale, 6-2, 210, Yulee, Air Force

RB, Devonte Lyons, 5-10, 190, St. Augustine,

QB, DJ Moore, 6-2, 170, Bolles, Coastal Carolina

TE, David Prince, 6-4, 220, Glynn Academy, Ga. Tech

IOL, Ethan Proffitt, 6-4, 300, Bishop Kenny, FAU

LB, Devin Smith, 6-1, 220, Brunswick, Uncommitted

QB, Niko Smith, 6-1, 207, Yulee, Uncommitted

QB, Rodney Tisdale, 6-2, 185, First Coast, WKU

Mandarin receiver Jaime Ffrench is one of the top prospects in the country in the Class of 2025. (News4JAX)

Notable Class of 2025 recruits

Position, First, Last, Height, Weight, School, College

QB, Sean Ashenfelder, 6-1, 165, Creekside, Uncommitted

QB, Cibastian Broughton, 5-10, 160, Fleming Island, Uncommitted

ATH, Davion Dean, 6-1, 185, Baker County, Uncommitted

WR, Jaime Ffrench (above), 6-1, 190, Mandarin, Alabama

WR, Tae-Shaun Gelsey, 6-4, 210, Riverside, Uncommitted

EDGE, Sam Hayward, 6-3, 205, Providence, Uncommitted

QB, Locklan Hewlett, 6-1, 180, St. Augustine, Wake Forest

WE, Carl Jenkins Jr., 6-3, 175, St. Augustine, Uncommitted

QB, Tramell Jones, 6-0, 190, Mandarin, FSU

WR, Trenton Jones, 5-9, 160, St. Augustine, Uncommitted

OL, Takaylen Muex, 6-4, 315, Fletcher, Uncommitted

CB, Joshua Patterson, 6-1, 180, White, Uncommitted

DT, Jyon Simon, 6-3, 280, Raines, Uncommitted

CB, Kaylib Singleton, 6-1, 175, Fleming Island, Uncommitted

S, Hylton Stubbs, 6-1, 180, Mandarin, Uncommitted

OL, Solomon Thomas, 6-3, 280, Raines, Uncommitted

TE, Elyiss Williams, 6-7, 235, Camden County, Georgia

The four best games by week

We look ahead at the full schedule and chart the best games of the week. These 44 games are ones that you shouldn’t miss. All kickoffs are 7 p.m. unless noted.

Week 1, Aug. 25: Fletcher at Mandarin, 6:30 p.m.

Week 1, Aug. 25: Raines at University Christian, 7:30 p.m.

Week 1, Aug. 25: St. Augustine at Bolles, 7:30 p.m.

Week 1, Aug. 25: White at Trinity Christian, 7:30 p.m.

Week 2, Sept. 1: Baker County at Oakleaf

Week 2, Sept. 1: Bolles at Mandarin, 6:30 p.m.

Week 2, Sept. 1: Bradford at Baldwin, 6:30 p.m. (News4JAX Game of the Week)

Week 2, Sept. 1: Union County at Columbia, 7:30 p.m.

Week 3, Sept. 7: University Christian vs. Charlton County, 4 p.m.

Week 3, Sept. 8: Fletcher at Jackson, 6:30 p.m.

Week 3, Sept. 8: Bolles vs. Coffee (at Glynn County Stadium), 8 p.m.

Week 3, Sept. 9: St. Augustine at Brunswick

Week 4, Sept. 15: Baker County at Baldwin, 6:30 p.m.

Week 4, Sept. 15: Fleming Island at Oakleaf

Week 4, Sept. 15: Paxon at Stanton, 6:30 p.m., (News4JAX Game of the Week)

Week 4, Sept. 15: Trinity Christian at Bolles, 7:30 p.m.

Week 5, Sept. 22: Bartram Trail at St. Augustine, (News4JAX Game of the Week)

Week 5, Sept. 22: Mandarin at Creekside

Week 5, Sept. 22: Sandalwood at Fletcher, 6:30 p.m.

Week 5, Sept. 22: Trinity Christian at Columbia, 7:30 p.m.

Week 6, Sept. 29: Bartram Trail at Fleming Island, 7:30 p.m.

Week 6, Sept. 29: Palatka at Tocoi Creek

Week 6, Sept. 29: Raines at Riverside, 6:30 p.m.

Week 6, Sept. 29: Yulee at Fernandina Beach, (News4JAX Game of the Week)

Week 7, Oct. 6: Bishop Kenny at Ponte Vedra

Week 7, Oct. 6: Bolles at Columbia, 7:30 p.m.

Week 7, Oct. 6: Bradford at Oakleaf

Week 7, Oct. 6: White at Fletcher, 6:30 p.m., (News4JAX Game of the Week)

Week 8, Oct. 13: Creekside at Bartram Trail

Week 8, Oct. 13: Jackson at Riverside, 6:30 p.m.

Week 8, Oct. 13: Trinity Christian at University Christian, 7:30 p.m., (News4JAX Game of the Week)

Week 8, Oct. 14: Raines vs. Ribault (at First Coast), 2 p.m.

Week 9, Oct. 19: Bartram Trail at Gainesville Buchholz

Week 9, Oct. 20: Fleming Island at Creekside, (News4JAX Game of the Week)

Week 9, Oct. 20: Oakleaf at Madison County

Week 9, Oct. 20: Sandalwood at Riverside, 6:30 p.m.

Week 10, Oct. 26: Bishop Kenny at Bolles, 7:30 p.m.

Week 10, Oct. 26: Fletcher at First Coast, 6:30 p.m.

Week 10, Oct. 27: Nease at Ponte Vedra, (News4JAX Game of the Week)

Week 10, Oct. 27: Oakleaf at Bartram Trail

Week 11, Nov. 3: Bartram Trail at Mandarin, 6:30 p.m.

Week 11, Nov. 3: Palatka at St. Augustine

Week 11, Nov. 3: Suwannee at Bradford, 7:30 p.m.

Week 11, Nov. 3: Wolfson at Englewood, 6:30 p.m.

Our games of the week

This year, we’re going to expand our high school football coverage and stream a game of the week on News4JAX+ and News4JAX.com. Where will we have our sports team out there for pregame coverage throughout our early newscasts. Then, switch over to watch the game.

Week 1, Aug. 25: Tocoi Creek at Beachside

Week 2, Sept. 1: Bradford at Baldwin, 6:30 p.m.

Week 3, Sept. 8: Mandarin at Riverside, 6:30 p.m.

Week 4, Sept. 15: Paxon at Stanton, 6:30 p.m.

Week 5, Sept. 22: Bartram Trail at St. Augustine

Week 6, Sept. 29: Yulee at Fernandina Beach

Week 7, Oct. 6: White at Fletcher, 6:30 p.m.

Week 8, Oct. 13: Trinity Christian at University Christian, 7:30 p.m.

Week 9, Oct. 20: Fleming Island at Creekside

Week 10, Oct. 27: Nease at Ponte Vedra

Week 11, Nov. 3: First Coast at Jackson


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.