High school football ‘23: Four games to watch, full schedule for Week 1

Creekside visited Mandarin in the News4JAX Football Friday Game of the Week and beat the Mustangs 37-27. (Kevin Nguyen, News4JAX)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s the first week of the high school football season. We take a look at the top four games, the next four options and the full schedule for teams in north Florida and south Georgia.

All games are 7 p.m. unless indicated. Super 10 rankings are in parentheses. Want to check out our Week 1 predictions? Find those here. Want to get up to speed on the 2023 season and check out our Terrific 12 recruits and best games of the season? Find those here.

Top four on Friday night

Baker County at (2) Bradford, 7:30 p.m.

This is where it all started last year for the Tornadoes. Coach Jamie Rodgers led Bradford to a 21-0 win in a half over his alma mater. That set the table for a season that included nine shutouts and a defense that was the area’s most vaunted. Baker County is typically one of the area’s most explosive offenses. Can it solve what should be another strong Bradford defense? Davion Dean and Co. will try and find its way through a Bradford squad led by Chalil Cummings, Torin Brazell and Chason Clark. Baker County is far from a pushover under coach Kevin Mays. They were a nine-win team last year and reached the state semifinals in 2021.

Fletcher at (6) Mandarin, 6:30 p.m.

A Gateway Conference showdown to open things up. The Mustangs are packed with blue-chippers like WR Jaime Ffrench, QB Tramell Jones and DBs Jon Mitchell, AJ Belgrave-Shorter and Hylton Stubbs. They’ll be up against a veteran Senators team equipped with three dozen seniors, and tough and talented QB Marcelis Tate. He’s got his top WR Anthony Vaglienti back, and coach Ciatrick Fason is expecting not just a playoff berth, but a playoff run. Game of the night candidate and the inside lane on a Gateway crown to the winner of this one.

(7) Raines at (8) University Christian, 7:30 p.m.

Another great matchup of teams who don’t typically face off. The Vikings have been steady and consistent under coach Donovan Masline. Can this be the season where they get back on the state series dance floor and past the regional round. There are new faces all over for these teams. One thing that never changes — the Vikings are always good on defense and UC churns out offensive stars. For the Christians, that should be WR Jenoa Alford and QB Dwayne Stuckey taking the next step. For Raines, can the big guys on the front lines, DT Jyon Simon and OT Solomon Thomas, set the tone there.

(4) St. Augustine at (5) Bolles, 7:30 p.m.

A major Super 10 showdown right out of the gate. The Bulldogs opened last season with a 34-13 romp, their fourth straight win over St. Augustine since Matt Toblin took over the program in 2019. Most of those games have been blowouts, with the exception of a down-to-the-wire 32-27 game in 2021. Bolles returns QB DJ Moore, WR Naeem Burroughs, RB Tyrone Neal and excellent defensive players in DL Garrison Butler and LB Trent Carter. The Yellow Jackets aren’t so young anymore. The cluster of freshmen and sophomores who have endured their ups and downs the last two seasons are poised for a breakout season. QB Locklan Hewlett leads and offense that returns WRs Carl Jenkins Jr. and Trenton Jones, RB Devonte Lyons and a whole lot more.

Next four

First Coast at (9) Bishop Kenny: The Crusaders have one of the area’s top recruits in QB James Resar. QB Rodney Tisdale and the Buccaneers are coming off a playoff season.

Gainesville Buchholz at Columbia, 7:30 p.m.: Excellent opener and a welcome back for Columbia coach Brian Allen. Will the Tigers pick right up where they left off?

White at (1) Trinity Christian: This turned into a wild one last year. The Conquerors are focused and stacked behind QB Colin Hurley for a push for the state semifinals.

Tocoi Creek at Beachside: Our Game of the Week features the rising Toros and new head coach Zachary Harbison against a Beachside team coming off an excellent first season.

The Football Friday Game of the Week is Tocoi Creek at Beachside on Aug. 25. (News4JAX)

Florida, Week 1

  • Atlantic Coast at Parker, 6:30 p.m.
  • Baker County at (2) Bradford, 7:30 p.m.
  • (3) Bartram Trail at Ponte Vedra
  • Bishop Snyder at Stanton, 6:30 p.m.
  • Cedar Creek Christian at Branford 7:30 p.m.
  • Clay at Fleming Island 7:30 p.m.
  • Crescent City at The First Academy
  • Duval Charter at Christ’s Church
  • Eagle’s View at Bell Creek Academy
  • Englewood at Paxon, 6:30 p.m.
  • First Coast at (9) Bishop Kenny
  • Flagler Palm Coast at Suwannee, 7:30 p.m.
  • Fletcher at (6) Mandarin, 6:30 p.m.
  • Fort White at Taylor County, 7:30 p.m.
  • Gainesville Buchholz at Columbia, 7:30 p.m.
  • Gainesville Oak Hall at St. Joseph
  • Hollis Christian at Chipley
  • Impact Christian Academy at Harvest Community
  • Interlachen at Union County, 7:30 p.m.
  • Jackson at Nease
  • Matanzas at South Lake
  • Menendez at Ridgeview
  • Middleburg at Hawthorne
  • Orange Park at Oakleaf
  • Palm Beach Central at (10) Creekside
  • Providence at Fernandina Beach
  • (7) Raines at (8) University Christian, 7:30 p.m.
  • Ribault at Sandalwood, 6:30 p.m.
  • Riverside at Westside, 6:30 p.m.
  • (4) St. Augustine at (5) Bolles, 7:30 p.m.
  • Tocoi Creek at Beachside
  • Umatilla at Palatka
  • Victory Charter School at Joshua Christian, 6 p.m.
  • West Nassau at NFEI
  • White at (1) Trinity Christian
  • Wolfson at Baldwin, 6:30 p.m.
  • Young Kids in Motion at Hilliard
  • Yulee at Charlton County, 7:30 p.m.
  • Zarephath Academy at Episcopal
  • OFF: Keystone Heights.

Georgia, Week 2

  • Brunswick at Camden County, 7:30 p.m.
  • Glynn Academy at McIntosh County, 7:30 p.m.
  • Jeff Davis at Pierce County, 7:30 p.m.
  • Ware County at Richmond Hill, 7:30 p.m.
  • Yulee at Charlton County, 7:30 p.m.

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.