High school football playoffs ‘23: Glance at Metro second-round matchups

Darnell Rogers, Riverside and Mandarin QB Tramell Jones are all in action in the second round of the high school football playoffs. (News4JAX)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The second round of the high school playoffs is here. A glance at playoff games in the Metro division. All games are Friday at 7:30 p.m. unless indicated.

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Region 1-4M

(5) Mandarin (8-3) at (1) Lake Mary (10-1), 7 p.m.

Road here: Mandarin d. Winter Park, 29-16; Lake Mary d. Orlando Boone, 42-38.

Winner gets: (2) Seminole or (3) Apopka in the regional finals. Mandarin would travel to face either.

Glance: A rematch of a Week 6 game, won handily by Lake Mary (34-16). The Mustangs lost three offensive fumbles, threw an interception and lost the snap on a punt in the end zone that was covered up for a touchdown. Five giveaways on the road against one of the state’s top teams was recipe for a loss. In Mandarin’s three losses this season, turnovers have been significant. Mandarin has a team loaded with stars. QB Tramell Jones (2,357 passing yards, 25 TDs) and WR Jaime Ffrench (901 receiving yards, 10 TDs) are two of the best at their positions in the country. RB Tiant Wyche is supremely underrated (1,305 rushing yards, 19 TDs). LB Jackson Copeland (94 tackles, 11 TFL, 7 sacks) and DL Grant Pettigrew (65 tackles, 15 TFL, 5.5 sacks) are nasty tough players. S Drake Stubbs has four of Mandarin’s 12 interceptions. They have to slow down Lake Mary QB Noah Grubbs, who is lighting teams up. Mandarin held Grubbs to his worst game of the season (6 of 18, 102 yards, TD). He averaged 340 yards and 4.8 TD passes in Lake Mary’s other 10 games and is coming off a 510-yard performance against Boone. If the Mustangs can limit their turnovers, they can win this game.

Region 1-2M

(4) Bolles (6-5) at (1) Raines (10-1), 6:30 p.m.

Road here: Bolles d. Bishop Kenny, 45-14; Raines d. Jackson, 42-2.

Winner gets: (3) Orlando Bishop Moore or (2) Riverside in the regional finals. Bolles would travel to face either team. Raines would host either team.

Glance: The latest installment of one of the area’s best rivalries. Iconic Bolles coach Corky Rogers went 17-12-1 in his career at Lee and Bolles, but those games always seemed to be close and electric. These teams met twice in a season five times in a six-year span from 2011-16. Those games were all memorable. It was Raines that ended Bolles’ state-record 91-game district winning streak in 2011, a mark that hasn’t come close to being eclipsed and probably never will be. St. Augustine got more than halfway to that mark, winning 50 straight from 2003 to 2015. These teams met last year in the regional final and there was a no-doubt-about-it thinking that they’d meet again in the playoffs this year. It just happens to be a round earlier than projected. Bolles struggled this season against a tough schedule and inconsistent play. It beat a team like Trinity but lost to a winless (at the time) Columbia. The ground game of Bolles has been solid, with Emmett Grzebin (968 rushing yards, 14 TDs) the headliner of that. QB DJ Moore (1,688 passing yards, 21 TDs) and WR Naeem Burroughs (826 receiving yards, 13 TDs) the stars on that side of the ball. The defense is strong at the line, with DL Garrison Butler and Trey Railey combining for 30 tackles for loss, 14 sacks and 105 tackles. Raines is Raines, which means a physical, nasty defense. LB/Edge Jaylen Clark (100 tackles, 10 sacks, 15 TFL, DL Jyon Simon (69 tackles, 8 sacks, 14 TFL) and S Jayden Taylor (86 tackles, 4 INT) are all over the field. The secondary is filled with ballhawking corners Shareef Jackson and Nicholas Kilpatrick, players who have a combined 13 of the team’s 22 interceptions. Offensively, the ground game moves the chains, with QB Ty’ren Randolph and RB Mark Miller over 1,400 yards on the ground with 27 total TDs.

(3) Orlando Bishop Moore (8-3) at (2) Riverside (9-2), 6:30 p.m.

Road here: Bishop Moore d. White, 42-22; Riverside d. Episcopal, 49-7.

Winner gets: (4) Bolles or (1) Raines in the regional final. Both teams would host Bolles, but travel to face Raines.

Glance: Amazing the difference a year makes. The Generals scraped into the playoffs in 2022 with a Week 11 win over Ribault. This season, Riverside’s Week 11 win over Ribault did enough in the region rankings to slide it into the No. 2 seed ahead of Bishop Moore. The Generals have improved immensely everywhere on the field in coach Antwan Nicholas’ second season in the Backyard. QB Glenn Foreman III (1,457 passing yards, 18 TDs) is a confident slinger in the pocket. RB Shermon Davis has 11 rushing TDs and is approaching a 1,000-yard season on the ground. WRs Tae’shaun Gelsey and Myles Kendrick have nine TD catches apiece. DLs Demontra Burnett (55 tackles, 10 sacks, 17 TFL) and Larry Davis (50 tackles, 9 sacks, 19 TFL) and DE Jamal Harvey-Jackson (78 tackles, 10 TFL) give Riverside playmakers on that side of the ball. Riverside is very good, very balanced and much more mature of a team than it was a year ago. Both the Generals and the Hornets have strong offenses and big defenses, with QB Bjorn Jurgensen (28 passing TDs) leading the offense and edge players Jake Kreul and Aaron Reabe combining for 25 sacks.

Region 1-1M

(4) University Christian (5-5) at (1) Trinity Christian (7-3), 7 p.m.

Road here: Both teams were off last week.

Winner gets: (3) Providence or (1) Orlando Christian Prep in the regional finals. Trinity would host either team, while UC would travel to face either team.

Glance: Part II for these teams. Trinity beat UC 14-0 in the regular season in a game that had a tense finish in the handshake line afterwards. On the field in that game, both offenses struggled. That has been a theme for UC this season. The Christians averaged 38.5 ppg last year. They’re down to 26.7 this season. RB Alan Woods III has been the constant for UC (1,257 rushing yards, 15 TDs), but there hasn’t been much else behind him. An injury to WR Jenoa Alford has limited the passing game significantly. LB Luke Thomas (85 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 3 INT) and S Dahkari Gilley (61 tackles, 18 TFL, 10 sacks) have been the standouts on defense. Trinity hasn’t had the best season on offense either but it still has notable playmakers. QB Colin Hurley (1,484 passing yards, 18 TDs) is the school’s career passing leader. RB Darnell Rogers has battled injuries, but is still on the verge of a 1,000-yard rushing season (919 rushing yards, 6 TDs). WRs Miles Burris (425 receiving yards, 10 TDs) and Kyle Boylston (411 receiving yards, 6 TDs) are big pass catchers. LB Cam Anderson (80 tackles, 12 TFL) has also played a greater role on offense. UC beat Trinity 36-27 in the regional final last year after losing (20-13) in the regular season.

(3) Providence (7-3) at (2) Orlando Christian Prep (9-1), 7:30 p.m.

Road here: Both teams were off last week.

Winner gets: (4) University Christian or (1) Trinity Christian in the regional finals. Providence would host UC but travel to face Trinity.

Glance: The Stallions were No. 1 in the region before a two-game slide to end the regular season. QB Mason Williams (723 rushing yards, 9 TDs) has been the catalyst this year for Providence, but he went out with an injury in a Week 10 loss to Trinity Christian. ATH Jett Hood has been a very good player on both sides of the ball for the Stallions. He’s rushed for 501 yards and has another 184 receiving. DE Samuel Hayward (45 tackles, 15 TFL), DB Jaden Jablonski (4 INT) have turned in excellent seasons for the Stallions. Will the late season struggles continue for Providence? The Stallions have the defense to limit OCP’s three-pronged rushing attack of Avery and Akeevin Anderson and Adryan Marayne.

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.