The 2015 high school football season is here and features a flurry of notable week one matchups around the area. Here are the games to keep an eye on this evening:
Eastside at Buchholz, 7:30 PM (Citizens Field)
The battle for city bragging right begins right away as the Bobcats aim for their third consecutive victory over the Rams. Last year’s 31-21 score was the largest margin of victory by either team since 2009.
“It adds that second dimension to your season, and gives your kids something to play for,” Buchholz head coach Mark Whittemore says, regarding the city championship.
“You know there’s going to be kids who have played against each other their whole lives,” Eastside head coach Jeff Parker says. “You know mentally they’re going to be jacked up for the game.”
Buchholz holds a 6-5 series edge between the two schools since 2004.
Santa Fe at Newberry, 7:30 PM
Newberry has won seven of the last nine meetings with Santa Fe, but will look for redemption this time around after falling to the Raiders in last season’s matchup, 26-9.
“We’re going to lean heavily on our defense, and we want to control the ball offensively,” Panthers head coach Kepa Sarduy says.
Newberry will look to a pair of juniors in FSU commit Jal’len Parks (6’4″ 275 lbs) and Cory Durden (6’5″ 250 lbs) to anchor their defensive front. Durden has offers from Florida, FSU, Miami and Oklahoma.
They will try to contain 1st team all-area running back Kenyatta Patterson for Santa Fe, who ran for 1,002 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014.
“I absolutely have high expectations,” Raiders head coach Bill Wiles said when discussing his team.
Santa Fe has not won consecutive games in this series since 2005.
P.K. Yonge at Williston, 7:30 PM
The Blue Wave will start their campaign with three road games in four weeks, and will look to build early confidence with a matchup against 1A Williston, a team that finished just 1-8 last season. However, the Red Wolves have won seven of the last eight meetings including the last three, and will look to keep that streak going under new head coach Justin Wentworth.
“I expect them to be well coached,” P.K. Yonge head coach Kent Johnson says. “They’ve got some size and skill that I think we match up pretty good with.”
P.K. Yonge moves into Class 4A this season, and will join the district of Santa Fe, Bradford, Interlachen and Keystone heights.
Gainesville at Columbia, 7:30 PM
A rematch of one of last season’s most exciting games, which featured the Tigers taking down the Canes in overtime 44-43. Offense should be a premium tonight once again with plenty of offensive stars dotting the field. GHS quarterback Caelan Christian is entering his third year as the starter, and will be looking often for all-area wide receiver Dock Luckie III along with tight end Jordan Giberti. Running back Kamario Bell will carry the load for the Tigers. Columbia has won five of the seven meetings since 2004, but the schools have split the last four.
Other area teams in action on Friday include Bronson at Bell, Trenton at Jacksonville Duval Charter, Taylor County at Dixie County, Potter’s House Christian at Fort White, and Union County at Hamilton County.
CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO FROM COACHES: