Local Friday Night Lights Preview – September 14th

Week Three of the high school football season gets underway tonight as teams from around Marion and Alachua County continue their 2012 seasons. Here’s a look at some of the matchups going on tonight:

Buchholz (1-1) vs. Columbia (1-1)

The Tigers enter this game coming off a 17-14 loss to Gainesville High School last week. Led by their stingy defense, Columbia will need quarterback Jayce Barber to play better this week as he leads the Tigers’ much improved passing game. Buchholz head coach Mark Whittemore says his team will have a tough time getting to Barber, due to the strength of Columbia’s offensive line.

With a win, Buchholz will move over .500 for the first time this year.

Trinity Catholic (1-1) vs. Gainesville High School (2-0)

Gainesville will play its first road game of the season tonight as they travel to take on the Celtics. Gator commit and Gainesville wide receiver Chris Thompson is listed as questionable for tonight’s game and his ability to play could greatly affect the outcome of this game. One person who understands the importance of staying healthy is Trinity Catholic head coach John Brantley, who knows most schools don’t have the depth at certain positions to lose key players.

If Thompson can’t go, the Hurricanes could be forced to rely more heavily on running back Ralph Webb, who ranks fourth in the county in total rushing yards (254 yards, 6.7 yards per carry).

Keystone Heights (2-0) vs. Union County (2-0)

In this battle of the unbeatens, both teams are expected to rely heavily on the running game. Keystone Heights is led by area rushing leader Alex Gonzales (288 yards, 4 TDs) and they have only thrown the ball ten times in their first two games. Union County sports a two-headed rushing attack with Prince Alexander (204 yards, 2 TDs) and Walter Mabry (165 yards) sharing the workload. Union County head coach Ronny Pruitt says he expects this to be a very physical game.

Tune into ESPN Radio 850/900 between 10 and 11pm for High School Hits, a scoreboard show that recaps all the action from Friday Night Lights and features live call-ins from several of the area games.

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