We are now into the full swing of the high school football season, and slew of big match ups dot the area on Friday night.
Here are some key games in the area tonight:
Buchholz (2-0) at Columbia (2-0) – 7:30 PM
The Bobcats have rolled in their first two victories of the year, outscoring their opponents 92-13. However, those two opponents have a combined 0-4 record and the undefeated Tigers should provide a much stiffer test. Buchholz has dropped the last six match ups to Columbia, including a 28-23 loss in 2014. The Bobcats will look to quarterback Jackson White, who has thrown five TDs thus far, to lead their aerial attack.
“Up front is going to be where everything gets its start for him [White] and for us offensively,” head coach Mark Whittemore said. “The offensive line has been making steady progress.”
For Columbia, running back Kamario Bell will shoulder the load on the ground. He has racked up 266 rushing yards and three TDs on just 28 carries.
Expect offensive fireworks to be on display all night, as the two schools have supplied a combined 172 points in four games.
Newberry (2-0) at Union County (2-0) – 7:30 PM
Two wins against higher classification opponents (4A Santa Fe, 5A Eastside) have the Panthers riding high as they hit the road for the first time this season against former district rival Union County. Newberry’s defense has been strong in their pair of victories, forcing six turnovers while surrendering just 26 points.
“[Union County] they like to throw the ball everywhere, so it’s really going to test our secondary,” head coach Kepa Sarduy said. “We’ll have to see if we can get a pass rush going.”
The Tigers took down Hamilton County by a pair of scores in their opener before blasting Orlando Agape Christian last week, 51-0. Junior quarterback Tyrus Cook has the hot hand for Union County, firing six touchdowns while throwing for nearly 500 yards on the young season.
A win for either side sets up some big momentum as they each head into district play next week.
Clay (1-1) at Gainesville (1-1) – 7:30 PM
After being beaten on the road against Columbia in Week One, Mark Latsko’s Hurricanes showed immense resolve last week by taking down Jacksonville First Coast, the sixth-ranked team in 7A. Tonight, they oppose Clay for the first time in nine years. The Blue Devils have split their two games this season, shutting out Fleming Island 28-0 before getting shut out last Friday by Flagler Palm Coast in a 7-0 slugfest.
The two schools met each year from 2004-06, with GHS winning all three contests.
Eastside (0-2) at Santa Fe (0-1) – 7:30 PM
This will be the home opener for Santa Fe, who had their game in Georgia last week rained out. The Raiders fell to Newberry in Week one, while the Rams suffered that same fate last Friday. Despite the winless record for Eastside, Santa Fe head coach Bill Wiles still sees plenty of talent on the opposing sideline.
“They have the ability to score from anywhere on the field, and they have numerous guys who can do that, starting with the quarterback.”
That quarterback is dual-threat junior KJ Minter, who doesn’t boast gaudy statistics, but leads the team in both passing and rushing. Eastside’s defense has surrendered 82 points in two games, and could have trouble slowing down Santa Fe’s Kenyatta Patterson, one of the best running backs in the area.
Other area games on tap this evening include Port St. Joe at Trenton, Hawthorne at Bronson, Fort White at Hamilton County, Taylor County at Bradford, and Lecanto at Williston.
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