Some notable match ups dot the local prep football schedule on Friday night, especially between district foes. Here are the games to look for:
Newberry (5-1) at Trenton (6-0) – 7:30 PM
This is the first-ever district faceoff between the Panthers and Tigers, and the first meeting between the two since the 2012 state semi finals. Trenton has won by an average of over 43 points per game, but a defensive battle could be in the works as both defenses have put up stout numbers on the season — Newberry is surrendering 12.3 points per game, while Trenton is giving up just 8.5.
The Panthers were idle last week, and used the extra days to better prepare for the second-ranked team in Class 1A.
“We’re getting healed up,” head coach Kepa Sarduy said. “We needed that extra week because they have a very sophisticated offense.”
Each squad has two district games after tonight, so the winner will be in the driver’s seat to claim a postseason spot.
Jacksonville Bartram Trail (5-2) at Buchholz (5-1) – 7:30 PM
The overarching question in this district duel will be how Buchholz stays focused after an emotionally charged rivalry victory over GHS last week. Something that might help? The Bobcats are playing their first ever varsity game at their home field, and it’s Homecoming night as well.
BHS also controls its own destiny in the district — a win this evening followed up by a victory over Fleming Island next week would give the ‘Cats their first crown since 2001. Look for quarterback Jackson White to continue to shoulder the load for Mark Whittemore’s offense; he’s tossed for 1,365 yards and 15 TDs on the year. On the Bartram Trail side, they feature a dual-quarterback system with Jordan Smith as the air man and Joey Gatewood directing the ground attack.
Union County (6-0) at Fort White (4-2) – 7:30 PM
With both teams unbeaten in district play, the winner of this one essentially guarantees themselves a playoff spot and would have the inside lane to a district championship.
“We’ve discussed that we can’t get caught up in the hype,” Union County head man Ronnie Pruitt said. “We’ve got to go out there and execute, and play like we’re capable of.”
Fort White’s offense (261.7 ypg, 22.7 ppg) could have some tough sledding tonight against Union County’s stout defense — the Tigers are surrendering just 161 yards per contest.
“They do a good job of getting to the ball and corralling you,” Fort White head coach Demetric Jackson said. “They don’t miss a lot of tackles.”
Union County quarterback Tyrus Cook will look to continue to spread the wealth to the array of playmaking receivers and backs. He’s thrown 16 touchdowns on the season against just five interceptions.
This is the first match up between these two schools since 2012.
Other games on tap Friday evening include Hawthorne-Chiefland, PK Yonge-Interlachen, Dixie-County-Branford, Belleview-Eastside, and Tallahassee Chiles-Santa Fe.