Here are some snap judgements from Week 1 of high school football from Florida Times-Union high school sports editor Justin Barney:
* One down, 15 to go.
* Enough of this summer weather already. Bring on the fall.
* John Wolford is going to be Bishop Kenny’s miracle-worker again; 47-43 over Bartram Trail, winning touchdown pass with 20 seconds left. No big deal.
* First Coast’s defense is wicked and Ribault’s defense is vastly improved. All that meant was a 12-7 slugfest with the Buccaneers emerging with the win and more talk of offensive problems. First Coast will be fine. Jaha McCray ran the ball well, although the Buccaneers started spreading out carries. Give First Coast a couple more games and I think its offensive line starts pass-blocking better.
* Loved seeing D.J. Gillins back out on the field. He blew out his knee last year at Eagle’s View, transferred to Ribault and is the clear-cut leader on this team. Asked him about the emotions of being under the lights again after last year and it was what you’d expect: “It was crazy, pretty emotional. Lot of heartbeats out there.” Gillins has a rifle on him. His 59-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Perry was a rocket. I know people will see his numbers (9 of 17, 143 yards, TD) and say, ‘Come on, that’s it?’ With zero running game to speak of and the Buccaneers defense chipping away, it was a nice debut for Gillins and the Trojans. If that Ribault defense can keep playing like it did, the Trojans are going to be in every game they play.
* First Coast receiver D.J. Matthews is a gem. Four catches for 38 yards don’t tell his entire story. Matthews’ first catch helped set up the Buccaneers first touchdown, and it was badly needed. Receivers had dropped three passes up to that point. Matthews ran a nice curl, got in front of his man and made a jumping grab and took the ball to the 3. He’s got great hands and body control. Kid is going to be a star. Developmentally, he’s very advanced for a freshman.
* It’s incredibly early, but Trinity Christian very well could be the most complete, pound-for-pound team in the region. The Conquerors beat St. Augustine 40-0 on Friday and I hear it could have been far worse.
I worked in St. Augustine for a decade and covered a ton of Yellow Jackets football and there are only a few games I can remember where St. Augustine was thoroughly beaten in every phase of the game – Rockledge, 38-6 in the 2001 state title game; Clay, 32-6 and Palatka, 44-20 in the 2003 regular season; Bolles, 42-16 in the 2004 state semifinals and North Gwinnett, 35-17 in 2011, a game that wasn’t that close. Friday’s beating by Trinity outdid all of those.
* Englewood’s 12-game losing streak is toast, courtesy of a 21-0 win over Paxon.
* It wasn’t Dexter Carter Jr.’s welcome-to-the-big-time moment. That came in the Raines win last year. But four touchdowns on the road in Week 1 was a statement that he has arrived as Bolles’ ace playmaker. Last year, Carter was one of five guys who swapped big plays (Gianluca Heatherley, Austin Kirksey, Arterrious Mitchell and Colby Peters). This year, Carter is No. 1, 2, 3 and 4.
* Clutch kicking, anyone? Peter Gilligan of Providence and Fernandina Beach’s Andre Giannini both nailed game-winning field goals with no time on the clock to win. Fleming Island’s Will Brooks knocked one through in overtime for a W. Take a bow.
* In its last two games – and I’m using the kickoff classic as a point of reference – the Raines defense has allowed seven points. The Vikings gave up a safety to White on Friday, and allowed a touchdown to Atlantic Coast a week earlier in the classic. That’s a stellar start. But if you’re coach Deran Wiley, with the area’s most difficult schedule on its way, the offensive issues have got to be sitting in the pit of your stomach with a trip to Miami Northwestern up next.