Justin Barney's Week 10 Blog

Justin Barney's Week 10 Blog

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Justin Barney's Week 10 Blog

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Snap judgments after Week 10 of the high school football season.

* And then there was one week.

That’s right, the final week of the regular season before we have a five-week blitz as teams try and reach Orlando for state championship games. After all of the mathematical scenarios involving area playoff possibilities we threw out last week wound up not being needed. After the Week 10 games and all of those crazy district tiebreaker scenarios, we’ve got our playoff field all set with no Nov. 4 shootouts necessary.

The district breakdown

District 1-8A: Champ, First Coast; runner-up, Sandalwood.

District 3-7A: Champ, Fleming Island; runner-up, Fletcher.

District 3-6A: Champ, Ed White; runner-up, Columbia.

District 4-6A: Champ, St. Augustine; runner-up, Bartram Trail.

District 3-5A: Champ, Bishop Kenny; runner-up, Ribault.

District 4-5A: Champ, Clay; runner-up, Palatka.

District: 2-4A: Champ, Fort White; runner-up, Taylor County.

District 3-4A: Champ, Raines; runner-up, Bolles.

District 4-4A: Champ, Keystone Heights; runner-up, Bradford.

District 1-3A: Champ, Trinity Christian; runner-up, Providence.

District 2-2A: Champ, University Christian; runner-up, Harvest Community.

District 6-1A: Champ, Trenton; runner-up, Bell.

District 7-1A: Champ, Dixie County; runner-up, Union County.

The first-round matchups, all Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Region 1-8A: Sandalwood at Lake Mary; Lake Brantley at First Coast.

Region 1-7A: Fletcher at Winter Springs; Oak Ridge at Fleming Island.

Region 1-6A: Columbia at St. Augustine; Bartram Trail at Ed White.

Region 1-5A: Ribault at Clay; Palatka at Bishop Kenny.

Region 1-4A: Marianna at Fort White.

Region 2-4A: Bolles at Keystone Heights; Bradford at Raines.

Region 1-3A: Providence at Trinity Catholic; Father Lopez at Trinity Christian.

Region 1-2A: Harvest at North Florida Christian; FAMU at University Christian.

Region 4-1A: Union County at Crescent City.

* My favorite playoff opener, definitely Columbia at St. Augustine. For reasons I mentioned last week, this is the game. The Tigers have clubbed the Yellow Jackets the past two seasons in the playoffs, last year in the regional semis and the regional quarters in 2011. And it very well could be a pair of 9-1 teams locking up, with St. Augustine’s loss way back in Week 1, 40-0 to Trinity Christian, and Columbia’s 34-17 to Ed White.

* Speaking of St. Augustine, that’s 10 district titles in a row for coach Joey Wiles. His teams haven’t lost a district game since an Oct. 30, 2003 defeat against Palatka, a span of 43 straight victories. The next best district title streak in the area is Verlon Dorminey at Trinity Christian (six straight) and Marty Lee at First Coast (four). That kind of success in football is one thing at a private school, but another at a public school.

* How about Menendez and first-year coach Patrick Turner’s squad KO’ing Ridgeview and the Panthers’ shot at the playoffs? The Falcons got a major effort out of RB Trevon Bryant, one of the most underrated players in the region, for a 27-21 win. Bryant went for 178 yards and four TDs on 25 carries. The win prevented a tiebreaker between Clay, Palatka and Ridgeview, and gift-wrapped the 4-5A title for Clay, and the runner-up spot for Palatka. Menendez is playing for pride only at this point, but a potential 7-3 season behind one of the best senior classes to come through the southern St. Johns County school is something to build on.

* Take a bow, John Wolford.

The senior Bishop Kenny quarterback won the District 3-5A title with a 38-20 rout of Baker County, and put his name at the top of the all-time state touchdown passing list. His 11-yard scoring pass to Chuck Wade was No. 113 of his career, breaking Javan Shashaty’s mark he set while playing at Calvary Christian from 2008-11. He also broke the career completions mark of 645.

Wolford has a very good shot at becoming just the third player in state history to reach 10,000 passing yards. He’s at 9,581 now, with Tim Tebow (9,810) up next. Quentin Williams (10,384) and Shashaty (10,140) Nos. 1 and 2 on the list.

Having spoken to Wolford quite a few times since last summer, I know the record was always something I brought up, yet not really something he was really comfortable talking about. He’s a big-picture kid. And with how much Wolford has improved, how good his support system on the field is, that big picture is realistically believing that Kenny has grown up enough to think that it can push for a state title.

* First Coast quarterback De’Andre Johnson continues to get better and better. Three touchdown passes against a very good defense in Sandalwood, including a gut-check 23-yard touchdown throw to Chandler Johnson on fourth-and-7on the Buccaneers opening drive of the second half. He made a similar throw last year against Fleming Island in the de facto district title game in what wound up as the winning points.

Three years, three district championships for Johnson. And in all three of those years, he’s made incredible throws against second-half deficits. He did it against Ed White in 2011, a TD pass to Chris Black with 41 seconds left, locking up a 35-34 win. He engineered an improbable rally over Flagler Palm Coast on Oct. 18, throwing two TD passes in the final eight minutes, and another in OT, in a 35-34 win.

* I like the intensity of Coast back Jaha McCray. I said it in Week 1 against Ribault that the Buccaneers needed to put it in McCray’s hands more often. His success has been sprinkled throughout the season, but not consistently. McCray had 11 carries for 128 and two scores against Sandalwood. “My offensive line blocked great, did their job and I did mine,” he said. “They made it easy for me.”

McCray is critical to First Coast going forward. If the Buccaneers can get that kind of production from their ground game, that once sputtering, pre-bye week offense is going to feel like it was five years ago.

* The pre-playoff blockbuster that is First Coast and Ed White is probably going to feel like a little bit of a letdown for fans wanting to witness 48 minutes of future college players battling it out. Buccaneers coach Marty Lee said that he anticipated a full half of football for his starters, maybe even less, next week. That’s the downside of a great Week 11 matchup. A regular-season win at this point means little. I know a Gateway Conference title is at stake, but that’s not what’s on a coach’s mind.

* Big night for Fletcher WR Kalif Jackson. Five catches, 94 yards, two TDs, and a 27-16 win over Oakleaf that got the Senators in to the playoffs.

* Who wins the Gateway this year? First Coast, Fletcher, Raines, Ribault and White each have one loss. Raines has beaten White; Fletcher has beaten Raines; First Coast has beaten Ribault; Raines has beaten First Coast; Coast has beaten Fletcher.

The Senators should finish with one conference loss, provided they beat Wolfson.

The Raines and Ribault loser is eliminated from conference talk.

The First Coast and White loser is eliminated from conference talk.

At the minimum, we’ll have two teams with one conference loss; at the max we’ll have three. And we’ll have no clear-cut winner either since not all the programs play one another.

* Harvest Community, in the dance for the first time after surviving Duval Charter 26-22 to earn the 2-2A runner-up spot. Lonnie Marts III ran for 207 and a TD on 16 carries. Gavin Marts with a game-preserving pick. Three TDs for Bradley Bellingrath.

* I touched on it last week here, but Ed White is forcing me to mention it again.

The Commanders scored twice on defense Thursday night in a 62-14 win over Parker, a fumble return and a pick six. Javonte Ferguson took a kickoff back 90 yards for a score. During White’s current eight-game winning streak, it has scored 13 times on defense and special teams. That doesn’t include touchdowns set up by defense and special teams.

* Who would you want leading your team under center this season in the playoffs? Bishop Kenny’s John Wolford, First Coast’s De’Andre Johnson, Raines’ Marvin Zanders, Ribault’s D.J. Gillins or Sandalwood’s D.J. Davis? Shoot me an email at Justin.barney@jacksonville.com, or send me a tweet @JustinBarneyTU. Curious to get your input on who you’d take in the playoff pressure. I’ll publish some of the feedback next week.

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