High School Blitz


Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 9:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 9:28 p.m.

Five things of note in area sports, games of the week and more.

■ Jimmie Taylor, a first-team all-area guard for the Suwannee boys basketball team last year, has recently committed to play at Rider University, according to Bulldogs coach Jeremy Ulmer. The 6-foot-3 Taylor, who also received a scholarship offer from St. Peter's, averaged 18 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.5 steals and 1 block per game as the Bulldogs reached the regional playoffs last season.

■ Former Oak Hall volleyball player Heather Kraft, a senior at Wake Forest, leads the team in service aces (21) and aces per set (0.24). The 5-foot-9 defensive specialist, who was The Sun's 2008 small school player of the year, is also third on the team in digs (173).

■ Former Santa Fe star C.J. Wakeley scored two points in 16 minutes of action of Lincoln Memorial's 83-75 exhibition loss at Florida State on Tuesday. The Sun's 2011 big school boys basketball player of the year, now a sophomore at LMU, hit a layup with 9:55 remaining to bring the Railsplitters to within 61-53.

■The Columbia High girls bowling team clinched its third straight FHSAA state tournament berth after winning the District 2 title on Monday. The Tigers, led by Lauren Snipes' 555 total, claimed the crown with a 2,433 total. Courtney Schmitt rolled a 544, followed by Christine Peters' 449 total. Lindey Barney (448) and Victoria Wise (437) rounded out the title-winning day for Columbia. Coach Brian Saunders and the Tigers move on to the state tournament on Nov. 7 and 8 at the Boardwalk Bowl in Orlando.

■ Former Gainesville High basketball star Greg Gantt, a senior at Florida Atlantic, was named to the preseason All-Sun Belt team last week, earning second-team honors. Last year, Gantt, who led the Hurricanes to the 2009 FHSAA Class 5A state title, became the eighth Owls player to surpass the 1,000-point plateau. He is on pace to became FAU's all-time leading scorer.

— Cliff Olsen

Games of the Week

Games start at 7:30 p.m. unless noted; Staff predictions by Larry Savage, Cliff Olsen, Paul Kardasz and Laura Bernheim are at the bottom of each preview.

Games of the Week

All games start at 7:30 p.m. unless noted

District 3-3A

OCALA TRINITY CATHOLIC (6-2, 0-0) AT FORT WHITE (5-3, 0-0): Both these teams are heading to the state playoffs regardless of today's outcome because they are the only ones in the district. So this game is for the league title. The visiting Celtics, who are 2-0 against the Indians, have won four straight, giving up a combined 35 points that included a 21-point win over 6A Ocala Vanguard. Fort White was surprisingly routed last week at Tallahassee Rickards, outscored 34-0 in the second half en route to a 48-17 setback. The Indians have the No. 2 passer in the area in junior Andrew Baker (1,291 yds., 12 TDs, 10 Ints.), two good receivers in Trey Phillips and Michael Mulberry (combined 51 catches, eight TDs), and a good RB in Tavaris Williams (727 yds., five TDs). LB Kellen Snider is among the area leaders in tackles with 117. The Indians' offense is built on balance (164.4 run, 161.4 pass per game) and keeping the Celtics guessing on defense will be critical if Fort White is going to pull off an upset.

LS: TRINITY; CO: TRINITY; PK: TRINITY; LB: TRINITY

District 7-1A

NO. 4 NEWBERRY (7-2, 3-0) AT NO. 2 UNION COUNTY (9-0, 3-0): Another game that will decide a district champion in a very competitive league. The Panthers come in winners of four straight, having lost a game by one point (28-27 to Ocala West Port in OT) and winning a game by one point (21-20 over district foe Dixie County, also in OT). Newberry averages 319 yards rushing a game, led by senior Ra'kheem Hoyt (919 yds., 12 TDs), with the trio of Travyaun Presley, Tamarcus Faulkner and Trace Stankunas totaling 1,598 yards and 12 TDs. The Panthers have only attempted 43 passes in nine games. Union County, which has won 20 straight regular-season games, also likes to run the football, averaging 254 yards per game,and is led by senior Walter Mabrey (890 yds., eight TDs). Prince Alexander and Daquin Edwards have combined for 1,118 yards and 10 TDs. QB Chandler Mann has passed for more than 100 yards twice this season (113 vs. Interlachen, 114 vs. P.K. Yonge). Defensively, the Tigers, led by lineman Carl Alexander (team-leading 71 tackles, 8 sacks), have been tough in big games, like shutting out Dixie County for three quarters in Cross City after giving up 14 points in the opening period (28-14 win).

LS: UNION; CO: UNION; PK: UNION; LB: UNION

District 4-4A

MOUNT DORA (7-2, 4-1) AT KEYSTONE HEIGHTS (5-3, 3-2): The host Indians are coming off back-to-back district losses to Bradford and South Sumter, yet can still be in the hunt for a playoff berth if they can beat the Hurricanes tonight. Mount Dora enters a winner of five straight, including a critical 29-18 home victory over the Tornadoes last week. Mount Dora is very balanced offensively, averaging 176.7 passing and 169.0 rushing per game. Senior QB Bobby LaRouca, who passed for 241 yards and three TDs against Bradford, has 1,590 for the season with 13 TDs and only one interception. His primary targets are WRs Terrance Bynum and Von Davis, who have a combined 50 catches for 949 yards and 10 TDs. Jordan Porter has a team-leading 836 yards rushing and eight TDs. Alex Gonzales leads Keystone in rushing with 913 yards and 10 TDs. QB Blake Valenzuela has completed just 26 passes for 294 yards and four TDs. Senior LB John Brown leads the area in tackles for 127, and is also tied for the team-lead in interceptions with three.

LS: MT. DORA; CO: MT. DORA; PK: MT. DORA; LB: MT. DORA

Others

District 5-6A

NO. 1 GAINESVILLE (9-0, 3-0) AT LECANTO (4-4, 0-3): The top-ranked Hurricanes, ranked No. 50 nationally, close their regular season on the road looking to become the first unbeaten GHS squad since 1972, which also went 10-0. Of course, after an idle week next week, a new season begins for the ‘Canes — the postseason, which they hope ends with a state title.

LS: GHS; CO: GHS; PK: GHS; LB: GHS

District 3-6A

TALLAHASSEE LEON (2-6, 1-3) AT NO. 5 COLUMBIA (7-1, 4-0): The Tigers, winners of six straight, are slowly gaining momentum in the state poll, with their only loss by three points at top-ranked Gainesville. They close their regular season at home next week with their annual clash with Suwannee.

LS: COLUMBIA; CO: COLUMBIA; PK: COLUMBIA; LB: COLUMBIA

District 5-5A

SANTA FE (0-8, 0-4) AT EASTSIDE (5-3, 4-0): The triumphant Rams return to Citizens Field as district champions and can close out their league schedule with a perfect record with a win over the winless Raiders.

LS: EASTSIDE; CO: EASTSIDE; PK: EASTSIDE; LB: EASTSIDE

District 2-5A

SUWANNEE (3-5, 0-2) AT TALLAHASSEE RICKARDS (4-4, 0-2): In the final week for district games, both teams are looking for their first league win.

LS: RICKARDS; CO: RICKARDS; PK: RICKARDS; LB: RICKARDS

District 4-4A

INTERLACHEN (1-7, 0-5) AT BRADFORD (5-3, 3-2): The host Tornadoes still have a very slim chance of getting in a three-way playoff, providing they win and Keystone Heights beats Mount Dora.

LS: BRADFORD; CO: BRADFORD; PK: BRADFORD; LB: BRADFORD

District 2-2A

OAK HALL (4-4, 1-2) AT JACKSONVILLE UNIVERSITY CHRISTIAN (7-1, 3-0): The Christians are heading to the playoffs and the visiting Eagles are not. University Christian has averaged 58 points a game in its current three-game winning streak.

LS: UC; CO: UC; PK: UC; LB: UC

ST. FRANCIS (2-6, 0-3) AT ST. AUGUSTINE ST. JOSEPH (2-6, 1-2): One of the host Flashes' victories this season was at Oak Hall. This is the fourth road game in five weeks for the Wolves.

LS: ST. JOE; CO: ST. FRANCIS; PK: ST. FRANCIS; LB: ST. JOE

District 7-1A

BALDWIN (3-5, 0-3) AT CHIEFLAND (5-3, 0-3): The surprising Indians' last chance for a district win this season against a team that gave league title contender Newberry a scare (38-34).

LS: CHIEFLAND; CO: BALDWIN; PK: BALDWIN; LB: BALDWIN

District 6-1A

TRENTON (8-0, 3-0) AT HAWTHORNE (1-7, 1-2): The visiting Tigers regained their No. 1 status in this week's state poll in Class 1A by two votes over Union County. It has been a rough first season for Hornets' first-year coach Ellis Walker.

LS: TRENTON; CO: TRENTON; PK: TRENTON; LB: TRENTON

BELL (3-4, 1-2) AT BRONSON (1-7, 0-3): The host Eagles are going for their first win since September while the visiting Bulldogs are looking for their first back-to-back wins of the season.

LS: BELL; CO: BELL; PK: BELL; LB: BELL

District 5-1A

BRANFORD (3-5, 0-2) AT LAFAYETTE (6-2, 2-0): The host Hornets, winners of five straight, have already clinched the league title and are getting ready for an area-best eighth straight playoff appearance.

LS: LAFAYETTE; CO: LAFAYETTE; PK: LAFAYETTE; LB: LAFAYETTE

NON-DISTRICT

WILLISTON (2-6) AT DIXIE COUNTY (5-4): The host Bears close out the regular season and are looking for a sixth win to be bowl eligible. It has been a month since the Red Devils have won a game.

LS: DIXIE; CO: DIXIE; PK: DIXIE; LB: DIXIE

JACKSONVILLE CHRIST CHURCH (7-1) AT P.K. YONGE (0-8): The Eagles come in with an impressive record while the host Blue Wave obviously do not. But P.K. Yonge has played a much more tougher schedule and the home crowd.

LS: PKY; CO: PKY; PK: PKY; LB: PKY

STAFF PREDICTIONS

Week 9: Paul 17-2; Laura 16-3; Larry 16-3; Cliff 13-6

Season: 1. Paul Kardasz 126-24; 2. Laura Bernheim 124-26; 3. Cliff Olsen 123-27; 2. 3. 4. Larry Savage 116-34

Gainesville Preps Power Rankings

Area's Top 10 through Week 8

1. Gainesville

2. Columbia

3. Union County

4. Trenton

5. Eastside

6. Newberry

7. Fort White

8. Lafayette

9. Buchholz

10. Dixie County

Prep Zone Power Poll

The Prep Zone Power Poll covers 26 counties in North Central Florida and includes all classifications (www.theprepzone.com)

1. Gainesville (7) (6A) (9-0) – 140

2. First Coast (7A) (8-0) – 128

3. South Sumter (4A) (9-0) – 125

4. Columbia (6A) (7-1) – 117

5. St. Augustine (6A) (8-0) – 108

6. Fletcher (4) (8A) (7-1) – 102

7. Madison County (3A) (8-1) – 98

8. Union County (1A) (9-0) – 88

9. Trenton (1A) (8-0) - 83

10. New Smyrna Beach (6A) (7-0) - 74

11. Bolles (4A) (7-1) – 73

12. Springstead (6A) (9-0) – 67

13. Trinity Christian (3A) (7-1) - 60

14. Warner Christian (2A) (8-1) - 48

15. Trinity Catholic (3A) (6-2) – 47

16. Fleming Island (7A) (6-2) – 24

17. Ponte Vedra (5A) (7-1) – 22

18. Ridgeview (6A) (7-1) – 21

19. Bartram Trail (6A) (6-2) – 18

20. Raines (4A) (6-2) – 8

Also receiving votes: Newberry (1A) (7-2) - 4; University Christian (2A) (6-1) - 4; Lafayette (1A) (6-2) - 3; Atlantic (5A) (7-1) - 3; Bishop Kenny (5A) (6-2) - 2; Eastside (5A) (5-3) - 2; Baker County (5-2) (5A) 6-2 - 1.

Attention coaches

Please call in your box scores to 352-374-5050 each night by 10:30. Football coaches should call in their box scores no later than 11:30 p.m. on Fridays.

Athlete of the week nominations are made via phone call on Sundays between 4-7 p.m.

Football, volleyball, golf and cross country coaches should email their weekly statistics to Paul Kardasz at kardasp@sunwriters.com.

Swimming coaches are asked to email their honor roll candidates to Dee Flowers (dflow50@aol.com) each week by Monday night. If you have no changes, please send her a note saying so.

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