High School Blitz
Published: Friday, November 8, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 8:59 p.m.
4 things of note in area sports
■ Upcoming signings: Three outstanding area athletes have signing ceremonies schedule next week.All-American swimmer Wesley Olmsted of Eastside High and High Tide Aquatics will officially sign a swimming scholarship with Stanford on Wednesday after school at the media center. Olmsted, the state 3A champion in the 50-yard free and state runner-up in the 100 fly, chose the Cardinal over Harvard, Princeton and Michigan. Mitchell Wilbekin of The Rock, younger brother of UF's Scottie Wilbekin, will officially sign with Tulsa on Wednesday inside the school gym. A starter since the 7th grade, Mitchell Wilbekin was named Sunshine Independent Athletic Association tournament MVP in leading the Lions to last season's state championship over Arlington Country Day. He chose Tulsa, which is coached by Danny Manning, over USF, UCF and Vanderbilt. Wilbekin was rated the No. 5 point guard prospect in Florida by ESPN. Cassidy McDilda, a first-team all-area softball catcher for Buchholz, will sign with Troy University on Thursday in the school library after school. She hit .351 with five homers and 26 RBIs for the Bobcats as a junior.
■ Cross country milestones: With the state cross country meet coming up Saturday in Tallahassee, Gainesville High will be sending both its boys and girls teams for the first time in more than 20 years, according to coach Curtis Cooper. Also, Newberry sophomore Maggie Rice is the first girl to qualify for state since 1995. Oak Hall's girls team, led by senior Brittney Olinger, will attempt to repeat as Class 1A state champions on Saturday. This is their 13th straight trip to state. The Eagles' boys team, led by Austin Perry, is making its first state appearance since 2006.
■ Regional finals in volleyball will be Saturday with five area teams still in the running to reach state — P.K. Yonge, St. Francis, Williston, Newberry and Bell. Newberry will play at Williston in Saturday's Region 4-1A final, meaning the area has a possible four teams heading to state, which would be one better than a year ago when Buchholz, St. Francis and Lafayette advanced.
■ State semifinals at Kissimmee's Silver Spurs Arena will be as follows: Tuesday - Class 3A, 4A and 5A; Wednesday - 6A (finals for 3A, 4A, 5A); Thursday - 7A (finals for 6A); and Friday - 1A and 2A (finals for 7A and 8A). Finals for 1A will be Saturday, Nov. 16, at 11:05 a.m. Times for all semifinals won't be released until Saturday night.
Games of the Week
(All games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted)
■ 6A NO. 6 COLUMBIA (8-1) AT 5A NO. 9 SUWANNEE (7-1): Very much a regional rivalry, but with both teams playing state playoff games next week on the road, you have to wonder how much starters will play in this game. Since the Tigers' loss at Jacksonville Ed White, they have crushed their last two opponents who were a combined 5-13, so this is the best team Columbia has played in a month. Junior RB Lonnie Underwood (1,371 yards, 29 TDs) is one of the area's top backs and FSU commit Trey Marshall is back defensively for the Tigers. The Bulldogs, under second-year coach Jamie Rodgers, have been one of the surprises of the area. Aaron McCallister had an 88-yard interception return for a touchdown and had a pair of receptions in Suwannee's playoff-clinching 27-7 win at Crystal River. Columbia has won the last four meetings and seven of the last eight over Suwannee, four by shutouts, including last year (40-0).
LS: COLUM; JB: COLUM; LB: COLUM; PK: COLUM
■ NO. 2 DIXIE COUNTY (8-0) AT LAFAYETTE (7-1): Two teams heading to the state playoffs, but the host Hornets lack state respect and haven't been ranked since their 27-20 home loss to Hamilton County, which ended up costing Lafayette the District 5-1A title. The injury bug has also taken its toll on the Hornets, who have lost nine starters, some of whom played both ways during the season. Dixie County has been impressive in back-to-back District 7 wins over Newberry and Chiefland, capturing its first league title in four years. The Bears have the look of a serious state contender.
LS: DIXIE; JB: DIXIE; LB: DIXIE; PK: DIXIE
■ 7A BUCHHOLZ (3-6) AT 4A FORT WHITE (6-1): This has been a tough season for the visiting Bobcats, losers of six of their last seven games. Their move to District 3-7A has definitely been a step up in quality with No. 4 Fleming Island and Neptune Beach Fletcher leading the way. The Indians, who last week clinched their first district title in school history, will host Havana East Gadsden in next week's regional semifinals. Fort White has one of the most elusive RBs in the area in Tavaris Williams (1,681 yards, 19 TDs).
LS: FORT WHITE; JB: FORT WHITE; LB: FORT WHITE; PK: BUCH
■ 4A BRADFORD (3-5) AT 5A EASTSIDE (4-5): Despite their overall record, the visiting Tornadoes are heading to the state playoffs and will take on No. 4 Raines in Jacksonville next week. Bradford lost a tough one last week at Keystone Heights, 21-20, for the District 4-4A title. WR Kenny Dinkins leads the area in reception yards. The host Rams saw their playoff hopes end with a 35-30 district loss at Santa Fe last week. Eastside has struggled with offensive consistency this season, although Octavious Simmons and Malachi Lofland have shown promise. The Rams have won two of their last three games at Citizens Field.
LS: EASTSIDE; JB: EASTSIDE; LB: EASTSIDE; PK: EASTSIDE
■ ST. FRANCIS (1-8) AT 1A NO. 4 TRENTON (7-1): Two programs obviously going in different directions, with the Tigers, winners of six straight games, preparing for next week's regional semifinal against Lafayette. The Wolves, who have just two seniors and have given up 38.9 points a game, have struggled in David LaMarre's first season.
LS: TRENTON; JB: TRENTON; LB: TRENTON; PK: TRENTON
■ 1A NEWBERRY (4-4) AT 7A TALLAHASSEE CHILES (2-6): The visiting Panthers were a victim of a very tough District 7, coming off back-to-back poundings from Union County and Dixie County. A chance to beat a 7A team could end the season on a high note. This is the first meeting between these two schools. Panthers' RB/WR/DB Monte Seabrook committed to Utah this week.
LS: NEWBERRY; JB: CHILES; LB: NEWBERRY; PK: NEWBERRY
■ ST. AUGUSTINE BEACON OF HOPE (3-6) AT 1A CHIEFLAND (6-3): Injury has taken its toll on the host Indians, who opened the season 5-0 but have lost three of their last four games. Considering where Chiefland was two years ago, the Indians' program is definitely on the rise.
LS: CHIEF; JB: CHIEF; LB: CHIEF; PK: CHIEF
■ 1A HAWTHORNE (2-6) AT 4A THE VILLAGES (5-3): The visiting Hornets have two more wins than they had a year ago, so this was definitely an improving year for Hawthorne. An upset here on the road could be a great motivator to build on for next season.
LS: VILLAGES; JB: VILLAGES; LB: VILLAGES; PK: VILLAGES
■ ORANGE PARK ST. JOHNS COUNTRY DAY (6-2) AT OAK HALL (1-8), 7 P.M.: It has been one of those seasons for the host Eagles, who played a lot of underclassmen and struggled with injuries. They do, however, have one of the best receivers in senior Brad Pita (33 catches, 539 yards, 6 TDs).
LS: SJCD; JB: SJCD; LB: SJCD; PK: SJCD
Idle: Bronson, Interlachen, P.K. Yonge, Williston
Last week: Laura Bernheim 13-2; Larry Savage 13-2; John Boothe 13-2; Paul Kardasz 12-3
Season: Laura 133-21 (.864); John 128-26 (.831); Paul 127-27 (.825); Larry 124-30 (.805)
Gainesville Preps Power Rankings
Area's Top 10
1. Columbia 8-1
2. Gainesville 8-1
3. Dixie County 7-0
4. Suwannee 7-1
5. Union County 8-1
6. Fort White 6-1
7. Trenton 7-1
8. Lafayette 7-1
9. Chiefland 6-3
10. Bell 7-2
Prep Zone Power Poll
The Prep Zone Power Poll covers 26 counties in North Central Florida and includes all classifications (www.theprepzone.com)
1. Jacksonville First Coast (2) (8A) 8-1 – 134
2. South Sumter (3) (5A) 9-0 – 132
3. Daytona Bch Mainland (1) (6A) 8-1 – 125
4. Fleming Island (7A) 9-0 – 122
5. Jax Trinity Christian (3A) 7-1 – 116
6. Jacksonville Bishop Kenny (5A) 8-0 – 106
7. Jacksonville Ed White (6A) 8-1 – 98
8. Columbia (6A) 8-1 – 90
9. Jacksonville Raines (4A) 7-2– 84
10. Gainesville (6A) 8-1 – 76
11. Neptune Bch Fletcher (3) (7A) 7-2 – 71
12. St. Augustine (6A) 8-1 – 64
13. Jacksonville Bolles (4A) 7-2 – 52
14. Dixie County (1A) 7-0 – 44
15. Jacksonville Sandalwood (8A) 7-2 – 41
16. Suwannee (5A) 7-1 – 35
17. Citrus (6A) 8-1 – 20
18. Jax University Christian (2A) 7-2 – 16
19. Fort White (4A) 6-1 – 15
20. North Marion (5A) (7-2) – 7