High School Blitz
Published: Friday, November 15, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 10:34 p.m.
5 things of note in area sports
■ The Newberry girls volleyball team reaching the state semfinals in Class 1A is a first for the team and the third straight state semifinal for the school. Two years ago, the Panthers girls basketball team advanced to state, losing to Port St. Joe in the 1A finals. Last year, Newberry lost to Trenton in the 1A state semifinals in football, 36-35, in overtime.
■ The last time Newberry has won a state title was in 1995 when the Panthers girls track and field team won the 3A crown. Coaching that team was Ron Norris, who has been the cross country coach at Buchholz since 2001.
■ Speaking of Ron Norris, the longtime cross country and track and field coach will be honored by the Florida Athletic Coaches Assoociation by inducting him along with six others into the organization's hall of fame on Jan. 11. Norris has been a coach for 40 years, winning 30 district titles, six regional titles, five state runner-ups (3 at Newberry, 2 at Buchholz), and five state championships (1989, 1995 girls track and field and 1992 girls cross country at Newberry; 2004 boys track and field, and 2005 girls cross country at Buchholz).
■ More signings scheduled: Today, Oak Hall lacrosse standout Madison O'Leary, daughter of UF lacrosse coach Amanda O'Leary, will sign with Stanford at noon in the school gym; P.K. Yonge volleyball standout Kayla Simmons will sign with Marshall at 2:30 p.m. in the school gym; Gainesville baseball's Will Whitlock will sign with Stetson after school as will Buchholz golfer Chandler Blanchet to West Florida. And St. Francis volleyball player Allison Benton, who has played since she was 12 with Gainesville Juniors, will sign with Catawa College (Salisbury, N.C.) at their facility at 6 p.m.
■ Although Newberry is the last area volleyball team still playing (plays at 1 p.m. today vs. Sneads in 1A semifinal), teams that Buchholz and Eastside lost to both reached state. For the Rams, who fell to Belleview, the Rattlers played for the 5A state title, losing 3-0 to Orlando Bishop Moore on Wednesday. For the Bobcats, who lost to Oviedo at home in five sets in the opening round, the Lions will play for the 7A state title tonight after eliminating St. Thomas Aquinas in four sets on Thursday.
State playoff capsules
All games start at 7:30 p.m.; Admission is $8
CLASS 6A, REGION 1
■ NO. 6 COLUMBIA (9-1) AT ST. AUGUSTINE (8-2): This is the third straight year the Tigers are facing St. Augustine, second time in three years on the road in the regional quarterfinals. Two years ago Columbia upset No. 2 St. Augustine, 24-9, and last year, at home, it held off the Yellow Jackets, 35-26, in the regional semifinals. That was the week before an upset loss at Navarre. On the horizon could be a rematch at district rival Jacksonville Ed White. The Tigers have one of the top RBs in the area in junior Lonnie Underwood (1,433 yards, 30 TDs), and safety Trey Marshall (FSU commit) leads an aggressive defense. Freshman QB Cole Northrup has thrown for 23 TDs and just 4 Ints. for St. Augustine. His favorite target is senior Lashaud Lockwood (29 yards per catch). Top RB is junior Patrick Stewart.
Next: Columbia would host Neptune Beach Bartram Trail or travel to Jacksonville Ed White in the regional semifinals on Nov. 22; St. Augustine would host either school.
LS: COLUM; JB: COLUM; LB: COLUM; PK: COLUM
CLASS 6A, REGION 2
■ LAND O'LAKES SUNLAKE (9-1) AT GAINESVILLE (8-2): For the fifth straight season, the Hurricanes are in the state playoffs and have advanced to at least the regional semifinals each of the previous four years, last year playing in its first state championship in 32 years. This is a rematch of the 2011 regional semifinals, a game in which GHS held on for a 21-14 win at Citizens Field, a week before a controversial loss at top-ranked Seffner Armwood. The Seahawks are two points from a perfect record, losing 14-13 at district-champion Spring Hill Springstead. The 'Canes are led by RB Tony James (1,119 yards, 9 TDs), an Oregon commit, and WR Kenric Young (19 catches, 380 yards, 6 TDs). Defensively, sophomore DE Jordan Giberti has 16 tackles for loss and 13.5 QB sacks. Seahawks are led by junior RB Nathan Johnson (1,385 yards, 13 TDs). Senior LB Ben Wood has 32 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
Next: Gainesville would host Citrus or travel to Spring Hill Springstead in the regional semifinals on Nov. 22; Sunlake would travel to either school.
BROADCAST: AM-1230; online (audio only) at theprepzone.com
LS: GHS; JB: GHS; LB: GHS; PK: GHS
CLASS 5A, REGION 2
■ SUWANNEE (7-2) AT NO. 7 SOUTH SUMTER (10-0): The visiting Bulldogs, runners up in District 5, are in the playoffs for the first time since 2003 under second-year coach Jamie Rodgers. Suwannee has a rich football tradition, winning four straight 3A state titles under Mike Pittman from 1987-90, and losing in the 3A final to Glades Central in 1999, under current Navarre coach Jay Walls. South Sumter coach Inman Sherman has led the Raiders for the last 30 years, 18 times in the state playoffs and one 2A state title game in 2005. Suwannee's defense is giving up an average of 169 yards per game and the Bulldogs have three RBs with more than 300 yards — Denzel Washington (489), Jai Kinsey (334) and Dee Coleman (304).
Next: Suwannee would travel to North Marion or Dade City Pasco in the regional semifinals on Nov. 22; South Sumter would host Pasco or travel to North Marion.
LS: SUMTER; JB: SUMTER; LB: SUWAN; PK: SUMTER
CLASS 4A, REGION 1
■ HAVANA EAST GADSDEN (4-6) AT FORT WHITE (7-1): The host Indians are in their sixth playoffs in the last seven years, and will host their first postseason game tonight against the Jaguars as District 2 champions, the school's first league title ever in football. Fort White has one of the top RBs in the area in senior Tavaris Williams (1,737 yards, 20 TDs) and outstanding LB and FB in Kellen Snider (114 tackles, 2 Ints., 3 fumble recoveries, 2 fumbles caused). East Gadsden, under first year coach Trace Laing, is in its third straight playoff.
Next: Fort White would host Perry Taylor County or travel to Tallahassee Florida High in the regional finals on Nov. 22; East Gadsden would travel to either school.
LS: FT WHITE; JB: FT WHITE; LB: FT WHITE; PK: FT WHITE
CLASS 4A, REGION 2
■ JACKSONVILLE BOLLES (7-3) AT KEYSTONE HEIGHTS (5-4): The host Indians are in their first playoffs since 2006 as champions of District 4 and are looking for their first postseason win ever. The visiting Bulldogs, under legendary coach Corky Rogers, played in the 2012 state final, losing to Miami Washington 35-7. Bolles has won 11 state titles, 10 under Rogers, the last in 2011.
Next: Keystone Heights would host Bradford or play at Jacksonville Raines in the regional finals on Nov. 22; Bolles would play at either school.
LS: BOLLES; JB: BOLLES; LB: BOLLES; PK: BOLLES
■ BRADFORD (3-6) AT NO. 3 JACKSONVILLE RAINES (8-2): The visiting Tornadoes are in their first playoff since 2011 and are looking for their first postseason win since 2004 against the highly-rated Vikings, who handed First Coast (ranked No. 1 in the Prep Zone poll) its only loss of the season. Raines, which is in its 14th playoff in the last 17 years, last won a state title in 1997 (4A) and has one playoff win since 2003.
Next: Bradford would host Bolles or play at Keystone Heights in the regional finals on Nov. 22; Raines would host either school.
LS: RAINES; JB: RAINES; LB: RAINES; PK: RAINES
CLASS 1A, REGION 3
■ LAFAYETTE (7-2) AT NO. 4 TRENTON (8-1): The visiting Hornets, under coach Joey Pearson, are making their ninth straight playoff appearance while the host Tigers, who played in the 2012 final, are in their third straight postseason under coach Andrew Thomas. This is a rematch of last year's regional final, won by Trenton 42-26, and the 2011 regional semifinal, also won by the Tigers 49-13. In fact, Trenton has won the last four meetings against Lafayette, and the two teams were tied 7-7 in this year's season opener in Mayo before weather intervened, canceling the game.
Next: Trenton would host Bell or play at Hamilton County in the regional finals on Nov. 22; Lafayette would play at either school.
LS: TRENTON; JB: TRENTON; LB: TRENTON; PK: LAFAYETTE
■ BELL (8-2) AT JASPER HAMILTON COUNTY (4-5): The visiting Bulldogs are making their first playoff appearance in school history under first-year coach Joey Whittington while the host Trojans are back in the postseason for first time since 2010 under first-year coach Blair Armstrong. Bell has the top RB in the area in senior Austin Ritchey (2,038 yards, 20 TDs).
Next: Bell would host Lafayette or play at Trenton in the regional finals on Nov. 22; Hamilton County would host either school.
LS: HAMILTON; JB: BELL; LB: HAMILTON; PK: BELL
CLASS 1A, REGION 4
■ WILDWOOD (2-8) AT NO. 2 DIXIE COUNTY (8-0): The host Bears, champions of District 7, are in their first playoff since 2009 under longtime coach Brent Wilkerson and haven't advanced past the regional finals since 2000. The visiting Wildcats, one of the state's top small school programs in the 1970s and 1980s, haven't won a playoff game since 1997.
Next: Dixie County would host Union County or Crescent City in the regional finals on Nov. 22; Wildwood would host Union County or play at Crescent City.
LS: DIXIE; JB: DIXIE; LB: DIXIE; PK: DIXIE
■ NO. 3 UNION COUNTY (9-1) AT CRESCENT CITY (6-4): The visiting Tigers, runners up in District 7, are in their third straight state playoffs under coach Ronny Pruitt and haven't reached the state final since 2003. Union County won three 3A state titles under Pruitt's brother, Robby, from 1994-96. The host Raiders are in their second straight playoff but haven't won a postseason game since 2000.
Next: Union County would play at Dixie County or Wildwood in the regional finals on Nov. 22; Crescent City would host Wildwood or play at Dixie County.
LS: UNION; JB: UNION; LB: UNION; PK: UNION
Last week: John Boothe 12-1; Laura Bernheim 11-2; Paul Kardasz 11-2; Larry Savage 11-2
Season: Laura 144-23 (.862); John 140-27 (.838); Paul 138-29 (.826); Larry 135-32 (.808)
Gainesville Preps Power Rankings
Area's Top 10
1. Columbia 9-1
2. Gainesville 8-2
3. Dixie County 8-0
4. Suwannee 7-2
5. Union County 9-1
6. Fort White 7-1
7. Trenton 8-1
8. Lafayette 7-2
9. Chiefland 7-3
10. Bell 8-2
Prep Zone Power Poll
The Prep Zone Power Poll covers 26 counties in North Central Florida and includes all classifications (www.theprepzone.com)
1. Jax First Coast (4) (8A) 9-1 – 137
2. South Sumter (2) (5A) 9-0 – 130
3. Mainland (1) (6A) 9-1 – 127
4. Fleming Island (7A) 10-0 – 119
5. Jax Trinity Christian (3A) 8-1 – 117
6. Jax Bishop Kenny (5A) 9-0 – 105
7. Columbia (6A) 9-1 – 96
8. Jacksonville Raines (4A) 8-2– 91
9. Jacksonville Ed White (6A) 8-2 – 81
10. Neptune Fletcher (3) (7A) 8-2 – 79
11. Jax Sandalwood (8A) 8-2 – 67
12. Dixie County (1A) 8-0 – 61
13. Gainesville (6A) 8-2 – 56
14. Citrus (6A) 9-1 – 45
15. St. Augustine (6A) 8-2 – 43
16. Jax University Christian (2A) 8-2 – 29
17. Fort White (4A) 7-1 – 22
18. North Marion (5A) (8-2) – 16
19. Springstead (6A) (9-1) – 15
20. Jacksonville Bolles (4A) 7-3 – 14
Also receiving votes: Warner Christian (2A) (8-1) 7, Suwannee (5A) (7-2) 6, Ocala Trinity Catholic (3A) (7-3) 3, Seabreeze (6A) (7-2) 3; Jacksonville Ribault (5A) (7-3) 1.