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Justin Barney's Week 5 Blog

2:08 AM, Sep 28, 2013   |    comments
Florida Times-Union high school sports editor Justin Barney
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Snap judgments from Week 5 of high school football: 

* Battle of the Coasts goes the boys on Duval Station Road.

No surprise that First Coast beat up on Atlantic Coast on Friday night, winning 26-0. I was a little surprised by the score and that it got out of hand so quickly for the Stingrays, on their homecoming no less. 

For the Buccaneers, it was their biggest offensive output of the season, and much-needed with how much grief their offense has taken for that start. No turnovers against a very tough Atlantic Coast team had to feel good for De'Andre Johnson and Co. The Buccaneers didn't run all over the field and their offensive yardage seems just so-so (193 yards), but it is progress. ...

* This was just a sampling of how difficult the rest of the season is going to be for Atlantic Coast (4-1). It was a manageable first month and then a grind from here on out. It's a very tough road, with visits to Fletcher and Sandalwood, followed by Fleming Island on Oct. 24 after a bye week. ...

* I am a believer about Trinity Christian's defense after seeing the way it smothered University Christian on Friday night. Linebacker Andre Smith was all over the field. Jeffery Holland is a beast. Victor Alexander. Ben Edwards.  Just an assembly line of monsters on the defensive side of the ball. Even scarier is that all of those guys are juniors for a team that has allowed a whopping 11 points through four games (one rush TD, safety vs. Warner Christian; FG allowed vs. Madison County). How good can this defense be? Defensive back Kevin Toliver II said that Trinity knows just how talented that the Conquerors defense is, but at just four games into the season, isn't ready to attach labels to it yet.

"Nobody's really scored on us yet. We're pretty good, we've just got to keep it going," Toliver said. ...

* Trinity coach Verlon Dorminey said that the Conquerors Oct. 18 game against IMG Academy is now an 8 p.m. start to accommodate a television broadcast.  More details on that coming up. ...

* Happy 29th birthday to UC coach David Penland III. Tough way to celebrate, that 39-0 loss to Trinity and all, but Penland told players one by one after the game that "the goal was still in front of them," that being the Class 2A state title. UC lost by 28 to Trinity last year, then ran the board.

* Well wishes to Bishop Snyder coach Jake McCrae, who will miss a couple weeks of action following surgery to remove a mass from his kidney. Whether it's old football injuries popping up or back issues from a car accident laying him out, McCrae has bounced back each time. ...

* Bolles 61, Ocala Vanguard 51, in a football game. I don't have the Corky Rogers Almanac on my desk, but I would venture to say that a game with a combined 112 points is the most that the Bulldogs coach has ever been apart of. The only worrisome thing is that Bolles has allowed a whopping 96 points over its last two games. Opponents are averaging 32.6 ppg against the Bulldogs. But, hey, what does that matter when you've got Dexter Carter Jr., Christian Bermudez, Joe Edden and Tyrell Moorer scoring as they choose? Makes for some exciting football. ...

* D.J. Gillins with some major fantasy football points in Ribault's 40-3 win over Stanton. Six carries, 166 yards, three TDs. Very intrigued to see next week's blockbuster between Gillins and the Ribault defense against Bishop Kenny and the John Wolford Show. Both Super 11 QBs, and the very best in our area. ...

* If you're keeping score at home, Columbia RB Lonnie Underwood now has 22 rushing TDs after yet another five-TD game, this one coming in a 59-0 win over Englewood. He's on pace for 44. ...

* Speaking of dynamic RBs, what's with these big runners down I-10? Fort White's Tavaris Williams (860 yards, 10 TDs in three games) is averaging 13 ypc for the 3-0 Indians. ...

* Ponte Vedra has lost three straight games for the first time since 2010. With the resurgence of Palatka (3-2) and Menendez (3-1), and having already been whipped by Clay, the Sharks could be looking like the team to get squeezed out of the District 4-5A playoff picture unless they find some way to put the brakes on their slide.

* Speaking of big games in 4-5A, Palatka at Menendez on Oct. 4 is the biggest game for both of those programs in several years. The winner of that game gets step forward in what has become a legitimate four-team race for two playoff spots. ...  

* For a kid who came in to the season billed as a better runner than passer, Sandalwood QB D.J. Davis has thrown the ball pretty darn good this year. He may wind up leading the area in passing TDs. Looking forward to seeing him against First Coast's defense on Halloween. ...

* I'm liking the program that Lonnie Marts is building over at Harvest Community.  The Warriors are now 3-1 following a 44-7 clubbing of Pierson Taylor. They've got a battalion of runners and a formidable defense. I said it here last week how electric that an Oct. 25 game against Cedar Creek Christian is going to be. Small school football, but major playoff atmosphere. ...

* Bartram Trail is struggling, no doubt. Its loss to Daytona Beach Seabreeze sunk the Bears to 0-4, the worst start in program history. Even their 2-8 year in 2008 the team was 2-2 at one point. Not all is tragic in St. Johns, though. As Twitter follower Bill Burkett pointed out the other night, those four losses have come to teams who are now a combined 16-1 -- Bishop Kenny, Fleming Island, St. Augustine and now Seabreeze.

The Bears still have a relatively comfortable path to the playoffs, with district teams Creekside, Nease and Matanzas the teams in their way. I'm sure that being winless midway through the season doesn't feel too good. Bartram is one of 11 winless area teams, but it is nowhere near as dire as 0-4 looks.

* The countdown to Week 6 is under way.  

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