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Justin Barney's blog from week 1 of the playoffs

6:32 PM, Nov 17, 2013   |    comments
Florida Times-Union high school sports editor Justin Barney
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Snap judgments from Week 1 of the high school football playoffs.

* The survivors: Bartram Trail, Bishop Kenny, Bolles, Clay, Columbia, First Coast, Fletcher, Raines, Trinity Christian, Union County, University Christian.

 

* What's it look like next week:

Region 1-8A: First Coast (10-1) at Lake Mary (11-0)

Region 1-7A: Fletcher (9-2) at Oak Ridge (8-3)

Region 1-6A: Bartram Trail (6-5) at Columbia (10-1)

Region 1-5A: Clay (7-4) at Bishop Kenny (10-0)

Region 2-4A: Bolles (8-3) at Raines (9-2)

Region 1-3A: Ocala Trinity Catholic (8-3) at Trinity Christian (10-1)

Region 1-2A: University Christian (9-2) at Tallahassee North Florida Christian (8-3)

Region 4-1A: Union County (10-1) at Dixie County (9-0)

 

* From the file of 'I Didn't See That One Coming.'

In Class 7A: Oak Ridge 48, Fleming Island 41, OT.

In Class 6A: Bartram Trail 50, Ed White 20.

 

* I'm more surprised of the Bartram-White game than anything else this week. Not stunned that the Bears won as much as I am the method at which they did.

Bartram's defense, which I've questioned since it got Wolford'ed by Bishop Kenny in Week 1, was phenomenal.

Not only did it hold the Commanders to 99 yards on 37 plays, it smothered one best rushing attacks in the area.

 

* The flip side of that Bartram performance was a masterful showing by senior quarterback P.J. Blazejowski, a Furman commit, who had his way with the Commanders. He and the offense did their part to take White out of its bread-and-butter rushing scheme.

Blazejowski's numbers: 20 for 32 passing, 291 yards, 3 TDs, no picks; 15 carries, 108 yards, TD.

Commanders coach Paul Pierson told me last week after his team took a 39-21 loss against First Coast that he was very impressed with what he'd seen of Bartram and its offense, the different looks that it showed.

But I don't think anyone saw Blazejowski having one of the best all-around games of his career against a defense that had been largely dominant this year.

 

* Teams from the Gateway Conference are now 2-6 all-time in the state playoffs against teams from St. Johns County. Only Jackson (d. Menendez 42-13 in 2008) and Lee (d. St. Augustine 28-6 in 1979) have beaten their neighbors to the south.

 

* I get this question all the time. Now that it's officially here, I will say that it's difficult to beat the same team twice in the season, especially when one of those teams is Bolles.

Can Raines do what it couldn't in 2011 and beat the Bulldogs at the Graveyard? The Vikings won a district title that year with a comeback to beat Bolles, yet followed that with a 24-6 clunker in the regional finals at Raines.

Neither Bolles, nor Raines got any sort of challenge in their playoff openers Friday and strolled into a regional final appearance next week.

If the Vikings can win the turnover battle, they'll win the rematch. Sounds so cliché, I know, yet in the Bulldogs' three losses this year, they've given the ball away at least five times. Doesn't matter how good the offense is, and it has been very good at putting up, but when you're giving away good field position and possession every other drive, you're going to lose. Raines capitalized last time.

A healthy Dexter Carter Jr. could be an equalizer. Carter was not 100 percent when the teams player the first time (sick nearly the entire week) and has already beaten the Vikings in memorable fashion in 2012. It's also worth mentioning that WR Tyrell Moorer has been hobbled with an ankle injury. He feasted on Raines.

I think it Bolles is minus in the giveaway department, it loses. If it's ahead in the turnover margin, it wins.

 

* Who picks against Fletcher in a road playoff game? Senators are now 6-1 in playoff games away from Neptune Beach over the past three seasons. They iced Winter Springs 20-0. 

 

* Congratulations to Columbia coach Brian Allen, who celebrated the birth of his third child, another girl, on Wednesday.

Three kids. Three girls.

And in the spirit of sticking with the No. 3, a third consecutive win over St. Augustine in the state playoffs.

The Tigers pulled away in the second half for a 42-24 win. What a difference a healthy Lonnie Underwood makes. He went for 191 and three TDs on 27 carries, the bulk of that coming after halftime.

 

* Fleming Island, the area's top team in our power poll, went 10-0 and then one-and-done, losing 48-41 in OT to Oak Ridge, the victims of one of the best individual performances I've heard of in the playoffs.

Oak Ridge QB Jerrelle Antoine had 555 passing yards and 7 TD passes, including the winner in OT. Two of his receivers were over 200 yards. I've never seen a game locally where there was a team with a pair of 200-yard wideouts.

It's staggering to me that Fleming gave up 625 yards of offense. But sometimes, you have to step back and just admire a performance that you're probably not going to see again.

 

* The return of Bilal Ally has been huge for Clay.

The sophomore tore his meniscus before the regular season began and was thought to be done for the year.

Not quite.

All he did on Friday night in a 29-12 win over Ribault was go for 186 and a TD on 19 carries. Ally's appearance opens so many more things up for Clay.

 

* Bishop Kenny quarterback John Wolford moved past another record on Friday night in a 42-22 win over Palatka.

His 355-yard passing night moved him past Tim Tebow (9,810) and in to third place in state history. Only two players - Quentin Williams of Tampa Jefferson (10,384) and Javana Shashaty of Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian (10,140) are in front of Wolford.

He's collecting state records this year. Wolford, a Super 11 selection, has set the mark for career completions and career TD passes, too.

 

* Speaking of Kenny, how interesting is it that defending state champion Tallahassee Godby is out, courtesy of West Florida's 41-40 win on Friday. Godby powered over Kenny 64-29 in last year's regional final. Deceptive final score in that one. It was 36-29 going into the fourth. I don't know how much that opens up a door for either Clay or Kenny to move out of Region 1-5A, but no Godby standing in the way is a nice way to start the playoffs.

 

* Kenny WR Chuck Wade's night - 11 catches, 249 yards, 3 TDs. No big deal.

 

* Trinity Christian is going to kick itself if the Conquerors don't run the table and win a Class 3A state championship. Trinity is sick loaded with talent. Some offensive issues still to address after fileting Father Lopez 49-7, but I think it will get there. If you remember, QB Jacquez Riles has missed a good portion of the season injured and Trinity only played a nine-game regular season schedule. Clicking just in time for the games that really count. 

 

 

* First Coast's defense was strong in its playoff opener last year, yet the offense didn't do anything and the Buccaneers lost in OT to a 5-5 Buchholz team. On Friday, the offensive labored early, with struggles in the red zone a problem. But the Buccaneers put together enough offense, and got a big night from its defense - three picks, including one for 6 - and special teams - two blocked field goals.

 

* Still looking for that playoff-drought buster: Ribault (last win 1994); Sandalwood and White (both 2006)

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