A battle of heavyweights looms when top-ranked Bolles (Jacksonville) and second-ranked Buchholz (Gainesville) meet Friday night.
The two teams lead this week’s regional The Prep Zone Power Poll and will square off at Bradford High School in Starke at 7:30 p.m.
Here’s a look at this week’s top teams.
Bolles (Jacksonville), which is ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 4A, remains the unanimous No. 1 team, once again receiving all seven first-place votes after their second consecutive bye week. The Bulldogs (6-0) own wins over No. 5 Columbia (Lake City), No. 6T Trinity Christian (Jacksonville), No. 10 St. Augustine, and No. 13 University Christian (Jacksonville).
But Bolles faces another major challenge this Friday against No. 2 Buchholz (Gainesville) in a neutral-site game at Bradford High School in Starke. The Bobcats (6-1), who are ranked sixth in the state in Class 7A, are the unanimous second-ranked team after after going on the road for an easy District 2-7A win last week at Chiles (Tallahassee), 35-10.
Buchholz’s only loss this season was to defending 4A state champion Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale), which was the last team to beat Bolles in last December’s state championship game at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.
Vanguard (Ocala) moves up a spot to third after pounding Lecanto, 40-6, in a District 5-6A matchup. The Knights (7-0) return home to face RV Belleview (7-1) in a game that may be for the district title.
Bartram Trail (St. Johns) moves up a spot to No. 4 after holding off rival No. 16 Creekside (St. Johns), 16-13, in a huge District 1-8A contest.
The Class 8A No. 5 Bears (6-1) won on a field goal on the final play of the game to send Creekside to its second straight loss after a 6-0 start. Bartram Trail faces another tough district contest this week at suddenly struggling No. 18 Oakleaf (Orange Park).
Columbia rounds out the top five. The Class 6A Tigers (6-2), coming off a come-from-behind win at No. 8 Riverside the previous week, easily won another road game, 42-14, at Orange Park to clinch the District 3-6A title.
Spruce Creek (Port Orange) and Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) are tied for No. 6. The 7A Hawks remained unbeaten, improving to 7-0 with a 35-0 blanking of previously unbeaten then-No. 12 University (Orange City).
The 2A Conquerors (6-2) drop three slots this week after dropping their second game of the season, 31-17, at 3A No. 2 Florida High (Tallahassee).
Riverside remains eighth after a bye week to recover from their loss to Columbia. The Generals (6-1) return to action this week with another tough assignment at Trinity Christian.
Hawthorne also stayed at No. 9 and improved to 6-0 with a 39-0 romp at 4A Astronaut (Titusville). The Class 1A state runner-up Hornets return home this week to face 7A Forest (Ocala).
St. Augustine rounds out the top 10, as the Yellow Jackets (4-2) also had the week off. St. Augustine hosts Matanzas (Palm Coast) this week before facing Gainesville next Friday, Oct. 29, in what could be a game for the District 4-6A title.
Class 1A Union County (Lake Butler) improved to 7-0 after blanking Hollis Christian Academy (Jacksonville), 42-0, last week. The Tigers are up two spots to lead off the second 10 this week at No. 11.
Oakleaf (4-3) fell from a tie for 10th to No. 18 this week after a 47-35 loss at RV Mandarin (Jacksonville).
University dropped seven spots to 19th after its first loss of the season to No. 6T Spruce Creek.
There are no new teams to the rankings this week and no one fell out from the previous poll.
The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, girls basketball, boys basketball, softball & baseball teams (regardless of FHSAA classification) across 26 counties in North Florida (Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Levy, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, Sumter, St. Johns, Suwannee, Taylor, Union & Volusia counties). It is voted on weekly by sportswriters and sportscasters and it is powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville.
THE PREP ZONE POWER POLL – 2021 FOOTBALL POLL No. 9
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, current record, and total voting points)
1. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (7) (6-0) – 140
2. Buchholz (Gainesville) (7A) (6-1) – 133
3. Vanguard (Ocala) (6A) (7-0) – 119
4. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (8A) (6-1) – 116
5. Columbia (Lake City) (6A) (6-2) – 108
6T. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (7-0) – 107
6T. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (6-2) – 107
8. Riverside (Jacksonville) (6A) (6-1) – 92
9. Hawthorne (1A) (6-0) – 83
10. St. Augustine (6A) (4-2) – 81
11. Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (7-0) – 59
12. The Villages (4A) (6-0) – 55
13. University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (5-2) – 53
14. Dunnellon (5A) (5-2) – 35
15. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (5-2) – 33
16. Creekside (St. Johns) (8A) (6-2) – 31
17. Ed White (Jacksonville) (5A) (5-1) – 24
18. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (8A) (4-3) – 22
19. University (Orange City) (7A) (4-1) – 21
20. Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (4-2) – 16
Also receiving votes: Raines (Jacksonville) (5A) (5-2) – 11; Mandarin (Jacksonville) (8A) (4-4) – 6; Madison County (1A) (4-3) – 5; Chiefland (1A) (7-0) – 4; Clay (Green Cove Springs) (5A) (5-2) – 3; Belleview (5A) (7-1) – 3; Hilliard (1A) (7-0) – 2; Lake Minneola (Minneola) (6A) (5-2) – 2; Mainland (Daytona Beach) (6A) (3-4) – 2.