The high school football postseason started last week with it’s normal amount of drama and surprises.
One team with no such drama though is the squad who remains the unanimous No. 1 team in the Prep Zone Football Power Poll, the Buchholz (Gainesville) Bobcats.
Buchholz (10-1) rolled past Fleming Island (Orange Park), 35-7, in the Class 7A playoff opener with a running clock in the second half. The Bobcats receive all six first-place votes to remain at the top of this week’s poll.
Buchholz will host No. 13 University (Orange City) in a Region 1-7A semifinal contest at Citizens Field on Friday. The Titans (7-2) move up six spots from the previous poll after a 35-14 regional quarterfinal win at Fletcher (Neptune Beach).
Vanguard (Ocala), who is one of only three undefeated teams in the poll, remains 2nd and improves to 11-0 after blanking Heritage (Palm Bay), 38-0, in the Region 2-6A quarterfinal. Next up for the Knights, seeded No. 1 in Region 2, is Lake Wales this Friday at Booster Stadium in Ocala.
Bolles (Jacksonville) had a bye last week as the No. 2 seed in Region 1-4A, and remains No. 3 in the regional poll. The Bulldogs (6-2) open up their postseason at home this week against Gadsden County (Havana).
Bartram Trail (St. Johns) moves up a spot to No. 4 after blasting Lake Brantley (Altamonte Springs), 42-7, in their 8A playoff opener. The Bears (9-2) now face an even tougher test as they host Apopka this Friday night in a Region 1-8A semifinal.
Riverside (Jacksonville) drops two spots to round out the top five. The Generals (10-1) avenged their only regular-season loss by beating then-No. 16 Columbia (Lake City), 17-3, on the road in a 6A regional quarterfinal. Riverside faces an even longer trip this week, heading to the Panhandle to face Pine Forest (Pensacola) in a Region 1-6A semifinal matchup.
Raines (Jacksonville) leads off the second five. The Vikings (8-2) knocked off Terry Parker (Jacksonville), 24-10, in their 5A playoff opener for their fifth straight win. Raines now hosts Wakulla (Crawfordville) this Friday night. Wakulla advanced by blasting RV (Received Votes) Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville), 52-24.
Hawthorne, another one of the remaining unbeaten teams, remains No. 7 after a bye last week. The Hornets (7-0) are the No. 1 seed in Region 4-1A and open up postseason play with a home game against Wildwood on Friday.
Baker County (Glen St. Mary) moves up three spots to No. 8 after beating Ed White (Jacksonville) for the second time this year in another Region 1-5A quarterfinal. Next up for the Wildcats (9-2) is West Florida (Pensacola), who won on the road last week, 35-14, at North Marion (Citra).
Trinity Christian (Jacksonville), who opens up play in the 2A regional semifinals against St. John Paul II (Tallahassee), is No. 9 this week. The Villages (10-0), the third and final unbeaten team in the top 10, moves up two spots to 10th. The Buffalo open up play in Region 2-4A Friday night at home against RV Keystone Heights.
Nease (Ponte Vedra), who won 24-21 at then-No. 6 Spruce Creek (Port Orange), moves into the poll at 15th. The Panthers (8-3) make the long trip to Niceville for a Region 1-7A semifinal game.
Chiefland and University Christian (Jacksonville) are also new to the rankings this week, with both teams tied for 17th. Chiefland, the No. 1 seed in Region 3-1A, hosts RV Lafayette (Mayo) in a region semifinal game.
University Christian blasted Rocky Bayou Christian (Niceville), 66-0, in their 2A playoff opener, and travels to Munroe (Quincy) on Friday.
Finally Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville) moves into the 20th position after winning it’s 5A playoff opener at Chamberlain (Tampa).
Dropping out from last week’s poll are Gainesville, Columbia, Creekside (St. Johns), Mainland (Daytona Beach), and St. Augustine.
This is the last Prep Zone Power Poll until after the FHSAA State Football Championships in Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 16-18.
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. 13
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, current record, and total voting points)
1. Buchholz (Gainesville) (7A) (7) (10-1) – 120
2. Vanguard (Ocala) (6A) (11-0) – 113
3. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (6-2) – 106
4. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (8A) (9-2) – 99
5. Riverside (Jacksonville) (6A) (10-1) – 96
6. Raines (Jacksonville) (5A) (8-2) – 86
7. Hawthorne (1A) (7-0) – 85
8. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (9-2) – 78
9. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (6-4) – 71
10. The Villages (4A) (10-0) – 60
11. Madison County (1A) (8-3) – 52
12. Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (11-0) – 45
13. University (Orange City) (7A) (7-2) – 36
14. Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (6-2) – 35
15. Nease (Ponte Vedra) (7A) (8-3) – 30
16. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (8-2) – 27
17T. Chiefland (1A) (9-1) – 19
17T. University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (7-4) – 19
19. Dunnellon (5A) (8-3) – 18
20. Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville) (5A) (8-3) – 10
Also receiving votes: P.K Yonge (Gainesville) (3A) (8-3) – 9; Mainland (Daytona Beach) (6A) (5-5) – 8; Creekside (St. Johns) (8A) (8-3) – 6; St. Augustine (6A) (6-3) – 6; Baldwin (4A) (7-3) – 5; Columbia (Lake City) (6A) (6-5) – 5; Gainesville (6A) (8-3) – 5; Hilliard (1A) (9-1) – 5; Keystone Heights (4A) (10-1) – 4; South Sumter (Bushnell) (4A) (7-4) – 4; Lafayette (Mayo) (1A) (8-3) – 1.