Buchholz solidifies top spot in weekly power poll

It’s the final week of the regular season in high school football and teams heading to the postseason will learn their opponent when the FHSAA announces the pairings this Sunday.

But one team clearly on a roll are the Buchholz (Gainesville) Bobcats, who clinched the District 2-7A title last week with a 75-7 dismantling of Forest (Ocala).

Buchholz (8-1) has won five in a row since their only loss to defending 4A state champion Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale), and receive all seven first-place votes again this week. Before they find out their first-round playoff opponent at Citizens Field this week, the Bobcats head to St. Johns County for a showdown with No. 3 Bartram Trail (St. Johns) tonight.

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Vanguard (Ocala) moves up a spot to second place this week after former No. 2 Bolles (Jacksonville) dropped it’s second game in a row, 20-16, to TRU Prep Academy (Miami Gardens).

With Bolles (6-2) dropping to No. 4, Vanguard earned the No. 2 spot after blanking Springstead (Spring Hill), 33-0. The Knights (9-0), who had already clinched District 5-6A, look to wrap up a perfect regular season this week against rival Forest (Ocala).

Bartram Trail moves up to No. 3 after blasting Sandalwood (Jacksonville) 50-35 to finish unbeaten in District 1-8A play. The Bears (8-1) now end their regular season with the showdown with Buchholz this Friday.

Following Bolles and rounding out the top five is Riverside (Jacksonville). The Generals (8-1) shut out Westside (Jacksonville) 38-0 last Thursday and finish off regular season play against Westside rival RV (Received Votes) Ed White (Jacksonville) on the road.

The second five starts with Spruce Creek (Port Orange) at No. 6; followed by No. 7 Hawthorne (7-0), who hosts 5A North Marion (Citra) on Friday; No. 8 Trinity Christian (Jacksonville); Dunnellon, who won it’s seventh game in a row to move into the top ten at No. 9; and 10th-ranked Raines (Jacksonville).

Raines (7-2) pounded then-No. 9 Columbia (Lake City), 35-13, to move up five spots and into the top 10 for the first time since earlier this season. The Vikings hit the road to conclude their regular season at 8A Vero Beach.

Columbia (Lake City) falls to No. 15 but had already clinched the District 3-6A title and will host a first-round playoff game next week.

The only team new to the poll this week is 17th-ranked Gainesville. The Hurricanes (7-2) clinched the District 4-6A title with a 17-14 upset win at then-10th ranked St. Augustine, and moves into the rankings for the first time in 2021.

St. Augustine (5-3) barely stays ranked, falling 10 spaces to No. 20.

University Christian (Jacksonville) is the only team to fall out from last week’s poll despite a 37-19 win over Episcopal (Jacksonville) to improve their record to 6-3.

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 #11

(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, current record, and total voting points)

1. Buchholz (Gainesville) (7A) (7) (8-1) – 140

2. Vanguard (Ocala) (6A) (9-0) – 130

3. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (8A) (8-1) – 125

4. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (6-2) – 118

5. Riverside (Jacksonville) (6A) (8-1) – 114

6. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (8-1) – 103

7. Hawthorne (1A) (7-0) – 94

8. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (6-3) – 77

9. Dunnellon (5A) (7-2) – 76

10. Raines (Jacksonville) (5A) (7-2) – 70

11. The Villages (4A) (9-0) – 62

12. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (7-2) – 61

13. Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (9-0) – 57

14. Madison County (1A) (6-3) – 51

15. Columbia (Lake City) (6A) (6-4) – 38

16. Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (6-2) – 35

17. Gainesville (6A) (7-2) – 33

18. Creekside (St. Johns) (8A) (7-2) – 24

19. University (Orange City) (7A) (6-1) – 19

20. St. Augustine (6A) (5-3) – 18

Also receiving votes: University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (6-3) – 12; Mainland (Daytona Beach) (6A) (5-4) – 5; Chiefland (1A) (9-0) – 4; Ed White (Jacksonville) (5A) (6-2) – 4; North Marion (Citra) (5A) (6-3) – 4; Hilliard (1A) (8-1) – 3; Keystone Heights (4A) (9-0) – 1;

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