Buchholz tops power poll heading into postseason

The high school football regular season has concluded and as the state playoffs begin tonight, there would seem to be no doubt who the No. 1 team is in The Prep Zone Power Poll.

Buchholz (Gainesville), which won at then-No. 3 Bartram Trail (St. Johns) 28-13 last week, finished the regular season 9-1 with its only loss coming to last year’s 4A state champion Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale). Besides the win over Bartram Trail, Buchholz also defeated No. 3 Bolles (Jacksonville), No. 9 Dunnellon and No. 15 Gainesville.

The Bobcats received all seven first-place votes again this week in the all-classification regional rankings and open up play in the Region 1-7A quarterfinals on Thursday at Citizens Field in Gainesville against 8th-seed Fleming Island (Orange Park).

Undefeated Vanguard (Ocala) remains No. 2. The Knights finished off a 10-0 regular season by blasting rival Forest (Ocala), 52-12. Vanguard opens up play as the top seed in Region 2-6A and is home to Heritage (Palm Bay) at Booster Stadium in Ocala on Friday.

Bolles and Riverside (Jacksonville) are tied at No. 3. Bolles (6-2) saw a game canceled for the second time this season as the Bulldogs contest against RV (Receiving Votes) Mainland (Daytona Beach) was called off due to weather issues. Bolles comes in as the second seed in Region 1-4A and has a bye this week.

Riverside finished off a 9-1 regular season by holding off archrival RV Ed White 28-14. Despite the record, the Generals hit the road to play No. 16 Columbia (Lake City), who rallied from a 26-7 deficit to hand Riverside it’s only loss of the regular season.

Bartram Trail drops two spots to round out the top five after the loss to Buchholz. The Bears (8-2) are the second seed in Region 1-8A and open up postseason play at home Friday night against Lake Brantley (Altamonte Springs).

Spruce Creek (Port Orange) starts off the second five. The Harks (8-1) are the second seed in Region 1-7A and play Nease (Ponte Vedra) on Friday night.

Last year’s 1A state runner-up Hawthorne remains No. 7 despite having their game against RV North Marion (Citra) also called off due to weather. The Hornets are the top seed in Region 4-1A, earning them a bye this week.

Rounding out the top 10 are No. 8 Raines (Jacksonville), No. 9 Dunnellon, and 10th-ranked Trinity Christian.

Raines and Dunnellon are the second seeds in their respective regions in 5A. The Vikings (7-2) open up against Terry Parker (Jacksonville), while Dunnellon (8-2) hosts Bishop Moore (Orlando).

Defending state champion Trinity Christian earned the top seed in Region 1-2A despite finishing the regular season 6-4 after a loss at 6A Lincoln (Tallahassee). The Conquerors also have a bye this week.

St. Augustine, who is tied for 20th, is the only team in the poll that didn’t make the playoffs. Mainland (Daytona Beach), tied at No. 20 with St. Augustine, is the only team to move into the rankings this week.

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 #12

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

1. Buchholz (Gainesville) (7A) (7) (9-1) – 140

2. Vanguard (Ocala) (6A) (10-0) – 132

3T. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (6-2) – 120

3T. Riverside (Jacksonville) (6A) (9-1) – 120

5. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (8A) (8-2) – 114

6. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (8-1) – 97

7. Hawthorne (1A) (7-0) – 92

8. Raines (Jacksonville) (5A) (7-2) – 85

9. Dunnellon (5A) (8-2) – 81

10. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (6-4) – 75

11. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (8-2) – 73

12. The Villages (4A) (10-0) – 65

13. Madison County (1A) (7-3) – 59

14. Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (10-0) – 48

15. Gainesville (6A) (8-2) – 40

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

17. Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (6-2) – 39

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

19. University (Orange City) (7A) (6-2) – 13

20T. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (6A) (5-4) – 6

20T. St. Augustine (6A) (6-3) – 6

Also receiving votes: Chiefland (1A) (9-1) – 5; Tavares (5A) (9-1) – 4; Hilliard (1A) (9-1) – 2; Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville) (5A) (7-3) – 2; Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (5A) (7-2) – 1;Ed White (Jacksonville) (5A) (5-4) – 1; North Marion (Citra) (5A) (6-3) – 1;University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (6-4) – 1.

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