A total of four area high school football teams are still undefeated heading into the month of October – Chiefland, Keystone Heights, Union County and Hawthorne.
Chiefland (4-0) is coming off a bye week last week and will host rival Trenton for the annual Border War this Friday night. The Indians have outscored their opponents 161-53 in their opening four games.
In Chiefland’s most recent win, 14-7 over Dixie County, its defense forced five turnovers.
“Kids have bought into being physical and playing with effort,” said Chiefland coach Adam Gore. “Them being coachable along with their God-given talents have been a good combination for us. We have a really young team, but they want to get better each week and that’s really helped us.”
Kickoff on Friday against the Tigers is at 7:30 p.m.
“Trenton is a senior heavy team with great size and athleticism,” Gore said. “They are really well coached and that shows on film. They want to be physical. We are younger and smaller than them, so we need to try to match their physicality and play with great effort.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the area is Keystone Heights. The Class 3A Indians are off to a 5-0 start.
“We have won the turnover battle, plus-10,” said Keystone Heights coach Chuck Dickinson. “We are playing 6-7 kids both ways and the kids have bought into that. We have to stay away from injuries, but we have kids that have continued to step up.”
One of the biggest players to step up is senior Dalton Holingsworth, who leads the team with 730 yards on only 63 carries for an average of 11.6 yards per carry.
The three-year starter also leads the Indians with 14 touchdowns on the ground.
“He’s a very hard worker, unselfish player,” Dickinson said. “He plays wherever you want him to to help the team win. He’s determined. He’s a perfect team player.”
But Dickinson noted the entire backfield, which consists of a 4-5 man rotation to keep his backs fresh.
“This is one of my best groups that plays together as a team and they don’t care about who is getting the stats,” he said. “I’m letting them do the rotation. We try to give them rest on the offensive side of the ball.”
The Indians are “feeding off the state championship weightlifting season last year,” Dickinson said.
It will be a battle of Indians on Friday as Keystone Heights hosts Class 1A Fort White.
“Well coached, very similar to us,” Dickinson said. “They run a lot of Wing-T type of plays. They run the counters. They execute well. The most physical team will win.”
It likely comes as no surprise that Hawthorne (4-0) is undefeated, although they have played three teams outside of their classification.
Despite the competition, last year’s 1A state runner-up has dominated.
The Hornets routed Class 8A West Port (Ocala) this past Friday, 52-20, and had the game easily in hand by the end of the first quarter. They’ve also beaten Class 5A Yulee and 3A P.K. Yonge (Gainesville).
Hawthorne, which is ranked fourth in the state in Class 1A, has been very good defensively, but the team has also scored 138 points in four games for an average of 34.5 points per game.
The Hornets will travel to Class 5A Suwannee (Live Oak) this Friday night at 7:30 p.m. We will broadcast the game on 106.9 FM “I AmCountry” and online at IAmCountryRadio.com, with the pre-game show starting at 7 p.m.
Last week the Union County football team entered the state rankings for the first time this season at No. 5 in Class 1A.
The Tigers backed up that ranking with a 46-12 win at Williston last Friday. The 46 points was their most since a season-opening 50-21 win against Bradford (Starke).
The Tigers (4-0) are coached by Andrew Thomas, who won two state titles at Trenton in 2013 and 2015.
Union County hosts Akelynn’s Angels Christian Academy (Winter Haven) this Friday before a Class 1A showdown at Dixie County (Cross City) next Friday, Oct. 8.