Friday Night Game of the Week: Gainesville-Santa Fe showdown highlights week two

Tonight is week two of the high school football season. Gainesville High School will travel to Santa Fe (Alachua) for Senior Night as part of our high school football game of the week on 106.9 FM “I am Country”

Gainesville head coach Dock Pollard will play his first game in the purple and white against his former team when GHS travels to Santa Fe (Alachua).

“And that wasn’t even planned had it not been for Covid-19,” Pollard noted.  “We wouldn’t even be playing Santa Fe but that’s just how things turned out.”
 
Pollard, who was the head coach of the Raiders the past two seasons, was at Santa Fe for a total of six years, including a previous stint as an assistant under then head coach Bill Wiles.
 
“It was a great experience,” said Pollard. “I learned a lot.  I wouldn’t be who I am right now if it wasn’t for that opportunity.”
 
The Hurricanes are young, but they are talented and athletic.  The former Gator said there is one thing in particular he has liked so far.
 
“There’s a lot of them,” Pollard said.  “Our numbers are different.  Gainesville is a bigger school.”
 
While Gainesville has traditionally had some good quarterbacks in the past, including Luke Matthews who is now at the University of Florida, the QB position is still a question mark for the ‘Canes.
 
“We are not settled yet,” he said.  “It’s a 3-man race.”
 
Junior Brent King, Darian Smith, and freshman Shooby Coleman will compete for the starting job.
 
Running back KZ Hutchinson (5.6 ypc, 6 TDs) has graduated but Nay’ron Jenkins (5.6 ypc) returns.  Kyree Edwards and Jerrick Gibson, a talented freshman, should give the Hurricanes some depth.
 
“We’ve got a crowded backfield,” said Pollard. “They’re a pretty talented and athletic group.”
 
It should come as no surprise that the strength of the team is on the side of the ball where Pollard excelled in college.  The Hurricanes have the most experience on defense with six starters returning, plus several transfers.
“We always try to stop people from scoring,” said Pollard. “That’s one of my things. We love to play defense.”
 
Santa Fe (0-1), which lost a lot of players due to graduation, is coached by Jared Allen. The Raiders lost their season opener at Suwannee (Live Oak), 41-10, last Friday.
 
It will be Senior Night for the Raiders, making it even more intriguing of a match-up.
 
But Pollard is focused on his new role and is excited about his new team.
“It’s all trending in the right direction,” he said.

In other games tonight, Trenton travels to Newberry, Buchholz is at home against Oakleaf (Orange Park), Eastside is at P.K. Yonge for the Blue Wave’s senior night, and Dixie County (Cross City) travels to Union County (Lake Butler). 

Also scheduled are games between Bell and Branford, Bradford and Keystone Heights, Bronson and Halifax, Gainesville Christian and Old Plank Christian, Oak Hall and Master’s Academy of Vero Beach, St. Francis and Aucilla Christian, and Williston and North Florida Educational. 

2020 is our first season of high school football coverage since launching Mainstreet Daily News, and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re partnering with the voice of high school sports in the region, Mike Ridaught of theprepzone.com, to bring you not only features and stories during the week, but comprehensive reporting on games throughout the area.

Mike will also be announcing the Friday night Game of the Week between the Newberry Panthers and the Hawthorne Hornets. Pregame is at 7. Kickoff is at 7:30, and you can hear it on I Am Country 106.9 FM.

And because COVID-19 is making this season challenging to attend games in person, we are taking an extra step. On Friday nights, Mainstreet Daily News will publish breaking stories and scores not only from Gainesville, but also from Alachua, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, Marion, and Union Counties.

You can check out all the scores on game night at mainstreetdailynews.com under the breaking news banner at the top of the page. We will also post final scores and summary articles on your favorite social media pages and our Facebook page.

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