Newberry Panthers land in Top 20 Poll; Buchholz, Keystone Heights receive votes

As the high school football season continues to navigate its way through the COVID-19 pandemic, some teams have had to postpone games, while other teams pick up different opponents at the last minute to get games.

The Florida High School Athletic Association even went to the extraordinary step of announcing the playoff brackets a month before the postseason started and inviting any school who opted in to the playoffs.

The Newberry Panthers had its game with Santa Fe canceled this week, but on the merits of a six game winning streak vaulted into The Prep Zone’s Top 20 Power Poll. The Buchholz Bobcats, and Keystone Heights Indians also received votes in the poll.

Become A Member

Mainstreet does not have a paywall, but pavement-pounding journalism is not free. Join your neighbors who make this vital work possible.

Bartram Trail (5-1) had no problem with another St. Johns County rival last week, dispatching of Nease (Ponte Vedra), 42-13, at home. Next up for the Bears this Friday is a showdown with #5 Oakleaf (Orange Park).

Bartram Trail received eight of the nine first-place votes to remain the #1 team once again in the all-classification regional rankings.

Bolles moves up a spot to #2 after a dominant 33-14 win at then-#5 Baker County (Glen St. Mary).

The Bulldogs (5-1), who have rebounded from their only loss of the season in overtime to #13 Creekside (St. Johns) with three straight wins, handed the Wildcats their first loss of the season.

Baker County (5-1) drops to #9 this week.

Also up three slots this week to 3rd is Trinity Christian (Jacksonville).

The Conquerors (4-1) have won four games in a row since an opening week loss to Bolles.  They took a long road trip to South Florida and knocked off the 20th-ranked team in America according to Max Preps, American Heritage (Plantation), 3-0, in a rain storm.

Trinity Christian faces another big road test this week, albeit much closer to home, as they travel to #8 Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville).

Vanguard drops two spots to #4 despite an easy 33-7 win over North Marion (Citra). The Knights (3-0) face a major road test this Friday at Marion County rival #10 Dunnellon, which also comes in undefeated at 3-0.

Oakleaf rounds out the top five.

The Knights (4-2) trounced Mandarin (Jacksonville) 35-12 on the road and moved up five spots and into the top five going into this Friday’s showdown at #1 Bartram Trail.

Oakleaf received the other first-place vote and is unbeaten against Florida teams so far in 2020, with their only losses coming against Georgia powerhouses Camden County and Lowndes.

Madison County drops two spots and out of the top five to #6 despite a 22-6 win at 6A Auburndale. The Cowboys (6-1) actually play a 1A school this week, on the road at Taylor County (Perry).

The rest of the second five is 7th-ranked Fleming Island (Orange Park), followed by Lee, Baker County, and Dunnellon rounding out the top 10.

Fleming Island rebounded from its first regular season loss in two years at Oakleaf by bouncing First Coast (Jacksonville), 27-7. The Golden Eagles (5-1) hit the road once again this week as they travel to Gainesville to play RV Buchholz (3-1).

Mainland (Daytona Beach) (3-1) moves back into the rankings this week at 18th after knocking off then-#8 DeLand, 14-6.

DeLand (2-1) drops all the way down to #19 but stays ranked.

Also new to the poll this week is Newberry, which beat then-RV Dixie County (Cross City), 21-14, to win its sixth game in a row after an opening-week loss at Hawthorne.

The Panthers (6-1) are tied for 20th with Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville), which remained undefeated at 4-0 with a 15-3 win at Springstead (Spring Hill).

Trinity Catholic (Ocala), which lost its third game in a row last week to #12 Sandalwood (Jacksonville), 17-14, drops out.

The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, volleyball, basketball, baseball & softball 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.


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

1. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (8A) (8) (5-1) – 177

2. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (5-1) – 160

3. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (3A) (4-1) – 155

4. Vanguard (Ocala) (5A) (3-0) – 145

5. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (8A) (1) (4-2) – 133

6. Madison County (1A) (6-1) – 131

7. Fleming Island (Orange Park) (7A) (5-1) – 126

8. Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville) (6A) (4-0) – 121

9. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (5-1) – 109

10. Dunnellon (5A) (3-0) – 92

11. Clay (Green Cove Springs) (5A) (5-0) – 90

12. Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (8A) (5-0) – 83

13. Creekside (St. Johns) (7A) (4-2) – 76

14. The Villages (4A) (3-0) – 71

15. Ponte Vedra (6A) (5-1) – 47

16. Fletcher (Neptune Beach) (7A) (4-1) – 37

17. Baldwin (3A) (6-0) – 34

18. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (6A) (3-1) – 33

19. DeLand (8A) (2-1) – 29

20T. Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville) (5A) (4-0) – 9

20T. Newberry (1A) (6-1) – 9

Also receiving votes: Suwannee (Live Oak) (5A) (5-2) – 8; Wildwood (1A) (6-0) – 8; Buchholz (Gainesville) (7A) (3-1) – 6; Lake Minneola (6A) (3-1) – 4; St. Augustine (6A) (3-2) – 4; Forest (Ocala) (7A) (2-1) – 2; Keystone Heights (4A) (4-1) – 2, West Port (Ocala) (8A) (3-1) – 1.

Enjoying our local sports coverage? Get Mike Ridaught's twice weekly sports newsletter in your inbox.
Sports Newsletter Form
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments