Prep Zone Power Poll 2014 – Countdown to #1 (No. 1)

1We’re counting down to the #1 team in the preseason football Prep Zone Power Poll with a look today at the top-ranked team.

The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, basketball, baseball & softball teams (regardless of FHSAA classification) across 26 counties in North Florida and North Central 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.

No. 1 Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (10) (3A) (12-1) – Defending 3A state champions

The defending state champions are loaded.  Nearly 30% of its roster has scholarship offers.  Last year they went 4-0 in the 3A state playoffs and dominated Clearwater Central Catholic, 34-7, in the state title game. They outscored six Class 3A opponents by a combined 253-56.

If defense wins championships, then the Conquerors are in a great position to defend their state title.  Trinity has one of the most highly touted defensive units in area history. All three linebackers are committed or hold offers from FBS programs and ditto for the secondary. The defense allowed just 160.2 yards per game in the regular season while playing a brutal schedule. Plus, they allowed eight points or less 10 times during the season.

But the biggest question mark this season will be on offense – particularly at quarterback.  The Conquerors were exposed last weekend in a 17-0 loss to Georgia 4A power Buford.  Not only was Trinity shutout, but the Conquerors had 12 plays for losses.  In fact, they used three different quarterbacks who combined to go just 7 of 21 for a total of 30 yards.

Trinity will have to find a quarterback so it won’t burden safety Kevin Toliver II, an LSU commit, who had the chore of playing the QB spot some last year. Junior running back Jalin Buie (1,527 yards rushing & 12 TD’s) is a threat to go the distance whenever he touches the ball.

The Conquerors are nationally ranked, including the No. 1 small school in the country by MaxPreps. Despite the lofty national ranking and the high expectations, the Conquerors will have to get through a very demanding schedule that requires them to play up in classification three times.  They visit IMG Academy (Bradenton), plus they host defending 2A state champion Champagnat Catholic, along with Madison County, Godby (Tallahassee) and 6A Vanguard (Ocala).

There’s a lot of pressure on this football team to repeat.  But the Conquerors will be battle-tested during the regular season going into the 3A playoffs.  They just have to take things one game at a time.

“A lot of these kids are back and they’d be disappointed if we didn’t get back there [the state championship game],” head coach Verlon Dorminey told the Florida Times-Union. “What we’ve got schedule-wise is really, really tough. You can’t look down the road. I know that well.”

Some info gathered from Friday Night Football magazine & the Florida Times-Union.

Prep Zone Power Poll – 2014 Football Poll #1 – PRESEASON POLL
(School, followed by first-place votes, classification, 2013 final record and total voting points)

1. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (10) (3A) (12-1) – 200
2. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (6A) (12-2) – 184
3. First Coast (Jacksonville) (8A) (11-2) – 181
4. South Sumter (Bushnell) (5A) (12-1) – 162
5. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (10-4) – 157
6. Columbia (Lake City) (6A) (10-2) – 139
7. Fletcher (Neptune Beach) (7A) (10-3) – 134
8. Clay (Green Cove Springs) (5A) (10-5) – 116
9. Trenton (1A) (12-1) – 111
10. Raines (Jacksonville) (4A) (9-3) – 92
11. Fleming Island (Orange Park) (7A) (10-1) – 89
12. North Marion (Citra) (5A) (9-3) – 78
13T Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (5A) (10-1) – 69
13T Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (8-4) – 69
15. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (6A) (8-6) – 56
16. Springstead (Spring Hill) (6A) (11-2) – 52
17. St. Augustine (6A) (8-3) – 46
18. Ed White (Jacksonville) (6A) (8-3) – 31
19. Dixie County (Cross City) (1A) (10-1) – 29
20. Warner Christian (South Daytona) (2A) (9-2) – 19

Also receiving votes: University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (9-3) – 18; Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (8A) (8-3) – 16; Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (10-2) – 14; Gainesville (6A) (9-3) – 9; Lafayette (Mayo) (1A) (7-3) – 6; Leesburg (6A) (8-4) – 5; Seabreeze (Daytona Beach) (6A) (7-3) – 4; Suwannee (Live Oak) (5A) (7-3) – 4; Menendez (St. Augustine) (5A) (8-3) – 4; Fort White (4A) (7-2) – 3; Citrus (Inverness) (6A) (9-2) – 2; Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (8-3) – 1.