The Prep Zone Power Poll powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville – 2016 Football FINAL POLL
GAINESVILLE — Six of the eight winners at the FHSAA State Football Championships in Orlando did not win their classifications a year ago.
But Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) was a very familiar face, tying a state record with its fourth consecutive state title after knocking off Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood), 24-13, in the 3A state championship game. That was enough to put the Conquerors on top of The Prep Zone Power Poll for the end of the 2016 football season.
Trinity Christian was ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll, but the Conquerors (11-3) fell out of the top spot after an opening-week loss at eventual 4A state champion Cocoa. They dropped to 2-2 after a loss at home to Lincoln (Tallahassee), but won nine of their last 10 games to win the 7th state title in program history, all in the last 15 years.
The Conquerors have won 16 straight playoff games by an average score of 39-10. While they lose Shaun Wade (Ohio State) and D.J. Matthews (FSU) to graduation, the Conquerors return plenty of talent and depth as they will try to capture a state-record 5th straight state championship in 2017, but will move up to 5A next season.
Trinity Christian received nine of the 10 first place votes in finishing No. 1.
Class 4A state runner-up Bolles (Jacksonville) remained second.
The Bulldogs knocked off #14 Raines (Jacksonville), 60-20, and held off #9 South Sumter (Bushnell), 31-26, on a last-second goal-line stand in the state semifinals to advance back to Orlando. Unfortunately, Bolles (12-1) finished as the runner-up for the fourth time in five years, losing to Cocoa, 31-17, at Camping World Stadium in the title game.
Bolles coach Corky Rogers is now 16-0 in state semifinal games, but falls to 10-6 in state title games. The ‘Dogs, who will also move up to 5A in 2017, lost to Booker T. Washington (Miami) in the 2012, ’13, and ’14 state title games. BTW was playing for a state-record fifth straight state title this year, but was eliminated in the state semifinals by Cocoa 24-21.
Ponte Vedra is ranked 3rd, moving up five spots in the final regional rankings.
It was an historic season for the Sharks (13-1), who were undefeated all the way to the 5A state championship game, and played nationally-ranked American Heritage (Plantation) to the wire in Orlando before falling, 35-33.
Ponte Vedra senior quarterback Nick Tronti, the Florida Dairy Farmers 5A Player of the Year, put his team on his back in a 52-42 state semifinal win at #11 Clay (Green Cove Springs), with over 550 total yards and six combined TD’s. The UNC Charlotte commit tried his best in the state title game, throwing for 265 yards and three TD’s, but the Ponte Vedra came up just short.
The Sharks will play in a district with Trinity Christian and Bolles in 5A next season.
Mainland (Daytona Beach) received the other first-place vote and finishes 4th, falling three spots in the final poll.
The Bucs (11-1) were the top-ranked team in the power poll from week 1 until the playoffs, but were once again beaten by a Miami team in the postseason. This time it was eventual 6A state champion Miami Carol City, which won at Mainland in the regional final, 33-7.
Rounding out the top five is Madison County.
The Cowboys (11-1) had to take the trip to the Muck for a state semifinal game and lost a heart-breaker, 21-19, at eventual 1A state champion Pahokee. Madison County had to come back from 14-0 and 17-7 deficits to win at RV Fort White, 21-17, in the regional final round.
Two teams which made deep runs in the playoffs finished tied for sixth.
Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville) won its first district title and hosted its first playoff game in 20 years. The Generals (10-2) advanced past Columbia (Lake City) in the regional semifinals, 43-7, then won an insane 61-59 shootout against #13 Bartram Trail (St. Johns) in which both teams combined for an FHSAA playoff record 1,393 yards, scoring two TD’s in the final four minutes.
However, Lee’s season came to an end the following week as the Generals came up short at 7A No. 2 Plant (Tampa), 27-19, in a 7A state semifinal.
Lee is tied for sixth with 2A state champion University Christian (Jacksonville), which leaped 12 spots in the final poll as they were ranked 18th after the first round of the state playoffs..
The Christians (10-2) won their final nine games to repeat as 2A champs, and have now captured nine state titles, good for third-most in the state. The championship game was a grind-it-out 24-8 win over Champagnat (Hialeah) in Orlando. UCS scored on a punt return and a fumble return to pull away in the second half.
The Christians’ two losses came at Coffee (GA), which played in the Georgia state playoffs, and at 3A state champion Trinity Christian.
Vanguard (Ocala) finished 8th.
The Knights (10-2) were considered one of the favorites to advance to the 6A state championship game, but they lost a double-digit lead late in the regional final as eventual 6A runner-up Lake Gibson (Lakeland) scored two touchdowns to win 14-13. Both of Vanguard’s losses came against the Braves, as they dropped their regular season finale in Lakeland.
South Sumter (Bushnell) stays put in the final poll at #9. The Raiders rallied from a 31-7 deficit and were at the 1-yard line with a chance to beat Bolles in the 4A state semifinal, but the Bulldogs came up with the goal-line stand and eliminated South Sumter (10-2), 31-26.
Rounding out the top 10 is St. Augustine.
The Yellow Jackets (11-2) won 11 games in a row after an opening week loss at 12th-ranked Baker County (Glen St. Mary), and they knocked off Niceville and Crestview at home before being eliminated in the 6A regional final by Navarre, 28-10.
Leading off the second 10 is Clay (Green Cove Springs), which moves up eight spots from 19th.
The Blue Devils (10-4) finished as the runner-up to Baker County in District 5-5A, but they advanced back to the state semifinals as they won games at North Marion (Citra), 41-38, in a rematch in Macclenny against Baker County, 42-14, and then at River Ridge (New Port Richey)39-17, before losing at home to Ponte Vedra, 52-42.
Bartram Trail (St. Johns) moved up 7 spots to 13th.
The Bears (8-5) advanced to the 7A regional final, winning games at Ocoee and #16 Buchholz (Gainesville) before losing the high-scoring thriller at Lee.
The only team to move into the poll is Newberry at No. 20.
The Panthers (8-2) lost a heart-breaker, 35-34 in overtime, at eventual state champion Pahokee in the opening round of the 1A playoffs.
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 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. It is powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville.
The Prep Zone Power Poll – 2016 Football FINAL RANKINGS
(School, followed by classification, first place votes, overall record, and total voting points).
1. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (3A) (9) (11-3) – 199
2. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (12-1) – 180
3. Ponte Vedra (5A) (13-1) – 176
4. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (6A) (1) (11-1) – 174
5. Madison County (1A) (11-1) – 146
T-6. Lee (Jacksonville) (7A) (10-2) – 145
T-6. University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (10-2) – 145
8. Vanguard (Ocala) (6A) (10-2) – 142
9. South Sumter (Bushnell) (4A) (10-2) – 113
10. St. Augustine (6A) (11-2) – 111
11. Clay (Green Cove Springs) (5A) (10-4) – 90
12. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (9-2) – 87
13. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (7A) (8-5) – 68
14. Raines (Jacksonville) (4A) (7-3) – 54
15. Nature Coast (Brooksville) (5A) (10-1) – 47
16. Buchholz (Gainesville) (7A) (8-3) – 45
17. Trenton (1A) (9-2) – 43
18. Dunnellon (4A) (9-2) – 42
19. Ribault (Jacksonville) (5A) (6-4) – 40
17. Columbia (Lake City) (7A) (7-3) – 32
20. Newberry (1A) (8-2) – 18
Also receiving votes: Fort White (1A) (9-3) – 16; Columbia (Lake City) (7A) (7-4) – 10; University (Orange City) (8A) (8-2) – 10; Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (8A) (7-2) – 6; Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (8A) (7-4) – 6; Belleview (5A) (6-3) – 4; Bradford (Starke) (4A) (7-2) – 2; Baldwin (1A) (7-4) – 1.