Sports Report Presented by SunState Federal Credit Union (Oct. 25)

Mike RidaughtIn case you missed it on Wednesday, Oct. 25, Mike Ridaught joined Jeff Cardozo, Pat Dooley & Zach Alboverdi on “The Tailgate” on WRUF-98.1 FM & 850 AM at 4 p.m to talk high school sports. Here are the things they discussed on Sports Report Presented by SunState Federal Credit Union:

The new FHSAA football points standings came out yesterday. There’s only two weeks left in the regular season, but if the season ended today, how many Alachua County football teams would make the postseason?

Four. Gainesville, St. Francis Catholic Academy and Newberry would get in based on the points system. GHS will likely finish second in their district, and even though they won’t get in as a district runner-up, their body of work is enough to get them in assuming they can finish strong. The challenge for the Hurricanes is that they will play three games in nine days. One of those is a Hurricane Irma make-good game on Monday night.

St. Francis Catholic is still undefeated. Right now the Wolves are third in 2A-Region 2. The top four teams in their region will get in. St. Francis plays at Quincy Munroe on Friday, which they will win. Then they play for the North Florida Football Conference championship. The Wolves are 7-0, off to their best start in school history, they have a 36-0 win over their rival Oak Hall, and could get the best of both worlds with a conference championship and an FHSAA playoff berth. It’s been a great year for St. Francis.

Newberry, which moved up from 1A to Class 3A has benefited from both a tough schedule and a weak region. It might sound strange but even with a 3-5 record and losers of three of the last four games they would still be in the playoffs if the season ended today. Their losses have been to Madison County, the No. 1 team in the state in 1A, Dixie County, which is ranked 4th in 1A, Union County, which was ranked at the time in 1A, at Taylor County last week, which I thought would actually drop them outside that top four, and also 5A Eastside. They do have a nice win against Trenton, which is likely in the 4A playoffs, but the only problem is that the other four teams in their region behind them all have losing records. Keep in mind, Newberry has a losing record, and I’m not sure they are that far ahead that they could afford a loss to Fort White this week.

And the fourth Alachua County football team that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today would be Buchholz, and I know we’ll talk about them here in just a few minutes, but they actually have a chance to get in as district champions.Sunstate Logo

South Lake (Groveland) at Gainesville (Thursday) – It’s Senior Night for the Hurricanes even though they have one more home game left. This coming Monday night, GHS will face Lake Weir (Ocala) at Citizen’s Field in a district game. Then, the ‘Canes have Eastside next Friday night, so Gainesville will play three games in nine days. Even though GHS won’t win their district, that title belongs to state-ranked Vanguard (Ocala), right now they have enough points to get in as an at-large team. If they win out, they’re in for sure. Last week, Gainesville went on the road and beat Leesburg, 49-14, to spoil their Homecoming. Gainesville scored on six straight possessions in the first half. They also kept their opponents’ star quarterback, Wyatt Rector, in check. Rector is a Virginia commit who the previous week threw for a county-record 592 yards against South Lake.  GHS held him to just 36 yards passing. He still got his yards on the ground with 104 yards on 14 carries, but a good job defensively by the ‘Canes. We’ll see if Luke Matthews can come anywhere close to those yards passing on Thursday night. I think all three are winnable games, but Eastside may be facing a must-win game next week against GHS too so we’ll see how it plays out. Typically, this would be the last week of the season that has the most meaning because we are wrapping up the district schedule and non-district games, usually rivalry type games, are played the final week of the regular season. Now, based on the new points system, games in the final week of the season have way more meaning. We’ll have ‘live’ video of Gainesville’s game tomorrow night online at

Bartram Trail (St. Johns) at Buchholz – This game is for the Class 7A-District 3 title. Bartram Trail is undefeated in the district. They are also ranked top 10 in the state despite their three losses – two of which were to, defending 4A state champion Cocoa on the road, and at St. Augustine, their rival who they’ve never beaten, but it doesn’t hurt that St. Augustine is still undefeated and ranked 6th in the state in Class 6A. The Bears opened with a loss at nationally-ranked Cartersville (GA) to begin the season. They also have a win at Mainland (Daytona Beach). So, at 5-3, they are better than their record indicates. They’re led by their quarterback Joey Gatewood, who is a 4-start Auburn commit. He’s 6-4, 225. He has split time at QB with Riley Smith just because Gatewood can beat you in so many other ways – at receiver, at running back, kick returner. Gatewood will be a college quarterback. It’s just a unique situation there with another good QB in Smith. Their numbers are actually comparable and they’ve combined for 16 TD passes and only five interceptions.

For Buchholz, they kept their postseason hopes alive with a big district win at Oakleaf (Orange Park) last week, winning in overtime on a kick by junior Jack Weiss. That improved Buchholz to 4-4 overall, but 2-1 in the district, so an upset win on Friday would give the Bobcats their 3rd straight district title. It’s also Senior Night for the Bobcats. Plus, if they lose, they still might get in because as of today they are in as an at-large but win and you’re in and I’m sure after losing his QB this season and 35 seniors from last year’s team, that head coach Mark Whittemore has to be happy with his situation since he’s in going into Friday night with a chance to win the title.  We’ll have ‘live’ audio coverage of the game online at with WRUF’s own Jake Winderman calling the action.

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