ThePrepZone.com Sports Report Presented by SunState Federal Credit Union (Nov. 16)

Mike RidaughtIn case you missed it on Thursday, Nov. 16, 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 ThePrepZone.com Sports Report Presented by SunState Federal Credit Union:

No Alachua County football teams advanced to the 2nd round of the state playoffs, but there are a couple of area teams still in it

Unfortunately, all four Alachua County teams lost:
• Buchholz lost at Edgewater (Orlando) in Class 7A
• Gainesville lost at Vanguard (Ocala) in 6A
• Newberry lost at Taylor County (Perry) in 3A
• St. Francis Catholic Academy lost at home to Seven Rivers Christian (Lecanto) in 2A

I still think it was a good season overall for Alachua County. Buchholz played most of the year without starting QB Cam Orth, who was injured, and I feel like UF commit Trent Whittemore did a good job filling in for him. Plus, Buchholz lost 35 seniors from last year, so you might even say they overachieved by making the playoffs.

I think Gainesville will be the team to beat in Class 6A-District 5 next season. Vanguard (Ocala) is really good (this year). Their quarterback, Marquez Glover, took over the reins this year for N’Kosi Perry, who is now at the University of Miami, and has put up unbelievable numbers – how about 32 TD passes and only three interceptions?! I like Vanguard this week, but I’m not sure if I like them next week against Armwood, but we’ll see. Vanguard also has six shutouts this year.

But back to GHS, QB Luke Matthews will be back from a team that won eight games this season, plus leading receiver Jalen Kelsey will be back. They’ll have some holes to fill but I think they will be good next season.

And Kudos to St. Francis Catholic Academy and coach Scott McDaniel who advanced to their first football state playoff game in school history.

As far as area teams left, there are two. Over in Starke, Bradford will host Dunnellon. Bradford lost its season opener and hasn’t lost since. Dunnellon is one of two Marion County teams alive, with Vanguard being the other. A Dunnellon win would put them in the state semifinals for the first time since 2003, while Bradford, which won two state titles in the mid-60s, is trying to make the state semi’s for the first time since 2004 (Watch or listen to the Dunnellon at Bradford game online).  The game will be broadcast on 92.1 FM in Gainesville & 100.1 FM in Ocala, plus video via the NFHS Network.

And the other area team in action tomorrow is Dixie County. The Bears are 11-0. They play at Madison County, which is also 11-0. Both teams have rushed for over 3,000 yards this season. The winner likely gets defending state champion Pahokee in next week’s Class 1A state semifinals. Dixie County has never won a state football title. They were state runners-up back in 1971.  (Dixie County & Madison County are ranked in the top 10 of the regional football rankings).

There are a bunch of Jacksonville area teams but as far as area teams, that’s all we have left.

The Buchholz girls won their third straight state swimming title last FridaySunstate Logo

I think dominating would be a good adjective to describe what those girls did a week ago. The Buchholz girls swim team set five state records and even came close to some national records en route to an 87.5 point victory to win their third straight Class 4A state title.

The amazing thing is that it was their largest margin of victory during their current run. It’s been increasing year, and this team is loaded with juniors. It’s without question the most dominating run by a Gainesville area swim team, and I’d put it up against some of the great teams to come through this area ever, regardless of the sport. I’ve only been in the Gainesville area since 1999, when Orien Greene led Gainesville to back-to-back state titles. Those teams were nationally-ranked. Recently, the P.K. Yonge volleyball team won back-to-back titles and were nationally-ranked under then coach Chad Davis.

But some of the highlights for Buchholz, junior Talia Bates, daughter of coach Tina Bates & former Gator James Bates, set a state record in winning the 100 butterfly (53.28), that coming after winning the 50 freestyle (22.67) for the third straight season. It was the second straight year she won both events.

We recognized Izzy Ivey as our Athlete of the Week. She set a state record in the 100 breast stroke (1:00.99), and she beat Stanford commit Morgan Tankersley of Plant (Tampa) to win the 200 freestyle (1:44.68), so two individual state titles for her too. She’s also just a junior. She was also a part of the 200-yard freestyle relay team which set a school record, and a state record, with a time of 1:31.66, less than a second from the national mark, and she helped lead the Lady Bobcats to a state record in the 400 freestyle relay. Buchholz actually set state records in all three relays.

So, impressive to say the least for Buchholz. Also, Gainesville swimmer Alena Kraus, who is a Louisville signee, capped her incredible high school career last Saturday night with two more state titles, which gives her seven individual state titles in four years.

Gainesville bought home another state champion in cross country 

Yeah, not to be outdone, Oak Hall’s Grace Blair won her second consecutive individual cross country title, helping the Lady Eagles to a third place finish overall. According to the Gainesville Sun, Blair now has the second most individual cross country titles won by an area athlete. Hillary White won three individual titles running for Eastside and Buchholz from 1997-1999. Up next for Blair, is the Foot Locker South Regional in Charlotte, N.C. A top-10 finish there would earn her a berth at the National High School Cross Country Championships in San Diego in December.

And finally, the Union County volleyball will play 4-time defending state champion Sneads for the Class 1A state title Friday afternoon at 1. It will be the first-ever volleyball state championship game appearance for the Lady Tigers, who were down match point against Lafayette in Mayo and rallied to win, and last week against Williston they rallied down two games to one to advance. It could be a David vs. Goliath match as Sneads has won 82 straight 1A matches and 206 consecutive sets against 1A competition. But if I remember correctly, David did beat Goliath, so we’ll see.

So the news not so good for football, but the other sports in Gainesville excelled.

For the latest in high school sports in Gainesville, check out our daily reports on 106.9 FM every weekday around 7:50 a.m.  Here is a link to the archives.