The Prep Zone Power Poll powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville – 2021 Football Poll #1 (Preseason Poll)
Defending 3A state champion Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) starts 2021 season on top of regional all-classification rankings
GAINESVILLE — The 2021 high school football season gets underway on Friday for most of the teams in The Prep Zone Power Poll.
And while the preseason rankings show some new teams that expect to have big seasons, the top two teams remain the same from the final poll of 2020.
Starting this season at the top once again is Trinity Christian (Jacksonville).
The Conquerors won their eighth state title in school history a year ago, rallying late to beat Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood) for the 3A state title in Tallahassee.
Trinity Christian, which receives six of the eight first-place votes, moves down to 2A this fall and will play in a region that includes last year’s 2A state runner-up No. 16T University Christian (Jacksonville), along with North Florida Christian (Tallahassee). The Conquerors open the 2021 season this Friday at Raines (Jacksonville).
Class 4A state runner-up Bolles (Jacksonville) is ranked second in the all-classification regional rankings.
The Bulldogs received the other two first-place votes after finishing as state runner-up for the sixth time in 10 years. Bolles hosts West Nassau (Callahan) in the season opener on Friday.
Buchholz (Gainesville) starts the season at No. 3.
The Bobcats return most of the team that finished 8-2 and lost a heartbreaker to Niceville, 38-35 in double overtime, in a 7A region semifinal.
Junior quarterback Creed Whittemore and senior wide receiver Quan Lee will lead the Bobcats, who open the 2021 season this week at No. 20 Trinity Catholic (Ocala).
Vanguard (Ocala) is 4th.
The Knights lost a 13-10 heartbreaker in the Region 2-5A final to Dunnellon, which starts the season right behind Vanguard in the rankings. Vanguard moves up to 6A and opens its season this Friday at Booster Stadium against Gainesville High.
Dunnellon rounds out the top five.
The Tigers just missed out on their first state championship game appearance last season, losing 26-24 in the state semifinals at eventual 5A state runner-up Rickards (Tallahassee).
Expectations are high for Dunnellon once again in 2021, and they face a test right away in their opener this Friday as the Tigers host No. 12 St. Augustine, which was a 6A state semifinalist in 2020.
Last year’s 1A state runner-up Hawthorne leads off the second five.
The Hornets face a tough 2021 slate that includes RV Suwannee (Live Oak), 8A West Port (Ocala), and RV North Marion (Citra). Hawthorne opens up the season at home Friday night against 5A Yulee.
The rest of the second five consists of No. 7 Bartram Trail (St. Johns), last year’s 6A state runner-up No. 8 Lake Minneola (Minneola), 9th-ranked Mainland (Daytona Beach) and No. 10 Madison County.
Among the highlights of the second 10 is No. 19 Bradford (Starke).
The Tornadoes make their debut in 1A this fall and open up this week with a challenging matchup against No. 11 Baker County (Glen St. Mary) in a rivalry game.
The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, volleyball, girls basketball, boys basketball, softball & baseball 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.
THE PREP ZONE POWER POLL – 2021 FOOTBALL POLL #1 (PRESEASON POLL)
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, final 2020 record, and total voting points)
1. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (6) (12-1) – 156
2. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (2) (10-3) – 152
3. Buchholz (Gainesville) (7A) (8-2) – 115
4. Vanguard (Ocala) (6A) (8-2) – 109
5. Dunnellon (5A) (10-1) – 105
6. Hawthorne (1A) (10-3) – 102
7. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (8A) (10-2) – 101
8. Lake Minneola (Minneola) (6A) (11-2) – 97
9. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (6A) (8-2) – 90
10. Madison County (1A) (10-3) – 69
11. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (10-3) – 68
12. St. Augustine (6A) (10-3) – 67
13. Riverside (Jacksonville) (6A) (6-2) – 65
14. Fleming Island (Orange Park) (7A) (10-3) – 58
15. Columbia (Lake City) (6A) (5-6) – 57
16T. Clay (Green Cove Springs) (5A) (9-2) – 39
16T. University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (8-5) – 39
18. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (8A) (7-4) – 26
19. Bradford (Starke) (1A) (5-6) – 23
20. Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (7-4) – 19
Also receiving votes: Suwannee (Live Oak) (5A) (8-3) – 16; Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (6-4) – 13; Wildwood (1A) (9-2) – 12; Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (8A) (8-3) – 11; Flagler Palm Coast (8A) (4-4) – 8; DeLand (8A) (4-3) – 7; The Villages (4A) (6-1) – 6; Baldwin (4A) (8-1) – 4; Newberry (1A) (8-2) – 4; North Marion (Citra) (5A) (3-6) – 4; Raines (Jacksonville) (5A) (4-7) – 4; Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (8-4) – 4; Dixie County (Cross City) (1A) (5-3) – 2; University (Orange City) (7A) (4-4) – 2; Chiefland (1A) (2-7) – 1.