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FHSAA Football Playoffs – Week #2 Previews


By Mike Ridaught (Class 5A-8A) and Marty Pallman (Class 1A-4A)

FHSAA Football Playoffs – Week #2 Previews for Friday, November 22

8A-Region 1 Semifinals

First Coast (Jacksonville) (10-1) at Lake Mary (11-0)

Despite the fact that First Coast is in the playoffs for the ninth consecutive year and made a 7A title game appearance in 2011, the Bucs had to get a monkey off of their back after last year’s first round loss to a .500 Buchholz (Gainesville) team. Coach Marty Lee and his First Coast Buccaneers got off to a good start in the regional quarterfinals with a 28-10 win against Lake Brantley (Altamonte Springs).  The defense set the tone with three interceptions and two blocked field goals.  First Coast’s only loss this season was at Raines (Jacksonville), but they have won eight in a row since.  Plus, the loss to the Vikings came in overtime.  The Bucs have now won 20 of their last 22 games.  Junior quarterback Deandre Johnson, an FSU commitment, has completed 168 of 241 passes for 2,524 yards and 27 touchdowns, while throwing only five interceptions.  He also has five rushing touchdowns.  Lake Mary advanced with a 25-6 win over Sandalwood (Jacksonville) in their first home playoff game since 2002.  Quarterback Daniel Brown had 191 yards rushing, including six runs of 10 yards or more.  He also had one touchdown rushing and one passing.  The key match-up will be First Coast’s defense, which has posted three shutouts and allows just 11.8 points per game, against the Rams’ offense, which averages 32.4 points per game and has not been held below 20 in a game all season long.  Defending state champion Apopka hosts Winter Park in the other regional semifinal.

7A-Region 1 Semifinals

Fletcher (Neptune Beach) (9-2) at Oak Ridge (Orlando) (8-3)

The one thing that Fletcher has going for it this week is the fact that it plays on the road.  The Senators have been road warriors in the state playoffs the past three years.  In 2011, Fletcher won at Lake Brantley, DeLand and Timber Creek before losing in the 8A state semifinals to eventual state champion Tampa Plant.  Last year, Fletcher won again at Lake Brantley and then at Seminole (Sanford) before returning home and losing in the 8A regional final at home to eventual state champion Apopka.  Last week, the Senators went on the road and shut out Winter Springs, 20-0, as the defense posted its second shutout of the season.  But Fletcher will get tested this week defensively – especially in the secondary.  Oak Ridge senior quarterback Jerrell Antoine, a Louisville commit, threw for 555 yards and seven touchdowns as the Pioneers handed Fleming Island its only loss of the season.  “He [Antoine] is phenomenal – hands down, the best we have seen all year,” Fleming Island coach Frank Hall told the Florida Times-Union.  “This one’s gonna hurt for a while.”  Oak Ridge’s 48-41 win in overtime marked the fourth time they have eclipsed 40 points in a game.  Oak Ridge, which is back in the playoffs for the first time since a 10-2 record and a trip to the regional semifinals in 2010, got 221 yards receiving and three touchdowns from Deangelo Antoine, while Nyquan Murray had 13 receptions for 241 yards and the other four scores.  The winner faces either Niceville or Lincoln (Tallahassee) in the regional finals.

6A-Region 1 Semifinals

Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (6-5) at Columbia (Lake City) (10-1)

After an 0-5 start, Bartram Trail has now won its last six games, including a surprising 50-20 upset at Ed White (Jacksonville) in the regional quarterfinals last week.  The Bears, who are in the playoffs for the 11th consecutive season, were battle tested with losses to playoff teams Fleming Island (7A), Seabreeze (6A), district rival St. Augustine (6A), and unbeaten Bishop Kenny (5A), but no one saw this one coming.   Quarterback PJ Blazejowski threw for 291 yards, including 203 in the first half, to help the Bears advance.  The dual-threat QB added 108 yards on the ground, including a 29-yard yard score.  Columbia’s size was the difference in their 42-24 win at St. Augustine in the regional quarterfinals.  Senior running back Lonnie Underwood stole the spotlight again with 191 yards and three touchdowns.  He leads Northeast Florida with 33 touchdowns and is averaging almost eight yards per carry.  The Tigers will host the Bears in the postseason for the third consecutive season.  Columbia defeated Bartram Trail, 35-14, in the first round of the playoffs in 2012.  The winner will get the winner of the Choctawhatchee (Fort Walton Beach)-Navarre game.

6A-Region 2 Semifinals

Gainesville (9-2) at Springstead (Spring Hill) (10-1)

The defending 6A state runners-up Gainesville Hurricanes won another District 5-6A title in coach Mark Latsko’s first season.  The former GHS grad won his first playoff game last week in dramatic fashion.  Gainesville scored the final 10 points in the last two minutes and defeated Sunlake (Land O’Lakes), 17-14, on a career-long 44-yard field goal by Alex Holloway with less than 10 seconds to play.  Senior running back and Oregon commit Tony James, who had a 60-yard kickoff return for a TD against Sunlake, has led the ‘Canes all season with 1,242 yards rushing and nine touchdowns.   The Eagles will try and parlay their first home playoff win in school history into a home playoff winning streak when they host GHS.  Springstead (10-1), which defeated Citrus (Inverness), 21-6, in the regional quarterfinals, also became the first team in the school’s 38-year history to reach double-digit wins.  Senior quarterback Tyler Mahla rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another in building a 21-0 advantage in the first half.  The defense limited Citrus to only 137 yards from scrimmage.  The win was the 10th in a row since Springstead’s season-opening 42-14 loss at Citrus.  For what it’s worth, Gainesville defeated Sunlake by three last week and Springstead defeated the Seahawks, 14-13, on September 20.  Both teams won at home.  Springstead is 6-0 at home this season.  Gainesville and Springstead were in the same district in 2010, with GHS winning twice by scores of 17-7 and 30-7 before losing to Lincoln (Tallahassee) in the state semifinals.  Armwood (Seffner) hosts Jefferson (Tampa) in the other regional semifinal.

6A-Region 3 Semifinals

Mainland (Daytona Beach) (10-1) at Leesburg (8-3)

The Bucs rolled up 515 yards last week in their 49-0 win over Lake Minneola.  Meanwhile, it was the fourth shutout of the season for Mainland, which has been to the playoffs every year for the past 20 years, including the 5A state title in 2003.  They also reached the state semifinals in 2011.  They are led by quarterback Trey Rodriguez, a big-time college prospect at tailback, who has rushed for 1,126 yards, but has also thrown for 442 yards.  Rodriquez injured his non-throwing hand against Lake Minneola, but isn’t expected to miss the game.

Leesburg is in the playoffs for the second year in a row and won the District 10-6A title with a 35-7 win over Lake Minneola on Nov. 1.  Last week, the Yellow Jackets built a 24-7 lead and held on for a 24-17 win against Seabreeze (Daytona Beach).  But it took an interception by Martavious Smith with 55 seconds to play to seal the victory.  Winter Haven travels to South Fort Myers in the other regional semifinal.

5A-Region 1 Semifinals

Clay (Green Cove Springs) (7-4) at Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (10-0)

Clay got off to a quick start in their regional quarterfinal against Ribault (Jacksonville), which took a wrong turn and didn’t make it to the field until 15 minutes before kickoff.  The Blue Devils marched 65 yards on only five plays on their opening possession and scored on a 42-yard run by sophomore Bilal Ally, who finished with 186 yards rushing, en route to a 29-12 win in the regional quarterfinals.  There’s no secret to Clay’s offense as they will try to establish the run against Bishop Kenny.  Five players have over 500 yards on the ground this season for the Blue Devils, who are back in the playoffs after a one-year absence.  Meanwhile the Crusaders doubled up Palatka, 44-22, in their quarterfinal.  It was the eighth time in 10 games that the Crusaders had eclipsed the 42-point mark.  In fact, since a season-opening four-point win against 6A Bartram Trail, no team has come within double digits of Bishop Kenny.  This will mark the second consecutive week that Clay will face a Division I quarterback.  Last week it was Ribault’s D.J. Gillins (Wisconsin commit).  This week they will have to try and figure out how to slow down John Wolford (East Carolina).  Last week, Wolford threw for 355 yards and became the third player in state history to go over the 10,000 yards.  That does not bode well for the run-oriented Blue Devils and their defense, which has allowed 21 or more points in every game but two this season and they’ve allowed 30 or more points four times.  The winner gets either top-ranked Pensacola Catholic or #5 West Florida.

5A-Region 2 Semifinals

South Sumter (Bushnell) (11-0) at North Marion (Citra) (9-2)

It didn’t take long for South Sumter to flex its muscles last week, scoring on an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game in its 31-12 win over Suwannee (Live Oak) in the regional quarterfinals.  But now the Raiders will have to put their unblemished record on the line on the road against North Marion, which is back in the postseason for the 14th consecutive season.  This match-up will be the ‘immovable object vs. irresistible force’ and will match South Sumter’s high-octane offense against North Marion’s swarming defense.  The Raiders are averaging 45 points per game and have scored no less than 30 points in a game all season.  North Marion defeated Pasco, 17-7, and finally got past their playoff nemesis.  The Pirates eliminated the Colts last year, in 2011 and in 2008.  Pasco returned the opening kick 94 yards for a score, but North Marion limited the Pirates to just 85 yards on the ground – which was over 100 yards less than their season average.  Matt Johnson took over for long-time coach Craig Damon after North Marion’s 21-20 win at Vanguard in week 2.  The Colts dropped Johnson’s first game as coach at Bolles (Jacksonville) 50-14 the following week, and then lost at Eastside two weeks later, 13-10.  But they have won six games in a row since and are only allowing 7.3 points per game during that stretch.  The Tarpon Springs at Lakewood winner would be next in the regional finals.

Class 4A-Region 2 Finals
Bolles (Jacksonville) (8-3) at Raines (Jacksonville) (9-2)

These two teams know each other as this is their fifth meeting in the last three seasons.  Raines beat Bolles 45-31 on Sept. 20 at the Grave Yard, basically clinching the District 3-4A title for the Vikings.  Bolles escaped last season, winning 24-21 with a TD in the final ten seconds of that game, and the Bulldogs went on to win the district and advanced to the state championship game, losing to Miami Booker T. Washington.  In 2011, Bolles also lost the regular season meeting at Raines 26-21, but won the rematch in the 4A region finals 24-6 and went on to win the tenth state title under coach Corky Rogers.  Bolles rolled on the road last week at Keystone Heights 32-10 in the 4A regional semifinals.  Christian Bermudez rushed for three touchdowns and Dexter Carter, Jr. added a 42 yard scoring run early in the third quarter to pretty much put Keystone Heights away.  Bermudez went over 1,000 yards last week while Carter, Jr., who was sick and not 100 percent for the Bulldogs first meeting with Raines, rushed for his 16th score of 2013.  Bolles offense ranked third in Northeast Florida during the regular season averaging 432 yards a game,and was very balanced with only 56 more yards rushing than passing.  The Keystone game was the best game of the season for a Bolles defense that allowed 30 or more points in five games, including 60 points in a loss at Plantation American Heritage and 42 in a loss at Niceville as well as the 45 points allowed to Raines back in week 4.  Bolles was also -8 in turnovers during the regular season, while allowing 334 yards a game, fifth worst in Northeast Florida.  Raines also had no problem in its 4A regional semifinal, rolling over 3-6 Bradford 58-6 at the Grave Yard.  Vikings quarterback Marvin Zanders was 12 of 19 passing for 256 yards and three touchdowns and added 76 yards and two TD’s on the ground.  Raines defense was also stout, holding Bradford under 100 total yards of offense and three first downs.  The Vikings added a defensive score, with Caleb Holmes taking an interception back 27 yards for a TD and Bryan Burnett took a punt back 38 yards for another TD. Coach Deran Wiley hopes to get his big offensive lineman Travaris Dorsey back for the Bolles game this week.  Raines averaged 350 total yards of offense during the regular season, with 1,991 yards passing and and 1,508 rushing led by the multi-talented Zanders.   The Vikings were extremely tough to move the ball on, with a defense ranking fourth in Northeast Florida, allowing only 165 yards a game and forcing 26 turnovers.  Raines had one of the toughest schedules in the area, with wins over playoff teams Ed White, First Coast, Bolles, St.Petersburg Lakewood and Ribault, and the two losses coming at another playoff team Fletcher and in Miami to perennial state power Northwestern.  Raines in the only Duval County public school to win a state football title, winning the 4A championship back in 1997.

Class 3A-Region 1 Finals
Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (8-3) at Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (9-1)

Two teams that are no strangers to state championships meet in Jacksonville.  Trinity Catholic won the the 2B state title under coach John Brantley in 2010, knocking off University School 56-55 in three overtimes.  The Celtics also won the 2B title in 2005 under former coach and current Jacksonville University head coach Kerwin Bell.  Trinity Catholic also lost in the state championship game in 2006 and 08.  Trinity Christian won the 1A state title in 2010 under long-time coach Verlon Dorminey.  The Conquerors also won 1A championships back-to-back in 2002 and 2003, finishing as runner-up in 2009 and 1999.  These two teams last met in the 2006 playoffs, with Trinity Catholic dominating Trinity Christian 45-0 in the 2B regional finals in Jacksonville.  Trinity Christian is ranked number one in the state in Class 3A.  Trinity Catholic is unranked and trying to become the first Marion County team to beat a top-ranked team on the road.  The Celtics haven’t beaten a ranked team on the road since a 46-0 win over Belle Glade Glades Day in 2011.  In Trinity Catholic’s 30-13 win over Providence last week in the 3A regional semifinals, running back Johnnie Taylor rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries as the Celtics went over 200 yards rushing for the sixth straight game.  Quarterback Reid Carlton threw a pick-six on Trinity Catholic’s opening drive but then rallied to account for 168 total yards and a TD pass.  Carlton threw for 1,782 and 16 TD’s but also threw 15 picks during the regular season.  The senior signal-caller also rushed for 230 yards and another 5 TD’s.  Taylor averaged almost nine yards a carry while rushing for 1,156 yards and 13 scores.  The Celtics defense came up big against Providence, led by linebackers Marquis Hendris and Ulysses Gilbert, who combined for 23 tackles and four sacks.  Richie Denicola also had an interception for Trinity Catholic last week.  Trinity Christian cruised past Father Lopez 49-7 in its opening playoff game.  Jalin Buie rushed for 118 yards on only 8 carries, and Gage Morrell scored twice on the ground as six different Conquerors reached the end zone. Quarterback Jacquez Riles threw two TD’s, one to Michael Clark and the other to Isaiah Ford.  Gavin Eddins also returned a fumble for a TD as Trinity Christian forced three turnovers and held Father Lopez to 30 yards of offense in the first half.  Offensively Trinity Christian gained 366 yards of total offense a game during the regular season, but rushed for almost 1,400 yards more than they passed for.  Buie rushed for 1,076 yards and 10 TD’s, with Kevin Toliver chipping in 337 yards and four scores.  Toliver also reached the end zone in the win over Father Lopez.  Trinity Christian was stout defensively, allowing only 160 yards per game during the regular season, good for third in Northeast Florida.  Jeff Holland is the Conquerors defensive leader, with 16 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks in 2013.

Class 2A-Region 1 Finals
University Christian (Jacksonville) (9-2) at North Florida Christian (Tallahassee) (8-2)

These two teams meet for the third year in a row in the Class 2A state playoffs.  Defending state champion University Christian went to Tallahassee last year and beat NFC 44-31 in the regional final round on the way to its first state championship since 1994.  On the way to the 2A state championship in 2011 NFC beat University Christian 47-21 in the regional semifinals.  The two programs are both tied for fifth in state titles with 7 apiece.  UC won state championships in Class A in 1973, 87, 89, 91, 92, 94 and then last year, while the NFC Eagles won their first state championship in 1996, then tied a state record with four straight 2A titles from 1998-2001 and then added championships in 2008 and two years ago in 2011.  University Christian struggled a bit offensively but took care of Tallahassee FAMU 34-12 in their 2A regional semifinal last week.  Running back Hussein Howe rushed 64 yards on 16 carries but scored three touchdowns on runs of two, four and seven yards for David Penland’s Christians.  UC defensive end Antonio Simmons had six sacks as the Christians held FAMU to 123 total yards.  After FAMU took the second half back for a touchdown to close to within 21-12, University Christian’s Jordan Gray returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a TD to give the Christians some breathing room.  University Christian lost it’s opening game at Highlands (KY) 47-17, and their only loss to a team in Florida was 39-0 to the top-ranked team in 3A Trinity Christian on Sept. 27.  University Christian’s offense is predicated by the run, as they rushed for 2,553 yards and passed for only 816 during the regular season, averaging almost 337 yards a game.  Tamarius Bowes leads a balanced attack, rushing for 657 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 11 yards a carry during the regular season.  Howe was next with 600 yards and nine scores and Ke’Shan Pennamon averages 14.5 yards on only 30 carries and five TD’s.  Quarterback Billy Cobb has attempted only 80 passes, but has completed 39 for 844 yards and 8 TD’s with only 1 interception.  UC is extremely tough defensively once again, allowing only 166 yards a game with a +12 turnover margin.  Simmons, a Georgia Tech commit, leads the Christians defense with 19 tackles for loss and a ridiculous 28 sacks after the 6 sack outing last week vs. Father Lopez.  Jamal Fitter leads in total tackles with 51 and Jake Stoshak paces the University Christian secondary with 4 INT’s.  North Florida Christian trailed in its 2A regional semifinal 21-20 in the second quarter before rallying past Harvest Community 48-21.

Class 2A-Region 2 Finals
Victory Christian Academy (Lakeland) (8-3) at Warner Christian (South Daytona) (9-1)

The Warner Christian Eagles will advance to their sixth straight state semifinal with a win over Victory Christian.  The Eagles made it to the 1B state championship game three years in a row but lost 49-14 to Jupiter Christian in 2008, 27-20 in OT to Belle Glade Glades Day in 2009 and suffered another heartbreak a year later as Glades Day rallied from a big deficit to again deny Warner Christian a state title 49-42.  The last two years Warner Christian lost in the 2A state semifinals to the eventual state champion, losing 54-13 to North Florida Christian in 2011 and 26-21 to University Christian a year ago.  The Eagles have been so close, but haven’t captured that elusive state title yet.  This Warner Christian team lost only one game during the 2013 regular season, 32-8 to the #1 team in 3A, Trinity Christian.  The Eagles were high-flying as usual during the regular season, scoring 30 or more points five times and putting 63 on the board in a win over Father Lopez.  Warner Christian’s offense is led by quarterback Drew Eckels, a UAB commit.  Eckels has thrown for 1,668 yards and 24 TD’s in 2013.   The Eagles opened up their playoffs with a 30-8 win over 3-7 Orlando Agape Christian in the 2A regional semifinals.  Warner Christian fumbled six times, losing two, but had plenty to easily win their opening playoff game.  Eagles coach Steve Allen had five players injured leading up to the Agape game, but should have all of those guys back for Victory Christian.  Warner Christian running back Demaris Tillmon led the Eagles with 1,713 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns.  Tillmon had a foot injury which forced him to miss the third quarter of last week’s game, but returned in the fourth quarter to score a touchdown.  Victory Christian rolled past Vero Beach St Edward’s 30-7 in their 2A regional semifinal last week.  The Storm will also throw it around, led by quarterback Caleb Lewis with 2,435 yards and 24 scores through the air.  The winner plays the University Christian-North Florida Christian in next Friday’s 2A state semifinal.

Class 1A-Region 3 Finals
Trenton (9-1) at Hamilton County (Jasper) (5-5)

A year ago, Trenton was undefeated all the way to the 1A state championship game, where the Tigers lost 42-21 to Bratt Northview at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.  Coach Andrew Thomas had to replace most of the defense and running back Cedric Stokes, who rushed for over 2,000 yards in 2012.  But here are the Tigers, back in the 1A regional final.  The undefeated season ended with an 18-7 loss at Dixie County in week 2.   But since that loss, Trenton has rolled off eight wins in a row, scoring 40 or more points in every game except a close 17-14 win over Chiefland on Oct. 11.  Last week Trenton put 50 points on the scoreboard for the fourth time this season, rolling through rival Lafayette 50-21 in the 1A regional semifinals.  It’s been more of a running back by committee for Trenton that has replaced Stokes in 2013.  Melvin Adams leads the Tigers with 945 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns, averaging almost nine yards a carry.  Quarterback Stephen Smith is the second leading rusher for Trenton with 460 yards and 6 scores, while completing 62 percent of his passes for 762 yards with 11 TD’s and zero interceptions.  Senior running backs Kenny Deen and Jacquez Powell have combined for another 18 scores on the ground for Trenton.  Hamp Cheevers is the Tigers leading receiver with 402 yards and 8 TD’s, and also paces the Trenton secondary on the defensive side with 5 interceptions.  Powell leads the Trenton defense with 91 total tackles and 14 tackles for loss.  Trevante McCleese leads a balanced pass rushing effort with 7 sacks, one of seven players who have registered sacks on the Trenton defense.  Hamilton County is only 5-5 in 2013, but a perfect 3-0 record in District 5-1A put the Trojans back in the playoffs for the first time since 2010.  Blair Armstrong took over for the legendary Mike Pittman before the season and led Hamilton County back to the playoffs in his first season.  Hamilton County played a tough regular season schedule, with losses to playoff teams Suwannee, Union County, Dixie County and Taylor County.  A 27-20 win at Lafayette on Oct. 4 basically wrapped up the district title for the Trojans.  Hamilton County knocked out Bell 39-24 in last week’s 1A regional semifinal game.  The Trojans have a balanced rushing attack, led by Jacari Washington with 358 yards and 6 TD’s.  Malik Randolph is next with 318 yards on the ground, with quarterback Antfermee Smith chipping in 214 yards and five scores on the ground.  Through the air, Smith has completed 51 percent of his passes for 1,243 yards and 12 TD’s with only four interceptions.  The Hamilton defense has struggled at times against quality competition, and it’s a balanced defense with four players with 30 or more tackles and four players each credited with one sack apiece.  The Trenton-Hamilton County winner will host the Union County-Dixie County winner next Friday in the 1A state semifinals with a trip to the Citrus Bowl on the line.

1A-Region 4 Finals

Union County (Lake Butler) (10-1) at Dixie County (Cross City) (9-0)

It’s a showdown between the #2 ranked team in Class 1A (Dixie County) and the #3 team (Union County).  The two teams were rivals in District 7-1A, with Dixie County winning the regular season matchup in Cross City 30-12 back on Oct. 4.  That game gave Dixie County the district title and home-field advantage for this matchup, but Union County hasn’t lost since, and the closest game in that five game winning streak was 28-10 over Williston.  Union County went to Crescent City and won easily 41-13 last week in the Tigers 1A regional semifinal game.  Ronny Pruitt’s Union County team is pretty much back to 100% for the first time since early in the season.  The Tigers were missing some key starters in the earlier loss at Dixie County.  Union County’s offense is led by quarterback Caleb Cox, who has thrown for 1,356 yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.  Running back Daquin (Buddy) Edwards leads Union County in rushing with 797 yards and 11 touchdowns, with Geordyn Green chipping in with 423 yards on the ground and 5 scores.  The receiving numbers are balanced with Princeton Alexander leading with 280 yards and and Isiah Johnson and Green leading the Tigers with three receiving scores.  Defensively, Austin Dukes is the Tigers leading tackler with 103, with Austin McClellon pacing Union County with 25 tackles for loss and six sacks.  Green also leads the Union County secondary with two interceptions.  The Tigers are in the playoffs for the third straight year, losing in the 1A state semifinals in 2011 to eventual state champion Jefferson County.  Union County lost in the 2B championship game to Pahokee in 2003, and won three consecutive 3A state titles under Ronny’s brother Robby Pruitt from 1994-96.  Dixie County is back in the playoffs for the first time since losing to Pensacola Catholic in the 2A regional semifinals in 2006.  This is one of long-time coach Brent Wilkerson’s best and most balanced teams in Cross City.  Dixie County went 9-0 in the regular season with all of the wins by double digits except one, a 38-32 barnburner at district rival Williston on Sept. 20.  The Bears have won their last six games by an average of almost 33 points a game, and Dixie County pitched its second shutout of the season in a 37-0 win over Wildwood last week in a 1A regional semifinal game.  Dixie County has wins over playoff teams Taylor County, Trenton, Union County, Hamilton County and Lafayette.  Dixie County will look to run the ball, as they rushed for over 2,600 yards and passed for only 586 yards in 2013.  Senior running back Kendall Copeland paces the Bears rushing attack with 891 yards and nine touchdowns, and sophomore Julian Robinson adds 780 yards and four scores on the ground.  Aaron Thomas and Shaquille Mitchem have split time at quarterback for Dixie, combining for 35 of 59 passes completed for 586 yards with 7 TD’s and only one pick.  James Horsley leads a balanced Dixie defense with 73 tackles, with Brandon Land next with 63 tackles and Land leads the Bears with 8 sacks.  Florida commit Duke Dawson paces Dixie’s secondary with two interceptions.  The Bears defense allowed 14 or fewer points in every game but the shootout with Williston.  Dixie County has made it to one state championship game, losing to Port St. Joe in the 2A state title game back in 1971.  The Union County-Dixie County winner will travel to the Trenton-Hamilton County winner in next week’s 1A state semifinal game with a trip to the state championship game in the Citrus Bowl on the line.

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