GAINESVILLE – Following a couple of deep playoff runs and a team loaded with talent this year, Gainesville High School garnered enough total votes to start on top of the preseason Prep Zone Power Poll.
The Class 6A Hurricanes (10-3 last year), who have lost to the eventual state champion the past two years (Seffner Armwood & Tallahassee Lincoln), didn’t receive any first-place votes but edged Fletcher (Neptune Beach) by two total voting points, 112-110, for the No. 1 ranking.
The second-ranked Class 8A Senators (11-3 last season), which also made a deep playoff run last year before losing to eventual state champion Plant in the state semifinals, received two of the six first-place votes.
The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, basketball and baseball teams (regardless of 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.
First Coast (Jacksonville) is ranked third. The Class 7A Bucs (13-1 last year) reached the title game in 2011 for the first time in school history. They received half (3) of the first-place votes.
Mainland (Daytona Beach) is ranked fourth, while Madison County, which advanced to the 3A state championship game last year, rounds out the top five.
Bolles, which won its 11th state title in school history last season, is ranked sixth. The Bulldogs (13-1 last year) received the other first place-vote.
Columbia (Lake City) is ranked seventh, while DeLand is ranked eighth.
Ninth-ranked Jefferson County, which won its sixth state championship in school history and their first since 1991, is ranked two spots ahead of No. 11 Union County (Lake Butler) (11-1 last year), which advanced to the state semifinals for the first time since 2004, but lost to Jefferson County in the 1A semifinals.
South Sumter (Bushnell) rounds out the top 10.
There are some big match-ups this week in the top 20. Top-ranked Gainesville hosts #20 Yulee on Thursday night, #14 St. Augustine travels to #13 Trinity Christian (Jacksonville), #4 Mainland (Daytona Beach) will host #8 DeLand and No. 18 North Marion hosts (RV) Trinity Catholic.
PREP ZONE POWER POLL – WEEK #1
(School, followed by first-place votes, classification and total voting points)
1. Gainesville (6A) – 112
2. Fletcher (Neptune Beach) (2) (8A) – 110
3. First Coast (Jacksonville) (3) (7A) – 99
4. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (6A) – 89
5. Madison County (3A) – 88
6. Bolles (Jacksonville) (1) (4A) – 86
7. Columbia (Lake City) (6A) – 85
8. DeLand (8A) – 71
9. Jefferson County (Monticello) (1A) – 69
10. South Sumter (Bushnell) (4A) – 53
11. Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) – 52
12. Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (8A) – 51
13. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (3A) – 49
14. St. Augustine (6A) – 46
15. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (5A) – 45
16. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (6A) – 44
17. Warner Christian (South Daytona) (2A) – 26
T18 North Marion (Citra) (5A) – 19
T18 Trenton (1A) – 19
20. Yulee (4A) – 16
Also receiving votes – Ponte Vedra (5A) – 12, Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) – 10, and Eagle’s View (Jacksonville) (2A) – 9.