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Prep Zone Power Poll 2014 – Countdown to #1 (No. 9)

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9We’re counting down to the #1 team in the preseason football Prep Zone Power Poll with a look today at No. 9.

The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, basketball, baseball & softball 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.

No. 9 Trenton (1A) (12-1) – defending Class 1A state champions

No other team has won more games in Class 1A the past two years than Trenton with 25 victories and back-to-back state championship game appearances.  They have won 21 games in a row at home and they are 36-3 in three seasons under coach Andrew Thomas, who has the best record in 1A football since the FHSAA created the new rural division.

If defense wins championships, then the defending state champion Tigers will have a chance to repeat. The talent is there to win a fourth consecutive district title, earn home field advantage, and make another state championship run.

A total of nine starters return on defense, which pitched a shutout against Blountstown in the 1A title game, and they will be bigger and stronger this season.

Losing a leader like quarterback Stephen Smith will be tough, but they have several key players back including sophomore Michael Smith, who had a 35-yard interception for a TD in the state championship game, and Cheevers, who hauled in a 54-yard scoring pass against Blountstown too. Kade Rogers (115 tackles), Jacob Gamble (96), Tre McCleese (91), Brandon Lovelace (87) and Michael Smith (67), are all back on defense.

Offensively, the Tigers will be more of a spread, balanced attack. Only four starters return on the offensive side, so they will hang their hat on defense until some of their young skill players and the offense develop.

“We’ve set a bar for ourselves and what we want to achieve,” Thomas told the Gainesville Sun at Media Day last month.  “We try and focus on day-to-day getting better.  That’s what has gotten us to this point (not looking ahead).  Last year was a growing season, where we started off slow.  This year we could have some growing pains offensively and will rely on our defense, which will be a strength for us.”

2014 Football Schedule
Friday, August 22 – at Newberry, 7:30 p.m. (Preseason)
Friday, August 29 – vs. Lafayette (Mayo), 7:30 p.m.
Friday, September 5 – at Branford, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, September 12 – vs. Dixie County (Cross City), 7:30 p.m.
Friday, September 19 – at Bell, 7:30 p.m.*
Friday, September 26 – vs. Cedar Creek Christian (Jacksonville), 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 3 – vs. Hilliard, 7:30 p.m.*
Friday, October 10 – at Chiefland, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 17 – at Hawthorne, 7:30 p.m.*
Friday, October 24 – vs. Marianna, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 31 – vs. Bronson, 7:30 p.m.

*District game

Prep Zone Power Poll – 2014 Football Poll #1 – PRESEASON POLL
(School, followed by first-place votes, classification, 2013 final record and total voting points)

8. TBA – August 20
9. Trenton (1A) (12-1) – 111
10. Raines (Jacksonville) (4A) (9-3) – 92
11. Fleming Island (Orange Park) (7A) (10-1) – 89
12. North Marion (Citra) (5A) (9-3) – 78
13T Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (5A) (10-1) – 69
13T Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (8-4) – 69
15. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (6A) (8-6) – 56
16. Springstead (Spring Hill) (6A) (11-2) – 52
17. St. Augustine (6A) (8-3) – 46
18. Ed White (Jacksonville) (6A) (8-3) – 31
19. Dixie County (Cross City) (1A) (10-1) – 29
20. Warner Christian (South Daytona) (2A) (9-2) – 19

Also receiving votes: University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (9-3) – 18; Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (8A) (8-3) – 16; Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (10-2) – 14; Gainesville (6A) (9-3) – 9; Lafayette (Mayo) (1A) (7-3) – 6; Leesburg (6A) (8-4) – 5; Seabreeze (Daytona Beach) (6A) (7-3) – 4; Suwannee (Live Oak) (5A) (7-3) – 4; Menendez (St. Augustine) (5A) (8-3) – 4; Fort White (4A) (7-2) – 3; Citrus (Inverness) (6A) (9-2) – 2; Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (8-3) – 1.

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