GAINESVILLE – They’ve won four consecutive state titles.
No Florida team in the history of high school football has ever won five straight, but Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) will be looking for a 5-peat with a 16-game postseason win streak.
The Conquerors begin the season where they left off in The Prep Zone Power Poll at No. 1.
The defending 3A state champion Conquerors, who move up to Class 5A this season, were unanimous and received all eight first-place votes.
Mainland (Daytona Beach) is ranked second.
Last year, the Bucs were the top-ranked team in the regional rankings from Week #1 to the playoffs, but they lost to eventual state champion Miami Carol City in the Class 6A state semifinals and finished fourth overall.
They were a unanimous selection as the No. 2 team.
In the preseason Associated Press state football rankings, Trinity Christian is ranked second in Class 5A, while Mainland is ranked 4th in 6A.
Lee (Jacksonville), which advanced to its first playoff since 1996 and went all the way to the 7A state semifinals, is ranked third.
The Generals, ranked 7th in 7A, defeated Leon (Tallahassee), Columbia (Lake City), and Bartram Trail (St. Johns) along the way before a season-ending loss to current 7A #2 Plant (Tampa).
Bartram Trail (St. Johns) is fourth.
The Bears’ season ended last year in 61-59 shootout against Bartram Trail. The Bears scored two TD’s in the final four minutes.
Rounding out the top five is Vanguard (Ocala).
The 6A-District 5 champions lost late to Lake Gibson (Lakeland), 14-13, in the 6A regional finals, narrowly missing a state semifinal appearance.
Raines (Jacksonville), a state title contender in Class 4A now that perennial power and former district rival Bolles (Jacksonville) has moved up to 5A, leads off the second five at No. 6.
The Vikings are currently ranked third in the state in Class 4A behind Booker T. Washington (Jacksonville) and defending state champion Cocoa.
Clay (Green Cove Springs) is ranked seventh, defending 2A state champion University Christian (Jacksonville) and 4A state runner-up Bolles are tied for eighth, and Class 1A state semifinalist Madison County rounds out the top 10.
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 Central 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. It is fueled by Divine Power Wear.
The Prep Zone Power Poll – 2017 Football Preseason POLL #1
(School, followed by classification, first place votes, last year’s record, and total voting points).
1. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (5A) (8) (11-3) – 160
2. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (6A) (11-1) – 152
3. Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville) (7A) (10-2) – 133
4. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (7A) (8-5) –128
5. Vanguard (Ocala) (6A) (10-2) – 120
6. Raines (Jacksonville) (4A) (7-3) –102
7. Clay (Green Cove Springs) (5A) (10-4) – 82
8T. University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (10-2) – 80
8T. Bolles (Jacksonville) (5A) (12-1) – 80
10. Madison County (1A) (11-1) – 77
11. St. Augustine (6A) (11-2) – 74
12. Ponte Vedra (5A) (13-1) – 71
13. Columbia (Lake City) (7A) (7-4) – 67
14. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (9-2) –54
15. South Sumter (Bushnell) (4A) (10-2) – 51
16. Nature Coast (Brooksville) (5A) (10-1) – 41
17T. Buchholz (Gainesville) (7A) (8-3) – 29
17T. Dunnellon (4A) (9-2) – 29
19. Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (8A) (7-2) – 23
20. Trenton (4A) (9-2) – 18
Also receiving votes: University (Orange City) (8A) (8-2) – 17; Fort White (1A) (9-3) – 17; Belleview (5A) (6-3) – 14; Matanzas (Palm Coast) (6A) (7-3) – 14; Newberry (3A) (9-1) – 13; Ribault (Jacksonville) (5A) (6-4) – 12; Gainesville (6A) (5-4) – 8; Fletcher (Neptune Beach) (7A) (7-2) – 7; Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (8A) (7-4) – 5; Oakleaf (Orange Park) (7A) (6-3) – 1; Episcopal (Jacksonville) (3A) (8-2) – 1.