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Plenty of movement in Top 10 regional rankings

GAINESVILLE — There was plenty of movement from the preseason rankings to the second poll of the regular season.

Many of the teams made it into the meat of their schedule, with some teams making big moves up and others taking a tumble.

But the top two teams remain the same this week in The Prep Zone Power Poll.

St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park), which finished No. 2 in the final rankings in 2022 and was the top-ranked team in the first poll, remains at the top this week.

The Spartans (7-2), who are also ranked No. 2 in 2A and No. 32 overall in Florida by Max Preps, received five of the 10 first-place votes.

They defeated 6A No. 2 and No. 11 statewide Mosley (Lynn Haven), 18-14, and won at LaGrange (GA) and Lowndes (GA). Their two setbacks also came against Georgia teams, 7-6 to 7A No. 8 and No. 26 statewide Lambert, and 5-3 to Colquitt County.

Columbia (Lake City) remained second.

The Tigers (7-2), who received four first-place votes, won at Chiles (Tallahassee), Gainesville, and St. Augustine before seeing their seven-game winning streak end with a 3-0 shutout loss at Valdosta (GA). They are ranked 10th in 5A and No. 64 overall by Max Preps.

From there the movement begins.

Clay (Green Cove Springs) moved up three spots to No. 3.

The Blue Devils (7-1) knocked off two Georgia teams in Irwin County and Tallulah Falls, and defeated then-RV Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville) before seeing their seven-game winning streak to start the season end with a 3-2 loss to then-No. 15 Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville). They are ranked 5th in 5A and 23rd overall by Max Preps.

Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) stays put at No. 4.

The Conquerors (6-2) lost 9-2 to Huntsville, the No. 17 overall team in Alabama, and also dropped a 4-3 decision to Calhoun (GA). But they defeated Bishop Snyder, 12-1, and won at No. 5 Providence (Jacksonville), 8-1.

Despite the loss to Trinity Christian, Providence is up four spots to round out the top five.

The Stallions (8-2) defeated the 14th-ranked team in Georgia, Parkview, 5-4 in 8 innings, and Cullman, the No. 29 team in Alabama, 7-5. Providence also won at Tocoi Creek (St. Augustine) and Ponte Vedra, with losses to Trinity Christian and Sparkman, the 10th-ranked team in Alabama.

Lake Minneola is sixth.

The Hawks (6-1) lost their first game of the season to No. 19 The Villages, 6-5, in 9 innings, but rebounded to beat the Buffalo, 8-0. The Villages (5-5) fell all the way from No. 7 to 19th this week.

Sandalwood (Jacksonville) dropped two slots to No. 7.

The Saints (5-2) defeated Fletcher (Neptune Beach) and RV First Coast (Jacksonville), but lost their first two games of 2023 to Spruce Creek (Port Orange) and Grayson (GA).

Trinity Catholic (Ocala) moved up two places to 8th.

The Celtics (7-1) dropped their first game of the season to Berkeley Prep (Tampa), but rebounded to beat Berkeley Prep and also defeated The Villages and Apopka.

Unranked in the preseason poll, Buchholz (Gainesville) makes a huge jump into the top 10 at No. 9.

The Bobcats (5-1), who received the final first-place vote, defeated Forest (Ocala) twice, 8-3 at home and 11-1 on the road. Buchholz, ranked No. 3 in 6A and 12th overall by Max Preps, also defeated The Villages, 8-3, and won at No. 18 North Marion (Citra), 9-7, in nine innings. Their only loss so far in 2023 was 7-1 at Leon (Tallahassee) in their second game of the season.

Another unranked team from the preseason poll making a big move this week is Oakleaf (Orange Park), which closes out the top 10.

The Knights, still unbeaten at 8-0, picked up wins at RV Bolles (Jacksonville), Orange Park, and at Atlantic Coast (Jacksonville). They are also ranked 8th in 6A and No. 25 overall statewide by Max Preps.

North Marion and Baker County are also new to the poll this week at No. 18 and No. 20, respectively.

Falling out from the preseason rankings are Suwannee, Bishop Kenny, Bolles, DeLand, and Fort White.

The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, girls 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 by sportswriters and sportscasters and it is powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville.

(School, followed by classification, first place votes, record through 3/13, and total voting points)
1. St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park) (2A) (5) (7-2) – 194
2. Columbia (Lake City) (5A) (4) (7-2) – 186
3. Clay (Green Cove Springs) (5A) (7-1) – 170
4. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (6-2) – 168
5. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (8-2) – 147
6. Lake Minneola (Minneola) (6A) (6-1) – 141
7. Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (7A) (5-2) – 127
8. Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (7-1) – 117
9. Buchholz (Gainesville) (6A) (1) (5-1) – 93
10. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (6A) (8-0) – 92
11. Santa Fe (Alachua) (4A) (7-1) – 86
12. Lafayette (Mayo) (1A) (5-1) – 81
13. Hernando (Brooksville) (4A) (7-1) – 71
14. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (7A) (5-4) – 67
15. Mandarin (Jacksonville) (7A) (4-2) – 43
16. Ridgeview (Orange Park) (5A) (6-2) – 41
17. Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (6-1) – 39
18. North Marion (Citra) (4A) (5-2) – 37
19. The Villages (4A) (5-5) – 36
20. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (4A) (5-2) – 27
Also receiving votes: Fleming Island (Orange Park) (6A) (6-1) – 23; Bolles (Jacksonville) (3A) (4-3) – 22; DeLand (7A) (4-4) – 17; Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (4A) (3-4) – 11; Newberry (1A) (4-2) – 10; Trenton (1A) (8-0) – 10; Oak Hall (Gainesville) (2A) (6-1) – 8; Creekside (St. Johns) (7A) (6-1) – 7; First Coast (Jacksonville) (6A) (5-3) – 5; Forest (Ocala) (6A) (4-4) – 4.

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