In case you missed it on Wednesday afternoon, Mike Ridaught joined Zach Alboverdi on “The Tailgate” on WRUF-98.1 FM & 850 AM. Here are the things they discussed on ThePrepZone.com Sports Report Presented by SunState Federal Credit Union:
- There are three big games this week. Buchholz at Gainesville is a city showdown from Citizen’s Field and possibly for the mythical city title, and even though it’s not a district game it could have playoff implications.
Every game has meaning this year because of the new FHSAA playoff format. Zach, it might be hard to believe, when you think about it, but because of Hurricane Irma this will be the home opener for Gainesville High School. Their home game against Lake Weir (Ocala) in mid-September was rescheduled for Monday, Oct. 30, so we’re done yet with Monday night football and because of the Gators’ Homecoming, GHS and Buchholz, like last year, will play on a Thursday night. Last year, Gainesville ended up winning on a blocked extra point in double-overtime, 31-30, but it was actually Buchholz that went on to make the state playoffs. Gainesville missed the postseason for the first time since 2008.
Both teams are coming off big wins. Buchholz won at home last Thursday against Belleview 20-13 when it appeared Belleview was going in for a potential game-tying score with just seconds to go but Trent Whittemore made a great play near the goal line to knock the ball lose and Buchholz recovered and won the game.
I think one of the main positions to watch tomorrow night will be the quarterback spot. Buchholz’s starting QB Cam Orth is out with an injury. Trent Whittemore has done an admirable job but there’s just things that Cam does better in this spread offense, like timing throws, so the key for Buchholz will be to put Trent in situations that are more suited for him.
On the other side, Luke Matthews, the son of former Gator QB Shane Matthews, he’s coming along. He had a big night last week with 356 yards passing and three TDs. He started off their win last week at Forest (Ocala) with a 70-yard TD pass in the first quarter to Jalen Kelsey. Kelsey finished with 16 catches for 257 yards. The two had a really big night and that offset the night for Forest’s Connor Davis, the son of former Gator kicker Judd Davis. Connor had four field goals in the game – 49, 48, 43 and 30 yards, but his 47-yarder with :32 to play, which had the distance, but sailed just left as Gainesville spoiled Forest’s Homecoming, 20-19.
This will be the 46th meeting all-time between these two city rivals and lately the games have been really good. I mentioned last year’s game was decided in double overtime. Two years ago, Buchholz beat GHS 32-28. Three years ago, Buchholz won 23-20. So the ‘Canes got a little revenge last year and have a chance to win two in a row in the series. Class 6A Gainesville lost its season opener against Lake City Columbia and has won three in a row since. Buchholz (7A) will be coming in with some confidence after snapping a 3-game losing streak to Vanguard (Ocala), Columbia and Fleming Island (Orange Park). It should be a great game, a packed house at Citizen’s Field. We’ll have ‘live’ video of the game at ThePrepZone.com.
- Newberry at Trenton – this was a one-point game last year; both teams made it to the postseason last season. Who wins this one?
Both these teams were in Class 1A last year. The Tigers ended up losing to eventual state champion Pahokee on the road in the 1A regional finals. Newberry lost at Pahokee in the first round of the 1A playoffs in overtime. Now both teams are playing up. Newberry based on the enrollment numbers has moved up to 3A, but Trenton, because of an FHSAA infraction was moved up to 4A as punishment. The FHSAA just released its first playoff points system averages for teams in all eight classifications, and if the season ended today, Trenton would be in as that 4th team in 4A-Region 2 behind Dunnellon, Bradford and Keystone Heights based on points average. The top four teams in each region for Classes 1A-4A will make the playoffs.
Trenton’s coming off a game against Bronson in which it scored 74 points and rushed for 370 yards. Six different players had TD’s. They jumped out to a 28-0 lead in that one so I would think that might be one of the keys is a fast start since they are at home.
Newberry is coming in off a home loss to Union County. It was an emotional game as one of their players went down with an apparent broken leg which delayed the game in the second quarter for close to 30 minutes after a scoreless first quarter. Linebacker Zach Anderson suffered the injury while making a tackle near midfield. I certainly hope that young man will be OK and it was great to see the sportsmanship by the entire Union County team to come over to him and wish him well. Newberry is just 2-3 entering this game, but their losses have been to 1A No. 1 Madison County, ranked 3rd in The Prep Zone Power Poll, an improved Eastside team, which is in 5A, and then the game last week against Union County, which is now ranked 5th in the state in 1A.
Trenton won a close game last year, 19-18, and I think it will be close for a while but I like Trenton in this game at home.
- Hawthorne at Union County – Former Gator and Hawthorne coach Cornelius Ingram takes his unbeaten Hornets to Lake Butler to face the once-beaten Tigers in a potential playoff match-up this season in 1A
Not only C.I., but also former Gator WR Willie Jackson, who is the offensive coordinator at Hawthorne. His son, Kahleil Jackson, is the starting quarterback. He’s got almost 800 yards in four games passing and rushing. Two-sport star Devin Lawrence, who also plays basketball, is averaging 11.3 yards per carry with 10 TD’s in only four games. Right now, both these teams are in the playoffs. Hawthorne is 4-0, but I believe this will be their biggest test to date, which is interesting because they’ve played and beaten three Class 4A teams in Interlachen, Keystone Heights and P.K. Yonge. Union County just moved to No. 5 in the state in the Class 1A rankings. They have really good back in Charles Strong, who is an FSU commit. Newberry keyed on him all night, but Strong still finished with 103 yards on 29 carries and a TD. In a win against Baldwin a couple of weeks ago, Strong had 298 yards rushing on 29 carries. Coach Ronny Pruitt said they lean on him, especially in the third and fourth quarters.
Joe Pinkos, who picks the point spread for every game in the state, has Union County as a 12-point favorite, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Hawthorne, with their athletes at the skill position, came away a winner. On the other hand, with Strong running the football, he can keep the Hornet offense on the sidelines. I think that will certainly be an area to watch. Union County does have one loss, but that was to 1A No. 4 Dixie County, which is a surprising 6-0 under their first-year coach Eric Richeson.
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