In case you missed it on Thursday afternoon, Mike Ridaught joined Pat Dooley & Jeff Cardozo 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:
• High school football showdown tonight at Citizen’s Field – Vanguard (Ocala) at Buchholz (Gainesville)
This is probably a match-up of the best team in Marion County against the best team in Alachua County. Both teams enter 1-0 on the season. Vanguard is ranked 6th in the state in Class 6A while Buchholz is receiving a vote in Class 7A. Buchholz won its fifth straight over Eastside last Friday, 44-14, but it could have been much worse. Buchholz had seven fumbles and lost five of them. Junior quarterback Cam Orth had a really good night. He threw five TD passes, was 11 of 14, for a total of 223 yards. Junior Isaiah Michel, caught two of those for 51 and 74 yards. UF commit Trent Whittemore also caught two TD passes from 23 and 7 yards
Vanguard’s pretty good on defense. They shut out Lakeland Kathleen, 38-0, last week. The Knights held the Red Devils to 139 yards of offense and recorded six sacks.
On offense Marquez Glover, who backed up current University of Miami quarterback N’Kosi Perry last season, threw for 459 yards with seven touchdowns and one interception in nine games as a junior. So he does have experience coming in. And it paid off last week. Glover accounted for all five of his team’s touchdowns and finished 16-of-24 for 224 yards and 4 TDs passing. He also ran for 40 yards on nine carries.
Vanguard has actually won four of the last five. Last year the Knights won 20-7 in Ocala. But that was the only win all season in which the Knights did not win by more than 23 points. Even though they lost some talent, they are really talented. Sophomore wide receiver Leonard Manuel, a former Tennessee commitment, is the No. 6 overall prospect nationally for the Class of 2020 according to the 24/7 recruiting website; up front, Miller Lewis is a 6-foot-4, 300-pound offensive lineman ranked 91st overall. He already has scholarship offers from Auburn, Florida, and Michigan, among others. Senior safety Avonta Crim has offers from Notre Dame, UCF and Louisville.
• Which of these 0-1 Alachua County football teams has the best chance to get its first win this week? Gainesville, P.K. Yonge, Santa Fe or Eastside?
Eastside will be at Citizen’s Field again and the opponent is a little easier than Buchholz. The Rams host Williston, which did not play last week. If you improve the most from Game 1 to Game 2 then it will benefit Eastside with a game under its belt. I do believe their quarterback Anthony Richardson gives them a chance to win because of his big-play capability. But I like Williston in this game. The Red Devils played Dunnellon tough in the kickoff classic. 6-foot-2 Junior QB C.J. Strange threw for nearly 1,500 yards a year ago. Senior running back Gerard Williams (5-8, 177) rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2016 and has developed into “a true, vocal leader for them according to their coach Justin Wentworth. And then you mix in senior TE Albert Fuller who is 6-4, 240 and has offers from some D-1 schools. I just think Williston gets that first win which would be big for them because they have such a tough schedule.
Class 4A P.K. Yonge lost at Class 1A Wildwood, 30-2. Last year, Wildwood went 0-10. PK Yonge beat Wildwood by 22 last year. So that was a really nice win by the Wildcats and a really bad loss by the Blue Wave. But that was a head scratcher. Now P.K. Yonge travels to Keystone Heights, which beat Fernandina Beach last week. I look for the Blue Wave to drop to 0-2.
So that leaves Gainesville at Santa Fe as the easy pick primarily because we know that the winner of the GHS-Santa Fe game will win its first game. Last week, GHS lost at Columbia (Lake City), 52-34, and Santa Fe lost at Newberry, 45-13. Both teams played teams that I think have a good chance to make the postseason. Gainesville had trouble stopping the run but they did put up a lot of points. Luke Matthews, the son of Shane Matthews, finished the game 16 of 36 for 236 yards, with three TDs and two interceptions. He was also sacked three times. But I like Gainesville to right the ship. GHS is a 21-point favorite according to Joe Pinkos.
• Friday Radio Game of the Week – Madison County at Newberry. We’ll have ‘live’ audio coverage online at ThePrepZone.com beginning at 7 p.m. This could have been a state semifinal game last year in the 1A state playoffs but Newberry lost in overtime at eventual state champion Pahokee in the opening round of the playoffs and then Madison County lost to Pahokee in the state semifinals. Newberry has moved up in classification to 3A. They are receiving votes in the state poll. They beat 4A Santa Fe handily last week. They had 254 yards rushing and they led 14-0 before Santa Fe picked up a first down. Six different Newberry players scored. The Panthers threw only three passes, but completed all three. One went for a touchdown. Last Friday, Class 1A Madison County, ranked second in the Associated Press Class 1A state rankings, rallied from a 27-6 deficit to stun Class 5A Wakulla (Crawfordville).
Madison County is ranked 9th in our regional rankings, while Newberry is receiving votes in the Class 3A state poll in The Prep Zone Power Poll. Our radio coverage of the game will air on 92.1 FM & 1230 AM in Gainesville with Daniel Gillman (Play-by-play) and George Koziara (Color) calling the action.