As the high school football season enters the latter stages of October, we are just a couple weeks away from the state playoffs beginning.
Here is a look at the best teams in Northeast Florida as we enter the homestretch of the 2020 regular season.
1) Bartram Trail (5-1)
Bartram Trail was once again dominant last week in a 42-13 win over St. John’s County rival Nease. In fact, Bartram Trail is a perfect 3-0 inside St John’s County in 2020 having also defeated St. Augustine and Creekside.
Bartram Trail will have its second strongest test to date this week taking on an Oakleaf team that is undefeated vs. teams in the state of Florida this season. They dropped their toughest test so far losing to American Heritage 35-10.
Bartram Trail will have to beat teams like Oakleaf if they want to make a deep playoff run and this Friday night should be a good test to see how they will fair moving forward.
2) Lee (4-0)
The Lee Generals just keep winning games in 2020 under head coach OJ Small. Lee had wins over Ribault, Mandarin and Middleburg and last week went to Lake City and once again knocked off the Columbia Tigers. Lee has now taken five of the last six games from Columbia in that rivalry.
Lee is one of only a handful of teams left in the area that is undefeated and this Friday will be their toughest test of the season taking on a Trinity Christian team playing its best football in over two years.
If Lee knocks off Trinity Christian they will have a great argument to be No.1 in this power poll next week.
3) Trinity Christian (4-1)
2019 was a down year by Trinity Christian standards, there is no denying that, but last week Trinity Christian sent a message to the entire state of Florida with that 3-0 win over an American Heritage team ranked in the top 20 in the country according to Max Preps.
It was one of the best wins for Trinity Christian in years during the regular season and it certainly sent a message not only to the Northeast Florida, but the entire state that Trinity Christian is back in 2020.
It doesn’t get any easier this week for Trinity Christian as they have to travel to “The Backyard” to take on an undefeated Lee team on Friday night.
4) Bolles (5-1)
Last week was a statement win for Bolles as they went into undefeated Baker County and dominated the game from start to finish. Bolles played its best game of the season in the 33-14 win and now holds wins over both Baker County and Trinity Christian on the year.
Bolles gets a chance at some revenge this week taking on a University Christian that defeated the Bulldogs last season. A win for Bolles on Friday would continue to add to what is the most impressive resume of wins in Northeast Florida to this point.
5) Sandalwood (5-0)
It seems to be asked every week, but has there ever been a quieter 5-0 8A program than Sandalwood here in 2020?
Sandalwood has gone out there for five straight weeks and played winning football. They have won games in blowout fashion and have won games in close fashion like last week’s 17-14 win over a good Ocala Trinity Catholic team.
Next week’s game vs. Bartram Trail will be a huge one for Sandalwood, but they Mandarin this week. Could this be a trap game on Friday night?
Teams that just missed the top five.
Baker County (5-1): The Wildcats are really good, but they did lose handily last week to Bolles. Can they rebound now and get their season back on track.
Ponte Vedra (5-1): They lost their starting quarterback for the season and their head coach resigned suddenly all within a four-day stretch. The win over Englewood last week showed a lot about this team’s character to overcome those obstacles.
Oakleaf (4-2): The Knights are a perfect 4-0 this season against teams from the state of Florida. That will be put to a big test this week as they take on Bartram Trail.
Baldwin (6-0): All Baldwin does is win. They are perfect on the year and their defense continues to be dominant.
Clay (5-0): The Blue Devils are back to their winning ways, just don’t tell anybody because they like flying under the radar.
Fleming Island (5-1): Their only blemish was on overtime loss to Oakleaf. The Golden Eagles are still clearly among the best teams in the area.
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreen1010XL)