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Thursday night lights: Rams one win from first district title in five years – Sports – Gainesville Sun

Eastside hosts Belleivew with district title on line, Buchholz hosts Creekside at Citizens, Saint Francis looks to stay unbeaten on road

THURSDAY


All games at 7 p.m. unless noted


DISTRICT 6-5A


BELLEVIEW (4-2, 0-0) AT EASTSIDE (3-3, 1-0)


Last week: Eastside was idle; Belleview def. 1A Williston 48-27


Preview: For the host Rams, a win would clinch their first district title since 2012. A loss would likely knock them from any playoff contention. Eastside won at North Marion 14-12 on Sept. 29, winning without sophomore starting quarterback Anthony Richardson, out with an injury. Richardson’s status going into this game is unclear. Sophomore RB Deion Jenkins has a team-leading 351 yards rushing. Junior William Sawyer stepped in as QB at North Marion and threw for 100 yards and 1 TD. Senior LB Ernest Cobb had 13 tackles two weeks ago. Belleview totaled 600 yards of offense in last week’s win over Williston, averaging 10.4 yards per rush, with Cor’yon Gillum (173 yards, 3 TDs) and John Heflin (106, 2 TDs) both rushing for more than 100 yards. The Rattlers beat the Rams for the first time since 2005 in 2016 convincingly (42-0). Prior to that, Eastside had won 10 straight.


LS: BELLE; MR: BELLE; MP: BELLE; JW: EAST; SL: BELLE


JOE PINKOS: Belleview by 6


 


DISTRICT 3-7A, CITIZENS FIELD


ST. JOHNS CREEKSIDE (4-3, 0-1) VS. BUCHHOLZ (2-4, 0-1)


Last week: Buchholz lost to 6A Gainesville 31-21; Creekside def. 3A Jacksonville Episcopal 48-13


Preview: The host Bobcats have lost four of last five games, with their last win at Citizens Field over Belleview (20-13) on Sept. 28. Junior Trent Whittemore, a UF commit at defensive back, has stepped up as quarterback in place of injured Cam Orth. He threw for a season-high 135 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in last week’s loss to rival Gainesville. The Bobcats totaled 311 yards of offense, with junior RB Jakhai Mitchem rushing for team-high 93 yards and one TD. Both Blake Mitchell and Isaiah Michel had four receptions each. Reiss Coleman and Victor Nelson each had 11 tackles and sophomore Armando Acosta had three tackles for loss and one sack. Creekside, which snapped a two-game slide with last week’s win, is averaging 180.9 yards a game. This is the first meeting between two schools since 2016, with Buchholz winning previous two games in 2016 (49-0) and 2015 (30-7).


LS: BUCH; MR: BUCH; MP: BUCH; JW: BUCH; SL: BUCH


JOE PINKOS: Buchholz by 6


 


2A SAINT FRANCIS (5-0) AT IND. FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR DEAF (2-4)


Last week: Saint Francis was idle; Florida School for Deaf won at Harvest Community 41-7.


Preview: The visiting Wolves are off to their best start in school history, coming off a huge 36-0 win over rival Oak Hall, who had shut out Saint Francis the previous two years. Senior QB Nick Baskin has completed 41 of 64 passes for 1128 yards with 14 TDs and just two interceptions. He has also rushed for 172 yards. Senior WR Demari Turner (582 yds., 8 TDs) is averaging 44.8 yards a reception.  RB Tim Johnson (357 yards) is averaging 8.1 yards a rush. Defensively, DL Issac Walker, DL John D’alesio  and LB Johnson all have six tackles for loss. The host Dragons have won five straight over the Wolves, with the last in 2015 (40-3). Saint Francis’s last win in the series came in 2011.


LS: StFRAN; MR: StFRAN; MP: StFRAN; JW: StFRAN; SL: StFRAN


JOE PINKOS: Saint Francis by 50


THOSE PICKING


Larry Savage: Gainesville Sun high school sports editor


Mike Ridaught: Founder & CEO of The Prep Zone


Marty Pallman: Play-by-play for 1010 WJXL-FM Jacksonville, NFHS Network, and The Prep Zone


Joshua Wilson: Owner and publisher of FloridaHSFootball.com and host of the FloridaHSFootball.com Scoreboard Show on NFHSNetwork.com


Scott LaPeer: Sports anchor/reporter at WCJB TV20 and multimedia journalist for Gainesville Sun


Joe Pinkos: Popular state forecaster of high school football games who picks all games each week. To see his complete picks each week, go to floridahsfootball.com


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