Panthers, Broncos set to clash

Clay can upset apple cart in 5A

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 10/20/21

ORANGE PARK - Middleburg High got some body blows in an epic dual match, 3-2 come-from-behind loss to top ranked in 5A Ridgeview in front of the Bronco fan base a month ago, but then submarined …

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Panthers, Broncos set to clash

Clay can upset apple cart in 5A

Posted

ORANGE PARK - Middleburg High got some body blows in an epic dual match, 3-2 come-from-behind loss to top ranked in 5A Ridgeview in front of the Bronco fan base a month ago, but then submarined themselves in an error-filled loss to 7A-Bartram Trail (ranked 4th in 7A) last week before responding with a 3-1 win over Creekside (20th in 7A) to set up a showdown possibility with Ridgeview High in the district 3-5A tournament to be hosted by Clay High starting Mon., Oct. 18.

Note: Orange Park defeated Westside 3-0 in the Monday game to advance to the district 3-5A semifinal on Tues., Oct. 19 at Clay High to face Ridgeview. Clay will host Middleburg in the other semifinal.

Ridgeview, 13-7, on the other hand, after expending massive energy to hold off the surging Broncos on that September 23 match, got thumped by powers Leon (3-0, 2nd in 6A behind Ponte Vedra) and Bartram Trail (3-2, 4th in 7A) before cruising to three wins to finish their regular season.

Ridgeview was on top of Class 5A until the Leon and Bartram Trail games and now sits at number three while Middleburg is at number seven.

Question is? Does Middleburg coach Carrie Prewitt’s long history of rugged schedules payoff? Or does first year Ridgeview coach Stephen Henry (albeit long-time Ridgeview assistant coach to Destiny Brightman’s six district titles) trump rugged schedule with rest and recovery and renew energy to defend the title?

The common losses to Bartram Trail could spell the answer, though Clay High’s attack has steadily been more formidable as the season has progressed with the Lady Blue Devils (12-8, 24th in 5A) stretching Fletcher and Bolles to 3-2 losses in the final regular season finish. Clay and Middleburg (16-9) will play in the district semifinal while Ridgeview will play the at-large winner between Westside (5-11) and Orange Park (4-16).

Semifinal: Orange Park vs. Ridgeview, 5:30 at Clay, Tues., Oct. 19

Middleburg vs. Clay, 7 p.m.

Final Thursday at Clay

Fleming Island: District 4-6A, Sharks in the water

Let’s go to district 4-6A where Ponte Vedra (22-1) sits on top with a third in USA ranking and tops in Florida and 6A as the top opponent for the rest of the district including Fleming Island High (8-12). Ponte Vedra is two-time Class 5A state champions as well. The abnormally large district lineup; eight teams, will lend itself to stamina for the second tier teams in order to survive to the semifinals and finals knowing who might be there.

Creekside defeated Fleming Island in the district final last year.

Monday: Ponte Vedra beat Englewood, Fleming Island beat Atlantic Coast; Fletcher beat First Coast, Nease beat St. Augustine

Tuesday: Semifinal Ponte Vedra vs. Fleming Island at 7:30 a.m. at Ponte Vedra

Semifinal at 6 p.m. at Ponte Vedra

Final on Thursday, 7 p.m. at Ponte Vedra

Oakleaf district lineup a Who’s Who for region playoff teams

Oakleaf High’s volleyball team has been tooling along in one of the strongest districts in Florida with Bartram Trail (18-5) and Creekside (12-7), both with deep region playoff runs in past seasons, in the mix, plus a hungry 21-2 Mandarin High team and the Lady Knights will need to muster all kinds of mojo to stay in the game. Lady Knights, No. 4, faced 5th seed Sandalwood on Monday with the winner drawing Bartram Trail in the semifinal. Mandarin and Creekside should be in the other semifinal. Semifinals and final are at Oakleaf High School on Thurs., Oct. 21.

Indians looking for late season surge

In district 3-3A, Keystone Heights (13-9) scorched their season first half, but then took some hits before finishing with three wins in four outings to end the season. The Lady Indians open with Umatilla (5-14) on Tues., Oct. 19.

Monday: P.K.Yonge beat Interlachen 3-0, P.K.Yonge to play top seed Trinity Catholic (19-4) in Wednesday semifinal.

Tuesday: Father Lopez plays Crescent City, Keystone Heights plays Umatilla

Wednesday: Semifinals

Friday: Final at Keystone Heights High School

Spartans path treacherous to regions

In 2A, St. Johns Country Day School (15-4) did not get their regular season streak back on track, but the Spartans did rattle off five wins to get to the playoffs in winning form. The Spartans open with St. Francis at home on October 18. Countryside Christian out of Gainesville matched the Spartans with a 15-5 record with Christ’s Church (12-5) and Oak Hall (16-8) also vying for the final. Countryside has wins over both Christ’s Church and Oak Hall with no games against St. Johns.

Monday: St. Johns beat St. Francis 3-0, Christ’s Church beat Peniel Baptist 3-0, Countryside beat St. Joseph 3-2, Oak Hall BYE to semifinal

Tuesday: Oak Hall vs. Countryside Christian at CC, 5 p.m., Christ’s Church vs. SJCDS at CC, 6:30 p.m.

Final: Thursday at Countryside, 6 p.m,.

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