Contact Us
  • Comment

High school football preview: Class 4A

Posted: August 22, 2014 - 7:30pm  |  Updated: August 22, 2014 - 11:54pm

CLASS 4A FOOTBALL PREVIEW CAPSULES

DISTRICT 2-4A

Fernandina Beach

Head coach: Travis Hodge (fourth year, 10-20).

Last year: 4-6.

Key returners: Devin Edenfield (LB, Jr., 6-0, 180); Brett Evans (ATH, Sr., 5-7, 150); Chachi Moses (ATH, Sr., 5-8, 180); Jack Voit (OL, So., 6-2, 210); Casey Walker (LB, Sr., 6-0, 190); Jacob Wingate (OL, Sr., 6-0, 280).

Key newcomers: Devin Bolan (QB, Jr., 6-0, 170); Cody Byrd (LB, Jr., 6-1, 180).

Outlook: Fourth-year coach Hodge now has a solid core of experienced seniors who are well-versed in his power-based system. The Pirates have improved consistently and might be a dark horse in the unpredictable 2-4A chase.

Fort White 

Head coach: Demetric Jackson (eighth year, 46-23).

Last year: 7-2, district winner, lost in regional semifinals to East Gadsden.

Key returners: Dre Brown (OT, Sr., 6-2, 260); Brason Carley (C, Sr., 6-2, 310); Blair Chapman (LB-FB, Sr., 5-10, 185); Randall Fraddosio (G, Sr., 5-10, 225); Christian Helsel (DE-TE, Sr., 6-3, 275); Cameron White (LB-RB, Sr., 6-1, 180).

Key newcomers: Demetric Jackson (QB-FS, So., 6-0, 165), Shannon Showers (DB, So., 5-10, 155).

Outlook: Fort White made school history in 2013, winning a first district title at the expense of Madison County. To repeat, they’ll need an offensive line to protect a new backfield that emphasizes mobility at quarterback. On defense, the Indians are young in the secondary but expect big things from a front seven that Jackson says may be the school’s best in years.

DISTRICT 3-4A

Baldwin

Head coach: Steve Shields (first year of current stint; fourth year overall, 15-16).

Last year: 4-6.

Key returners: Hunter Duggar (LB, Sr., 5-9, 180); Trevor Hausler (C, Sr., 5-10, 190); Austin Manning (DL, Sr., 6-0, 297); Chase Newman (DL, So., 6-0, 302); Jared Painter (QB, Sr., 6-2, 185); Kolby Wilcox (S, Jr., 5-11, 190).

Key newcomers: Bryce Coleman (LB, So., 5-10, 195); Brandon Murray (CB, Sr., 5-8, 160).

Outlook: It’s a tough district assignment for the Indians, who made a three-classification leap from Class 1A in 2013, but Baldwin made strides after a rocky start to District 3-4A play last year. Shields plans to use pistol sets and read-option plays to take advantage of double-threat quarterback Painter.

Bolles

Head coach: Corky Rogers (26th year, 292-38; 43rd year overall, 433-77-1).

Last year: 10-4, district runner-up, lost in state final to Miami Washington.

Key returners: Kevin Ackerman (TE, Sr., 6-5, 235); Christian Bermudez (RB, Sr., 6-0, 212); Dexter Carter Jr. (RB-WR, Sr., 6-0, 190); Joe Edden (QB, Sr., 6-2, 200); Trenton McGhee (LB-S, Sr., 6-0, 205); Jeremiah Theus (OT-LS, Sr., 6-5, 280).

Key newcomers: T.J. Floyd (RB-S, Jr., 5-9, 175); Will Mitchell (RB, Jr., 5-7, 185).

Outlook: Bolles endured a daunting 2013 schedule but reached the Class 4A final for the third consecutive year, and fifth in the last six. They might be even better in 2014. Carter, Bermudez and Edden lead a slew of returners in a formidable offensive backfield that should put up plenty of points, though the line is in transition. A record 12th state championship is the target.

Jackson

Head coach: Vernon Edwards (second year, 0-10).

Last year: 0-10.

Key returners: Zuriel Davis (DL, Jr., 6-4, 341); Jacquan Holt (LB, Jr., 6-1, 195); Patrick Jones (DL, Sr., 6-2, 250), Travaris Shanks (DL, Jr., 6-0, 245); Joshua Williams (QB, Jr., 6-0, 170), Trevor Wright (WR, Sr., 6-1, 170).

Key newcomers: Antwoine Bryant (WR, So., 5-10, 190); Darrien Sutton (LB, Sr., 5-10, 210).

Outlook: The Tigers are bound to be better than in 2013. The foundation for a turnaround will start on the defensive front, where Jackson returns three regulars, among them a formidable run-stuffing tackle in Davis.

Raines

Head coach: Deran Wiley (sixth year, 39-16).

Last year: 9-3, district winner, lost in regional final to Bolles.

Key returners: Jaquan Bailey (DE, Jr., 6-2, 265); Joshua Bailey (OT, Jr., 6-3, 240); Solomon Kinley (OT, Jr., 6-5, 352); Jermaine Oliver (DE, Sr., 5-10, 188); Rick Wells (WR, Jr., 6-3, 192); Micah Zanders (QB, Sr., 6-1, 180).

Key newcomers: Bishop Bonnett (DB, Jr., 5-7, 140); Ronald Patterson (DB/WR, Jr., 6-0, 170).

Outlook: Stability and consistency are the keys for the Vikings, district champions last year before going out in the regional final. The line units, led by Kinley and Oliver, should be a strength; the offensive and defensive backfields have seen a lot of turnover, but there’s plenty of talent. Once more, it may come down to head-to-head with Bolles, both in the regular season and perhaps the playoffs.

West Nassau

Head coach: Rickey Armstrong (first year).

Last year: 4-6.

Key returners: Tison Crews (FB/DE, Sr., 6-0, 240); Garrett Delano (TE/DE, Jr., 6-2, 190); Michael Dudzinski (DE, Sr., 5-11, 175); Lee McCall (OL/DL, Jr., 6-3, 290); Remington Rhoden (OL/DL, Sr., 6-3, 255); Cody Temple (OL/DL, Sr., 6-2, 285).

Key newcomers: Davion Dubose (RB, Jr., 6-2, 195); Colton Paliana (QB, Sr., 6-3, 195).

Outlook: It’s a homecoming for new Warriors coach Armstrong, who’s taking the reins at the school where he was a third-team All-State quarterback in 1987. But West Nassau will have to replace 22 graduated seniors. With 10 or more sophomores expected to see regular snaps, the young Warriors will have to grow up fast to break the Bolles-Raines stranglehold on 3-4A.

DISTRICT 4-4A

Bradford

Head coach: Corey Green (first year).

Last year: 3-8, district runner-up, lost in regional semifinals to Raines.

Key returners: Carlton Hankerson (CB, So. 5-11, 165); Travis Hines (OL, Sr. 5-10, 280); Don Jeffers (LB, Sr., 6-2, 195); Jacob Luke (QB, Sr., 5-11, 190); Toddreke Reed (DL, Jr. 6-2, 240); Trevor Shannahan (OL, Sr. 6-2, 230).

Key newcomers: Aundre Carter (RB, Fr., 5-10, 200); Randall Glisson (LB, So., 5-10, 170).

Outlook: The Tornadoes are in transition after a late coaching change two months before the season’s start. Green has implemented some new looks on both sides of the ball, including a 3-4 scheme on defense. Some things haven’t changed, however, and the strong arm of third-year starter Luke gives the Tornadoes the ammunition to rack up points.

Keystone Heights

Head coach: Chuck Dickinson (16th year, 75-71).

Last year: 5-5, district winner, lost in regional semifinals to Bolles.

Key returners: Sam Anderson (LB, Sr., 5-10, 170); Brighton Gibbs (WR-S, Sr., 6-0, 165); Nolan Lowery (LB, Sr., 6-0, 185); Anton Nobles (RB, Sr., 5-9, 175); Joe Pace (OL, Sr., 6-1, 230); J.J. Schofield (K, Sr., 5-8, 158).

Key newcomer: Wyatt Harvin (QB, Jr., 6-1, 165).

Outlook: History could be in the making for Keystone Heights, looking to repeat as district champions for the first time. There’s work to do on the offensive line, which lost three starters, but Dickinson has confidence in the Indians’ powerful backfield and ball-control offense. A player to watch will be Nobles, who topped the 1,000-yard mark last year despite playing slightly more than half the season.

FERNANDINA BEACH

FORT WHITE

BALDWIN

BOLLES

JACKSON

RAINES

WEST NASSAU

BRADFORD

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS