High school football playoffs are here and the Times-Union delivers its weekly predictions. They will be available every Thursday on Jacksonville.com and FirstCoastVarsity.com.
Last week: 2-1. Season: 294-56 (.840).
Class 7A state championship, Saturday, 3 p.m.
Bartram Trail (11-3) vs. Venice (13-1): Maybe it’s me being Mr. Optimism this week, heck, it’s the holidays, but it’s a special season for the Bears, and it continues with a state championship.
TU pick: Bartram 29, Venice 24.
Class 5A state championship, Friday, 3 p.m.
Baker County (13-1) vs. Plantation American Heritage (14-0): I’ve picked against Baker County twice this season and lost both times. But I think the nationally ranked Patriots have too much in the arsenal for the Wildcats. If the Wildcats win, the county will be soliciting bids starting Monday morning for the bronze statue of Coach Jamie Rodgers and his team captains.
TU pick: American Heritage 31, Baker County 20.
Class 4A state championship, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Raines (12-1) vs. Cocoa (11-1): We knew this was going to happen in the spring, Vikings vs. Tigers for the title. Cocoa has been the kiss of death for area teams, but Raines makes history.
TU pick: Raines 27, Cocoa 21.
Class 2A state championship, Friday, 10 a.m.
University Christian (10-2) vs. Hialeah Champagnat Catholic (8-2): Rematch of last year’s title game, won 24-8 by UC. Champagnat is the favorite here, but UC gets a program-first three consecutive titles.
TU pick: UC 27, Champagnat 22.