NO. 24 CLAY (GREEN COVE SPRINGS) AT FLEMING ISLAND (ORANGE PARK)
When: Friday, August 24, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Fleming Island High Stadium, Orange Park
Clay Outlook: The Blue Devils have been one of the most consistent teams in Clay County over the last decade winning the games they need to and making deep playoff runs including a run to the 2013 Class 5A State Championship Game. Last year was no different for the Blue Devils who reached the Regional Finals before falling to eventual Class 5A State Runner-up and district foe, Baker County. The focus though is making sure the next man up will be able to handle the roles left open due to a ton of graduation losses across both sides of the ball. Some of the key players that are returning include RB Cedric Brown and ATH Spencer Lesage, according to DuvalSports.com. The biggest question here is if the defense can keep up in the early games in the season, which sometimes has shown it cannot over the last few years, but matchup against the Golden Eagles of Fleming Island is always an early test to see what direction the Blue Devils might take for the rest of the season.
Fleming Island Outlook: After several years of missing the playoffs the Golden Eagles are back as a team on the rise and a team to keep an eye out for as they reached the Regional Finals last year before getting knocked out by eventual Class 7A State Runner-up and district foe Bartram Trail. Some key players to keep an eye on for the Golden Eagles include QB Dean Hyams, TE Sam Snyder, RB Dewayne McBride as well as DB/LB Eugen Oglesby and TE Jake Libretto. While the Golden Eagles may look young on paper, but they will have the firepower and emotion to potentially beat Clay as they honor two of their teammates who have passed in the last year in Darnell Deas Jr. and Ben Johnson this season, according to DuvalSports.com.
FloridaHSFootball.com Pick: Clay over Fleming Island
Joe Pinkos: Fleming Island by 1
USA TODAY HSS Score Predictor: Fleming Island 28, Clay 22