Here are this week’s Times-Union’s high school boys soccer Power Rankings, highlighting the leading teams from across Northeast Florida. The rankings are released each Tuesday through the end of the regular season. Records are through Jan. 8 games. The girls soccer rankings appear each Monday.
1. Fleming Island (11-0-1, 4A). Last week: 1.
Quality wins: Bartram Trail, Mandarin, Oakleaf.
This week: After a couple of weeks away, the Golden Eagles return to the field this week in the St. Johns River Athletic Conference tournament. As the number-one team in the USA Today/United Soccer Coaches national high school poll, Fleming Island is naturally the favorite, but it won’t be an easy week. It’s the team’s first week without star playmaker Marcus Murphy, who enrolled early at USF. Still, with the Reed Davis-Lucas Hauth front pairing combining for untold numbers of goals so far this year, the Golden Eagles should be in pretty good shape. Fleming Island opened the tournament Monday by topping Menendez 8-0 behind four goals from Davis, now up to 36 on the year. Orange Park follows Wednesday, followed by a likely final against Bartram Trail. They then play Monday against Tallahassee Leon, the last team to beat them - and that was almost a full year ago.
2. Fletcher (12-0-1, 4A). Last week: 2.
Quality wins: Bishop Kenny, Columbia, Mandarin.
This week: At their current pace, expect the Senators to hit the 100-goal mark before the end of the regular season. At 12-0-1, they’ve rolled past everyone in sight, but the difficulty does turn up a bit this week. The Senators, who haven’t played since downing Wolfson 5-0 on Dec. 20, travel Tuesday to Creekside and then play Thursday against Episcopal. The Fletcher-Creekside game is particularly interesting as a contest of teams who could easily meet again next month in a potential Region 1-4A quarterfinal.
3. Bolles (6-1-1, 2A). Last week: 3.
Quality wins: Bartram Trail, Bishop Kenny, Paxon.
This week: No rust for a Bulldogs squad that hadn’t taken the field since Dec. 7. Bolles rolled to a 5-0 victory against Bishop Snyder, with the midfield and defense erupting for four second-half goals. Central playmaker Frank Iturriaga scored twice against the Cardinals, Nick Bengermino struck to open the second period and back-line stalwarts Alex Salvador and Brandon O’Leary both found the net in the late going. They’ll play a crucial district game Wednesday against Bishop Kenny, then they’ll meet Ponte Vedra in a Friday matchup that’s always a quality contest.
4. Sandalwood (13-2-1, 5A). Last week: 4.
Quality wins: Atlantic Coast, Mandarin, Paxon.
This week: The goals keep flowing for the Saints, even into the start of 2018. Sandalwood easily topped Christ’s Church 4-1 to add to the team’s win count. Just one game is on the schedule this week for the Saints, who will play Duval Charter with a chance to extend their winning streak into double figures. After that, the next item on the agenda is the Gateway Conference tournament,
5. Bartram Trail (8-2-1, 4A). Last week: 5.
Quality wins: Gainesville Buchholz, Creekside, Ponte Vedra.
This week: It’s kickoff time for Bartram Trail in the St. Johns River Athletic Conference tournament, coming right after the Bears’ strong performance to close out 2017. After beating Menendez, Ponte Vedra and Atlantic Coast at the end of the year, Bartram Trail started the SJRAC event with a 6-1 Monday win against St. Augustine. They’ll next play Oakleaf Tuesday, with a Wednesday semifinal against Matanzas to come.
On the bubble: Creekside (6-3-1, 4A); Englewood (8-1-1, 4A); Episcopal (4-3-0, 2A); Mandarin (6-3-3, 5A); Ponte Vedra (8-3-1, 3A).