Eleven St. Johns County football games to watch this season

Perennial powers, eternal rivals and a handful of intriguing matchups are among the top games featuring St. Johns County programs this fall. Here are 10 of the best, along with a bonus contest to conclude the regular season.


Aug 25, Nease at Ponte Vedra

The Sharks have won seven straight in the Battle of the Bridge. In each of the three previous years under Tim Krause, the Panthers have been within striking distance of their archrivals after 24 minutes, only to see Ponte Vedra to pull away in the second half.

Aug 26, Bartram Trail at Cartersville (Ga.)

The Bears’ season opener will be televised in prime time on ESPN2, marking the third time a St. Johns County team has played on national television.

Sept. 1, St. Augustine at Menendez

The Falcons have never won this game, having been outscored 672-60. With a quarterback, Darian “Day Day” Oxendine, entering his third-year as a starter and playmakers on both sides of the ball, this may be as good a chance as they will have.

Sept 8, St. Augustine at Ponte Vedra

The Yellow Jackets and Sharks shared the county championship last year, but did not play each other. St. Augustine has won all four meetings by an aggregate of 87 points. Both teams will have first-year starting quarterbacks who will likely settle into their role leading the offense. Ponte Vedra has won four district titles in its nine-year history. Coincidentally, or not, those successes have come in years when St. Augustine has not been on the schedule.

Sept.22, Bartram Trail at St. Augustine

The Yellow Jackets have tormented the Bears over the years. The last time the two met at what is now known as Joey Wiles-Walt Slater Field at Foots Brumley Stadium, the Yellow Jackets won in overtime.

Sept. 29, Creekside at Bartram Trail

The Suburban Showdown is rarely competitive — Bartram Trail won 63-7 last year in a game that was not that close. What it lacks in competitiveness is replaced, in spades, by atmosphere and intensity by the red and blue halves of St. Johns.

Oct. 20, Cocoa at Bartram Trail

Cocoa, the Class 4A state champion, has not played a St. Johns County program in recent memory. To add to the intrigue, this is homecoming for the Bears.

Oct. 20, Ponte Vedra at Trinity Christian

The reigning Class 3A state champ will be vying for an unprecedented fifth straight state championship. Trinity moved up two classifications to ensure it will be in a district. The consequence of that move is it has been inserted into a district Ponte Vedra won easily in 2015 and ’16.

Oct. 26, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind at St. Joseph

The Dragons will be finishing their 104th season and the Flashes their 90th. Over the decades this contest has played an outsized role in the perceived success of the victors’ season. For St. Joseph, a berth in the North Florida Football Conference championship game and a playoff berth may be on the line. St. Joseph leads the series 52-28-4.

Oct. 27, Ponte Vedra at Bolles

Both were state finalists in 2016 but will be vastly different from the teams that lost in Orlando. Ponte Vedra’s quarterback, Nick Tronti, has graduated and Bolles’ head coach, Corky Rogers, has retired. Adding to the challenge of this contest for the Sharks is it immediately follows their trip to Trinity Christian.

Nov. 3, Palatka at St. Augustine

The 98th meeting between the two programs will conclude the regular season. In recent years this game has been more about tradition than what happens between the white lines. As players from both teams readily admit, recent history doesn’t matter when one is representing their city in one of the longest-running rivalries in Florida. St. Augustine leads the series 51-43-3.