A look ahead to the 2019 high school football season in Northeast Florida for Class 3A schools.

REGION 1-3A

BALDWIN

Head coach: Robert Shields, first year.

Last year: 9-2; lost to Taylor County 24-17 in Region 1-3A semifinal.

Key returners: Montrell Bradham (WR, Sr., 5-10, 173); Theo Harris (DE, Sr., 6-2, 227); Xavier McGriff (WR, Sr., 6-3, 155); Amos Porter (RB, Sr., 5-11, 200); Christian Sanderson (WR, Sr., 5-7, 165); Aaren Sims (DB, Sr., 5-9, 175); Tayveon Sutton (WR, Sr., 5-6, 150); Dale Walker (DL, Jr., 6-1, 242).

Key newcomers: Bryce Tompkins (QB, Jr., 6-1, 227).

Outlook: The challenge for Baldwin: building on a year that was among the best in school history. Junior quarterback Tompkins arrives from Paxon to take over from Troy signee Gavin Screws, who helped the Indians reach their first-ever home playoff game. On the receiving end of the aerial attack will be a quartet of returning receivers, headed by FIU commit McGriff, who has gained a combined 1,438 yards in the past two seasons.

 

EPISCOPAL

Head coach: Mark Brunell, seventh year (33-27).

Last year: 7-3.

Key returners: Jack Bogan (WR, Jr., 6-0, 170); Nick Elksnis (TE, Jr., 6-5, 220); Elijah Franklin (OL/DL, So., 6-3, 235); Chris Gardner (OL, Sr., 6-1, 215); Langston Hardy (DE, Jr., 5-11, 160); Ershod Jasey (RB, So., 5-10, 177); Tucker Tomberlin (QB, Jr., 6-1, 176).

Outlook: So close: Episcopal posted a strong record in 2018 but missed out in the playoff race, hampered by the previous FHSAA point system. This year, the Eagles have undergone a lot of change in the trenches, but they field one of the area's top 2021 prospects in tight end Elksnis, committed to Penn State.

 

JACKSON

Head coach: Antoine Atwater, third year (5-14).

Last year: 4-5.

Key returners: Tyron Campbell (G/DT, Jr., 6-2, 260); Ricky Dove (RB/LB, Sr., 6-0, 185); Dominique Jackson (C, So., 6-3, 295); E.Z. Lampkins (FS, Jr., 5-10, 170); K.J. Mahone (RB, Sr., 5-9, 210); Matthew Merritt (WR/FS, So., 6-3, 190); Daquan Sneed (OT/DT, Jr., 6-3, 280); Jalen Sonnier (QB, So., 6-0, 170); Gary Wiggins (TE, Sr., 6-0, 180).

Key newcomers: Darnell Cummings (RB, So., 5-9, 190); Grayson Howard (RB/LB, Fr., 6-3, 195); Ricky Shaw (WR/FS, So., 6-2, 175).

Outlook: It doesn't get much more painful than the end to Jackson's 2018 season, which ended in a coin toss with winless Gadsden County for the final Class 4A playoff berth. But that near miss showed the Tigers' progress. Atwater said the roster is deeper, more mature and more athletic than in 2018, particularly on the offensive line, while sophomore Soniier is set for his second season behind center.

 

TRINITY CHRISTIAN

Head coach: Verlon Dorminey, 29th year (279-69).

Last year: 13-1; lost to North Marion 29-25 in Class 5A semifinal.

Key returners: Miles Brooks (CB, Sr., 6-2, 180); D.J. Clea (S, Sr., 6-2, 205); Fred Davis (CB, Sr., 6-1, 177); Kanyon James (OL, Sr., 6-3, 285); Jacory Jordan (QB, Jr., 6-4, 192); William Tippens (NT, Sr., 6-2, 295); Latrell Wade (OLB, Sr., 5-10, 225); Treyaun Webb (RB, Fr., 6-0, 180).

Key newcomers: Mitchell Bishop (DL, Sr., 6-2, 270); Marcus Burke (WR, Jr., 6-3, 170); Kyjuan Herndon (RB, Sr., 5-9, 180), Triston Herndon (LB, Sr., 6-0, 217).

Outlook: The schedule is unrelenting and Trinity has the talent to match, including three Division I-committed defensive backs, a future SEC running back in Herndon and several more rising stars on the outside. As long as they're not tripped up by depth issues in the trenches, the Conquerors are the overwhelming favorites to advance to the state finals in Tallahassee.

 

WOLFSON

Head coach: Dennis Bettinger, second year (2-8)

Last year: 2-8.

Key returners: Christian Cosper (RB/DB, Jr., 5-8, 142); Christian MacCauley (OL/DL, Sr., 6-1, 241); Kai Murphy (RB/LB, Sr., 5-7, 185).

Key newcomers: Anthony Brackenridge (WR, So., 6-0, 155); Andrew Henderson (RB/LB, Jr., 5-10, 160); Mike Stoneberger (RB/LB, Sr., 5-10, 178).

Outlook: It's a long-term project for the Wolfpack, whose roster will include some 24 freshmen in a new classification. Wolfson's defense gave up more than 35 points per game in 2018, but they at least ended on a positive note by downing rival Englewood. The eventual target, Bettinger said, is to boost the Wolfpack above .500 for the first time since the 2004 season.

Clayton Freeman/The Times-Union