Clay County high school football teams expected to make playoffs in 2022 season

Tony Salazar
Logo via Clay County Athletics Twitter

With the start of the 2022 high school football season being a month away, three schools in Clay County have the best chance to make a significant run in the FHSAA playoffs.

Fleming Island Golden Eagles

Fleming Island finished last season with a 6-5 record and 3-2 7A District 3 record, according to MaxPreps. Even though Fleming Island finished the season a game above .500 and plays in one of Florida’s toughest classifications, they have the necessary pieces to make a significant run for the 2022 season. Sophomore quarterback Cibastian Broughton started as a freshman last season and will continue to develop. Broughton has a senior-heavy team to help him win games this season. Four-star running back Sam Singleton and three-star Darion Domineck are explosive weapons on offense that are wanted by some of the top college programs in the country. Fleming Island also has explosive defensive players in three-star linebacker Abram Wright and Jhace Edwards who combined for 143 total tackles. If Broughton improves his sophomore year and key players on both sides of the ball stay healthy, the sky is the limit for Fleming Island. Fleming Island’s first matchup is against Clay High on August 26.

Middleburg Broncos

Middleburg finished last season at .500 with a 5-5 record and a 2-2 6A District 4 record, according to MaxPreps. Head coach Ryan Wolfe has made a drastic improvement to the Middleburg program which went winless the previous season under coach Karl Smeltzer. Wolfe is known around Clay County as an offensive mastermind who finds a way to score points in his decade of offensive coaching experience in the county. Wolfe’s primary weapon on offense will be Utah commit, four-star running back Mike Mitchell. During his junior year, Mitchell had 1,378 rushing yards on 154 carries, averaging 8.9 yards a carry in his eight games played, according to MaxPreps. Mitchell also has a nose for the endzone, scoring 18 touchdowns last season. Middleburg will be led at the quarterback position by junior Jaydan Jenkins, brother of former Clay High offensive weapon Jaylan Jenkins. Junior linebacker Austin Cruce returns for another year after recording 105 total tackles, four sacks, and one interception during his sophomore season, according to MaxPreps. Middleburg opens the season against Episcopal on August 19.

Clay High Blue Devils

Clay High concluded last season with a 7-3 record and a 3-1 5A District 4 record, according to MaxPreps. Since 2020, head coach Kyle Kennard has brought Clay High back to winning football after two losing seasons under Jay Stilianou. Kennard has won 17 games during his first two seasons as head coach of Clay High. A lot of Clay High’s talent graduated last year; Quarterback Billy Mobley, running back Chris Goldstein, wide receiver D’maurion Frazier, and defensive back Jon Rouw led the team in their position’s statistics. Senior three-star cornerback Jarvis Lee Jr also transferred from Clay High to IMG Academy. Clay High will need to rely on its young talent to fill the shoes of the players who graduated and transferred. Some of those names are receiver Payton Dykas and linebacker Dominic Martin.

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I am a graduate of the University of North Florida with a major in communication with a focus in journalism and a minor in sports management.

Green Cove Springs, FL

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