Middleburg, FL

Middleburg faces Escambia Gators in high school football playoffs

Tony Salazar

With the 2023 high school football regular season ending last week, the Middleburg Broncos are the only team in the county to make the playoffs, set to play in the Regional Quarterfinal against the Escambia Gators in Pensacola Friday night.

Middleburg finished the season with a 5-5 record. Despite not having a winning record, the Broncos were able to place second in 3S District 3.

Middleburg started the year slow, losing the first four games of the season. They would turn it around as they won five out of the next six games.

Middleburg’s offense is led by senior running back, T.J. Lane. Many predicted that four-star Utah commit Mike Mitchell would be the focal point of the Broncos’ offense. However, Mitchell would only play in five games, giving Lane a chance to show his potential.

Lane finished the season first in north Florida and fourth in the state in rushing yards. Lane had 1,786 rushing yards with 178.6 yards per game and 16 touchdowns on the ground. Lane also had five receptions for 110 yards. One of Lane’s most exciting games was against the county/district rival Orange Park Raiders, where he got 340 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries.

Broncos head coach Ryan Wolfe will rely on the legs of Lane, Terrance Thomas Jr and quarterback Jaydan Jenkins to put up points in Wolfe’s run-heavy offense.

The Middleburg defense is led by junior linebacker Austin Cruce. Cruce has gone back-to-back years leading Middleburg in total tackles. He finished this season with 31 solo tackles and 97 total tackles. Defensive backs Kristian Russell and Errick Fryer also had a high number of solo tackles, 36 for Fryer and 34 for Russell.

Middleburg’s defense is also known for getting their hands on the football. Middleburg finished the regular season with eight interceptions, 19 passes defended, seven forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries. Jaden Boyd led the team with three interceptions, followed by two for Fryer and one for Russell, Aiden Postemski and Toshombee Jenkins. One of the underrated talents on Middleburg’s defense is defensive tackle Demarion Suggs. Suggs is a game wrecker on the interior of the defensive line, using his speed to shoot gaps and cause disruption for opposing teams attempting to establish the run.

Middleburg will play 7-3 Escambia at 8:30 p.m. EST in Pensacola on Friday night. If Middleburg wins, they will play the winner of the Columbia Tigers vs. Lincoln Trojans game next Friday in the Regional Semifinal.

logo via Middleburg Football's Twitter

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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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