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First Coast Varsity Weekly: 5-star WR Jaime Ffrench adds highlight with one-handed TD

Jaime Ffrench's personal highlight reel keeps on growing.

Ffrench's one-handed touchdown catch lit up Mandarin's spring football game against Bolles, a 35-14 victory for the Mustangs in a gridiron tune-up for two of Jacksonville's giants.

The five-star junior wideout produced his latest jaw-dropping highlight in the first half Thursday, reaching out one-handed for a pass from Florida State commit Tramell Jones and hauling it in while remaining in bounds.

Mandarin's Jaime Ffrench (2) makes a one-handed touchdown reception against Bolles' Santana Starks (12) during the first quarter of Thursday's spring football game.
Mandarin's Jaime Ffrench (2) makes a one-handed touchdown reception against Bolles' Santana Starks (12) during the first quarter of Thursday's spring football game.

Stunning plays are nothing new for Ffrench, ranked as a top-20 recruit nationwide for the 2026 class. After his January de-commitment from Alabama, college football giants from coast to coast are pursuing him.

Ffrench caught 62 passes for 1,247 yards and 14 touchdowns last year, helping Mandarin to the Class 4M final in the Florida High School Athletic Association playoffs.

In Ffrench, Jones and Southern California commit Hylton (Drake) Stubbs at defensive back, the Mustangs enter the season with three of Florida's top 50 prospects.

Hunter takes command at Ribault

For Mike Hunter, that first spring game in charge of Ribault meant an opportunity to reinforce the key principles of the new Trojans.

Strength, structure and discipline.

"My whole focus for the spring was to get them acclimated to my coaching style, and seeing what we can build off of," the first-year Trojans head coach said in a remote interview Tuesday with the Times-Union.

Hunter took over as Ribault's head coach in the spring following the tenure of Aaron (Ram) Pinckney, who led the team for two years with a record of 7-13. He directed the team in last week's kickoff against Stanton.

Hunter, who previously coached Duval Charter from 2012-14, becomes the fifth coach since spring 2019 for a Trojans team that last finished above .500 in 2017 and went 4-6 last year. In addition to Ribault, he has experience coaching the offensive line at schools including First Coast, University Christian and Wolfson, as well as a stint as a college assistant at Missouri State.

A Jacksonville native who cited former Parker coach Fred Pickard as an old-school influence on his coaching style, Hunter's next step is charting a steady course for a Trojans team in transition between the near-complete demolition of the original mid-1950s campus and the construction of a new school that's due to open in 2025.

By that time, Hunter said, a young crop of Trojans may be ready to thrive: "They're going to change the face of Ribault."

The task isn't easy for the Trojans. They suffered multiple transfer departures, must line up against Yulee and rival Raines in the FHSAA's realigned District 3-3A and will once again face a road-heavy schedule: Ribault is the designated visitor for eight games, while Hunter said the school's homecoming and senior nights are planned for neutral ground at Paxon.

"We've got to be road warriors," he said.

Golden Eagles football takes flight

Fleming Island quarterback Cibastian Broughton runs through the end zone for a touchdown in a 2023 game. The Golden Eagles scored four touchdowns of 50 yards or more in their spring game.
Fleming Island quarterback Cibastian Broughton runs through the end zone for a touchdown in a 2023 game. The Golden Eagles scored four touchdowns of 50 yards or more in their spring game.

Fleming Island watched the 2023 football postseason from the sidelines. They're looking like a team ready to change that in 2024.

The all-out explosiveness of the speeding Golden Eagles stands out from the final week of spring football in Northeast Florida, the last action of the 2023-24 Florida High School Athletic Association season.

Fleming Island not only rolled up 41 first-half points on Daytona Beach Seabreeze in Thursday's spring game — the game ended 41-7 after the junior varsity portion — but scored four touchdowns of 50 or more yards.

Demhir Jackson twice rushed for scores from his own half of the field, while junior Cibastian Broughton dashed for a 75-yard touchdown on the Golden Eagles' first play and found Trace Burney downfield for another long score.

Fleming Island, which finished 3-7 in 2023, occupies District 3-5A in the new FHSAA football classification for 2024 and 2025, alongside Beachside, Middleburg, Orange Park and Ponte Vedra.

Among the notable takeaways from the spring gridiron:

  • The air show of Class 3S state finalist St. Augustine shows no signs of running out of fuel. With USF-committed QB Locklan Hewlett and the receiver trio of Carl Jenkins Jr., Trenton Jones and Somourian Wingo, the Jackets rolled up 27 first-half points against Bishop Kenny in a game that ended 41-14.

  • Creekside and Baker County played one half of deadlocked varsity football in Macclenny before the Knights' reserves pulled away late for a 37-13 win.

  • Also not slowing down in 2024 is Ponte Vedra. The Sharks chomped their way to a 28-13 victory on the road at Riverside, a contest of playoff qualifiers from last fall.

  • In a St. Johns County clash, Menendez downed Nease 17-14 in a solid game for the Falcons' defense, keyed by Maddoxx Lehman, Liam Molloy and Kayne Vona.

  • As expected, the White defense looks formidable, and the DB combination of Joshua Patterson and Julian Holt is just one part of a solid unit. The Commanders stifled Orange Park 19-6 in their spring game.

Fletcher's Muex headed for Miami

From the beach to the U.

Fletcher offensive lineman T.K. Muex announced his commitment to play college football at Miami, selecting the Canes ahead of more than a dozen other Division I offers.

Listed at 6-4 and 340 pounds and rated as a three-star prospect, Muex earned acclaim from Northeast Florida coaches last year for a Senators team that averaged 326 yards of offense per game and qualified for the Region 1-3M playoffs before losing to eventual regional finalist Tampa Bay Tech.

He becomes the Hurricanes' seventh commitment in the 2025 class and the fourth from Florida, following Palm Beach Central receiver Waden Charles, Kissimmee Osceola linebacker Elijah Melendez and Seffner Armwood tailback Girard Pringle Jr.

Arias, Boyd, Coyle win hoops honors

Providence guard Chris Arias (1) goes up for a basket against Episcopal center Grady Schwartz (0) during the FHSAA District 3-3A high school boys basketball final.
Providence guard Chris Arias (1) goes up for a basket against Episcopal center Grady Schwartz (0) during the FHSAA District 3-3A high school boys basketball final.

Three Jacksonville players and two coaches received statewide year-end honors last week from the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches.

Jacksonville University signee Chris Arias won the FABC's Class 3A boys player of the year award for his role in leading a final-four return for Providence. He averaged 13.7 points and 5.6 rebounds for the Stallions.

Providence junior guard Janie Boyd won top player honors for Class 3A after helping the Stallions to the FHSAA girls final four, and Bishop Kenny's Clare Coyle earned the top honor for Class 4A with her fourth consecutive final four visit.

Providence's Jim Martin and Gigi Bistrow both won Class 3A coaching honors for the Stallions' regional championships.

Spartan champions among FACA honorees

St. Johns Country Day's Kolt Myers (23) reacts as he crosses home plate after teammate Kyle Boylston (4) during an April game against Creekside.
St. Johns Country Day's Kolt Myers (23) reacts as he crosses home plate after teammate Kyle Boylston (4) during an April game against Creekside.

One week after raising St. Johns Country Day's first state baseball trophy, the work isn't quite finished for Kyle Boylston and Kolt Myers.

Both Spartans are among seven players representing Northeast Florida at the 45th annual Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Classic for baseball, set for Wednesday and Thursday at Henley Field in Lakeland.

Center fielder Boylston, a Florida Atlantic signee for baseball and football, batted .316 with five home runs, 24 steals and 30 runs for the Spartans, while Florida-signed shortstop Myers finished the year at .305 with six doubles, 22 RBI and 17 stolen bases.

Also representing the North team against the East, South and West will be Beachside pitcher Jake Meadows, signed with the College of Central Florida; Bolles pitchers Chayce Kieck and David Martin, signed with Clemson and Samford respectively; and First Coast catcher Hunter Carns and and Ponte Vedra pitcher Matt Hoag, both signed with Florida State. First Coast's Stephen Barnes is also on the coaching staff.

Oakleaf's Amya Mirelez and Meshayla Pettaway are both among the North selections for the FACA All-Star Classic softball on Friday and Saturday, also in Lakeland at Florida Southern College. Atlantic Coast's Olivia Friedel and Middleburg's Alyssa Prather are also on the roster, with Orange Park's Lee Taylor coaching the team.

Spartans' Adame leads Puerto Rico U-15s

St. Johns Country Day midfielder Camila Adame (11) tries to spin around Atlantic Coast midfielder Michaela Frazier (17) during a December game.
St. Johns Country Day midfielder Camila Adame (11) tries to spin around Atlantic Coast midfielder Michaela Frazier (17) during a December game.

St. Johns Country Day freshman midfielder Camila Adame received a call-up to Puerto Rico's Under-15 women's national soccer team, serving as captain for two matches over the weekend.

Adame captained the Puerto Rican squad in a 5-0 victory over the Cayman Islands and also started the 8-0 win against the U.S. Virgin Islands.

During her 2023-24 season, she recorded seven goals and seven assists for a Spartans team that spent the season among Florida's top-ranked teams.

Around the area

Jackson's Jaylen Dopson (0) shoots a three-point basket as Ribault's Caleb Williams (3) defends during the District 3-4A boys basketball final.
Jackson's Jaylen Dopson (0) shoots a three-point basket as Ribault's Caleb Williams (3) defends during the District 3-4A boys basketball final.

Jackson guard Jaylen Dopson signed with Paine men's basketball and Ronald Durham signed with Livingstone. … Atlantic Coast guard Salyse Dillihay signed with New College of Florida women's basketball. … Raines senior Jabari Armant signed with Bethune-Cookman men's track and field, becoming the first Vikings pole vaulter on record to sign with a Division I program. … Fletcher faceoff specialist Zac Heilmann committed to Lenoir-Rhyne men's lacrosse. … Fleming Island held a signing ceremony for Tyler Beverly (Georgia Southern, football), Jordan Critch (UCF, cheerleading), Javen Garay (Florida, cheerleading), Ladarius Jackson (Mount Union, football), Aidan Johannsen (USF, cheerleading) and Cole Thomas (Stetson, cheerleading). … Zarephath Academy lineman Enoch Wangoy enrolled at Florida after reclassifying to the 2024 class for football. The 6-7, 314-pound lineman played last year at Zarephath after representing Great Britain in U18 level in international basketball. … Former Bartram Trail quarterback Santino Marucci announced his transfer to New Mexico State football from Wake Forest. … The FHSAA has designated Sept. 22 as the induction date for Nease tennis coach Michael Kypriss and the other members of the association's Hall of Fame class of 2024. The ceremony will take place in Gainesville. … Creekside promoted assistant Lexie Messick as the new head coach of the Class 7A girls soccer champions after two-time state champion Joe Soto stepped down last month. … Covenant School named John Goodin head baseball coach. … UCF catcher Danny Neri, a Bishop Snyder graduate, was named to the Big 12 All-Tournament team in baseball. … Eric Dobson (Fleming Island) and Carter Parlette (Ponte Vedra) helped Notre Dame men's lacrosse to a second consecutive NCAA championship. … Creekside's Alyson Johnson placed third in the girls 3,200 (10:19.00) and fourth in the one-mile run (4:47.92) to lead local high schoolers at the RunningLane Track Championships in Huntsville, Ala.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: First Coast Varsity Weekly: Jaime Ffrench one-hand catch for Mandarin