Some teams can clinch bids in the playoffs, while others may see their postseason hopes come to an end on this Friday night. Here's a preview of all the action!
GAME OF THE WEEK: #10 Lee-Davis (5-1) at Atlee (2-4), 7pm (Airtime 6:30 on WHAN 102.9 FM/1430 AM, listen online by CLICKING HERE, listen on TuneIn app on "Radiall")
It's a must-win for the Raiders at Homecoming in the 27th edition of "The Stew Bowl", i.e., the battle for Eastern Hanover County supremacy. With a trip to Highland Springs looming next week, Atlee has to get the victory over the Confederates, stay squarely in the Region 5B playoff race, then take their chances against the Springers. The Raiders must control tempo, avoid turnovers, win the time of possession and convert on third downs to keep Zach Lass, Josh Rice, and the Lee-Davis offense off the field as much as humanly possible. Lee-Davis is the two-time Hanover County champions, winners of seven straight against Hanover rivals. Their last loss? 63-35 to Atlee in November, 2014.
NBC12 GAME OF THE WEEK: #5 Manchester (5-1) at #7 L.C. Bird (5-1), 7:30pm
This game should be the next edition in a great series that has flourished this decade between the two schools. The Skyhawks look for revenge from last year's loss to the Lancers, their lone blemish in the regular season. To do it, they need the game to mirror their identity. L.C. Bird needs long, time-consuming drives behind C.J. Donaldson and the offensive line. They need to limit penalties, and, most importantly, they'll need a few defensive stops. If Brendon Clark and company hit "30" on the scoreboard, it will be bad news for the Skyhawks, who need a 20-17 or 21-20 type game to win. Manchester tries to keep pace with Colonial Forge at the top of Region 6B, while L.C. Bird has been an afterthought in some circles in Region 5B, but a win here and they are, again, right in it with Hermitage and Highland Springs at the top of the standings.
Mills Godwin (3-3) at #1 Hermitage (7-0), 7pm: The Panthers hope the beat goes on with the first of two final home games in the regular season (next week against Douglas Freeman is Senior Night) before traveling to Manchester in two weeks to close the regular campaign. The Eagles haven't been able to produce a consistent enough offense to keep up with what Carney and company can do, so it will take a great defensive performance, and winning the turnover battle, for Mills Godwin to pull the big upset.
#2 Dinwiddie (6-0) at Meadowbrook (2-4), 7pm: The Monarchs could really crash the party in Region 5B with an upset in Central District play, currently 10th in a 15-team region. But to do that, they must find a way to slow down the Generals offense, who expect to ring up 40, 50 or more every time they hit the field. They've only fallen short of 30 twice, both in wins over Salem and Thomas Dale. Dinwiddie, though unbeaten and looking every bit the part of state title contenders, have to be frustrated a bit to look behind them in the Region 4B standings and see no less than three other teams, Monacan (6-0), Eastern View (7-0) and Louisa (6-0) unbeaten. They can't slow down anytime soon.
#3 Highland Springs (6-1) is idle.....
#4 Monacan (6-0) at Cosby (1-5), 7pm: Could it finally be the night that Cosby gets a Cosby-like performance, and victory? They need one to keep close to Clover Hill (who beat them earlier this season) and Franklin County in the race for one of the final two playoff spots in Region 6B. Meanwhile, expect Monacan to take this game very, very seriously after surviving the surprising slugfest that was the first "JimBob Bowl" with the overtime win over James River last week. The Chiefs, too, know they are in a dogfight to earn as many home wins as possible in the region playoffs, one of four unbeatens. They won't overlook Cosby.
#6 Thomas Dale (4-2) at Petersburg (3-3), 7pm: The Crimson Wave may have the worst luck of any team currently in a playoff race in the RVA. At 3-3, they're tied with a 1-5 Lakeland for tenth in Region 3A, less than two points behind New Kent for the eighth and final playoff spot. At home, it's an opportunity to grab what would easily be their biggest win in years. The Knights want to take nothing to chance, currently third in Region 6B, and with a win, and an L.C. Bird win over Manchester, they could come very close to the second seed.
#8 Hopewell (5-1) at Prince George (3-3), 7pm: The Royals with a similar home opportunity tonight but having to stop a Blue Devil team that has played better and better since their opening loss to I.C. Norcom, who currently lead Region 3A, while Hopewell is third. Prince George is ninth, but with a win here and either Deep Run or J.R. Tucker losing, the Royals are in the top eight in Region 5B with three weeks remaining. To do that, they better stop Indiana-bound Ronnie Walker and the Blue Devil offense.
#12 Henrico (4-2) at #9 Varina (5-1), 7pm: It's the first of three weeks of games involving the fourth, fifth, and sixth seeds currently in Region 5B which will go a long way in determining who hosts a first round game, who goes on the road, and, maybe, if someone loses both games, who is fighting just to be in the playoffs on November 3rd. These teams are very similar. The team that controls the penalities has an advantage, and special teams could play a factor, whether putting points on the board, or changing field position for your offense. Varina enjoys multiple weapons in every skill position offensively. That depth could be the difference. Varina goes to Lee-Davis next Friday, then Lee-Davis goes to Henrico two weeks from now. Lee-Davis is fourth in the region standings by less than two-tenths of a point over Varina, with Henrico sixth, a third of a point behind Varina. It's that close as we head down the stretch.
#11 Goochland (6-0) at Bluestone (2-5), 7pm: The Bulldogs are unbeaten, but yet still over three points behind top-ranked Poquoson in Region 2A. If they can't reach them by November 3rd, Goochland needs to make sure they handle what's left on their schedule, beginning with Bluestone, ending with the third-seed, Amelia, on closing night in three weeks. Rushing and defense, the beat goes on for Goochland.
Hanover (1-5) at Patrick Henry (3-3), 7pm: A huge game in Region 4B between two teams now desperate for a win. Hanover has scored just 59 points in their first six games, and only six offensive touchdowns, just two of them coming in the last four games. The Hawks, though, are in ninth place in Region 4B, just outside the top eight and a win likely puts them back in, depending on Courtland's game with 1-5 Fauquier. Meanwhile, after scoring at will in their 3-0 start, Patrick Henry has scored just 15 points in their last eight quarters, none at home against Varina last week. The offense missed tailback Samandre Williams last week, out due to injury. They must recapture the September consistency, and fast, because their #5 seed in the region is precarious, with idle Huguenot and Midlothian nipping at their heels, and fast.
Clover Hill (2-5) at Midlothian (3-3), 7:30pm: A sneaky good game on this week's schedule with two programs looking to make 2017 their turnaround year. The Trojans look to go over the .500 mark and stay in the top eight in Region 4B, while Clover Hill needs at least another win, and a Monacan win over Cosby, to help solidify their ranking in 6B. Fans outside these two schools have ignored this game for the past few years. No one should do that Friday night. This has the potential to be a classic with all the implications involved, between two teams who can taste a postseason bid, and look to seize the day.
Thomas Jefferson (3-3) at Deep Run (3-3), 7pm: So, after a 22-point comeback and a gutsy call that propelled Deep Run to their win over Douglas Freeman, they turn and see a Viking team coming Friday that has won two of their last three over the Wildcats and put up 55 points in a win over Glen Allen last week. Deep Run has no interest in a similar track meet breaking out, so it's the Wildcat defense who will have the most spotlight in this one. The Vikings are second in Region 3B and could clinch a home game in the first round of the playoffs with likely two more victories. The Wildcats won't take Thomas Jefferson lightly, and, Deep Run head coach Chad Hornik understands. He brought the Vikings to Deep Run in 2015 and won as TJ's head man.
J.R. Tucker (3-3) at Douglas Freeman (3-4), 7pm: How do the Rebels respond after being stunned at Deep Run last week? That loss could awaken them to a huge stretch run to try for their fifth straight playoff berth, or it could be the first step in their downfall. The Tigers want to make it the latter as they are close to postseason play for the first time in ages. They haven't defeated Douglas Freeman since 2010, and it won't be easy at William Long Stadium. Much of this game will depend on the mentality of Douglas Freeman. Tucker needs a strong start, and defensively, they must be tough in the front seven, and get pressure on Jack Pollard, while not allowing him to answer that with the good throws he can make when on the run.
John Marshall (1-5) at Glen Allen (1-5), 7pm: Last week's loss at Thomas Jefferson severely damaged Jaguar hopes for a playoff bid. Now they must win out and get help. On top of that, the Justices, despite being mired in a five-game losing streak, are less than a point out of the Region 3B top eight and have a shot at postseason play for first-year head coach Phillip Sims. But to do that, they'll need to stop the Flowers truck at tailback for Glen Allen, and other teams will tell you that's not easy to do.
Matoaca (1-5) at Colonial Heights (3-3), 7pm: Matoaca is in the same boat as Glen Allen, needing to win out and get help. Colonial Heights, who started 3-0, still seeks its first win in Central District play, and this may be their best chance left. Will 4-6 make the playoffs in Region 3A? Unsure. So, as you can see, tonight's winner lives to fight another day. Tonight's loser may look back at this game as the night the door shut.
James River (3-4) at George Wythe (0-6), 7:30pm
Monticello (6-0) at Louisa (6-0), 7:30pm
New Kent at Lafayette, 7pm
Mathews at King William, 7pm
Trinity Episcopal at Fork Union, 3:30pm
Bishop O'Connell at Collegiate, 4pm
Fuqua at Richmond Christian, 7pm
Eastern View at Caroline, 7pm
Fluvanna at Powhatan, 7pm
Essex at Colonial Beach, 7pm
Charles City at Middlesex, 7pm