In the latest reclassification of the Virginia High School League (VHSL), eliminating conferences and creating four regions per classification (or "Class"), up from two, that means region championship trophies are on the line on Thanksgiving weekend, a week earlier than previous seasons.
Here's the schedule, with games, dates, times, locations and our live Twitter coverage! Expect ticket prices to be anywhere from $8 to $10. All ticket prices go to $10 next week when all games fall under the auspices of the VHSL. Rankings noted are from region standings.
REGION 6B CHAMPIONSHIP:
#2 Manchester (11-1) at #1 Colonial Forge (11-0), Friday, 7pm. TWITTER: @cfieldsports
This is where the road ended for the Lancers last year, via a 27-19 loss to the Eagles in the former "6A South Region" semifinal. Manchester prefers not to finish 11-2 again and come off an impressive second half performance last week with a 34-0 run to eliminate Thomas Dale 41-7. There are over forty players on this year's team who know how it feels to have a season end at the hand of the Eagles. They're ready to right that wrong, and move to their first Class 6 State Semifinal. Colonial Forge struggled with Riverbend last week before earning a 24-14 win after enjoying a bye week in the first round. If Manchester wins, they would host Oscar Smith should they upset unbeaten Landstown in Region 6A. If Landstown wins, the Lancers would travel east on December 2nd.
(Region 6A Championship: #3 Oscar Smith at #1 Landstown, Friday, 7pm)
REGION 5B CHAMPIONSHIP:
#2 Highland Springs (11-1) at #1 Hermitage (11-1), Friday, 7pm TWITTER: @henricosports
They meet again. And, as we've discussed this season with Marc Davis on the "On The Sidelines Wednesday Playbook" and "On The Sidelines Extra" on Friday nights on Facebook Live, this is why Hermitage dropped John Marshall and added Thomas Dale to their regular season schedule. Two years ago, the Panthers went to Highland Springs on opening night and won. They finished 10-0, but a 9-1 Springer team outpointed them in the VHSL rankings thanks to strength of schedule, primarily due to the weakness of the Colonial District and the strength of the Capital District in 2015. Now, the head-to-head win matters, and Chester Fritz Stadium is the site of yet another showdown between these two powers. Recently, it's been an "August-November" relationship, playing each other to start the season the last three years counting 2017, and the teams splitting two playoff games, most notably the Springers' 42-35 thriller in the 5A South Semifinals two Thanksgiving Saturdays ago with a touchdown in the final seconds. Conventional wisdom says it's yet another defensive battle, but that's not what happened two Novembers ago, and it may not happen again. Someone needs an unexpected big play, whether an interception, a blocked extra point, a forced fumble, a safety, something that helps turn the tide in your favor. Recent history favors Highland Springs, two-time defending state champions. This fall's history favors the Panthers, winning in August head-to-head, and enjoying home field. The winner here hosts the Region 5A champion in a Class 5 State Semifinal December 2nd.
(Region 5A Championship: #4 Nansemond River at #2 Salem-VB, Friday, 7pm)
REGION 4B CHAMPIONSHIP:
#3 Louisa (12-0) at #1 Dinwiddie (12-0), Friday, 7pm TWITTER: @TheRVASportsNet
Possibly the best thing to happen to Dinwiddie so far this season in their quest to return to Williamsburg in December has been Eastern View. The 11-0 Cyclones came from Culpeper and engaged in a 15-round heavyweight fight with the Generals, with Todd Anspach firing the final punch with a game-winning field goal in the final seconds for the 40-37 win. That win should toughen Dinwiddie as they prepare for yet another titanic battle, this time with an emotionally-charged Louisa Lions squad, who exacted revenge for their second round playoff loss to Monacan in 2016 with an impressive second half performance for a 35-28 win at Monacan last Friday, extending the final season of head coach Mark Fischer, who has battled cancer multiple times and will step down when this season is over to continue his fight. His team doesn't want that to happen until they get a shot at the state crown December 9th, again in Williamsburg. Malik Bell is a rushing beast and has proven time and time again this season his penchant for the big play. But so has the Dinwiddie offense. So, the big question entering this game is which defense will make enough big plays to propel their team to a December 2nd showdown with the Region 4A champion? The winner of this game hosts the Region 4A champion in a Class 4 State Semifinal next Saturday.
(Region 4A Championship: #2 Lafayette at #1 King's Fork, Friday, 7pm)
REGION 3A CHAMPIONSHIP:
#4 Hopewell (8-4) at #3 York (9-3), Saturday, 2pm, Bailey Field TWITTER: @TheRVASportsNet
Perhaps the shocker of this year's postseason thus far occurred at Darling Stadium last Saturday, as Hopewell, benefiting from a missed extra point just like they did fifteen years earlier in the old Group AAA, Division 5 Region Championship, used a stifling defensive performance to eliminate previously unbeaten #1 seed Phoebus 7-6, the same score they defeated Patrick Henry by in 2002 on a cold, windy night at Merner Field. Now, the Blue Devils hit the road to face York, who eliminated Lakeland in the second round. They'll likely need much more than seven points on this occasion, and getting off to a good start, like they did at Darling last week, will be key. The winner of this game will host a Class 3 State Semifinal next Saturday, regardless of who wins in Region 3B.
(Region 3B Championship: #5 Culpeper at #3 James Monroe, Saturday, 2pm, Maury Stadium)
REGION 2A CHAMPIONSHIP:
#2 Poquoson (9-3) at #1 Goochland (12-0), Friday, 7pm TWITTER: @TheRVASportsNet
Goochland gets the home field thanks to late season stumbles by Poquoson that helped the Bulldogs catch and surpass them in the standings. The Bulldogs have a simple formula that is known worldwide, so Poquoson knows what to expect. The question is whether they have a plan to stop it. If Goochland wins, they would host the Region 2B Champion in state semifinal action next week.
(Region 2B Championship: #4 Luray at #3 Robert E. Lee-Staunton, Friday, 7pm)
REGION 1A CHAMPIONSHIP:
#2 Sussex Central (10-2) at #1 Essex (11-1), Saturday, 1pm TWITTER: @TheRVASportsNet
The Trojans lost their season opener......to Sussex Central by an 8-0 score. Since then, Essex has pulled off eleven straight wins, scoring more than 30 points in ten of those games, and more than 50 points in each of their last three wins, including two playoff blowouts. Saturday in Tappahannock promises to be much closer, but, as is in the case of Hermitage/Highland Springs, Saturday's rematch likely won't resemble opening night back in August, but both teams have worn out tape of the first game, and recent opponent games as well. If Essex wins, they will host the Region 1B Champion next Saturday.
(Region 1B Championship: #2 William Campbell at #1 Riverheads, Friday, 7pm)