Some were regular season, many came in the postseason, and all of them created unforgettable memories for participants and fans. In choosing our Top 10 Games, we consider their significance, influence, back stories and more. Here are our choices for the Top 10 Games of the 2017-18 high school season, #10 through #2.
We'll reveal #1 here on our website Thursday, as well as start our countdown of the Top 10 Teams of the year gone by!
#10: FOOTBALL: J.R Tucker 63, Glen Allen 56 (November 3, 2017)---With hopes of clinching a playoff bid for the first time this century, the Tigers needed a other-worldly rushing performance from Keyonte Thompson, with 467 yards on the ground as the Tigers and Jags combined for over 1,100 yards on the ground. The Tigers did not clinch a postseason bid due to an upset win the same night by Meadowbrook, but this game, along with a nailbiting Deep Run/Douglas Freeman comeback win earlier in the season, put everyone on notice that games between West End games in 2018 will be ones to watch.
#9: SOFTBALL: Lee-Davis 8, Atlee 7 (9 innings, April 27, 2018)---Another chapter in the best softball rivalry in Virginia was written late on a Friday night as the Confederates posted a come from behind victory over the Raiders thanks to one of three game-winning hits during the regular season from senior first baseman Jesse Gentry. The teams would meet, again, in the postseason, but this time Lee-Davis came out on top, ending the three-year reign of Atlee as Class 5 state champions, advancing all the way to the state semifinals.
#8: FOOTBALL: Highland Springs 40, Tuscarora 27 (Class 5 State Championship, December 10, 2017)---In a game postponed a day by a surprise early December snowfall, the Springers made Hampton University their second home by winning a state title at Armstrong Stadium for the second straight December 10, this time not needing the last second theatrics and heroics of 2016. Head Coach Loren Johnson delivered a strong and positive message about the work and results of his football team, not as much for football's sake, but for his community and the RVA in general. Hopes are sky high for another title which, this year, would be won December 8th. Unless there's snow. :)
#7: BOYS SOCCER: Deep Run 4, Mills Godwin 3 (Class 5 State Semifinal, June 8, 2018)---Free kicks, corners, men down, overtime theatrics, and a golden goal, all between the fiercest of rivals. Add to it the presence of two student sections worthy of Friday night football thanks to the Class 5 State Tournaments begin moved to Richmond this year, and it all made for an unforgettable afternoon of state tournament soccer at Glen Allen High School. The next day, the Wildcats, who almost scored in the final minute of sudden victory overtime to win the state title, saw their chances slip away as Albemarle won in penalty kicks.
#6: FIELD HOCKEY: Deep Run 2, Hickory 1 (Class 5 State Quarterfinal, November 7, 2017)---How does it feel to "win", only to have the game-winning goal waved off, then get the focus back to score the real game-winner? Ask Natalie Biliunas. That's what she did to send Deep Run to the Class 5 State Semifinals for the second time in school history, eliminating the Hawks, seemingly, watching that goal be waved off, then coming back to do it again, this time setting off a celebration which did not end for the Wildcats.
#5: BOYS BASKETBALL: T-DIT Championship: Trinity Episcopal 61, Varina 58, December 19, 2017)---The year before, the Titans blew out the Blue Devils in the Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament, owning the second quarter. A year later, it took all 26 of Armando Bacot's points to hold off a much improved Varina squad, one which showed just how good by blasting through the rest of the season en route to the Class 5 State Championship. The Titans would fall short in their quest for consecutive VISAA Division 1 state titles, but are primed for another run next winter.
#4: BASEBALL: Powhatan 6, Hanover 5 (Region 4B Semifinal, May 29, 2018)---Destiny, meet Hunter Hopkins. Hopkins finished a comeback for the ages for the Indians, who scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh to clinch a berth in the Class 4 State Tournament. Even bigger in the scheme of area sports, it marked the end of a five-year run of state tournament appearances from Hanover, who won state crowns in 2013, 2014 and 2016. It also marked the end of Charlie Dragum's legendary career as Hawks head coach, the only coach so far in Hanover's short, yet storied, history.
#3: FOOTBALL: "The Henderson Bowl": Monacan 22, James River 15 (OT, October 6, 2017): A senior-laden Chiefs squad, just a few weeks removed from a miracle comeback victory over powerhouse Manchester, looked to stay undefeated in a game that, on paper, seemed quite winnable. That's the great thing about sports, however. One coaching move suddenly made this game much different, as Bobby Henderson left brother Jim Henderson's staff at Monacan to take the head coaching position with the Rapids. Thus, "The Henderson Bowl" was born. The Rapids gave the Chiefs everything and more, sending the game into sudden victory overtime, where Monacan survived, and stayed unbeaten en route to a 10-0 season, one of four in their own region, Region 4B, joining Louisa, Dinwiddie and Eastern View. Oh, mark your calendar for October 5th, when the Chiefs head to The Swamp for "Henderson Bowl II".
#2: FOOTBALL: Hopewell 7, Phoebus 6 (Region 3A Semifinals, November 18, 2017): After stumbling down the stretch of the regular season, the Blue Devils stunned the previously unbeaten Phantoms on the road, using a 63-yard touchdown pass from Greg Cuffey to Sean Allen and a relentless defense to leave the Phoebus faithful stunned and propel Hopewell on a run culminating in a 20-14 win over Heritage three weeks later for their first state championship in fourteen years. The Blue Devil defense held on after helping to build a 20-0 lead on Heritage, Cuffey helping to clinch the title with a late reception to Kadarius Stapleton for a first down which allowed Hopewell to run out the clock and begin the celebration at the College of William and Mary.
We'll announce our choice for the #1 Game of the 2017-18 season on Thursday, plus, begin our countdown of the Top 10 Teams!