THURSDAY: Join us for "RVA Locals Only" on ESPN Richmond as we talk live with Prince George head football coach Bruce Carroll about their big wins this season, including their first victory over Thomas Dale since 2000 last Friday, plus we'll preview all the big action coming up this weekend!
9:30am on 99.5 and 102.7 FM, 950 AM at ESPNRichmond.com and on the ESPN Richmond app on the Black And Drew Sports Huddle!
WEEK 9 GAME PREVIEWS:
GAME OF THE WEEK: Atlee (3-4) vs. #1 Highland Springs (7-0), 6:30pm, 102.9 The Mater (102.9 FM, 1430 AM), CLICK HERE to listen online, or use TuneIn Radio App on "Radiall"
This game will be held at Varina High School, and it is Homecoming for the Springers, who will have their usual parade at the school, then head to Varina to look for their 37th consecutive victory dating back to the 2017 season opener. It's very simple for the Raiders: they must win out for a realistic chance to make the Region 5B playoffs. That would mean titanic back to back upsets of Highland Springs and Varina. But, stranger things have happened. No one, for example, saw "Meadowbrook 8, Highland Springs 7" coming in September, 2016 for the then one-time defending state champions. Do the Springers come out of the bye rolling, flat, or a little of both? Atlee will need some turnovers, short fields, and an almost perfect performance.
Meadowbrook (0-7) at #2 Hopewell (7-0), 7pm: Treveyon Henderson and the Blue Devils look for their eighth straight win after a battle at Merner with Dinwiddie last week. Henderson was held in check, for awhile, then ended up with, by his standards, an "average" night, meaning four touchdowns. With York facing Smithfield to stay unbeaten, if both teams win, York likely takes over the top seed due to bonus points for facing a team with wins, as opposed to the Monarchs, who have to be looking at major changes following this season. Fifteen years ago, Meadowbrook won a state championship. Lately, they're simply trying to find a win.
Powhatan (3-4) at #3 Manchester (6-1), 7pm: Once firmly in the Region 4B playoff race, now Powhatan finds themselves in tenth place, two positions out of the top eight, and now it's a trip to the reigning Class 6 state champions, who themselves are fighting for as high a seed as possible in Region 5B. A Powhatan win vaults them back into the race, a loss puts big pressure on the Indians to win their final two games, against one-win James River, then a finale against Huguenot that could, could become a play-in game in 4B should circumstances work out a certain way.
J.R. Tucker (1-6) at #6 Deep Run (7-0), 7pm: The Wildcats will be heavily favored Friday night. With a win, the Wildcats will have their best regular season, no matter the outcome of the final two games, since their 9-1 campaign in 2008. Deep Run is trying to put themselves in a position where if, if Highland Springs stumbles once down the stretch, they could be in play for the number one seed. A trip to Glen Allen on our "Game of The Week" next Friday, then a battle with Thomas Jefferson, are the final steps after Friday's game. First things first: don't overlook the Tigers.
L.C. Bird (4-3) at #7 Monacan (6-1), 7:30pm: The Skyhawks scored 42 points against George Wythe, and 55 points so far against everyone else. The Chiefs, really beginning to rock it on offense, look for their third consecutive victory over L.C. Bird. If the Monacan offense continues to progress, it could be a long night for the Skyhawks, and, with a loss, a hit to their playoff chances. You have to go back to the 20th century to find the last time L.C. Bird did not qualify for the postseason, even back in the difficult age of making the playoffs in the pre-2013 format. Monacan, meanwhile, is looking for a slip by either Louisa or Eastern View to try to make the top two in Region 4B.
#8 Benedictine (6-2) at King William (5-2), 7pm: The Cadets, now second in VISAA Division I just behind St. Christopher's, who also step out of the private school ranks by going to Lee-Davis this week. A win here, while great for the Cavaliers, wouldn't help them in the rugged race in Region 2A, where they are in third place, but barely ahead of both Greensville and Nottoway. The Cadets should be fine in their playoff race. Now, it's a question of what their eventual seed will be, and can they get back to the top seed to ensure home field advantage.
Petersburg (3-4) at #9 Prince George (5-2), 7pm: They've ousted Douglas Freeman, stunned Dinwiddie and shocked Thomas Dale. Now, the Royals have to face the always athletic, and talented, Petersburg. They can't let this become a trap game, with #2 Hopewell coming in next Friday. A win here should just about punch a ticket to the postseason for Prince George, something they haven't experienced in a very, very long time. The Crimson Wave, meanwhile, are in the eighth and final spot in Region 3A, a point ahead of Southampton and New Kent, so a win here would be huge for Petersburg's playoff aspirations.
Hermitage (2-5) at #10 Douglas Freeman (5-2), 7pm: The Rebels see Clover Hill leapfrog them in the Region 5B standings last week, and now need another win, likely two, to get back to the playoffs after missing them in 2018. The Panthers, after an impressive start, have faltered. A victory here would keep their faint playoff hopes alive, and maybe more importantly, get a positive spin back on this season, as a junior-laden team looks to build momentum for this stretch as well as 2020.
#11 Thomas Jefferson (6-1) at Gretna (5-2), 7pm: The Vikings travel two and a half hours west to face the third seed in Region 2C, an excellent test for Thomas Jefferson entering the homestretch of the season. Thomas Jefferson is the top seed right now in Region 2A, and, with a road win here, could stretch their nearly 2.5 point advantage even further. With a trip to unbeaten Deep Run in two weeks, the Vikings would love to have the #1 seed wrapped up before their regular season finale. The Hawks have scored at least 46 points in each of their five victories this season, so the Viking defense will be sorely tested.
#12 Clover Hill (5-2) at Cosby (5-2), 7:30pm: Last week's #12 team hosts this week's #12 team. The Cavaliers, after their comeback stunner at Huguenot in overtime, jumped to sixth place in Region 5B, while Cosby, whose five-game winning streak ended at L.C. Bird, is in sixth place in Region 6A. While the Cavs see a host of teams dying to switch positions with them (Henrico, L.C. Bird, Glen Allen....), Cosby is in better shape, as the #7 and #8 seeded teams are over two points behind the Titans entering this week. Clover Hill needs the win more in a tighter playoff race. As Marc Davis of NBC12 noted on the "On The Sidelines Wednesday Playbook" this week, the matchup to watch is the stingy Cosby defense against a Clover Hill offense that proved their firepower after halftime last week.
Thomas Dale (4-3) at Matoaca (5-2), 7pm: Few would have predicted in August that, when this game came around, the Warriors would have the better record. Matoaca holds the eighth, and final, playoff seed in Region 5B. Just above them? Clover Hill, Douglas Freeman, and, waiting in the wings, Henrico, L.C. Bird and Glen Allen. The Knights find themselves in fifth place in Region 6A, and hopes for hosting a first round game now up in the air. Thus, both teams are fighting, big time, in this traditional Central District battle. Thomas Dale could be in an interesting position at this point in the season. Should they be able to win out, they could have serious momentum entering a postseason where it seems like everyone will be trying to give their best shot to Oscar Smith, the top seed currently, whose only loss was to, you guessed it, Highland Springs.
Glen Allen (4-3) vs. John Marshall (4-3), 7pm, Huguenot HS: This could end up being the best game this week. Former Oscar Smith and UVA teammates Perry Jones and Phillip Sims coach against each other for the first time. The Jaguars have been playing much more like the playoff team of 2018 the past three weeks, and a win here positions Glen Allen in a home showdown with now-undefeated Deep Run next Friday. Glen Allen is in 11th place in Region 5B, so Jaguars fans need to root for Hermitage, Thomas Dale, Monacan and Hanover this week. As for John Marshall, they're in seventh place in Region 2A, over two points ahead of the ninth seed. But nothing is secure, so a win here on Friday would do wonders for their postseason hopes.
St. Christopher's (7-1) at Lee-Davis (2-5), 7pm: The Saints look to hold onto the top seed in VISAA Division I (they just took over this week), ahead of their annual showdown with arch rival Collegiate. While Lee-Davis is mathematically alive in Region 4B, this game hurts them, win or lose, a lot. A game against a private school team doesn't count in the VHSL race. Lee-Davis enters this week just under four points away from eighth place.
Patrick Henry (5-3) at Armstrong (1-7), 7pm: The Patriots look to clinch a winning season after going 3-6 a year ago, but, more importantly, look to do what they can in terms of being in the top four in Region 4B, currently in fourth, but with Dinwiddie and Spotsylvania looming behind them. The Generals host a one-win Colonial Heights team, while the Knights are at one-win Caroline. Patrick Henry fans should be L.C. Bird fans this week, as a Monacan loss would draw the Patriots closer to the third position. This week? Keep Alex Sikkar and company healthy, get a win, then rest on the bye week and get ready for Tomato Bowl 61 at Lee-Davis on November 8th (which we'll have live for the 18th consecutive season on 102.9 The Mater).
Henrico (4-4) at Hanover (1-6), 7pm: Time, and opportunity, are running out for Henrico, who has become a perennial playoff team in the always tough Region 5B. They are favored to win at a Hanover team who has struggled all season and are already building for 2020. The Warriors need a win, and need for Cosby, Hermitage, Thomas Dale and Monacan to pick up victories. It's past time for a breakout game for Eric McDaniels. This could be the week.
Colonial Heights (1-7) at Dinwiddie (3-4), 7pm
George Wythe (0-7) at Huguenot (3-4), Saturday, 1pm
Norfolk Academy at Collegiate (4-3), Saturday, 1pm (airtime 12:30pm on 102.9 The Mater, CLICK HERE to listen online)
Midlothian (1-6) at James River (1-6), 7pm
Fluvanna at #5 Louisa (7-0), 7pm
Spotsylvania (5-2) at Caroline (1-6), 7pm
New Kent (3-4) at Tabb (3-4), 7pm
Goochland (6-1) at Blue Ridge, Saturday, 2:30pm
Buckingham at Amelia (4-3), 7pm