The playoffs, the rivals, the showdowns, the big games, we cover it all here to get you ready for the biggest Friday night of the season.....so far!
GAME OF THE WEEK BROADCAST: Lee-Davis (6-2) at #7 Henrico (6-2), 7pm (Airtime 6:30pm on WHAN 102.9 FM/1430 AM, online by CLICKING HERE, and on TuneIn Radio App on "Radiall")
Lee-Davis needs a signature win. Their six wins come to teams all at .500 or worse with a combined 15-34 record. Their two losses, both at home, were by a combined 87 points, not finding the end zone against either Varina and Highland Springs. Now they go to Henrico, where they let a win slip away two years ago. Meanwhile, Henrico, bringing one of the area's best defenses to the table, look for revenge from a loss last year in Mechanicsville in a game they let slip away. The Warriors are ranked third in Region 5B and can get a stranglehold on that position with a win. Lee-Davis must win tonight for any hope of a first round game in Region 5B, in fact, Lee-Davis needs a win tonight or next Friday in the Tomato Bowl to fully ensure a playoff bid. Lass vs. Chambers, and two defenses who need some big plays to get their team a win. Hope you'll join us live for all the action! (TWITTER: @hanoversports and @henricosports)
NBC12 GAME OF THE WEEK: #1 Hermitage (9-0) at #5 Manchester (7-1), 7pm
A game we've been discussing since the schedule release over the summer. The Lancers will bring a "measuring stick" to see how far they've come. Their lone loss was a 42-35 shootout with unbeaten Monacan in September. Meanwhile, Hermitage has already defeated #3 Highland Springs, #6 Thomas Dale, #7 Henrico and #9 Varina. If the Panthers win, they are the #1 seed in Region 5B, period. If they lose, the door opens, slightly, for Highland Springs to win out and make it another close race for the top. Manchester needs a win and likely two Colonial Forge (8-0) losses to earn the top seed in Region 6B, which comes with a first round bye. Many will focus on Hermitage's defense trying to stop Manchester's offense, but, the key to this one may be the other way around. Hermitage hasn't had to win a track meet yet this year. In fact, against better defenses, they've scored 14, 21 and 27 points. Does this mean a game into the 30's or 40's favors the homestanding Lancers? (TWITTER: @Cameron9408, RT's on @henricosports and @cfieldsports)
#2 Dinwiddie (8-0) at #11 Hopewell (6-2), 7pm
The Generals continue another run towards an unbeaten regular season, and their last big hurdle comes at Merner Field, and Dinwiddie probably isn't too happy about the fact that Hopewell comes off their biggest loss of the season last Friday at Thomas Dale. Dinwiddie is one of four unbeaten teams in Region 4B, currently leading Monacan by .75 points in the latest VHSL standings. Beating a six-win Blue Devil squad will help keep them at the top with a game to go. Hopewell, with a win, has an outside chance at the #2 seed in Region 3A, but is more likely headed to the postseason as a #3 seed. York and Southampton loom behind them, so they need at least a 1-1 record in the end to finish there. Can Hopewell's defense be the one to finally slow down Dinwiddie? We're about to find out. (TWITTER: @TheRVASportsNet)
#3 Highland Springs (7-1) at Patrick Henry (5-3), 7pm
It's Senior Night for Hunter Hart and the Class of 2018, a class critical in the recent resurgence of Patriots football. They also remember the pounding they took at the hands of Highland Springs a year ago, and look to make amends. Patrick Henry is one of the few teams in the area with some speed that can at least limit the Highland Springs offense to a point. But they can't always stop them. They also cannot get into a track meet. Three weeks ago, when Varina did just that, and Patrick Henry's offense stalled, it got out of hand quickly. For the Springers, they want to take care of business in Ashland, find out if Hermitage lost, then turn their attention fully to an improved Varina team coming in for the Springers' Senior Night November 3rd. Highland Springs has an outside hope at the top seed in Region 5B, while Patrick Henry is fighting Midlothian, Huguenot and Courtland for playoff position in Region 4B. The Patriots could finish anywhere from 5th to out. We'll know if next week's Tomato Bowl at Lee-Davis on our Game of The Week is a must-win game for the postseason for Patrick Henry by the time we hit the air with "On The Sidelines Extra" on NBC12's Facebook page Friday night at 11:33. (TWITTER: @hanoversports and @henricosports)
#4 Monacan (8-0) at Midlothian (5-3), 7pm
The Chiefs come off an emotional Senior Night win over L.C. Bird, their first in 19 years, and head to Poates Stadium, where they'll run into a buzzsaw in the Trojans, who are on their way to the playoffs for the first time since 1986. Kyle Daniluk now gets a chance to show how good a quarterback he is, facing the Chiefs' defense. The big battle here will be between Monacan tailback Korey Bridy and the Trojans' front seven defensively. Keep Bridy in check, earn a turnover or two, and always score when you're in opponent territory. Do that, Midlothian, and you have a shot. Monacan realizes that, with Dinwiddie ahead of them, and Louisa and Eastern View right behind them, in Region 4B standings, all at 8-0, they cannot afford a slip either tonight or next week at Huguenot. Both opponents could end up being first round Region 4B opponents for the Chiefs in two weeks.
Granby (6-2) at #6 Thomas Dale (6-2), 7pm
The Knights step out of district play one final time to battle the Comets, and, even though their position in third in Region 6B is relatively secure, meaning a home game in Round One in two weeks, a win tonight seals it. Granby knocked off Lake Taylor earlier in October 14-12, so this is a challenge for Thomas Dale, who will look to their "Dark Zone Defense" to again lead the way. If seeds hold in the region, and both teams win their first round game, it could be Thomas Dale at Manchester in the region semifinals in three weeks. First things first, the Knights need a win tonight. (TWITTER: @cfieldsports)
George Wythe (0-8) at #8 L.C. Bird (5-3), 7:30pm
The Skyhawks look to end a rare two-game losing skid against the winless Bulldogs. Heavily favored, the problem facing L.C. Bird is, even with a win, there are no bonus power points for beating a winless team, while the team they are tied for in fourth place in Region 5B, Varina, can pick up four bonus points tonight with a win at Atlee (2-6). It's entirely possible the Skyhawks could be outside the top four, in the playoffs but facing a road trip in the first round, even if L.C. Bird wins out (they have one-win Cosby next week). But all that Marcus Banks, C.J. Donaldson and company can do right now is focus on Friday, get the win, focus on Cosby, get the win, then let the chips fall where they may. The Skyhawks are dangerous in the postseason, any year, every year, including this one. (TWITTER: @cfieldsports)
#9 Varina (6-2) at Atlee (2-6), 7pm
The fact that Varina lost at home in the final minute to Henrico two weeks ago may say more about how good Henrico is as opposed to questioning the return to prominence of Varina. We've seen the Blue Devils up close, and they have tons of playmakers. Tonight they look to spoil Senior Night at Atlee, where the Raiders simply have too many teams to have to overcome to attempt to realistically be in the Region 5B playoff race, even with an upset tonight, with a week to go. But, if Tyler Warren and company can play well, finally get Isaac Abel (and maybe Isaiah) really going in the running game and limit both turnovers and the total number of Blue Devil possessions, anything can happen. For Varina, Brion Logan looks to manage his offensive weapons, get Richardson, Coles and company going earlier, grab a lead and work from there. The Blue Devils want to be 7-2 when they head to archrival Highland Springs next Friday looking for their first win in the rivalry since a 20-0 win in November, 2012. (TWITTER: @henricosports and @hanoversports)
#10 Goochland (8-0) at Prince Edward (4-4), 7pm
The top seed in Region 2A may be a bit out of reach, but the two seed is theirs if Goochland grabs a road win tonight, then takes care of #3 Amelia on November 3rd. The formula never changes for the Bulldogs: running attack, ball control, good defense. Expect nothing different when they travel southwest Friday night. (TWITTER: @TheRVASportsNet)
Charlottesville (6-2) at #12 Louisa (8-0), 7:30pm
The Lions continue to play at a high level for outgoing head coach Mark Fischer, keeping emotions even in spite of everything happening around them regarding their leader. They've taken it all and used it to their advantage, scoring 62 points in each of their last two victories. Now Charlottesville comes in, currently fifth in Region 4D but still with a shot any of the top four positions, especially with a win tonight. Thus, the Lions must avoid the pitfalls prevalent around them and use their distinct home-field advantage, well, to their advantage. Malik Bell leads the offense, but the Lions' defense is the unit most tested tonight. (TWITTER: @TheRVASportsNet)
Mills Godwin (4-4) at Douglas Freeman (4-5), 7pm
One of a group of games tonight that will go a long way in determining who's in, who's out and who has a prayer in Region 5B for the final two spots with a week to go. This is the Rebels' Senior Night and their last game of the season. A sixth loss would damage their playoff hopes, especially since the team they're playing, would likely vault ahead of them in the standings. Currently, the Rebels are in tenth at 22.778 points, the Eagles 12th at 22.375. If Deep Run, Prince George and Meadowbrook also all win, the Rebels are out with a loss. If Freeman gets the home win, Glen Allen can beat Deep Run and Matoaca beat Prince George, suddenly, the Rebels have high hopes for the postseason. If they make it, a first round date with Hermitage or Highland Springs would be likely. If the Eagles win on the road, they'll likely be one of four or even five teams fighting for two playoff spots next Friday. (TWITTER: @henricosports)
Glen Allen (2-6) at Deep Run (4-4), 7pm
While the Jaguars' hopes for the playoffs are about done, they have much to play for these final two weeks. Wins at Deep Run, then at home over J.R. Tucker, would give Glen Allen a 4-6 mark, which would match the best regular season in the Jags' seven year history. Devin Flowers needs a big night, and, conversely, for Deep Run to stay in the top eight in Region 5B, the Wildcats can't let Flowers grow and pile up points on the scoreboard. He's a threat to score multiple touchdowns every game. The Wildcats have five teams within 1.250 points of them in Region 5B, Deep Run currently in seventh, with Prince George and Meadowbrook tied for eighth just .625 behind. Deep Run cannot afford another loss. Winning out (they face Mills Godwin next week), and they're likely in the postseason. They're hoping, that if they slip tonight or next Friday, Thomas Dale can defeat Prince George and Hopewell can beat Meadowbrook. Both would be positives for Deep Run if they can't take care of business themselves. (TWITTER: @henricosports)
John Marshall (1-7) at J.R. Tucker (4-4), 7pm
The Tigers are another team in that group fighting for the #7 and #8 seeds in Region 5B. A win tonight won't give them many bonus points, with the Justices having only one victory, but win they must to be in the conversation on the final night of the season. Tucker is 11th, 1.125 points behind Deep Run in seventh. A win tonight, coupled with wins by Glen Allen, Matoaca (over Prince George), and Petersburg (over Meadowbrook), would put J.R. Tucker in prime position for their first playoff berth of the 21st Century. The good news is, most people didn't give the Tigers a chance to be in this position on October 27, yet here they are. They must win, and hope to get some help. Step one is taking care of the Justices, who, with a win themselves, suddenly re-enters them into the Region 3B postseason conversation with a date looming next week with Region leader Thomas Jefferson. (TWITTER: @henricosports)
Hanover (1-7) at Armstrong (2-6), 7pm
The Hawks, yes, are still in the Region 4B conversation, thanks to their rugged strength of schedule. Playing 8-0 Monacan and Massaponax, even at 4-5, in non-district helps the Hawks. But they simply must win tonight against the Wildcats, which means keeping the score under 24 points, as Armstrong has shown several times this season that their offense can do the job. Hanover hasn't scored over 20 points in a game this year. They may need to tonight. The Hawks are less than two points out of the eighth and final playoff spot, and a win tonight, a Caroline win over Courtland, and preferably, a Clover Hill win at Huguenot, to make it a four-team race for the #7 and #8 seeds in the region with a week to go, and King George, a fifth team, also in the discussion. The Foxes have a bye this week. (TWITTER: @hanoversports and @TheRVASportsNet)
Clover Hill (2-7) at Huguenot (4-4), 7pm
Now we get to the Falcons, who saw Courtland overtake them for seventh in Region 4B, so in the eighth and final spot, they need a win tonight or at least a win over Midlothian next week to be in position to clinch a postseason bid, which would be a giant step forward for the Huguenot program. But Clover Hill has tons to play for. The Cavaliers, with a win tonight, all but clinch a bid in Region 6B, and, with a Cosby loss, likely officially clinches. This will be a desperate game, even though both teams are currently in their postseason races. It will have a feel of a game where two teams must win and get help. (TWITTER: @cfieldsports and @TheRVASportsNet)
Cosby (1-7) at James River (4-4), 7pm
A huge rivalry, desperation for the visitors, opportunity for the home team. The Titans and Rapids have split their last four meetings. For James River, they are fighting Riverbend for the fourth seed in Region 6B, but Riverbend faces North Stafford, and if the Rapids and Bears both win, Riverbend likely takes over fourth by beating an opponent with six wins, 12 bonus points versus two. James River can't worry about that right now, they need to take the great discipline they showed taking Monacan to overtime a few weeks back and get a rivalry win, keeping emotions in check. The Rapids will play in the postseason. They'd love to play November 10th at home, and make Riverbend come to Chesterfield rather than the other way around. (TWITTER: @cfieldsports)
Matoaca at Prince George, 7pm: Royals try to stay in Region 5B playoff race, currently tied for eighth and final playoff spot with Meadowbrook with J.R. Tucker, Douglas Freeman and Mills Godwin right behind. The Royals are big Petersburg fans tonight (see below).
Appomattox at Colonial Heights, 7pm: A must win for the Colonials to have any hope of getting into the Region 3A playoffs.
Meadowbrook at Petersburg, 7:30pm: The Monarchs draw a big step closer to grabbing one of the final two spots in the postseason in Region 5B with a win, while rooting for Matoaca, Glen Allen, Mills Godwin and John Marshall to be victorious tonight.
Courtland at Caroline, 7pm: Courtland holds the final playoff berth in Region 4B, Caroline is 12th. Hanover roots for Caroline and with a win over Armstrong, and the race for the final spot goes down to next Friday (ninth place King George is idle).
New Kent at York, 7pm: It's almost make or break for the Trojans tonight in Region 3A. A win vaults them into the playoff picture with a date against Warhill next week, a loss, and some other results going against them, will make the playoff picture difficult.
King William at West Point, 7pm: The Cavs are back in the top eight in Region 2A and, with a win over 7-1 West Point, could solidify that positioning. Five teams are hoping for the final two bids, and the Cavaliers could come very close to taking one of them with a victory.
Thomas Jefferson (5-3) at William Campbell (7-1), 7pm: The Vikings can clinch their first winning season since the Bicentennial with a victory, but to do it they must travel 107 miles to face one of the top teams in Region 1B. It's a first-time meeting, so anything can happen. The Vikings end regular season play next Friday against John Marshall. Winning both ensures clinching the number one seed in Region 3B.
REMINDER: For the latest high school football news throughout Friday night, do the following!
1) Listen to Game of The Week at 6:30pm (information at top of page)
2) Follow our Twitter Network for hyper-local coverage: @TheRVASportsNet for Richmond, Tri-Cities and surrounding counties, @hanoversports, @henricosports or @cfieldsports.
3) Follow our @Cameron9408 as he'll be live tweeting from #1 Hermitage at #5 Manchester!
4) Watch "On The Sidelines" on NBC12 at 11:15pm with Marc Davis and Matt Estreich, who will be live at Manchester High School, for all the highlights and scores!
5) Join the conversation! Go to www.facebook.com/NBC12News right after "On The Sidelines" at 11:33pm for "On The Sidelines Extra", as Rob Witham of the RVA Sports Network joins Marc Davis for in-depth analysis of the Week 10 action, the latest look at the region playoff races, AND we take your questions on Facebook, live!
TEAMS WHO HAVE CLINCHED PLAYOFF BERTHS:
Region 6B: Colonial Forge, Manchester, Thomas Dale
Region 5B: Hermitage, Highland Springs, Henrico
Region 4B: Dinwiddie, Monacan, Louisa, Eastern View, Midlothian
Region 3A: Hopewell
Region 3B: Thomas Jefferson
Region 2A: Goochland, Amelia
Region 1A: Essex