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Thursday, November 2, 2017

WEEK 11 FOOTBALL PRIMER: All About The Playoffs

November is here! Nineteen VHSL teams know they are headed to the postseason next week, while several others play Friday to extend their seasons and keep their championship dream alive. Here's a look at the big games coming up in Week 11 primarily through the lens of playoff implications:

GAME OF THE WEEK: The 59th Tomato Bowl: Patrick Henry (5-4) at Lee-Davis (6-3), 7pm (Airtime 6:30pm on WHAN Radio, 102.9 FM/1430 AM, online by CLICKING HERE, on @TuneIn Radio App on "Radiall")

Both the Patriots and Confederates are playoff bound. The question is where to. For Patrick Henry, they begin the night sixth in Region 4B, where the top four teams are all 9-0 and headed for home games in the first round. Patrick Henry, with a win and a Midlothian loss to James River, would likely be heading to Culpeper to battle Eastern View in the first round if the four unbeatens (Dinwiddie, Monacan, Louisa and Eastern View) all prevail Friday night. But first, they must win the Tomato Bowl for the first time since 2014 and hand Lee-Davis their first county loss since that same year. Lee-Davis has won their last eight meetings against county rivals, and took a tough 14-7 win in Tomato Bowl 58 last November in Ashland. Lee-Davis must win to ensure being no less than a sixth seed in Region 5B, where they begin play tonight. A titanic upset of Cosby beating L.C. Bird could get them to fifth, but no higher. Both teams will need to be road warriors in the postseason. Yes, there is a chance that, with a loss, Lee-Davis could drop to seventh if Deep Run beats Mills Godwin. The difference there? A first round match likely with Henrico as #6, with Highland Springs as #7. (TWITTER: @hanoversports with bonus coverage from @Cameron9408 and @Noah9700)

NBC12 GAME OF THE WEEK: #9 Varina (7-2) at #2 Highland Springs (8-1), 7pm:

Highland Springs is locked into the second seed in Region 5B, meaning they can host the first two rounds at Kreiter Stadium. But even though the Springers can't change their playoff seeding, that doesn't mean there's not plenty to play for in this, their biggest rivalry game every year. And, for the first time since the dawn of the decade, Varina comes in with enough weapons to truly give Highland Springs their best shot. Logan, Richardson, Jones and company have the athleticism and speed to at least keep up. A big night from Devonte Waller for Highland Springs, and a big Senior Night for Billy Kemp, could go a long way for the Springers to end the regular season on a nine-game winning streak. For Varina, a win ensures a home game next Friday in the first round. A loss, coupled with an L.C. Bird win over Cosby, likely means Varina at L.C. Bird in the 4/5 game in Region 5B next Friday. (TWITTER: @henricosports and @MattNBC12 )

Colonial Heights (3-6) at #1 Dinwiddie (9-0), 7pm

The Generals look to clinch the top seed in Region 4B with a win over the Colonials, who after a 3-0 start in non-district play have struggled in the always tough Central District. Colonial Heights must win for playoff hopes to be alive and well come Saturday morning. Dinwiddie needs a win to make sure the Road to Williamsburg again runs through Navy Nation. (TWITTER: @TheRVASportsNet )

#3 Monacan (9-0) at Huguenot (5-4), 7pm 

The Chiefs look to complete the first 10-0 season in school history, a history which dates back nearly 40 years. Even with that accomplishment, they look to fend off red-hot Louisa for the second seed in Region 4B to assure home games in the first two rounds. Tonight is all about winning, and staying healthy, as is the case for the many teams who have already clinched postseason bids. The night looms much bigger for Huguenot, who begin in the eighth and final Region 4B playoff spot, the #8 seed. A loss, coupled with an upset win by #9 King George over unbeaten fourth-seed Eastern View, could spell the sudden end to a promising season for the Falcons. But if Eastern View wins, Huguenot should be in the playoffs no matter what they do tonight. The bad news? Finishing eighth means a trip to Dinwiddie in the first round. But even if that is their lot, the Falcons have a lot to be proud of under head coach Bryan Jennings. (TWITTER: @cfieldsports and @TheRVASportsNet )

George Wythe (0-9) at #4 Manchester (8-1), 7:30pm

This should be an easy night for the Lancers, who will likely let starters see some action, then pull them to avoid injury issues heading into the playoffs. However, with a big upset, the Bulldogs could sneak into the Region 3B playoffs in the #8 slot, even at 1-9. But that's a big if. Manchester is in the #2 spot in Region 6B with a win, but they can't catch #1 Colonial Forge. Thus, an L.C. Bird win over Cosby tonight would eliminate the Titans from the #7 seed, and Clover Hill, who is idle this week, would come to Manchester for a Region 6B First Round game next Friday. (TWITTER: @cfieldsports and @TheRVASportsNet )

#5 Hermitage (9-1) is idle

#6 Thomas Dale (7-2) at Prince George (4-5), 7pm

The Knights are favored, and know they will likely begin as the #3 seed in Region 6B, unless George Wythe (above) does the unthinkable. But Thomas Dale will be getting a desperate Royals team tonight. Prince George, though they are #12 in Region 5B, can possibly leap over four teams and squeak into the Region 5B playoffs as the eighth and final seed with an upset win. They begin play just ten points behind #8 Mills Godwin. If they lose to Deep Run, Glen Allen knocks off J.R. Tucker and Hopewell defeats Meadowbrook, a Prince George win, and some help, might allow the miracle to happen. But if Thomas Dale takes care of business on the road, the season is over for the Royals. (TWITTER: @TheRVASportsNet and @cfieldsports)

Armstrong (2-7) at #7 Henrico (7-2), 7pm

Senior Night at Chappell Stadium, and a night for celebration for the Warriors, who know they'll have a home game in the first round of Region 5B next week, and they know they won't face Hermitage in that first round for the fourth consecutive year. The Warriors, with a win, lock up the #3 seed no matter what happens at Highland Springs. It's possible that Henrico would turn around and host Lee-Davis for the second time in 15 days in the first round next Friday. As for Armstrong, they're clinging to life as the #8 seed in Region 3B and hope to stay in that position even if they lose, which could happen. That would mean a date with Thomas Jefferson in the first round, the first time two Richmond City schools have met in the postseason in decades, not counting the "consoldiated" era of the 1980's. (TWITTER: @henricosports & @TheRVASportsNet)

Cosby (1-8) at #8 L.C. Bird (6-3), 7pm

A game featuring two teams who haven't met their usual standards in 2017. For Cosby, it's simple: they must win to leap over idle Clover Hill for the seventh and final playoff seed in Region 6B. For L.C. Bird, a win, coupled with a Highland Springs victory over Varina, should set up the Skyhawks to host the Blue Devils in a rematch of a 2016 5A South First Round game won by L.C. Bird 49-9. Should Varina win, the Skyhawks have to hit the road over 895 to Varina next Friday. (TWITTER: @cfieldsports)

#10 Louisa (9-0) at Fluvanna (2-7), 7:30pm

The Lions continue to roll over opponents with strong first half offensive play. Louisa fans now know to be in their seats before kickoff, otherwise they might miss two touchdowns. Louisa hopes for a Huguenot win over Monacan tonight, which would allow them to slip up from #3 to #2 in Region 4B, and, if both teams win in the first round, Monacan would have to make the trip up to Louisa, where the Lions enjoy one of the best home-field advantages in the Commonwealth. But first, the Lions must take care of Fluvanna to finish off the 10-0 regular season for retiring head coach Mark Fischer. (TWITTER: @TheRVASportsNet )

Amelia (7-2) at #11 Goochland (9-0), 7pm

The shine of this game is a bit less thanks to Nottoway's upset win over the Raiders last Friday. The Bulldogs are playing for the #1 seed in Region 2A, but that can only happen with a win and a Poquoson loss to Class 3 York. But another 10-0 season is in the grasp of the Bulldogs, and with it, no matter the seed, momentum into the postseason. For all the talk of Hermitage, L.C. Bird, Highland Springs and Dinwiddie over this decade, no conversation about consistency in winning can be complete without a thorough examination of head coach Joe Fowler's Goochland Bulldogs. (TWITTER: TheRVASportsNet)

#12 Collegiate (7-1) at St. Christopher's (6-2), Saturday, 1pm

As of now, both teams occupy spots in the top four in Division I of the VISAA. The Cougars are likely in no matter the result, and need a win for any hope to grab the top seed from Flint Hill. The Saints are in the uncomfortable position of having Benedictine and the Potomac School right behind them for the fourth and final playoff spot. A win over their archrivals would end playoff hopes for those two. (TWITTER: @henricosports and @TheRVASportsNet)

Deep Run (5-4) at Mills Godwin (5-4), 7pm

Our first actual "playoff" game of 2017, in that, at least, the victor knows they are playoff bound in Region 5B. Here are the scenarios:

WILDCATS: Clinch playoff bid with a win. Move from #7 seed to #6 with win, Lee-Davis loss to Patrick Henry and a J.R. Tucker win over Glen Allen so long as Henrico defeats Armstrong. If Armstrong wins, Atlee must beat Hanover for Deep Run to move to #6. If Lee-Davis wins, Deep Run is locked at #7.

EAGLES: Clinch playoff bid with a win and a loss by either Meadowbrook to Hopewell or Prince George to Thomas Dale.

Now, the loser of this game still has a prayer to back into the postseason as the #8 seed (Deep Run enters 7th tonight, Mills Godwin 8th by two points over J.R. Tucker, six over Meadowbrook and ten over Prince George) provided that the Tigers, Monarchs and Royals all lose. But the biggest threat to a 5-5 Godwin would come from Meadowbrook even with a loss to Hopewell, but only if Colonial Heights upsets Dinwiddie. The Wildcats' cushion is bigger, and if Tucker, Meadowbrook and Prince George all lost, a 5-5 Wildcat team is likely the #8 seed, getting a trip to Hermitage next Friday.

(SPECIAL TWITTER COVERAGE: @RobbieWitham and @henricosports)

J.R. Tucker (4-5) at Glen Allen (2-7), 7pm

Senior Night for the Jaguars, and they would love nothing better than to deny their biggest football rival, J.R. Tucker, their first playoff bid in a quarter-century. The Tigers have to contain Devin Flowers, an assignment blown by many defenses, especially in the last month of the season. For J.R. Tucker, it's simple: they must win for any postseason hope, and they need Meadowbrook and Prince George to both lose. It's the easiest path to the playoffs. The Tigers really need Deep Run to beat Mills Godwin to make the path even easier, and a Caroline win over James Monroe wouldn't hurt. (TWITTER: @henricosports)

Thomas Jefferson (6-3) at John Marshall (1-8), 4pm

This game was cancelled for about two hours late Thursday before Richmond Public Schools announced the game would go on, but at 4pm instead of at 7pm. The Vikings are already set in the #1 seed in Region 3B, while the Justices must win to hope to slide ahead of Armstrong or Skyline and grab a bottom playoff bid. A TJ win would possibly mean a first round game with the Wildcats and they are guaranteed home field through the region finals should they advance.

Hopewell (6-3) at Meadowbrook (3-6), 7pm

A collective gasp went up in Monarch Nation last Friday after Meadowbrook let a game they needed to win get away from them against Petersburg. Their playoff chances in Region 5B would be a lot stronger had that happened. Instead, on Senior Night, they need their best performance of the year to lock up a win against a Hopewell team that needs a win to ensure the #3 seed in Region 3A which would mean a home game next week at Merner Field, and, staying out of Phoebus' side of the region bracket. The Phantoms are undefeated. Meadowbrook must win, have Glen Allen beat J.R. Tucker, and Thomas Dale beat Prince George to make the playoffs, and the easier path is having Deep Run beat Mills Godwin. A Hopewell loss, coupled with a York win over Poquoson, could drop the Blue Devils to the #4 seed. (TWITTER: @TheRVASportsNet and @cfieldsports )

James River (5-4) at Midlothian (5-4), 7pm

The Coal Bowl has huge implications for both teams, a statement that may never have been previously said. The reason? Midlothian hasn't been a playoff team in 31 years. James River opened 23 years ago. For the visiting Rapids, they must win to ensure that their Region 6B First Round game against Riverbend is at The Swamp. James River and Riverbend will finish fourth or fifth, and nowhere else. Well, it would take a miraculous series of events, but, mathematically, Franklin County could catch Riverbend for fifth should the Bears lose and the Comets beat Tunstall. So, the Rapids play for home-field advantage. The Trojans cannot host next week, thanks to being in a region with four 9-0 teams. They need a win for the best possible first round matchup, which would be at Eastern View in the 4/5 bracket in Region 4B. A loss, and say, a Patrick Henry win in the Tomato Bowl, could slip Midlothian to sixth, and a date at red-hot Louisa, or, if Courtland wins, too, possibly seventh and a return date with Monacan. The winner here helps themselves in postseason positioning, but there is much more on the line tonight for Midlothian than there is James River. Whether at The Swamp or at Riverbend, the two teams played in August, with the Bears prevailing. James River wants that second chance, preferably at home, but in reality, any way they can. (TWITTER: @cfieldsports)

Atlee (2-7) at Hanover (2-7), 7pm

For the first time in over a decade, this game has no bearing on the postseason, as the Raiders and Hawks both have suffered through disappointing seasons. Atlee's best win was at home over Patrick Henry, while Hanover's best was a road win at surging Mills Godwin. Now, it's all about bragging rights in what has been the hottest rivalry in Hanover County this decade (we know, we see Twitter) until this year. Disappointing seasons, coupled with a tragic event at Atlee last weekend have muted this matchup, but both teams really want to go out of 2017 with a win to build on for next season. TWITTER: @Andy_Loce15 and @hanoversports )


Petersburg at Matoaca, 7pm
Powhatan at Orange, 7pm

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