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GAME OF THE WEEK: #6 Deep Run (8-0) at Glen Allen (4-4), 6:30pm airtime, 102.9 The Mater (102.9 FM/1430 AM), CLICK HERE to listen online, also on @TuneIn Radio App on "Radiall"...
Deep Run knows they are in the Class 5, Region B playoffs beginning November 15th. The Wildcats are 8-0 for the first time since 2008 and the third time in school history dating back to 2003. The last time they were 8-0, they lost to Hermitage, finished 9-1, and missed the postseason back in the days where only district winners and four wild card teams advanced in the old Division 6 and Division 5 format in the former Group AAA. The Wildcats look for back to back playoff bids as they earned back in 2005 and 2006. More importantly, they look to keep pace with Manchester, who barely overtook them in the Region 5B standings for second place behind Highland Springs. As for the Jaguars, they missed a huge opportunity to really be in position to wrestle a bid away from the likes of Henrico or Matoaca by falling last week to John Marshall. A win at home Friday, then a win over Douglas Freeman to end the regular season, and the Jaguars have hope. One win may not be enough.
Which defense wins the day? The Jags must contend with Fischer Player of The Year Award candidate Bo Kite and the Wildcats must stop the Central Region's all-time leading rusher in Devin Flowers.
#1 Highland Springs (8-0) at Colonial Forge (7-1), 7pm: This would have been our Game of The Week had it been closer to Richmond. The Springers, with trips to Virginia Beach, Greensboro, and to Manchester behind them, now head to Stafford County. Jones, Bradford, Smith and the rest of the Springer offense should be ready for, perhaps, their toughest test, especially on defense, this regular season. The Eagles have given up more than 13 points once, in their 30-27 loss to Freedom-Prince William. They held Massaponax to a field goal last Friday. They are for real. Highland Springs' defense will need to be ready to answer in a game that seems a bit destined to be played in the teens or the low 20's. Remember that Colonial Forge leads Region 6B over Freedom and Massaponax and are trying to clinch their region's top seed. Nothing clinches better than ending a 37-game winning streak. But the Springers have had Virginia's biggest target on their back all season. They'll be ready.
#3 Manchester (7-1) at L.C. Bird (4-4), 7pm: The Lancers, now number two in Region 5B, faces the same type of opponent Deep Run has, a fellow Region 5B member at 4-4, on the outside looking in, in desperate need of a victory. The Skyhawks haven't missed the playoffs since, literally, the 20th century. They need a win, but to do that, they need to find their offense. Save their win over George Wythe, they've scored 20 points or more just twice. Meanwhile, Manchester has been held under 27 points just once, in their 26-16 loss to Highland Springs. The Lancers know all about Colonial Forge, and find themselves, for once, rooting for them.
#2 Hopewell (8-0) at #9 Prince George (6-2), 7pm: This traditional rivalry has not seen a game with this much on the line in a very, very long time. For the Blue Devils, they look to stay unbeaten and, now, catch up to Phoebus, who grabbed the top seed in Region 3A thanks to a win over previously unbeaten Woodside. Hopewell is tied for second with York, who has their shot at an unbeaten team this week, Warhill. The Blue Devils, meanwhile, have their hands full. A young, determined Prince George team knows that if they can stick to their bread and butter, power offensive football, win the time of possession, sustain long drives, and, on defense, hold Hopewell to 30 percent or under on third down conversions, they can win. Prince George already has signature wins this year over Douglas Freeman, Dinwiddie, and Thomas Dale. A win over Hopewell would be the biggest of all, and easily seal a playoff bid in Region 5B, something few saw coming back in August.
#4 Varina (7-1) at Atlee (3-5), 7pm: It will be a very emotional Senior Night at Atlee, as the community continues to mourn the sudden passing of senior Garrett Kirby, a member of their baseball team, and teammate and friend to many on the football team. The Blue Devils come in off their bye week and should not be looking ahead to their showdown with Highland Springs. Varina knows they are playing their best football in years and are in a position to make a deep playoff run. Ideally, from a mental standpoint, they're already in playoff mode.
#7 Monacan (7-1) at Cosby (5-3), 7:30pm: The Chiefs are back in the discussion at the top of Region 4B, nearly catching second-seeded Eastern View during the Cyclones' bye week last week. If Spotsylvania beats Eastern View and Monacan wins this game, the #2 seed is theirs with one very difficult game to go. The Chiefs are playing their best football of the season right now, but now have to go to play a Cosby team struggling offensively that will count on their defense to keep the game close. Cosby may make the playoffs if they, for some reason, ended 5-5, but they will make it at 6-4. A win here seals a 6A bid. The Titan defensive front better disrupt, and early, for a chance to win.
#8 Benedictine (7-1) at St. John Paul the Great (0-8), 7pm: The Cadets just behind St. Christopher's for the top seed in Division I of VISAA. The Saints get arch rival Collegiate on Saturday. A Cadet win here and a Cougars win Saturday, and the road to the state title goes through Benedictine.
John Marshall (5-3) at #10 Douglas Freeman (6-2), 7pm: What a win for Coach Sims and the Justices last week, holding Devin Flowers and Glen Allen to just six points. The Justices can vault into contention for a first round home game in Region 2A with another big win Friday. This will be tough for John Marshall, however, as the Rebels have been finding ways to win, seemingly, week in and week out. If behind in the fourth quarter, Douglas Freeman is completely sure of their ability to find the path to victory. With a slight lead over #8 Henrico and #9 Matoaca in the Region 5B standings, the Rebels can't afford a slip up here.
J.R. Tucker (1-7) at #11 Thomas Jefferson (7-1), Saturday, 2pm: The Vikings are in the driver's seat in Region 2A after a gutsy road win at Gretna last Friday. A rare home date awaits Thomas Jefferson, who look for their eighth win ahead of a trip to Deep Run in the regular season finale. The teams could have a combined record of 17-1 should both the Wildcats and Vikings prevail this week. The "Hornik Bowl" would be a game the magnitude of which no one could have dreamed of even just a year or two ago. Hornik helped begin the turnaround at TJ before leaving for Deep Run, where he has the Wildcats playing their best in a decade.
George Wythe (0-8) at #12 Clover Hill (6-2), 7pm: The Cavaliers should officially punch a ticket to the playoffs with a win Friday, perhaps the biggest surprise in a season full of them in Region 5B. With their Cavaliers moving out of Class 6 into Class 5, and after a 2018 which saw progress, few still believed they could take a big enough step to join the final eight standing after this season, but with a good performance Friday, the Cavaliers will do just that. A win gets them 24 points, while a Prince George loss to Hopewell earns them 20, so it would be a matter of other results as to who is the #5 seed with a week to play. If Prince George knocks off Hopewell (notice we didn't say upset), the Royals pull away.
Matoaca (5-3) at Petersburg (3-5), 7pm: The Warriors must pick up the pieces of the stunning loss at home last Friday to Thomas Dale and find a way to stop the Crimson Wave, who enter the game tied for the eighth and final playoff seed in Region 3A. They're tied with Southampton, who faces #10 Park View-South Hill in, essentially, an elimination game, unless Petersburg falls here. As for Matoaca, just behind Henrico, who took over eighth in Region 5B with a win over Hanover last week after the Hail Mary for Thomas Dale, they need a win to position themselves for the final week, when Henrico has a bye (they finish 6-4 with a win over Lee-Davis Friday) and have no on-field control over their destiny, and playoff hopes. Plus, should L.C. Bird or Glen Allen pull off an upset Friday, then suddenly it's three teams for one spot, but only two playing. A postseason caliber team wins this game. This is Matoaca's time to prove they belong.
Lee-Davis (2-6) at Henrico (5-4), 7pm: As mentioned above, the Warriors of Henrico overtook the Warriors of Matoaca for the eighth and final Region 5B seed last week. Barely. A slip up here and hopes are damaged. We haven't seen the best that Henrico can be yet. Not knowing whether they have an eleventh game in their season, and on the bye next week, we expect them to pull out all the stops to try to take Lee-Davis out of the game early on Senior Night. All Henrico can do is win, then practice next week with the hopes there will be a game on November 15th. Eric McDaniels could have a huge night.
Dinwiddie (4-4) at Meadowbrook (0-8), 7pm: With a win, Dinwiddie would overtake Patrick Henry, who is idle this week, for the fourth seed in Region 4B, even with a win over a winless Meadowbrook. But to keep that, they may need to win out, which includes handling Thomas Dale at home next Friday, and, at this hour, the Knights look good for the Region 6A playoffs, but need one more win to make sure. The Generals need to come out of this game without any needless injuries. They'll need all hands on deck the rest of the way, however long the road might be.
Huguenot (4-4) at Midlothian (2-6), 7pm: This is a tough draw for Huguenot. Midlothian, coming off a Coal Bowl victory over rival James River, is, yes, playing for next year. But the Trojans, after back to back playoff appearances the past two years after a three-decade absence, still took steps forward in their climb from Class 4 to Class 5. They want to be where Prince George and Clover Hill find themselves at this time next year. Thus, the Falcons get a ninth game opponent with absolutely nothing to lose on their home field. And, with #8 Chancellor, #9 King George, and #10 Powhatan all within a point of the Falcons, there is no room for error here. Look for Kevin Gayles to have a breakout game should Huguenot win.
Granby (3-6) at Thomas Dale (5-3), 7pm
James River (1-7) at Powhatan (3-5), 7:30pm
Hanover (1-7) at Armstrong (1-7), 7pm
Mills Godwin (3-5) at Hermitage (2-6), 7pm
Caroline (1-7) at King George (4-4), 7pm
Eastern View (8-0) at Spotsylvania (6-2), 7pm
King William (5-3) at West Point (6-3), 7pm
Goochland (7-1) at Central-Lunenburg (5-4), 7pm
Middlesex 13, King & Queen Central 12
Washington & Lee (5-3) at Essex (7-1), 7pm
Amelia (4-4) at Cumberland (0-8), 7pm
Mathews (1-7) at Charles City (1-5), 7pm
Jamestown at New Kent, 7pm