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Tuesday, October 18, 2022

FOOTBALL: VHSL Region Rankings/Analysis for Week 9

Three weeks remain in the 2022 high school football regular season. Some teams are already in the postseason, others looking to clinch the top seed in their respective region, while others are fighting to make the top eight. Let's take a deep dive into the latest Virginia High School League (VHSL) region standings containing RVA teams.

NOTE: * denotes clinching a playoff berth


1) *Oscar Smith 32.0 (6-0, vs Nansemond River (5-2) Friday)
2T) *Manchester 31.429 (6-1, at Cosby (3-3) Friday)
        *Thomas Dale 31.429 (7-0, vs Petersburg (4-3) Friday)
4) Franklin County 29.571 (5-2, vs William Fleming (2-5) Friday)
5) Western Branch 29.5 (7-1, at Deep Creek (4-3) Friday)
6) Floyd Kellam 24.571 (4-3, at Landstown (3-4) Friday)
7) Cosby 23.143 (3-4, vs Manchester Friday)
8) Landstown 22.857 (3-4, vs Floyd Kellam (4-3) Friday)
9) James River 21.857 (2-5, at Clover Hill (2-5) Friday)
10) Grassfield 20.0 (1-7, bye week)

ANALYSIS: As we expected, the Oscar Smith win in the battle of unbeatens against King's Fork last Friday propelled them into the top spot with three weeks left. As of now, it looks like the Tigers will only play nine regular season games, so keep that in mind. A weaker than normal Hopewell cost Thomas Dale points that would normally have given them second place outright. Instead, Manchester's win over a previously unbeaten Midlothian allows them to tie the Knights for second. 

More bad news for the RVA teams: Oscar Smith's final three opponents hold a combined record of 19-3 (Nansemond River, Western Branch, Phoebus). Thomas Dale's are a combined 16-5, while Manchester's is 5-16. Should the Tigers win it, the top seed is theirs. Thomas Dale needs the Tigers to lose at least one, run the table, and hope Dinwiddie is 9-0 when they meet on November 4th.

Cosby could all but solidify a playoff berth by upsetting Manchester Friday. They have George Wythe and Powhatan following. James River's best hope to get into the top eight is by winning Friday, and knocking off Midlothian in the Coal Bowl November 4th.


1) *Highland Springs 33.0 (8-0, bye week)
2) *Midlothian 27.429 (6-1, vs George Wythe (0-6) Friday)
3) Douglas Freeman 26.143 (6-1, vs J.R. Tucker (2-5) Friday)
4) Hermitage 25.75 (5-3, at Mills Godwin (3-4) Friday)
5) L.C. Bird 25.143 (5-2, vs Powhatan (6-1) Friday)
6) Glen Allen 23.0 (3-4, at Thomas Jefferson (7-0) Saturday)
7) Mills Godwin 21.857 (3-4, vs Hermitage (5-3) Friday)
8) Clover Hill 19.571 (2-5, vs James River (2-5) Friday)
9) Prince George 19.286 (1-6, vs Dinwiddie (7-0) Friday)
10) J.R. Tucker 19.143 (2-5, at Douglas Freeman (6-1) Friday)
11) Meadowbrook 18.571 (1-6, vs Hopewell (3-4) Friday)

ANALYSIS: Suffice to say, even if Highland Springs were to lose to both Atlee and Varina, they will likely be the top seed in Region 5C. The intrigue is below them, as Douglas Freeman, who missed a golden opportunity to really keep pace with Midlothian, now finishes at home with J.R. Tucker this Friday, followed by St. Christopher's and Glen Allen. A Midlothian win against George Wythe Friday and a win at Powhatan next Friday, exacting revenge for last year's loss at Poates, could be enough to clinch that second seed. What the Mavericks have to do is win out and hope that's enough to end up #3 if no better. It ensures a home game in the first round November 11th and keeps them on the opposite side of Highland Springs in the bracket. 

L.C. Bird's home date Friday with Powhatan, which you can hear live on Rejoice 101.3 FM and 990 AM and on the RVA Sports Network, is huge. With a win, it puts them in position to jump into the Douglas Freeman conversation should they knock off Thomas Dale the following week in the Battle of Chester. #1 might be settled here, but little else is. And, yes, there are four teams within a point of each other for the eighth and final seed. Of course, the prize for that will be a trip to Highland Springs, but for any of those programs, the opportunity to play another week is huge.


1) *Dinwiddie 29.143 (7-0, at Prince George (1-6) Friday)
2) *Varina 28.857 (7-0, at Henrico (2-6) Thursday)
3) *King George 27.333 (6-0, vs Eastern View (7-1) Friday)
4) Eastern View 25.125 (7-1, at King George (6-0) Friday)
5) Hanover 25.0 (5-2, vs Patrick Henry (5-2) Friday)
6) Powhatan 24.571 (6-1, at L.C. Bird (5-2) Friday)
7) Patrick Henry 24.429 (5-2, at Hanover (5-2) Friday)
8) Matoaca 23.857 (4-3, vs Colonial Heights (4-3) Friday)
9) Courtland 19.857 (3-4, vs Culpeper (2-5) Friday)
10) Monacan 19.286 (2-5, vs Huguenot (0-7) Friday)
11) Spotsylvania 19.0 (3-4, vs James Monroe (2-5) Friday)
12) Henrico 18.625 (2-6, vs Varina (7-0) Friday)
13) Atlee 18.143 (2-5, vs Armstrong (3-4) Friday)

ANALYSIS: What a Friday night it's going to be in Region 4B!! #12 hopes an upset of #2 propels them over three teams and back into the eight-team playoff race, while #3 and #4 do battle, as do #5 and #7. This is "shakeout" week indeed. Dinwiddie became the new #1 seed simply by strength of schedule, beating Petersburg while Varina defeated Armstrong. King George beat winless Chancellor, and fell 1 1/2 plus points behind both. They can right that with a win over 7-1 Eastern View, who is firmly back in the playoff picture after two seasons of unexpected mediocrity. They will make a definitive statement about their return if they leave King George winners Friday. As for the Patrick Henry/Hanover battle, it's a big game for both, but more of a must win for the Patriots, as they next get Varina at home before Tomato Bowl 64 against, for now, just a one-win team in Mechanicsville. Teams like Courtland, Monacan and Spotsylvania desperately need Colonial Heights to upset Matoaca.


1) *Phoebus 29.143 (7-0, vs Woodside (6-1) Friday)
2) *Lake Taylor 28.143 (6-1, at Manor (1-6) Friday)
3) Lafayette 25.429 (6-1, at Jamestown (0-6) Friday)
4) I.C. Norcom 23.375 (6-2, at Churchland (4-3) Saturday)
5) Southampton 22.714 (5-2, at Surry (2-5) Thursday)
6) York 22.143 (5-2, at Smithfield (2-5) Friday)
7) Hopewell 21.571 (3-4, at Meadowbrook (1-6) Friday)
8) Colonial Heights 21.286 (4-3, at Matoaca (4-3) Friday)
9) New Kent 20.429 (3-4, at Tabb (1-6) Friday)
10) Petersburg 20.0 (4-3, at Thomas Dale (7-0) Friday)

ANALYSIS: Phoebus has a chance to galvanize their hold on first place with a win over Class 5 Woodside on Friday, with Oscar Smith still on their schedule on November 4th. Because of such a tough strength of schedule down the stretch, only Lake Taylor has a realistic shot at overtaking them. Lafayette looks good, I.C. Norcom could join them by beating Churchland on Saturday. The intrigue begins with the fifth seed, as six teams are now vying for four spots. Petersburg could really wreck the party if they hand Thomas Dale their first loss Friday. Colonial Heights would overtake Hopewell for 7th with a win at Matoaca even if Hopewell ousts Meadowbrook. New Kent, however, is rooting for Smithfield, Meadowbrook and Matoaca, plus Thomas Dale, so a win over Tabb draws them closer or into the top eight.


1) *Brentsville District 23.25 (7-1, vs Riverside (1-6) Friday)
2) *Skyline 19.375 (4-4, bye week)
3) Armstrong 18.5 (3-5, at Atlee (2-5) Friday)
4) James Monroe 17.571 (2-5, at Spotsylvania (3-4) Friday)
5) Warren County 17.143 (3-4, at William Monroe (1-6) Friday)
6) Caroline 17.0 (2-5, vs Chancellor (0-7) Friday)
7) Culpeper 16.286 (2-5, at Courtland (3-4) Friday)
8) Goochland 15.429 (3-4, at Albemarle (5-1) Friday)
9) Meridian 14.375 (0-8, vs Park View-Sterling (2-6) Thursday)
10) William Monroe 14.286 (1-6, vs Warren County (3-4) Friday)

ANALYSIS: The big winner in this region last week was the Cavaliers of Caroline, coming from behind to knock off Courtland. As with most regions at this point, two teams can relax when it comes to knowing they'll be playing on November 11th. Those two teams, Brentsville District and Skyline, face each other in Nokesville next Friday, so a Brentsville win Friday, and next Friday, clinches the top seed. The Goochland Bulldogs have won three straight, but have a gauntlet to end the regular season with Albemarle, Orange, and unbeaten Louisa. One win in those three should ensure them a postseason bid, two definitely will, and three, finishing 6-4, would put them squarely in the conversation of hosting a first round game, something unthinkable just a couple of weeks ago. Armstrong needs a win over either Atlee this week or Mechanicsville next Thursday to help them in their quest to not only make the playoffs, but earn a first round home game.


1) *Thomas Jefferson 25.714 (7-0, vs Glen Allen (3-4) Saturday)
2) Poquoson 21.857 (5-2, at Bruton (5-2) Friday)
3) King William 20.143 (4-3, at Mechanicsville (1-6) Friday)
4) Greensville County 20.0 (5-2, at Windsor (0-8) Friday)
5) Bruton 18.714 (5-2, vs Poquoson (5-2) Friday)
6) Prince Edward 17.0 (4-3, vs Nottoway (2-5) Thursday)
7) Brunswick 16.875 (4-4, bye week)
8T) Nandua 16.857 (4-3, at Arcadia (1-5) Friday)
       Amelia County 16.857 (4-3, at Buckingham (6-1) Friday)
10) Randolph-Henry 16.333 (3-3, vs Cumberland (0-7) Friday)
11) Nottoway 14.286 (2-5, at Prince Edward (4-3) Thursday)

ANALYSIS: Thomas Jefferson has never, in their long history, started a season with eight straight wins. They can accomplish that at home Saturday against a Glen Allen team smarting after a loss at Potomac, still trying to solidify their playoff footing in Region 5C. The Vikings will take the field already knowing whether Poquoson or Bruton have won their Friday night showdown. A Bruton win and TJ win hands the #1 seed to the Vikings. King William has a chance to beat a Class 4 team in Mechanicsville to help them clinch at least one home playoff game (they still have their annual showdown with King & Queen Central to come November 3rd). The Amelia Raiders could leap well into the top eight, rather than their current tie for eighth, with a win over Buckingham, but that is a tall task. Nottoway is in desperation mode, needing to win at Prince Edward Thursday.


1) *Essex 22.857 (7-0, vs Lancaster (1-6) Friday)
2) *King & Queen Central 17.5 (5-1, at Charles City (0-6) Friday)
3) *Northumberland 17.333 (4-2, vs Colonial Beach (0-7) Friday)
4) *Westmoreland 17.0 (3-3, at Rappahannock (4-3) Friday)
5) West Point 16.857 (5-2, bye week, game vs Mathews canceled)
6) Rappahannock 15.429 (4-3, vs Westmoreland (3-3) Friday)
7) Northampton 11.5 (2-4, vs Snow Hill, MD (1-6) Friday)
8) Middlesex 11.0 (3-4, played Northampton Monday 10/17)
9) Lancaster 10.0 (1-6, at Essex (7-0) Friday)
10) Colonial Beach 9.286 (0-7, at Northumberland (4-2) Friday)

ANALYSIS: We know half of the field in Region 1A, and it's almost a lock that the lone unbeaten, Essex, will hold the top seed and home field through Thanksgiving Weekend. That said, King & Queen Central still has four, yep, four games in the final three weeks, all on the road. Charles City, West Point, Middlesex and King William have a combined 12 wins as of now. It won't be enough to catch Essex if the Trojans win Friday. Colonial Beach is mathematically alive, but needs to start winning, beginning with Friday at Northumberland. 


CLASS 4, REGION D: Louisa, despite an 8-0 record, the best in their region, is still in third place at 25.75 points, behind E.C. Glass (26.714) and Salem (26.571). Both of those teams are 6-1. The Lions have Albemarle and Goochland left on their schedule, both E.C. Glass and Salem also have a game in hand. This is a good time to remind everyone that Louisa will be one of the new teams in Class 5, Region C next year, when Highland Springs leaves for Class 6, Region A and the football race will be much, much different.

CLASS 1, REGION B: Riverheads, just 5-1, holds just under a half-point lead at the top over Central-Lunenburg. C-L has a bye this week, then faces one-loss Buckingham and, currently, 4-3 Amelia to end the season. Riverheads faces Fort Defiance (3-4) this week, then goes to Staunton (7-0), and finishes hosting Stuarts Draft (5-2). With their strength of schedules so difficult down the stretch, these two teams will finish either first or second. In the nine-team region, Cumberland is the odd man out with three weeks left.

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