The RVA Sports Network is your home for high school sports and more in Central Virginia! We are the home for over 50 live high school and college game broadcasts annually, and producers of the "In The Red Zone Podcast"! Follow us on Twitter at @TheRVASportsNet and on Facebook and Instagram at rvasportsnetwork.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

20 GAMES, 20 YEARS: The Top 20 High School Football Broadcasts in RVA Sports Network History

From humble beginnings as the home of Patrick Henry football from 2002-2010, then transforming over the next four years to the RVA Sports Network, we have been incredibly blessed to see some amazing gridiron action!

As we begin our new digital-only era of broadcasting, let's look back to our countdown of the best of the best, our top twenty games over the past two decades.



--We begin the countdown with our first state football championship broadcast, and a crowning moment for the ultra-talented Dinwiddie Generals, who ran roughshod over a very good Kettle Run team to capture the school's second VHSL state crown. Class 4 State Offensive Player of The Year Harry Dalton III led the Generals' barrage, giving Billy Mills his first state title since 2013. (CLICK HERE to listen to the entire game!)


--Twenty years before Dinwiddie's triumph, there was a big upset in our first-ever postseason broadcast. The Patriots, who had reached the Group AAA, Division 5 state final in 2001, lost star quarterback Anthony Martinez to graduation. But John Burley brought the Patriots to the original Kreiter Stadium, getting a late field goal to stun the higher-seeded Springers. Patrick Henry would see their chance at another Central Region title come to an end a week later in a frigid final, where an early extra point miss by the Patriots would come back to haunt them in a 7-6 loss in Hopewell, the site of Patrick Henry's first playoff appearance in school history nineteen years earlier.

#18: DOUGLAS FREEMAN 3, PATRICK HENRY 0 (FINAL/OT): (October 18, 2002):

--Most people would shake their heads at a game that needed overtime to produce any points being in a collection like this. Those people weren't at William E. Long Stadium that night. Fans of defensive football reveled in the slugfest action that October night. Both the Patriots and then-Rebels had opportunities to find the end zone, but simply better defensive play ruled the night. In the extra session, Patrick Henry's field goal attempt was blocked, while the Douglas Freeman try sent home fans into a frenzy of celebration. Defeating Patrick Henry in that time in the Colonial District was a major accomplishment. The Patriots won this matchup a year earlier 54-7.

#17: FOREVER LINKED: PATRICK HENRY 20, DEEP RUN 19 (FINAL/OT), (October 28, 2005); DEEP RUN 21, PATRICK HENRY 20 (FINAL/OT), (October 30, 2006)

--So, yeah, we made an exception, so it's technically 21 Games, 20 Years. But there's no way to unlink these two games. In their first two ever meetings (Deep Run began varsity play in 2003), the Patriots won 33-7 and 35-7. So, these two games, especially the 2005 nailbiter, were surprises. Lenny Prichard and his staff got the Wildcats into the playoff picture in record time, putting a scare into the unbeaten 2005 Patriots, taking them to overtime at 13-13. Patrick Henry scored a touchdown in their four downs, then the Wildcats did likewise. And, what do you do as a young program trying to knock out a power? Go for two. At first, it looked like a seam on the right side would give the Wildcats the stunning road victory, but a tackle from behind stopped Deep Run one yard short and preserved the perfect record, which would extend to 10-0 before the Patriots fell at L.C. Bird in the first round of the 2005 playoffs.

The rematch was pushed to a Monday due to weather. And, wouldn't you know it? It went overtime, with the Wildcats stopping the Patriots on a two-point try for a 21-20 victory, propelling Deep Run to their best season in school history.


It felt like the good ol' days at Hanover High School, when Sam Rogers led the offense to three state semifinal appearances in a four-year period. Now, as head coach, he marveled at the work of Beau Sahnow and Cole Elrod, who had connected for big plays all season, but none bigger than the one with 36 seconds left, Sahnow finding Elrod draped by the Cyclone defense, but not enough to prevent him from catching the ball and getting the foot inbounds for the game-winning touchdown for the four-point win. CLICK HERE to relive that game, including the call of the amazing touchdown that sealed the victory.


After a renaissance season for the Warriors, earning them the #4 seed in Region 4B and a first round date at home with Patrick Henry, who won the region in the last full football season of 2019. The Patriots led 14-10 at the half, 28-18 after three periods. But Matoaca put on the full-court press, scoring a touchdown with 2:13 remaining. It came down to an onside kick that fit the definition of "a game of inches", as Matoaca touched the ball in the air 9 1/2 yards, but not ten yards, after the kick, which drew the penalty flag and gave the Patriots a victory and extended their season, where they eventually fell in the last seconds of the Region 4B Championship at Varina. More on that later.

#14: TOMATO BOWL 52: PATRICK HENRY 25, LEE-DAVIS 24 (September 24, 2010):

The biggest comeback in the storied history of this Hanover County rivalry that dates back to 1959 unfolded in absolutely insane fashion. Lee-Davis, the home team, was the favorite and looked to be cruising up 24-0 in the second period. Then the injury bug not just hit the Lee-Davis sideline, it crushed it. Two defensive touchdowns got the Patriots back into the game, setting up a steal in the final minute. CLICK HERE to read our complete coverage of this classic from our website from 13 years ago.

#13: DIVISION 5 REGION SEMIFINAL: ATLEE 42, LEE-DAVIS 35 (FINAL/2 OT) (November 18, 2011):

The winner would get rival Hanover for the Division 5 crown. For most of the night, it looked as if Lee-Davis would get its second win in as many Friday nights over their eastern Hanover rivals. Up 28-14 in the second half, Atlee fought back with backup quarterback Kenner Berry leading the way, tying the game at 28 and forcing overtime. CLICK HERE to watch the game highlights and see how it all unfolded in the extra sessions, as defense clinched the win for the Raiders (Courtesy of TV99, Hanover County Public Schools).


The state semifinal round proved to be the kryptonite for the Sam Rogers/Andrew Knizner era of Hanover Hawks football. After falling to Phoebus in 2009 and South County in 2011, finally Hanover hosted a state semifinal. But Stone Bridge would build a lead that Hanover couldn't quite overcome, but not for the lack of trying. CLICK HERE to read our story from that titanic battle, including the incredible final pass of Sam Rogers' Hanover career, caught by another Hanover great, Donte Haynesworth.

#11: HERMITAGE 34, PATRICK HENRY 33 (November 5, 2004):

Through most of the 2000's, the Colonial District ran either through Ashland, or Chester Fritz Stadium. The most epic battle between Hermitage and Patrick Henry took place in Week 9 in 2004, the Panthers entering unbeaten, the Patriots 6-2 and having to win to stay alive for a piece of the Colonial title, and the automatic playoff bid that came with it.  Once again, a two-point conversion made the difference, as the Panthers stopped Stuart May, R.J. Waters, and the Patrick Henry special teams to hold on for the one-point win.

#10: ATLEE 24, HANOVER 14 (October 7, 2011):

The newest hot rivalry in Hanover County began in 2003, with an Atlee victory. The Hawks struck back in 2004 for what was only their second win in school history at the time. After an Atlee win in 2005, the Hawks won the next five games, leading us to 2011, a night that saw a growing Atlee program ready to fight the county's undisputed big dogs. Atlee's stadium was absolutely jammed for this one, a battle of unbeatens, with a crowd reminiscent of the Tomato Bowl back in the 1980's when Patrick Henry and Mechanicsville (Lee-Davis) were the county's only two high schools. When the Raiders finally vanquished the Hawks, the party began. In our 20 years, we've never sat in a parking lot trying to leave a high school football game for a solid hour....but we did that night. CLICK HERE for the highlights from this classic that changed a rivalry, courtesy of TV99 at Hanover County Public Schools!

#9: 5A NORTH REGION FIRST ROUND: #10 ATLEE 38, #7 MOUNTAIN VIEW 35 (November 14, 2015):

This playoff affair unfolded slowly, and perfectly drew the fan in for the super playoff that was the final two minutes and forty-one seconds of the game. The 2:41 mark is where Mountain View scored on a touchdown pass in the back middle of the end zone for a 28-24 lead. The Raiders would score on a one-play, 55-yard drive, Rashaad Harris finding Cole Blackman over the middle, who would slip away from a defender, raced to the right sideline, picking up a key block near the ten to score for a 31-28 lead at 2:21 left.

The Wildcats, frantically trying to find the end zone once more, did so on a fly pattern in double coverage. It's 35-31 Mountain View with 51.1 seconds left.

CLICK HERE to watch the game highlights package, including the biggest catch in Atlee football history (in our view), with just 6.6 seconds remaining.

#8: HIGHLAND SPRINGS 24, HANOVER 21 (September 28, 2012):

These two teams met at Kreiter Stadium on interesting trajectories. Hanover, having beaten the Springers 10-7 a year earlier, hit the road in a season where everything would come together, the chase for a state title finally completed. But the first road block was an injury to Sam Rogers, who wouldn't play, putting Andrew Knizner in as quarterback. Meanwhile, Highland Springs in 2012 was still a program making the postseason on a regular basis, but not making much noise. This game was extremely even, and, fittingly, came down to one play with three seconds left. The Springers went for the win rather than a field goal to force overtime. CLICK HERE to see a career highlight from the great D.J. Johnson for Highland Springs.

#7: ATLEE 31, VARINA 28 (FINAL/OT) (October 11, 2013):

Fifteen years. That's how long it had been since Atlee had defeated their Capital District rivals from Varina. But, on a mud pit of a field at Varina, the Raiders rose to the occasion. Things looked great when Lamont Stubbs ran right up the middle for a 65-yard touchdown in the third quarter to up Atlee's lead to 21-6.  But the Blue Devils fought back, and forced overtime when, honestly, they should have won in regulation. But the extra point try by Varina was bobbled by the holder, and the 28-28 tie remained. Varina's overtime possession was stopped short of the goal line, opting to try for the touchdown. Atlee struggled, but got in position for Ryan Molin, who hit a 27-yard field goal for the victory. CLICK HERE for highlights of this classic, including our live call of the win on the RVA Sports Network.

#6: HANOVER 29, PATRICK HENRY 28 (September 7, 2007):

Back in our days as the home for Patrick Henry football, it had basically been the Patriots' county ever since Ray Long took over the reins in Ashland in 1982. Numerous regional appearances, three state title game appearances and, of course, the 1994 Group AAA, Division 5 State Championship. But there was something in the air on this early September night, opening night for both the Patriots and the homestanding Hawks. A very tight contest came to a field goal, where Rachel Moore drilled the game-winner and, for the first time in school history, Hanover defeated Patrick Henry. It was the seed change for the next decade of Hanover County football, as the Hawks, who also defeated the Patriots 24-7 in the Division 5 Regional Championship in November, became the big dog in the now four high school county. Long would retire two years later after the 2009 season.


Earlier in the countdown, we referenced this titanic battle. A sun-drenched Saturday afternoon at Varina gave us the perfect backdrop for a classic, which featured great defense, an almost incredible touchdown catch in the back of the end zone for the Patriots which could have changed the game, and a show of last second poise that rivals the best professional teams, sending out the field goal unit with no time outs remaining, down by one point. There were eleven men on the field, a great snap and hold, and an old-fashioned straight-on kicker drilled the field goal that sent Varina to the state semifinals and ended Patrick Henry's hopes of a second Region 4B title in three seasons. It was simply a game fitting of a championship setting, with two great teams battling to the end. CLICK HERE to relive this fantastic game!

#4: HIGHLAND SPRINGS 26, J.C. CHAMBERS 20 (August 26, 2022):

We have broadcast games from all around the Commonwealth of Virginia. But for our 20th anniversary season, we wanted to do something special. When Highland Springs announced their home and home series with the Cougars, it set the stage to kick off 2022 in an incredible way. The trip to Charlotte was successful, with threatening weather staying away, thankfully. However, the game didn't start well for the Springers, or for us! J.C. Chambers stormed out to a 14-0 lead in the first half while we were calling the game over a cell phone while troubleshooting computer issues back in our Richmond studios. We settled our issues, and the Springers went to work, ripping off 20 unanswered points to take their first lead. A nail biter, played in an incredible atmosphere between a raucous home crowd and the huge contingent of Springer Nation that made the trip south, came down to defense. The Springers stopped J.C. Chambers not once, but twice, at the goal line to preserve the victory and begin their undefeated run to the Class 5 State Championship in their final season in the classification. 

#3: ATLEE 49, HIGHLAND SPRINGS 42 (November 1, 2013):

Just ahead of the "Charlotte Classic" in 2022, our highest ranked regular season was unbelievably special. Understand the backdrop. Both teams entered at 7-1 in the first season of the new VHSL playoff format. Atlee was in the midst of, arguably, the best season in their now three-plus decade existence. Highland Springs was still trying to make serious waves in the postseason, as L.C. Bird was in the middle of their three-year state championship run. You could feel, smell, and taste a great football game was on tap the minute you walked into Atlee's stadium. An Atlee 14-0 lead early in the second quarter was cut in half by a 91-yard kickoff return by Alex Wilson. Minutes later, Tye Burriss, in the middle of an MVP season in all three phases, returned a punt for a score. 21-7 Atlee moved to 35-20 in the third. Every Springer punch was counterpunched by the Raiders. Running out of time down 49-27, Highland Springs poured it on with a fourth down touchdown heave by D.J. Johnson to the back of the end zone. Then, thanks to a hook and lateral, Johnson ran a score in during the final minute. But the Springers went 0-for-2 in onside kick attempts, and Reid McCoy gladly went into victory formation. This was the signature win of the Roscoe Johnson era at Atlee. CLICK HERE to watch the highlights and hear our coverage! The defeat did not deter the Springers on their march to begin a dynasty, which began two years later...


For quite a while, it looked like this sunny Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend was going to be a coronation of Highland Springs as a region champion. At one point, the scoreboard read Highland Springs 35, Hermitage 7. But the Panthers put on a second half show, going on a 28-0 run including a big gamble with 2:39 left in the third period as Eli Odom, on a fourth and goal from the one, dove into the end zone to cut the margin to 35-26. After a Highland Springs offside penalty, from the one and a quarter, Odom and company returned for the two-point try, and, again, Odom found enough room to dive in. The fourth period was back and forth on the field, but not on the scoreboard. Finally, Odom found pay dirt again, this time from two yards with under two minutes to play. Alex Burton's PAT tied the game. Springer fans held their breath. Quarterback Juwan "Pookie" Carter brought his offense onto the field, and, as they did in our #3 game, the Springers brought out the hook and lateral, gaining 28 yards to the Hermitage 12, leaving 14.5 seconds on the clock. On the next play, Carter threw to the left corner of the end zone, and James Jackson beat the defender to the ball at the pylon with nine seconds to go to seal the victory. With Highland Springs blasting their final two opponents en route to the 2015 VHSL Group 5A state championship, this game served as a de facto title game, which, of course, reminds Panther fans just how close they were to returning to Charlottesville, where they had lost the 2010 Group AAA Championship.

#1: CLASS 4, REGION B SEMIFINAL: #4 PATRICK HENRY 16, #1 LOUISA 15 (November 22, 2019)

The temperature was low, the defenses were hot, offenses patient, having to put on prolonged drives to even sniff points in a battle for the ages in, perhaps, the best high school football atmosphere in Virginia, at "The Jungle". The top-seeded, unbeaten Lions looked to erase their painful memories of this round a season ago, while the Patriots, who under first-year head coach Ken Wakefield, were peaking at the right time, looked to break the hearts of Lions fans once again. The first thirteen minutes had all of two drives: Louisa opening the game with a 28-yard field goal, answered by Patrick Henry on an Alex Sikkar touchdown run early in the second period. Just before halftime, Louisa retook the lead on a Jarret Hunter touchdown strike to Noah Robinson. It was 9-7 Lions at intermission. Then came a third quarter never to be forgotten. Patrick Henry took the opening kick, and proceeded to drive down the field, keeping possession for the entire period, then ending their historic drive on another Sikkar touchdown run. A two-point try failed, and Patrick Henry held a 13-9 lead a minute into the fourth. Louisa would, again, answer, and Lion fans could taste the savory victory that alluded them a year earlier. Hunter, this time, used the feet to score on a touchdown run. The two-pointer failed. It was 15-13 with 2:33 to play. The Patriots began their final drive. Sikkar hit Cameron Toliver, who found a seam along the Patrick Henry sideline to convert a crucial third down. The Patriots ended at the Louisa 15, thanks in large part to a Sikkar run which was pushed by his linemen, getting him critical extra yardage. In came Will Dorsey, who calmly nailed a 32-yard field goal to send Patrick Henry to the Region 4B title game, where they would host, and defeat, Dinwiddie. David had defeated Goliath. The Patriots tamed The Jungle on that night, in the program's biggest win since the 2001 state semifinals.

No comments:

Post a Comment