#4 Douglas Freeman (9-0) at #2 Hermitage (9-0), 7pm
Varina (4-5) at #3 Highland Springs (8-1), 7pm
#6 Benedictine (7-1) at Liberty Christian Academy, 7:30pm
#7 Henrico (7-2) at #11 Hanover (6-3), 7pm
Glen Allen (1-8) at J.R. Tucker (4-5), 7pm
John Marshall (2-7) at Mills Godwin (3-6), 7pm
Thomas Jefferson (2-7) at Deep Run (2-7), 7pm
Now, what you need to know for the playoff race, which finally ends tonight!
5A South (Conferences 11 & 12, Top 8 make playoffs):
This is the group everyone is talking about, mainly because a one-loss team begins the night ahead in VHSL point standings of three unbeaten teams. Here's the bottom line:
--Highland Springs is at 299 points. They get 32 with a win over Varina, then six rider points no matter what happens in the other three Capital District games. That's 337. The Springers need a Hermitage win over Douglas Freeman. There's 338. Then there's the "Meadowbrook conundrum". If MBK beats Dinwiddie, all three teams fighting for the #1 seed get two points, as all three defeated the Monarchs. If the Monarchs lose, two points go by the boards for the Springers, Hermitage, and....
--L.C. Bird, who starts tonight at 296 points. They get 34 for a win over James River, a guaranteed six from other Dominion District action. That's 336 points. The Skyhawks are rooting for their archrivals, Thomas Dale, to knock off Matoaca. A crucial two points are at stake there. That's 338. If MBK wins, both Highland Springs and L.C. Bird hit 340.
--Hermitage begins at 288 points, but play a 9-0 Douglas Freeman. A win means 42 big points. The Panthers are guaranteed two points each from Highland Springs/Varina, Mills Godwin/John Marshall, and Glen Allen/JR Tucker. There's 336. Now, Hermitage needs Manchester to beat Cosby and Deep Run to beat Thomas Jefferson. If both happen, no matter what Meadowbrook does, the Panthers ascend to the #1 seed by two points.
Now, what if Meadowbrook wins, but, say, Cosby beats Manchester? Then Hermitage, L.C. Bird, and Highland Springs all would finish at 340 points (34.0 rating when divided by ten). How do you break the tie?
Section 68-4-8 of the Virginia High School League Handbook (pages 132-133) break it down, and you have to get to (d) to find where Highland Springs, by virtue of playing a team (Norview) that only had a nine-game schedule, would win the three-way tie and the number one seed. (Read it HERE). At (g), Hermitage would likely have the advantage for #2.
So, it is possible that L.C. Bird, who has been a consensus #1 in all the published polls, including ours, all season, could go 10-0, and be the third seed in 5A South Central. The Skyhawks are rooting for Cosby and Thomas Jefferson tonight.
--Of course, if Douglas Freeman beats Hermitage, everything changes. Same if Varina, who is clinging to a Hail Mary's chance in ninth place, knocks off the Springers. We'll publish the maximum and minimum final point totals below.
--Matoaca and Meadowbrook are separated by just three points. A Matoaca win gives them the inside track to keep the seventh seed. If they fall to Thomas Dale and Meadowbrook beats Dinwiddie, the Monarchs move to seventh, and with an outside shot at #6 should Lee-Davis lose The Tomato Bowl to Patrick Henry, with other factors included.
5A South Central Maximum/Minimum Point Ranges:
1) Highland Springs (340, 322)
2) L.C. Bird (340, 321)
3) Hermitage (342, 316)
4) Douglas Freeman (321, 295)
5) Henrico (305, 282)
6) Lee-Davis (299, 280)
7) Matoaca (294, 272)
8) Meadowbrook (288, 267)
9) Varina (267, 241)
By the way, Varina can only tie Meadowbrook if the Monarchs lose, the Blue Devils win, James River wins and I.C. Norcom pulls a huge upset of Lake Taylor.
It is likely the current standings above will change at least a little by night's end. Be sure to listen to our Game of The Week: Patrick Henry at Lee-Davis, on WHAN Radio (102.9 FM) and online at the link to the right at the top of the page, especially listen to the RVA Sports Network Scoreboard Show immediately following The Tomato Bowl, approximately 9:30pm, with all the scores and playoff projections!
NOTE: Our Preston Hausser, at @PrestonRVASN on Twitter, will LIVE tweet the Douglas Freeman/Hermitage showdown starting at 7pm!