Highland Springs pulls away from a pesky Trinity Episcopal team to win their third consecutive Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament Championship Monday night, defeating the Titans 79-59. In the boys title game, Varina could not survive a 21-0 Trinity Episcopal run in the second quarter en route to a 79-51 win for the first T-DIT title in school history. Varina is now 0-2 in T-DIT finals, also falling in the 1996 title game to John Marshall.
The RVA Sports Network is proud to bring you a quadruple-header of games from Championship Monday of the 22nd Annual Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament live from the Richmond Coliseum!
CLICK HERE or click below on the embedded YouTube page to listen, starting at 3:30pm, to the Boys and Girls Championship and 3rd Place games only from The RVA Sports Network!
Today's T-DIT Schedule (County Teams in Bold):
Girls 7th Place Game: Deep Run vs. Huguenot, 9am
Boys 7th Place Game: Hopewell vs. St. Christopher's, 10:30am
Girls 5th Place Game: Midlothian vs. Cosby, 12pm
Boys 5th Place Game: Hanover vs. Highland Springs, 1:30pm
THE FOLLOWING GAMES HEARD LIVE ON THE RVA SPORTS NETWORK:
Girls 3rd Place Game: St. Catherine's vs. Hopewell, 3:30pm
Boys 3rd Place Game: John Marshall vs. Benedictine, 5pm
Girls Championship: Highland Springs vs. Trinity Episcopal, 6:30pm
Boys Championship: Varina vs. Trinity Episcopal, 8:30pm
Senior quarterback Juwan Carter (pictured below) is named Group 5A State Offensive Player of The Year, while his head coach at Highland Springs, Loren Johnson, is named State Coach of The Year as the Group 5A All-State Football team is announced Thursday by the Virginia High School League (VHSL):
OFFENSE: QB: Juwan Carter, Highland Springs
C: Louie Mihota, Massaponax
OL: Dillon Carey, Stone Bridge OL: Mekhi Becton, Highland Springs
OL: Anthony Craig, Norview OL: Khari Edmundson, Hermitage
RB: Meech Hembry, Broad Run
RB: Kevin Marks, Norview
RB: Joshua Breece, Stone Bridge
WR: Kaevon Chase, Potomac Falls
WR: Benyeal Hill, Brooke Point
WR: Anton Ashby, Norview
TE: Daniel Thompson, Stone Bridge
K: Tommy Martin, Hickory
KR: Devonte Williams, Salem All-Purpose: Tanner Dobrucky, Douglas Freeman
DL: Daniel Renaud, Stone Bridge
DL: Nana Asiedeu, North Stafford DL: Akeem Smith, Henrico DE: Aaron Motley, Highland Springs
DE: Aiden McFarlane, Stone Bridge
LB: Rayshard Ashby, L.C. Bird LB: Jordan Wall, Highland Springs
LB: Isaiah Johnson, Norview
LB: Trajan Anderson, Massaponax
DB: Dohnavyn Jefferson, Stone Bridge DB: Rell Coley, Highland Springs DB: D'Andre Walker, Henrico
DB: Tiavonte McLaughlin, Brooke Point P: Alex Burton, Hermitage
PR: Davonte Williams, Salem
All-Purpose: Jeremiah Owusu, Bethel
QB: JaQuan Anderson, Albemarle
C: Marshall Hicks, L.C. Bird
OL: Jacob Boone, Broad Run
OL: Donovan Beaver, Massaponax
OL: Aaron Pappy, Stone Bridge
OL: Jeb Boswell, Lee-Davis
RB: Damone Drew, Brooke Point
RB: Shedrick McCall, L.C. Bird
RB: Nathan Evans, Lee-Davis
WR: Kevin Hamilton, Jr, R.E. Lee/Alexandria
WR: Jeremiah Owusu, Bethel WR: Nasir Hines, Hermitage
TE: Jalen Hargrove, Lee-Davis
K: Roberto Argueta, Falls Church
KR: Dakwandre Marshall, Falls Church
All-Purpose: Ben Maffe, Briar Woods
DL: Erik Davenport, Broad Run
DL: Derrick Eason, Norview DL: Nick Ackies, Douglas Freeman DE: Jahmol Robinson, Hermitage
DE: Bryan Giron, Falls Church
LB: Mike Arrington, Broad Run LB: Mateo Jackson, Hermitage
LB: Zykal Foster, Albemarle
LB: Joey Nameth, Stone Bridge
DB: Tre Watkins, Massaponax
DB: Mondell Hampton, Stafford
DB: Taeyonn Reynolds, Salem
DB: Anton Ashby, Norview
P: Parker Davis, Patrick Henry
PR: Terrance Oxendine, Patrick Henry
All-Purpose: Jeremy Sampson, Tuscarora
5A State Offensive Player Of The Year: Juwan Carter, Highland Springs 5A State Defensive Player Of The Year: Rayshard Ashby, L.C. Bird 5A State Coach Of The Year: Loren Johnson, Highland Springs
For those of us in the media who have been covering Highland Springs for several seasons, we well remember the edict of their head coach, Loren Johnson, as training camp began in August that 2016 would be a different year, to put the success of 2015 away and begin a new hunger for a new trip to a state championship.
No one could ever imagine just how different this season would be. But, in the end, the result was exactly the same, as the Springers, one final time, found a way to win, defeating Stone Bridge for the second straight year, this time by a 35-29 count, for their second 5A State Championship, and their third crown in school history.
The Springers (14-1) began the season defeating Hermitage, something the 2015 team did not do. But after a win over Norview came a hiccup, a surprising 8-7 loss to Meadowbrook. A bye week, and a wake-up call later, the regrouping and regathering began.
We first saw Highland Springs on a Monday night make-up game at Atlee. We were left with the impression that while the Springers were still very good, they weren't at championship level yet. Under two weeks later, the Springers defeat Lee-Davis in an ugly game, a game that left Johnson frustrated in multiple ways. But in that win, there was a big difference in the overall performance of the team. You could see it coming together.
By the end of the regular season, Highland Springs had, again, earned the number one seed in 5A South. A win over Deep Run began the postseason journey. Then, everything changed.
After a valiant battle with cancer, team mom, and the mother of wide receiver Chris Thaxton, Angie Johnson passed away. Teenagers trying to focus on repeating as state champions now had to deal with grief and loss. Some teams could not overcome that. Highland Springs channeled it.
They pulled away from Douglas Freeman in round two. They played their best half of defense in the second half of the region semifinal win over L.C. Bird on a day that was overcast until the very first play from scrimmage when, suddenly, the sun brilliantly revealed itself over Kreiter Stadium. It was a message.
The next week, in the 5A South Region Championship, it took every measure of their resilience and fortitude to hold off an improved Norview team 28-25 to punch the ticket to Hampton University, a different state championship site than 2015. On Saturday, Stone Bridge made sure it was also a different type of championship game.
The Bulldogs went with the short kicking game, recovering a fumble on the opening kick and cashing it in for a 7-0 lead on the first of three Bradley Block one-yard touchdown runs. His second upped the lead to 13-0 with 2:27 left in a first quarter where Highland Springs seemed lost at times.
Then, sensing an opportunity to deliver a big blow to the Springers as was does to them early in the game a year ago, Stone Bridge goes for it on 4th down....at their own 33 yard line. Highland Springs stemmed the tide, got the ball, and, two plays later, 33 seconds into the second quarter, Juwan Carter sliced up the middle for a 19-yard touchdown scamper. It's now 13-7, and the Bulldogs just cracked the door open. Instead of pinning a struggling team deep, the Springers completely regrouped, and it was game on.
It would be over twenty minutes of game time before there would be another score, when Carter found Isaiah Winstead from 13 yards to give Highland Springs their first lead at 14-13 with 3:17 left in the third quarter. Stone Bridge had not scored in nearly two quarters, and now was on the ropes. The Bulldogs responded like a heavyweight fighter knowing they are down two points with two rounds to go.
Josh Breece, who rushed for 213 yards, more yards than the entire Stone Bridge offensive output in the 2015 game (184 yards), scored on a 22-yard run in the first minute of the final quarter, then scored the two-point conversion for a 21-14 lead. But on their first play from scrimmage, Willie Harkless took off, breaking a tackle, then outracing the secondary to the end zone on a 62-yard touchdown run reminiscent of D.J. Anderson's touchdown race early in the 2015 game. In one play, it was 21-21.
The Springers forced a Stone Bridge punt, the only one of the game by either team, taking over with 9:33 left. Three plays later, Carter found James Jackson, who raced to the end zone for a 48-yard touchdown, and it's suddenly 28-21. Stone Bridge saved their best offensive work for the next drive, as they confidently ran the ball down the field after an early flirtation with the pass, producing a 16-play, 80-yard drive taking 7:13 off the clock.
Block scored his third touchdown, it's 28-27 with 1:22 left. The Bulldogs gamble, and go for two, and Leland Girdy found the front pylon. Stone Bridge led 29-28, but there was time left. Time left for a miracle.
This is where Hollywood would look at the proposed script and say, well, no, this simply isn't believable.
First, Billy Kemp returns the kickoff 35 yards to the Stone Bridge 34. A false start penalty backed the Springers up to the 39. Carter ran for six yards, then found Thaxton for 12 yards and a first down at the Stone Bridge 21 as the final minute began. Then, in a play Carter said after the contest was designed to go elsewhere, he saw an advantage.
"I saw they had one on one coverage with my man and I knew if I put it up, he'd get it," Carter said.
He was Winstead, who caught the jump ball at the three-yard line. It's first and goal with 30.5 seconds left. The time had come for a final appearance from the spirit of Angie Johnson.
On a day bathed in sunshine at Hampton University, Carter went back to pass, and found a second option, a streak of purple appeared in the middle of the end zone. It was Chris Thaxton. Carter threw a fastball, and Thaxton squeezed the football like he never had before. Touchdown Highland Springs with 26 seconds left.
Springer fans experienced cheers and tears in unison as the storybook ending unfolded. But there was one chapter left to be written. Stone Bridge began their final drive at their 40, but forced to do what they aren't comfortable doing: pass the football. It took over 31 1/2 minutes for the Springers to force Stone Bridge into a corner, but when they did, they seized on the opportunity.
After an intentional grounding call, a pass to midfield was easily intercepted by Billy Kemp. Sheer elation engulfed Springer Nation as Bulldog fans fell to the seats in disbelief. The Springers jumped, danced, even a backflip once the clock hit 0:00.
Some thoughts now on today, and the season:
1) When asked about linebacker Justin Hopkins, who had eight solo tackles, six assists and 1.5 tackles for loss in the victory, Johnson described him as the "runt" of his family when compared to his brothers, but much bigger with his team.
"We had to find linebackers," Johnson noted. "Justin is an unsung hero. He may not be all-region or all-state, but he's everything to us."
2) As was the case last year, Glaster Ellis' leg was key in kickoffs with multiple touchbacks, while Jack Notley nailed all five of his extra point attempts.
3) Rell Coley went out with a bang with six solo tackles, 12 assists and an interception. In a game where the Springers had to bend and not break, Coley led the way, Hopkins right beside him.
4) When asked about the influence Johnson has had on his players, defensive lineman Aaron Motley was quick to answer that question.
"It's been an incredible ride with Coach," Motley said. Thaxton chimed in.
"Coach should star in a reality show," he added.
5) The Springers have now gone 28-2 in the past two seasons, two seasons with two divergent paths to the same goal, a goal that has galvanized a community that well deserves it.
Video of the Thaxton game-winning touchdown is below as well as one of the post-game celebration:
CLICK HERE to listen live as the number one team in The RVA Sports Network's Top 10 Boys Basketball Poll, the L.C. Bird Skyhawks, travel to Varina to battle the fourth-ranked Blue Devils in a Conference 12 showdown!
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The only place where you can hear live high school sports all year long is The RVA Sports Network! When you see the banner below at your school, you know your game is live on the Game of The Week!
What: The 5A State Football Championship
When: Saturday, December 10th, 12:07pm kickoff
Where: Armstrong Stadium, Hampton University
Tickets: $10, available at the gate
Parking: CLICK HERE (there could be a fee)
LIVE TWITTER COVERAGE: @henricosports from The RVA Sports Network, 11:00AM
TV: Currently None, Watch Online From VHSL (for a fee) by CLICKING HERE
Radio: WRNL, Fox Sports 910, 11:30AM
Here are the top results from this weekend's Central Virginia Wrestling Classic which took place at Glen Allen High School (results courtesy of TrackWrestling.com):
1st Place Riley Starcher (Grassfield) 42-14, So. over Joseph McMillin (Powhatan) 28-15, So. (Dec 7-4). 3rd Place Kevin Velez (Clover Hill) 26-10, So. over Bruno Alveres (Brooke Point) 4-2, Fr. (Fall 4:44). 5th Place Cameron Chicella (Ocean Lakes) 15-22, So. over Cole Gorvett (Westfield) 2-3, Fr. (For.).
1st Place Will Lisenby (Westfield) 3-0, Jr. over Evan Buchanan (Atlee) 3-1, Fr. (SV-1 9-7). 3rd Place Carson Tinsley (Mills Godwin) 31-9, Sr. over Elijah Jordan (Powhatan) 38-14, Sr. (Fall 3:29). 5th Place Jordan Smith (Hanover) 21-18, So. over Justus Jones (Brooke Point) 21-12, Sr. (Dec 5-3).
1st Place Bobby Quinones (Westfield) 5-0, Jr. over Josh Montague (Brooke Point) 20-13, Jr. (Fall 5:43). 3rd Place Brycen Martz (Ocean Lakes) 28-17, Sr. over Jacob Mills (Grassfield) 36-20, Sr. (Dec 13-12). 5th Place Mariano Hornedo (Atlee) 44-20, Sr. over Anthony Commuzi (Atlee) 36-18, Jr. (Fall 3:22).
1st Place Aaron Freidhof (Prince George) 4-0, Sr. over Sam Slate (Benedictine) 7-2, Fr. (Fall 1:46). 3rd Place Brandon Bye (Millbrook) 5-1, Sr. over Josh Epperly (Hanover) 3-2, Fr. (Fall 3:51). 5th Place Brenden Lugo (Grassfield) 18-6, Sr. over Brett Reid (Douglas Freeman) 14-13, Sr. (Fall 1:50).
1st Place Collin Gerardi (Powhatan) 44-6, Jr. over Zachary Gillette (Grassfield) 47-10, Sr. (Fall 1:40). 3rd Place Joseph Knight (Brooke Point) 32-4, Sr. over Nate Hackman (Ocean Lakes) 34-15, Sr. (Fall 2:10). 5th Place Caleb Bland (Hermitage) 31-10, Sr. over Oleg Johnson (Westfield) 4-3, So. (Dec 6-5).
1st Place Aidan Murphy (Ocean Lakes) 5-0, Sr. over Garrett Plummer (Lee Davis) 38-14, Sr. (Fall 1:55). 3rd Place Michael Dew (Glen Allen) 35-10, Jr. over Daniel Goodwin (Grassfield) 44-17, Sr. (Dec 6-3). 5th Place David Hoover (Hanover) 24-13, Jr. over Eric Hogge (Midlothian) 24-11, Sr. (Dec 11-10).
1st Place Jeffrey Hoyt (Powhatan) 24-20, Jr. over Jonathon Conrad (Lee Davis) 35-8, Jr. (Fall 3:21). 3rd Place Ian Baker (Monacan) 34-7, Jr. over AJ Deutel (Brooke Point) 14-7, Sr. (Inj. 0:00). 5th Place Ben Hillard (Ocean Lakes) 8-8, Jr. over Sebastian Cobb (Hanover) 5-3, Jr. (Fall 3:37).
1st Place Carson Allen (Hanover) 36-9, Jr. over Fisher Evans (Lee Davis) 46-12, Jr. (Fall 3:19). 3rd Place Samuel Tomlinson (Powhatan) 32-14, Jr. over Braxton Fell (Grafton) 3-2, Sr. (Dec 9-4). 5th Place Ibram Bector (Hermitage) 27-12, Jr. over Cal Cochran (Westfield) 22-28, Jr. (Fall 2:27).
1st Place Alex Britto (Collegiate) 34-14, Sr. over Andy Aldridge (Lee Davis) 3-1, Fr. (Inj. 0:00). 3rd Place Jacob Kennedy (Prince George) 5-1, Jr. over Austin Pitts (Mills Godwin) 28-17, So. (Fall 0:58). 5th Place Jack Drimer (Mills Godwin) 5-2, Jr. over Jeremiah Vivero (Grafton) 3-3, Sr. (Dec 4-3).
1st Place Andrew Anthony (Lee Davis) 33-9, Sr. over Xever Lemieux (Millbrook) 6-8, Jr. (Dec 3-2). 3rd Place Wallace Canada (Prince George) 4-1, So. over Will Sayegh (Midlothian) 26-8, Jr. (Inj. 0:00). 5th Place Cohen Call (Atlee) 36-18, Jr. over Logan Pettorini (Brooke Point) 13-9, Sr. (Fall 3:51).
1st Place Stephen Burrell (Grassfield) 47-11, Sr. over Edward `Ned` Anthony (Lee Davis) 42-7, Jr. (Dec 9-5). 3rd Place Jacob Sinsel (Ocean Lakes) 34-15, Sr. over Gabe Neaverth (Millbrook) 22-19, Sr. (Fall 1:39). 5th Place Luke Armstrong (Grafton) 4-2, Sr. over Brandon Whitton (Westfield) 26-22, Sr. (Dec 10-4).
1st Place Cody Roundtree (Clover Hill) 31-10, Sr. over Martiese Phipps (Monacan) 17-12, Jr. (Dec 6-5). 3rd Place Fabrizio Lazo (Westfield) 20-15, Jr. over Hunter Beck (Lee Davis) 3-2, Jr. (MD 8-0). 5th Place Emanuel Torres (Hermitage) 3-2, Fr. over Austin Yogi (Amelia) 15-19, Sr. (For.).
1st Place Yates Carrier (Ocean Lakes) 4-0, Sr. over Sari Maksad (Lee Davis) 25-15, Sr. (Fall 1:02). 3rd Place Xavier Brown (Monacan) 25-16, Sr. over Jackson Burkey (Clover Hill) 3-2, So. (Fall 0:47). 5th Place Zeke Elswick (Mills Godwin) 3-2, Jr. over James Walters (Deep Run) 2-3, Jr. (Fall 1:48).
1st Place Trevor Burns (Grassfield) 39-11, Jr. over Ramses Montalvo (Brooke Point) 17-6, Jr. (SV-1 4-2). 3rd Place Justin Spencer (Mills Godwin) 19-3, Sr. over Robbie Adelstein (Atlee) 21-10, Jr. (Dec 3-2). 5th Place Tavon Blowe (Millbrook) 19-15, Jr. over Jack Oppenheim (Deep Run) 3-3, Sr. (Dec 5-4). TEAM FINALS: 1) Lee-Davis: 220.5 2) Grassfield: 184.5 3) Powhatan: 153.5 4) Westfield: 149 5) Ocean Lakes: 143.5
7) Mills Godwin: 109.5 8) Prince George: 108 9) Atlee: 102.5 11) Clover Hill: 94.5 12) Hanover: 92 13) Monacan: 61 14) Collegiate: 60.5 15) Glen Allen: 58 17) Hermitage: 50.5 18) Thomas Dale: 42.5 19) Midlothian: 40 20T) Deep Run and Douglas Freeman: 38
It's a far different road this season. Each road to a championship opportunity always is. But, ironically, the final hurdle remains the same.
After taking the very best shot the Norview Pilots had to offer, the Highland Springs Springers finally were able to punch their return ticket to the 5A State Championship Game, relying on one final defensive stand to win 28-25 and get a rematch with Stone Bridge, who won the 5A North Region title over top-seeded Massaponax 27-21 Friday night, in next Saturday's game at Hampton University.
For the Springers (13-1), it was a pensive afternoon, filled with opportunities, but never able to shake Norview like they did Indian River in the 5A South Region Championship a season ago. The Pilots' defense stepped up in the second half, holding the Springers to just 119 yards of total offense after surrendering 241 in the first half as Highland Springs built a 21-13 lead.
Norview steamed down the field to open the third quarter, scoring on a five-play, 67-yard drive capped by a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback D.J. Mack to Jamal Deaton. Even though there was over 22 minutes left, the Pilots, who saw an extra point blocked in the first half, went for two to tie the game, and Mack was denied on the quarterback keeper. Norview would never draw closer.
Highland Springs struggled to find the end zone, finally doing so with 6:25 left as quarterback Juwan Carter ended a thirteen-play drive with an 11 yard run to give the Springers a 28-19 lead. Beforehand, a field goal attempt had been blocked, putting the Springers essentially in "all or nothing" mode once they returned to the red zone.
Norview answered immediately, spreading the field, allowing Mack to elude the rush and either hit big plays with his arm or using his feet. Five plays and 72 yards later, Mack found Kavon Lawson from 12 yards to cut the margin to a field goal at 28-25 with 5:15 left.
With the Pilots scoring with such ease, it became imperative for the Springers to try to score again and run down as much clock as possible. They accomplished one of two tasks, running the clock down to 1:48, but a Carter pass on fourth down was wide, and Norview took over with no timeouts at their own 24.
A defensive holding call gave Norview a free first down at their 34. A six-yard pass on second down made it third and four at the 40 as the clock approached 1:00. A would-be first down pass in Springer territory was dropped, bringing up fourth down. Mack completeed a pass just into Highland Springs territory to move the chain at :57.3 left.
Then, a combination of timely Springer defensive moves and a costly decision by Mack closed the door on the Pilots. Michael Greene led a sack of Mack, who quickly got his team to the line, then spiked the ball, apparently. But, being in the pistol formation instead of under center, the officials ruled the spike a forward pass, and Mack was flagged for intentional grounding. The loss of down was the most critical, making it third and 26. After an incompletion, the Pilots were down to one play. Mack was flushed out of the pocket, the Springer back seven masterfully in coverage. Aaron Motley caught up to Mack, bringing him down, and sending Springer Nation back to the promised land.
Carter was 5-for-9 for 144 yards and a touchdown pass, plus two touchdown runs. The Springers had 360 yards of total offense, was only three for eight in third down conversions, and, admittedly, did not have their strongest performance Saturday. But it was enough to secure the victory.
Now Highland Springs turns their attention to Stone Bridge, a team they turned one-dimensional early in last year's championship game en route to a 27-7 victory and the school's first state football title since 1961 and first ever won on the field. The Bulldogs will obviously work the revenge factor, but what they may not realize is the 2016 Highland Springs Springers are not the 2015 edition. They know they must improve. They are not on a roll in terms of execution.
But they are on an emotional roll, experiencing events in recent weeks that teenagers shouldn't have to worry about when they take to the solace of a football field. The Springers will, indeed, be "Angie Strong" when they arrive at Hampton University.
NOTE: The 5A State Championship begins Saturday, December 10th at 12:07pm. Tickets are $10, the game is at Hampton University this season, a new site predetermined by the Virginia High School League.
Follow @henricosports on Twitter for the most comprehensive social media coverage of Highland Springs next Saturday!
Fans, we deeply apologize for the technical issues that were completely out of our control regarding our YouTube Channel tonight. We recorded our broadcast, so you can listen to Henrico's 85-64 win over Hermitage by clicking HERE.
One whisper heard in 2015 as the Highland Springs Springers marched to the 5A State Championship was, "they didn't have to play L.C. Bird."
The Skyhawks, who won the Group AAA state title in 2012, then the first two 5A state titles in 2013 and 2014, came to Kreiter Stadium Saturday for a 5A South Region Semifinal, a de facto 5A State Quarterfinal. A combination of Juwan Carter offense, an opportunistic defense led by Aaron Motley and Rell Coley, and three forced fumbles by the Springers in the second half led Highland Springs to a 34-20 victory Saturday to advance to 12-1 and to next Saturday's 5A State Semifinals against Norview, also for the 5A South Region Championship.
It was Highland Springs' first playoff win over the Skyhawks since November, 2006 in the old Division 6, Group AAA format.
Carter, who rushed for 56 yards, went 9-for-18 for 169 passing yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. But the senior Norfolk State commit also scored three times on the ground, first to get the Springers on the board with 53 seconds left in the first quarter to cut an early L.C. Bird lead to 8-6. Carter's other two scores, both in the fourth quarter, put the game out of reach for the Springers.
Isaiah Winstead caught four passes for 106 yards including a 44-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter which, combined with a 17-yard touchdown run from Shyrie McKeiver, gave Highland Springs a 20-point run for a 20-8 lead. The Skyhawks scored in the final minute of the first half to cut the margin at halftime to 20-14.
Rell Coley stripped the football twice in the second half, leading to two of three Highland Springs fumble recoveries, which severely hurt the Skyhawks' second half comeback opportunities.
Highland Springs will host Norview next Saturday at 1pm for the right to play in the December 10th 5A State Championship at Hampton University. The Springers won 27-14 when the two teams played on September 2nd.
Congratulations to the following student-athletes for being named to the 5A South All-Region Volleyball teams. (NOTE: Even though 5A South technically split into sections as 5A North does not play boys volleyball, this is labeled an All-Region team. VHSL All-State teams to be announced soon.)
5A South Region Player of The Year: Cam Shannon, Princess Anne
5A South Region Coach of The Year: Randy Jones, Atlee
Cam Shannon, Princess Anne
Jarrett Carrano, Patrick Henry
Adam Lane, Patrick Henry
Alex Field, Atlee
Jake French, Atlee
Andrew Lyons, Maury
Lucas Grey, Menchville
Zach Sinacori, Princess Anne (Libero)
SECOND TEAM: Jaden Perini-Anderson, Douglas Freeman Michael Wright, Deep Run
Connor Logan, Patrick Henry
Jaxon Delgado, Patrick Henry
Trey Fortner, Gloucester
Connor Dooren, Princess Anne
Hunter Green, Gloucester
Cole Schlothauer, Lee-Davis Gavin Satterwhite, Douglas Freeman (Libero)
5A South Region Player of The Year: Abby Bottomley, Princess Anne 5A South Region Coach of The Year: Craig Dooren, Princess Anne
Alyssa Presto, Princess Anne
Jayna Francis, Princess Anne Ayanna Swan, Mills Godwin Tatum Kendall, Deep Run
Chika Osuchukwu, Princess Anne
Ashley Burgess, Princess Anne
Quiana Griffin, Salem
Stella Johnson, Warwick
Peyton Washington, Princess Anne (Libero)
SECOND TEAM: Brittney Dintaman, Deep Run Molly Bruce, Douglas Freeman
Lani Mason, Matoaca
Julia Rochester, Princess Anne
Madison Gant, Warwick
Hannah Smith, Warwick
Hunter Newland, Hickory
Siena Naotala, Menchville
Anaya Ghacham, Salem
CLICK HERE to listen live to the 5A South Region First Round matchup between #4 Douglas Freeman and #5 Lee-Davis, tonight at 6:30pm on the RVA Sports Network! Game is also available on area radio on WHAN, 102.9 FM.
DE: Aaron Motley, Highland Springs
DE: Mike Greene, Highland Springs
DL: Quashawn Armstrong, LC Bird
DL: Ryan Krese, Prince George
DL: Andy Mathews, Varina
DL: Tavien Blackwell, Highland Springs
LB: Rayshard Ashby, LC Bird
LB: Isaiah Moore, LC Bird
LB: David Daniel, Varina
LB: Jordan Wall, Highland Springs
DB: Tre'Von Stewart, Matoaca
DB: Demetrick Atkins, LC Bird
DB: Johquin Wiley, LC Bird
DB: Rell Coley, Highland Springs
P: Nik Nunez, Varina
CONFERENCE 12 OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Juwan Carter, Highland Springs CONFERENCE 12 DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Rayshard Ashby, LC Bird CONFERENCE 12 COACH OF THE YEAR: David Bedwell, LC Bird SECOND TEAM:
C: Mike Greene, Highland Springs
OL: Alexander Henderson, Matoaca
OL: Javonte Tuppince, Meadowbrook
OL: Trey Steward, Prince George
OL: Tavien Blackwell, Highland Springs
TE: Samond Pinchback, Varina
RB: Shyrie McKeiver, Highland Springs
RB: Willie Harkless, Highland Springs
RB: Rell Coley, Highland Springs
QB: E.J. Walker, Prince George
WR: Stephen Richardson, Varina
WR: Isaiah Winstead, Highland Springs
WR: James Jackson, Highland Springs
K: Brandon Baker, Prince George
UTILITY: Jeremiah Medina, Meadowbrook
DE: Demontrae Blowe, LC Bird
DE: Kyle Williams, Matoaca
DE: Dre Giles, Meadowbrook
DL: Cory Bright, LC Bird
DL: Dajuan Hendricks, Prince George
DL: Jeremiah Edwards, Varina
DL: Daymonte Felder, Highland Springs
LB: Tyler Voorhies, Matoaca
LB: Brett Hall, Meadowbrook
LB: Theo Cotcamp, Prince George
LB: DeAndre Henderson, Highland Springs
DB: Jesson McCray, Meadowbrook
DB: Dontez Braxton, Meadowbrook
DB: Trey Smith, Varina
DB: Bryan Epps, Highland Springs
P: Glaster Ellis, Highland Springs
PR: Javon Lapierre, LC Bird
OFFENSE: C: Jason Rickman, Varina
OL: Caleb Hamlett, Prince George
OL: Michael Nesheiwat, Varina
OL: Jamani Jones, Highland Springs
OL: Justin Carey, Highland Springs
TE: Jordan Wall, Highland Springs
UTILITY: Billy Kemp, Highland Springs
Congratulations to the following student-athletes for being named to the All-Conference 11 Football Team:
Center: Matt Vozar, Henrico
OL: Khari Edmundson, Hermitage
OL: Vida Smith, Henrico
OL: Nathan Johnson, Lee-Davis
OL: Jeb Boswell, Lee-Davis
OL: Antoine Whitner, Mills Godwin
TE: Jalen Hargrove, Lee-Davis
WR: Nasir Hines, Hermitage
WR: Jahad Carter, Henrico
WR: Jebril Murray, Glen Allen
WR: Jack Pollard, Douglas Freeman
RB: Jordan Hall, Hermitage
RB: Nathan Evans, Lee-Davis
RB: Wesley Dugger, Mills Godwin
RB: Devin Flowers, Glen Allen
QB: Woody Winborn, Hermitage
K: Alex Burton, Hermitage
KR: Jamon Coffey, Lee-Davis
KR: Percy Mayers, Hermitage
UTILITY: Tanner Dobrucky, Douglas Freeman
DE: Jamhol Robinson, Hermitage
DE: Aaron Wright, Deep Run
DL: Jordan Jackson, Hermitage
DL: Akeem Smith, Henrico
DL: Nick Ackies, Douglas Freeman
DL: Jalen Hargrove, Lee-Davis
LB: Mateo Jackson, Hermitage
LB: Lamond Fox, Hermitage
LB: A.J. Martin, Henrico
LB: Sam Murphy, Douglas Freeman
DB: Shamond Fox, Hermitage
DB: D'Andre Walker, Henrico
DB: Josh Rice, Lee-Davis
DB: Jakari Williams, Douglas Freeman
P: Alex Burton, Hermitage
PR: Tanner Dobrucky, Douglas Freeman
UTILITY: Wy'ell Jefferson, Henrico
CONFERENCE 11 OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Woody Winborn, Hermitage CONFERENCE 11 DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Akeem Smith, Henrico CONFERENCE 11 COACH OF THE YEAR: Chad Hornik, Deep Run SECOND TEAM: OFFENSE:
C: Adam Jones, Douglas Freeman
OL: Malik Lewis, Hermitage
OL: Tucker Larson, Glen Allen
OL: Joe Hoskins, Douglas Freeman
OL: Jack Oppenheim, Deep Run
TE: Justin Goode, J.R. Tucker
WR: Christian Velasquez, Hermitage
WR: Lucas Carlisle, Deep Run
WR: Michael Jackson, J.R. Tucker
WR: Jakari Williams, Douglas Freeman
RB: Shaheed Adeyola, Henrico
RB: Jacob Hutchinson, Deep Run
RB: Austin Pytko, J.R. Tucker
RB: Tanner Dobrucky, Douglas Freeman
QB: Trey Laughlin, Douglas Freeman
K: Egan Alsheskie, Henrico
KR: Anthony Freeman, Henrico
KR: Raymon Damon, Henrico
UTILITY: Aiden Wheeler, Deep Run
DE: Immanuel Lee, Henrico
DE: Connor Scott, Lee-Davis
DL: Landon Jones, Hermitage
DL: Zeke Elswick, Mills Godwin
DL: Jacob Cardounel, Deep Run
DL: Bryant Bonzali, J.R. Tucker
LB: Ned Anthony, Lee-Davis
LB: Zach Green, Lee-Davis
LB: Minas Stathis, Mills Godwin
LB: Jacob Hutchinson, Deep Run
LB: Matthew Johnson, Deep Run
DB: Jeffery Woody, Hermitage
DB: Jamon Coffey, Lee-Davis
DB: Colter Mahon, Mills Godwin
DB: Jebril Murray, Glen Allen
P: Nick Ackies, Douglas Freeman
PR: Nasir Hines, Hermitage
UTILITY: L.J. Crossley, Douglas Freeman
C: Kamerian Goodman-Wallace, Hermitage
C: Bryce Hilliard, Lee-Davis
C: Matthew Atkins, Deep Run
OL: Alim Hunter, Henrico
OL: Chandler Dessenberger, Deep Run
OL: Fushanw Ortiz, Hermitage
TE: Michael Johnson, Deep Run
WR: Robert Joseph, Henrico
QB: Jalon Jones, Henrico
QB: Zach Lass, Lee-Davis
K: Joseph Hudnall, Lee-Davis
K: Eric Garcia, Deep Run
RETURN: Tanner Dobrucky, Douglas Freeman
UTILITY: Nathan Evans, Lee-Davis
DE: Mitch Jackson, Hermitage
DE: Ty Mills, Lee-Davis
DE: Demi Adepegba, J.R. Tucker
DE: Jack Miller, Douglas Freeman
LB: James Newsome, Henrico
LB: Logan Dockman, Lee-Davis
LB: Drake Penicook, Mills Godwin
LB: Caleb Brown, Douglas Freeman
DB: Wy'ell Jefferson, Henrico
DB: John Peaden, Deep Run
DB: Daeshon Hodges, J.R. Tucker
DB: Luke Murphy, Douglas Freeman
P: Eric Garcia, Deep Run
UTILITY: Cadell Moore, Hermitage
#2 Hermitage 45, #6 Douglas Freeman 7 #4 Highland Springs 45, Varina 26 Henrico 49, Hanover 7 Deep Run 46, Thomas Jefferson 6 Glen Allen 14, J.R. Tucker 6 Mills Godwin 48, John Marshall 0 OUR PLAYOFF PROJECTIONS (Official pairings released by VHSL Sunday morning): 5A SOUTH: #8 Deep Run at #1 Highland Springs #7 Henrico at #2 Hermitage #6 Varina at #3 L.C. Bird #5 Lee-Davis at #4 Douglas Freeman
#2 Hermitage 42, Glen Allen 22 #4 Highland Springs 49, #9 Patrick Henry 0 #6 Douglas Freeman 20, Mills Godwin 7 #11 Lee-Davis 24, Henrico 23 Atlee 24, #12 Varina 21 Deep Run 65, John Marshall 14 Thomas Jefferson 20, J.R. Tucker 7
CLICK HERE to listen online to the Game Of The Week, as Henrico (5-3) and #11 Lee-Davis (6-2) battle for playoff positioning in 5A South! We go live at 6:30pm with the "On The Sidelines Pre-Game Show Powered By Sheehy Ford of Ashland" with Rob Witham and Marc Davis of NBC 12!
You can also listen on WHAN Radio, 102.9 FM and 1430 AM!
#2 Hermitage 35, Mills Godwin 20 #4 Highland Springs 56, #12 Henrico 20 #6 Douglas Freeman 31, Deep Run 0 Varina 55, Armstrong 0 Glen Allen 55, Thomas Jefferson 13 SATURDAY: J.R. Tucker at John Marshall, 1pm
CLICK HERE to listen live to Atlee at #10 Patrick Henry at 6:30pm (also available on WHAN, 102.9 FM, 1430 AM and on mobile devices on the TuneIn Radio App on "Radiall")
CLICK HERE for previews of all county games and all Central Region matchups as the playoffs draw near, PLUS all the various playoff implications that are in effect tonight! Your guide to Friday night, courtesy of RVA Sports Network!
Hermitage and Highland Springs vault over Douglas Freeman after big wins in 5A South, Varina rises, Henrico falls, and Deep Run draws closer in the new Virginia High School League (VHSL) Football Standings released Monday afternoon in Charlottesville by the league office.
CLICK HERE to read all the standings and instant analysis from RVA Sports Network!
CLICK HERE to listen live to a huge late-season boys volleyball encounter when #1 Atlee begins a busy week at Mills Godwin on a special Monday edition of the RVA Sports Network High School Volleyball Game of The Week, airtime tonight at 7pm!
CLICK HERE to listen live starting at 6:30 as #10 Lee-Davis battles #5 Highland Springs on our Game of The Week! Also heard on WHAN Radio, 102.9 FM and 1430 AM and on the TuneIn Radio App on "Radiall"!
Two huge NBC12/RVA Sports Network "Big 12" Football Poll games tonight, one of them our live Game of The Week broadcast! The listen link button is below!
WHAN Radio/RVA Sports Network Game of The Week: #10 Lee-Davis (5-1) at #5 Highland Springs (5-1), 7pm
(LISTEN LIVE on 102.9 FM/1430 AM, online by clicking HERE, on @TuneIn App on "Radiall")
Last year, when 6-0 and sky high, Lee-Davis welcomed Highland Springs to Mechanicsville, and the Springers rolled to a 42-0 victory. The Confederates learned from the experience, and, when finding themselves going to Kreiter Stadium for the second round of the 5A South playoffs a month later, made the rematch a heavyweight slugfest, matching the Springers score for score before falling short at 41-34. Lee-Davis quarterback Zach Lass steps on Kreiter's field for the first time, but tailback Nate Evans and most of his offensive line do not. They know what it takes to stay with the defending state champions. But Juwan Carter and his latest group of talented skill players are looking to continue their push towards the top of the 5A South Central playoff race. Look for Aaron Motley, Tavien Blackwell, and the Springer front seven on defense to decide this one. They want to stop Evans and force Lass to the passing game.
NBC12 Game of The Week: #1 Manchester (6-0) at #4 Hermitage (5-1), 7pm
First, kudos to both Manchester head coach Tom Hall and Hermitage head coach Patrick Kane and their respective schools for agreeing to this regular season series, made available when the Virginia High School League (VHSL) allowed schools within districts two or more classifications apart to cease playing each other if it were in the best interests of both schools. After 2014, Hermitage dropped Thomas Jefferson, and were able to add Manchester, whom they defeated in the 2014 5A South Central playoffs, ending Manchester's perfect season two years ago. The Panthers also won the first regular season meeting in the series last year. Woody Winborn leads Hermitage, improving with each game at quarterback. In fact, those eighteen new starters, as a unit, are much better than they were opening night. But so is Manchester, who fought off a pesky Midlothian squad last week, pulling away for a 54-26 victory. If the Lancers really want to show they are serious contenders for a 6A State Championship, the way to do it is go to Chester Fritz Stadium and win. Bryce Hall, Frank Boyd and company will look to do just that. This game could be everything from a shootout to a 14-13 grinder. Turnovers will be critical. Limit them, and you'll likely win.
Mills Godwin (4-2) at Deep Run (3-3), 7pm
This is another huge 5A South Central matchup, as well as a good ol' fashioned West End rivalry. The 2006 Region Championship team will come home for recognition, and a new generation of Wildcats will look to make them proud, as Deep Run, though entering the game 12th in 5A South Central, could vault into the playoff discussion with a victory. The formula is simple: stop the Mills Godwin rushing attack, specifically, Wesley Dugger, who is approaching 1,300 yards of rushing offense going into his seventh game. Note, last week, even though Dugger rushed for 200 plus yards at home against J.R. Tucker, the Tigers held the Eagles to just 13 points. Bend but not break should be the Wildcat defensive mantra, keeping the game between the 20's when on defense. For Mills Godwin, a win is necessary because of the weakness of the Colonial District when compared to other 5A South Central teams who play in districts with better strength of schedules, like Lee-Davis and Varina in the Capital, Matoaca, Meadowbrook, and Prince George in the Central.
#6 Douglas Freeman (6-0) at J.R. Tucker (0-6), 7pm
The Rebels won't take the Tigers lightly. Tucker should have a home win over Hanover, but let it slip away back in early September. They almost pulled the shocker at Mills Godwin's homecoming last Friday. They'd love nothing more than give Douglas Freeman their first loss. Look for Tanner Dobrucky, who isn't getting nearly the press and recognition that he deserves, to be a key for the Rebels. Ball control, long drives, and cashing in with Dobrucky and company whenever you're in the red zone. That's the key to moving the Rebels to 7-0 and closer to their eventual showdowns with arch rival Mills Godwin in two weeks and Hermitage in the regular season finale. They're rooting for Cosby to shock L.C. Bird, too, so they could return to the top seed in 5A South Central.
#9 Henrico (5-1) at Atlee (2-4), 7pm
Henrico wants this game, as they are in a dogfight for a top four seed, and thus, a home game in the first round of the 5A South playoffs, but Atlee needs this game. Having lost two straight, the Raiders celebrate homecoming with an air of desperation, really needing to go 3-1 in their last four games to make a run at a 5A North playoff berth. After this game, Atlee goes to Patrick Henry, then faces Varina before ending with winless Armstrong. This is the toughest of the contests, but if Atlee's defense can contain Henrico QB Jalon Jones, and if their freshman QB Tyler Warren can be more accurate in the passing game, that will force Henrico to defend the whole field, and not try to simply bottle up the Atlee running game. Turnovers will loom large here, too. A quick note for Raider fans, Reid Childers' 35 yard field goal against Lee-Davis last week was important. He can be an option with the game on the line as long as you make the red zone.
Glen Allen (0-6) at John Marshall (1-5), 4pm
The Justices have been in ninth place in 3A East, Conferences 26/28 for three weeks now. They need a win to draw closer to a playoff bid. This is their best chance. It can also be argued, however, that this is Glen Allen's best remaining chance to get their first win of the season, though big rival J.R. Tucker remains ahead as well.
Varina (3-3) at Hanover (1-5), 7pm
It's homecoming at Hanover, too, but it's also been a difficult season for the Hawks, who likely will miss the postseason for the first time in eleven years barring a surprising late-season run. Now, a win at home over Varina could jump start it all, and Hanover does get WR Kirk Shaffner back from injury. Shaffner was their second leading receiver in 2015, and has been on the bench all year, along with leading returning receiver Jack Chenault, due to injury. Clayton Cheatham needs more weapons, and gets one back. But will it be enough if Hanover's defense can't stop the dual threat of C.J. Jones and R.J. Coles for Varina, who is playing to keep their current playoff position in 5A South Central?
(RVA Sports Network correspondent Taylor Luck filed this report on Mills Godwin running back Wesley Dugger following the Eagles' 13-12 victory over J.R. Tucker...)
J.R Tucker was leading Mills Godwin 12-6 halfway through the third quarter of Friday night’s matchup, with the Eagles at the Tigers 47 yard line, looking for the tying score. Chants of “overrated” came from some Tucker fans in the direction of Eagles running back Wesley Dugger, who responded with a bruising 45 yard run to the Tucker two. A few plays later, he bulled through the line for what would be the winning touchdown, handing his team a 13-12 lead.
This has been the main story this season for the Mills Godwin Eagles, who now sit at 4-2 after the close victory over Tucker. Down 6-0 late in the first quarter, Dugger took a handoff down the middle, ran over a defender, and took it 71 yards to the house. Late in the third, it was his two yard score that secured the Eagles’ come from behind victory. When all was said and done, Dugger ran 24 times for 245 yards, and scored both of his team’s touchdowns.
For most running backs, that kind of stat line is an anomaly, but not for Dugger. Through six games, he has compiled 1,251 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns, scoring nearly 81 percent of Mills Godwin’s points. At his current pace, Dugger is currently on pace for 2,085 yards and 35 touchdowns, enough to break records in the NFL, much less the Colonial District, and in only ten games.
“My start to the year is what I’ve been training my whole career for. I’ve spent countless hours in weight rooms and on the field to prepare for football season. I’ve spent so much time critiquing myself by watching film in order to better my habits.” explained Dugger. “I am happy to have the numbers I do, but to me it’s more about the team winning.”
With that sort of dedication and his focus on the team. It’s not much of a surprise to see Dugger performing the way he is. He is all about giving his all for his team, and he simply loves to play football. At 4-2, Mills Godwin has put themselves in a good position to make a push for the postseason in the 5A South Region. Up next is a visit to rival, Deep Run, sitting at 3-3, after a tough loss to Hermitage.
“The Deep Run vs Godwin game is one all the players and students look forward to. It means a lot to us, it’s our last chance to play Deep Run for the rest of our lives. We’re excited to go out and compete against any team, but a victory in this game just tastes a little sweeter.” Dugger said.
While defeating Deep Run is no doubt important to the Eagles, Mills Godwin faces a tough schedule to close out the regular season with games both #6 Douglas Freeman and #4 Hermitage loom. The Rebels are currently 6-0, while Hermitage has won five straight after an opening night loss to defending 5A state champion Highland Springs. With that said, if the Eagles continue running the ball the way they have, they’ll be an extremely tough challenge for any team they face.
J.R. Tucker (0-5) at Mills Godwin (3-2), 7pm: Mills Godwin running back Wesley Dugger has a thousand-yard season, in just five games. Can he keep the mojo going against a Tiger defense that has allowed 30+ points in four of their five games this season? With the Eagles now in the top eight in 5A South Central, they'll do everything possible to win and keep the Varinas and Matoacas at bay.
#11 Henrico (4-1) at Armstrong 0-5), 7pm: The Warriors look to continue building a new winning streak coming off their 21-0 win over Varina, finally vanquishing the Blue Devils on Monday evening. The Wildcats are struggling mightily and may not be able to find a win this season as they must continue to face the gauntlet that is the Capital District.
#4 Hermitage (4-1) at Deep Run (3-2), 7pm: It's Homecoming for the Wildcats, but there's no cupcake opponent coming in. The Panthers have won four straight after their opening night loss to Highland Springs. Their offense has hit overdrive, and their defense is becoming more opportunistic. The last "close" contest in this series was a 19-0 shutout win for Hermitage six years ago. Deep Run last defeated Hermitage in 2006, and own just two wins in school history over the Panthers. They first played in 2003, the year Deep Run opened.
Hanover (1-4) at #5 Highland Springs (4-1), 7pm: The Springers look for their third straight win, and fifth straight over the struggling Hawks, whose ten-year postseason streak is in serious jeopardy, having to still play the Springers, plus Lee-Davis, Varina, and Henrico. The Hawks must find some offensive, as opposing defenses have bottled up quarterback Clayton Cheatham, denying him the running game and forcing Hanover to rely on an air attack hampered all season by injuries. Juwan Carter threw three of Highland Springs' four touchdown passes Monday in their win at Atlee. He'll look to do more of the same at Kreiter Stadium.
#6 Douglas Freeman (5-0) at Glen Allen (0-5), 7pm: Another tough hill to climb for the winless Jaguars this week as Tanner Dobrucky and the Rebels come in this week, looking to stay unbeaten. Their weaker schedule in the Colonial District cost them the top spot in 5A South Central this past week as L.C. Bird's win over then 5-0 Monacan gave them an abundance of extra VHSL rider points, and now, the slight edge for the #1 seed. But the Rebels can't control those things; they will worry about taking care of what they can control, and that will be the rest of the Colonial District. Their toughest challenges, Mills Godwin and Hermitage, come at the end of the regular season. For Glen Allen, there are winnable games still ahead on the schedule. They'll look for as many positives tonight as possible, maybe even the unexpected upset.
#9 Patrick Henry (5-0) at Varina (2-3), 7pm: These two teams have only met once this century: last year with the Blue Devils victorious. Before that, they last met in the 1999 Central Region playoffs with the Blue Devils winning. This game has a simple formula: a much improved Patriot defense must contain C.J. Jones and the rest of the Varina offense. Even with their recent struggles, every coach will tell you, it's hard to win at Varina. Lee-Davis couldn't do it two weeks ago for their lone defeat. And with Varina now on the outside looking in in the 5A South Central playoff race, they need a victory. That's dangerous for Patrick Henry. But the Patriots have had a normal week of practice, while Varina has had to quickly turn from a 21-0 loss at Henrico to try to figure out the complex Patrick Henry offense. A good game for Travious Tyler bodes well for the Patriots.
John Marshall (1-3) at #3 Hermitage (3-1), MONDAY, 6pm: The Panthers will be heavily favored in another Colonial District matchup at Chester Fritz on Friday. The key will be to win, and stay healthy, ahead of a trip to Deep Run next Friday, followed by a big showdown with the current #1 team in the NBC12/RVA Sports Network Big 12 High School Football Poll, the Manchester Lancers. Hermitage begins the night fifth in VHSL points in 5A South Central, and wins for Henrico and Highland Springs could provide them a little more separation from the Panthers.
#5 Highland Springs (3-1) at Atlee (2-2), 7pm (Live Tweet Coverage on @TaylorRVASN): This won't be the typical Springers/Raiders matchup we've come to expect the past several years. Atlee is in transition, no longer a team looking to bring you a Chip Kelly-style offense. They are more patient with the ball, and are putting more and more emphasis on defense, as shown by their 31-0 shutout of Hanover last week. But Highland Springs has a lot more weapons than the Hawks do, so Atlee's biggest task will be to slow Juwan Carter and company down, force a turnover or two, and be in the game in the fourth quarter. These teams, the past three years, have combined for an insane 266 points, and likely well over 2,000 yards of total offense. The Springers won in 2014 and 2015, both at home, while Atlee won the last meeting in Hanover County 49-42 in 2013.
Thomas Jefferson (2-2) at #7 Douglas Freeman (4-0), 7pm: The Rebels will, again, be heavily favored at William E. Long Stadium after dispensing of John Marshall last week. Tanner Dobrucky is becoming one of the top offensive threats in the Central Region after not only his work over the Justices, but his three touchdowns in that fourth quarter comeback win at Atlee on our Game of The Week two weeks ago. The problem for the Rebels is strength of schedule in the Colonial District. Even with a win tonight, an L.C. Bird win over 5-0 Monacan could vault the Skyhawks over the Rebels into the #1 spot in the 5A South Central sub-region standings, the numbers from the VHSL that matter most. Trips to winless Glen Allen and J.R. Tucker in the next two weeks don't offer much opportunity to grab bonus points, either. Douglas Freeman enters this week at 27.5 points, L.C. Bird at 26.
Varina (2-2) at #11 Henrico (2-2), MONDAY 6pm: One crazy stat: Varina has won the last two meetings with Henrico in seasons where the Warriors have made the playoffs, and the Blue Devils have not. So, for Henrico, with transfer-from-Varina quarterback Jalon Jones coming off a disappointing performance in the 7-6 loss last week at Patrick Henry, there is uncharted territory to be pioneered at home tonight. Both losses were defensive slugfests, and one-point losses. The Blue Devils will come in very confident after getting a win over previously unbeaten Lee-Davis. The last time Henrico defeated Varina? A 10-7 victory on October 22, 2010. The Warriors are 4th in 5A South Central, the Blue Devils tied with Matoaca for the eighth and final playoff berth. See the current standings at the link in the next preview.
Mills Godwin (2-2) at Glen Allen (0-4), 7pm: The Eagles enter tonight just a quarter-point out of the playoff race in 5A South Central (CLICK HERE to see the latest standings), and looking for their first winning record of the season. The Jaguars continue to seek that first win for new head coach Salvatore Camp, one of two area first-year coaches still looking for Win #1 (Sean O'Hare, Clover Hill). After putting up 25 points on unbeaten Patrick Henry in Week 2, the Jaguars have struggled offensively, scoring just 12 points in their last eight quarters. Godwin will, again, look to dominate via the ground game and Wesley Dugger, who has 759 yards in four games. He also has 114 attempts already, and the Eagles should try to find other options to spell Dugger at times to ensure he is fresh for bigger battles forthcoming as both Hermitage and Douglas Freeman come to Axselle Stadium later in October.
Deep Run (2-2) at J.R. Tucker (0-4), 7pm(Live Tweet Coverage on @henricosports): Well, all of a sudden, the turn has been made at Deep Run, with wins over Essex and Glen Allen to get to .500. Now, they travel to Parham Road to face a snakebit J.R. Tucker squad, who let a win over Hanover get away in their second game, hung with Henrico for a half the following week, but still seek their first victory. If quarterback Aiden Wheeler's solid play continues, then Deep Run will seek to insert themselves, yes, into the playoff discussion in 5A South Central. They'll have a lot of work still to come, as Hermitage looms next week, but first things first for head coach Chad Hornik's crew, getting a road victory, which they haven't done yet. But after this week, they only have one more road trip, and that's to #7 Douglas Freeman on October 21st.
CLICK HERE to listen live to the Game of The Week as #9 Douglas Freeman comes to Atlee in the home opener for the Raiders!
The game is also available on radio on WHAN, 102.9 FM, 1430 AM, and on any mobile device with the TuneIn Radio app, search "Radiall"! Save "Radiall" to your favorites and listen to the Game of The Week every Friday night during football season!
We go live at 6:30pm with the On The Sidelines Pre-Game Show Powered by Sheehy Ford of Ashland as Rob Witham and NBC12 Sports Director Marc Davis break down Week 4 across the Central Region!
Highland Springs remains firmly atop the latest NBC12/RVA Sports Network Big 12 High School Football Poll, as Hermitage returns to their preseason ranking and Henrico cracks the top five!
1) Highland Springs (2-0, was #1, at Meadowbrook, 7pm)
2) L.C. Bird (2-0, was #2, at Midlothian, 7:30pm)
3) Dinwiddie (2-0, was #3, vs. Caroline, 7pm)
4) Hermitage (1-1, was #4, IDLE)
5) Henrico (1-0, was #6, vs. Deep Run, 7pm)
6) Manchester (1-0, was #7, vs. Huguenot, 7:30pm)
7) Hopewell (1-0, was #9, at Powhatan, 7pm)
8) Thomas Dale (1-1, was #4, vs. Varina, 7pm)
9) Lee-Davis (1-0, was #11, at Prince George, 7:30pm)
10) Douglas Freeman (2-0, was #10, IDLE)
11) Monacan (2-0, was #12, vs. #12 Cosby, 7:30pm)
12) Cosby (1-1, returns to poll, at #11 Monacan, 7:30pm)
Also Receiving Votes: Benedictine
Dropping Out: Hanover (0-1, was #8)
It's a unanimous #1 start to the 2016 season for the defending 5A state champions.
Highland Springs, now the hunted rather than the hunter, is the top team in the first NBC12/RVA Sports Network Big 12 High School Football Poll released Tuesday evening. The 14-1 Springers won their first state title since 1961 last December.
Other county teams in the poll include Hermitage, who begins at #4, setting up a Top 4 showdown Friday at Chester Fritz Stadium as the Panthers welcome the Springers for a 7pm game, Henrico, who ranks sixth as they look for a third straight playoff appearance, and Douglas Freeman, coming off a 9-2 campaign in 2015 winning their first nine games. The Rebels are ranked 11th.
CLICK HERE to see the entire Big 12 High School Football Poll, and be sure to watch On The Sidelines with Marc Davis and Matt Esterich every Friday night at 11:15 only on NBC12, Richmond's Number One Choice For News!