Thursday, September 29, 2016

Week 6 Football Preview

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.

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