WHAN Radio/RVA Sports Network Game of The Week: #10 Lee-Davis (5-1) at #5 Highland Springs (5-1), 7pm
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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?