First, tonight's schedule, then a look at the playoff chances of all the teams South of the James! All rankings based on latest NBC12/RVA Sports Network Big 12 High School Football Poll.
James River (4-5) at #1 L.C. Bird (9-0), 7:30pm
#10 Thomas Dale (6-3) at Matoaca (6-3), 7pm
Cosby (5-4) at #11 Manchester, 7:30pm
Meadowbrook (5-4) at Dinwiddie (6-3), 7pm
#8 Hopewell (7-2) at Prince George (3-6), 7:30pm
Midlothian (2-7) at Clover Hill (2-7), 7:30pm
George Wythe (0-9) at Huguenot (1-8), 7:30pm
Monticello (6-3) at Powhatan (4-5), 7:30pm
Petersburg (2-7) at Colonial Heights (3-6), 7pm
6A South (Conferences 3 & 4, Top 8 make playoffs):
--Colonial Forge has clinched the number one seed, even with a loss to 3-6 Freedom/PW tonight.
--Thomas Dale needs a win and help, but can retake the #2 seed over C.D. Hylton, who took it over last Friday night. The Knights must beat Matoaca, then have Cosby, Varina, Prince George and Dinwiddie win, plus get a point from L.C. Bird. They'll get two from the Colonial Heights/Petersburg winner.
--C.D. Hylton has to face Forest Park, who, at 6-3, start tonight just 11 points behind #4 Manchester in fifth place. A Hylton loss is great news for the Knights, but also vaults Forest Park into the mix for the fourth seed with Manchester, and a home game in round one.
--Manchester is 6-3, 10 points behind Dale, 11 ahead of Forest Park. They would get 34 points by beating Cosby and can get up to nine additional rider points, with Matoaca and James River winning, and an automatic two points each for the Midlothian/Clover Hill and George Wythe/Huguenot winners. Hermitage beating Douglas Freeman means an extra point. For the Lancers, it's all about staying home next Friday, either as a fourth seed, or maybe a third, if they can slip in front of Thomas Dale if Matoaca wins.
--Cosby begins tonight in 7th at 233 points, six behind Woodbridge for the sixth seed. Woodbridge plays an 0-9 Gar-Field, and can only earn 26 points for a victory. Cosby, with a win over Manchester, earns 38 points. Rider points are few for the Titans, though, a maximum of seven available, but the Titans could head to sixth with a victory, possibly setting up a rematch of their season opener...at Thomas Dale.
--James River is out of the running for moment in ninth, but that could change if they pull the gigantic upset at L.C. Bird. The Rapids would earn 44 points for the win, enough to overtake #8 Riverbend, whose season is over at 257 points. But they can earn rider points based on how their opponents fare tonight. Riverbend can finish no lower than 261 points, James River no higher than 267. James River needs Douglas Freeman and Chancellor to win tonight.
5A South (Conferences 11 & 12, Top 8 make playoffs):
This is the group everyone is talking about, mainly because 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 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.
4A East (Conferences 19 & 20, Top 8 make playoffs)
--Monacan begins the night at 279 points. They can earn as many as 12 rider points tonight. They are guaranteed six. A Bird win gives them one for 286. Then they need underdogs Caroline and Glen Allen to win. Caroline (0-9) plays top-seeded Courtland. The top seed is not in play for Monacan if Courtland wins.
--Hanover can vault over Monacan for second with a win over Henrico and has an outside chance at taking #1 from Courtland, but they need at least Dinwiddie and J.R. Tucker to win, and maybe more.
--Dinwiddie begins the night 14 points behind Eastern View and Chancellor, who are tied for fourth place. Either/both must lose for Dinwiddie to move up from sixth, and the Generals must beat Meadowbrook, and get help from James Monroe, Caroline, and, ironically, a win From Hanover.
--Powhatan, outside in 9th, must beat Monticello, have #8 King George lose to 3A power James Monroe, then Charlottesville must beat Louis, Midlothian must beat Clover Hill and George Wythe must knock off Huguenot. It's a long-shot for the Indians.
The season ends tonight for Clover Hill and Midlothian, who face off to see who can start the off-season on a high note.
--Petersburg needs a win over Colonial Heights to ensure a 3A East berth. The Colonials likely slide in even with a loss tonight, but their #5 seed in Conference 25/27's eight-team sub-region may worsen.
--Hopewell all but has the #1 seed in Conferences 26/28, meaning a minimum of three home games, through Thanksgiving.