(All rankings based on latest NBC12/RVA Sports Network Big 12 High School Football Poll....)
James River (2-1) at #1 Manchester (3-0), 7:30pm: After a win of historic proportions at L.C. Bird last week knocking the Skyhawks off the top of the poll, does the new #1 team experience a letdown this week? With a chance now to build a very special season, it's hard to believe head coach Tom Hall will let that happen. Plus, this is another chance for the Lancers to earn more VHSL points in a quest now to earn home field advantage far into the 6A South Region playoffs. The Rapids, however, led #9 Douglas Freeman two weeks ago in the fourth quarter before falling to the Rebels. Military Appreciation Night at Manchester should be fun.
#4 L.C. Bird (3-1) at Clover Hill (0-3), 7:30pm: There is still an absolute ton to play for if you are L.C. Bird, including the #1 seed in 5A South Central come November 4th. So, you better believe the Skyhawks will be refocused and ready when they hit the buses this afternoon. They will want to use tonight's game to sharpen everything possible, as #8 Monacan comes to Chester next Friday. For the Cavaliers, this will be undoubtedly a tough test. A trip to Cosby next week, followed by games with George Wythe and Huguenot in early October will give Clover Hill chances for wins.
#8 Monacan (4-0) at Huguenot (1-3), 7:30pm: The Chiefs look to finish the first half of their schedule (on September 23!) with another victory. The offense is getting better every week, and tonight is a final chance to get the game plan ready for their aforementioned trip to Chester to face L.C. Bird next Friday. First things first, deal with a Falcons team that did score 28 points on #1 Manchester two weeks ago.
Colonial Heights (0-3) at #10 Thomas Dale (2-1), 7pm: The Knights get back to action after their bye week looking to slow down Terry Lufsey and the Colonials' offense, which has steadily improved point production each week. Colonial Heights' problem is their defense has been torched, giving up nearly 51 points a game. That's music to the Knights' ears, who will look to win back-to-back home games, tonight, then next Friday against Prince George, before having to head to #2 Dinwiddie on October 7th.
Matoaca (1-2) at Prince George (2-1), 7:30pm: It's amazing how many "big" games with playoff implications we've already seen across the Central Region this season. Count this one among them. Right now, in 5A South Central, you have unbeatens in Lee-Davis, Henrico and Douglas Freeman. After them, the one-loss powers of L.C. Bird, Highland Springs and Hermitage. Then there is a large group of teams that will, possibly, be fighting for the final two of the eight postseason bids up for grabs between Conferences 11 and 12. These two teams are among them, joining Meadowbrook, Mills Godwin, and Varina. Tonight's winner gets a large advantage in that fight, especially if Prince George can get to 3-1 to end this long homestand. The pressure is more on the Warriors at this point.
Petersburg (2-1) at Meadowbrook (1-2), 7pm: We just mentioned the Monarchs, who will now spend the rest of the season rooting especially for Highland Springs, as a win over, say, a 9-1 Springers squad gives the Monarchs important extra points in the complicated VHSL formula which determines the playoff seeding. First, MBK must make sure they can build on the momentum of two weeks ago by handing the Crimson Wave their second straight loss. Petersburg's bid for 3-0 fell just short, 17-12 at James Monroe last week.
George Wythe (1-2) at Midlothian (0-4), 7pm: The Trojans will look to grab their first victory of the season, but the Bulldogs plan to be no pushover, having won their first game over a VHSL opponent to start the season, 8-6 over Armstrong. This is likely to be the best shot for Midlothian to get a home victory this season.
NOTE: Cosby (2-2) is idle this week.