Thursday, September 29, 2016

Week 6 Football Preview!

Let's take a look at all the action across the county, all now on Monday, as we hit the halfway point of the season for some teams, while others were scheduled to begin their second half even before the calendar switches to October. (NOTE: Rankings based on latest NBC12/RVA Sports Network Big 12 High School Football Poll)

#6 Monacan (5-0) at #4 L.C. Bird (4-1), MONDAY, 6pm: Two weeks ago, another team ranked sixth at the time in our NBC12/RVA Sports Network poll, Manchester, came to Chester and handed the Skyhawks, then ranked #1, their first defeat. Now, another unbeaten #6 team, the Monacan Chiefs, come to Skyhawk Nation hoping to do the same thing. The Chiefs can score, in bunches, and if there is one thing Manchester proved two weeks ago, it was you can score on L.C. Bird, if you are talented and have the weapons. Monacan does. So, the bigger question on this night will be how well the Monacan defense can slow down Shedrick McCall, who piled up nearly 200 rushing yards, along with four touchdowns, in L.C. Bird's conquest of Clover Hill a week ago.

The playoff picture now enters this game, too, as the Chiefs are battling four other unbeaten teams within their Conference 19/20 sub-region in 4A East. Monacan is fourth in VHSL points (25.2), ahead of Dinwiddie (25.0), but behind Louisa (27.0), Eastern View (25.6) and Powhatan (25.5). The Chiefs haven't seen a team like L.C. Bird so far this season, while the Skyhawks have already battled, and beaten, Meadowbrook and Thomas Dale before falling to the Lancers. L.C. Bird is second in the Conference 11/12 sub-region in 5A South, 1.5 points behind unbeaten Douglas Freeman. A win for L.C. Bird likely puts them into the lead in that eight-team playoff race, even with a Douglas Freeman win over a two-win Thomas Jefferson team.

George Wythe (1-3) at #1 Manchester, MONDAY 7:30pm: Frank Boyd and company will come in hoping to simply secure a victory, have nobody get hurt, so Manchester can prepare for a three-game road trip which includes a visit to Chester Fritz Stadium and #3 Hermitage in two weeks. The Bulldogs, fighting for their own playoff position in 3A East, will be severely undermanned against the talent of the Lancers, who lead their 6A South Region eight-team pod between Conferences 3 and 4 by over two points. After this game, Manchester's next battle on their home turf isn't until October 28th when Monacan comes in.

Prince George (2-2) at #8 Thomas Dale (3-1), MONDAY 6pm: A Central District battle as the Knights try to solidify their playoff positioning in 6A South, Conference 3/4, currently fifth. Meanwhile, the Royals are in a dogfight that we've discussed all season on our "Central Region Now!" Podcasts in 5A South, as five teams are currently 2-2. Meadowbrook is ranked seventh in VHSL points, Varina and Matoaca are tied for the eighth and final playoff berth, with Mills Godwin a quarter-point behind them, and Prince George 1.5 points behind the Eagles. A win tonight vaults Prince George into the 5A South playoff picture. The Knights need to avoid the upset, and usually do very well at home. They also want another win to help them get ready for a trip to currently unbeaten Dinwiddie next Friday.

Chancellor (3-1) at James River (2-2), MONDAY 6pm: The Rapids showed the non-believers last week that they can hang with the best teams in the area, giving Manchester a scare before falling 41-34. Most coaches will tell you there are no "moral victories", but last week's affair, we believe, falls into that category. Now James River has plenty of confidence as Chancellor, fighting for playoff position in a suddenly very tough 4A East Region, comes to Chesterfield. The Rapids, currently in the eighth and final position in their sub-region in 6A South, will also look to avenge last year's 42-7 loss in Fredericksburg. It doesn't get any easier, as the Rapids go to Monacan next week before they return to The Swamp for their annual battle with Midlothian.

Meadowbrook (2-2) at Colonial Heights (0-4), MONDAY 6pm: The Monarchs, after starting 0-2 by falling to L.C. Bird and Hermitage, caught fire in their 8-7 win over Highland Springs, and now look for a third straight win, and possibly a second straight shutout, as the Colonials will go without their starting quarterback. Meadowbrook is in the dogfight that is 5A South and will be rooting for teams like Henrico and Dinwiddie to knock off the likes of Varina and Matoaca to give Meadowbrook some separation in the VHSL point standings as the second half of the season begins. Still to come for the Monarchs are battles with Hopewell, Thomas Dale, and Dinwiddie.

#2 Dinwiddie (4-0) at Matoaca (2-2), MONDAY 7pm: Matoaca may have the biggest challenge in the "Group Of Five" in 5A South this week, having to handle a Dinwiddie offense that is averaging 59 points per game. More importantly, in our view, is the work of Dinwiddie's defense, as Omar Tyson and company held Hopewell at bay until they score some late touchdowns that didn't matter in that 63-21 triumph last Friday. The Warriors must slow down the Generals' express AND try to score enough points to stay within striking distance in the fourth quarter. Playing at home will help.

Midlothian (1-4) at Huguenot (1-4), MONDAY 6pm: The winner here draws a step closer to staying in the 4A East Region playoff race, but will still be far behind teams like Chancellor and King George, currently in the sixth and seventh position in the Conference 19/20 eight-team pod. The victor also is rooting for Liberty-Bealeton to knock off Courtland, who is struggling this season, and is eight in playoff points, but less than a point ahead of both the Trojans and Falcons. Surprisingly behind both of these teams is Hanover, struggling at 1-3, their only win over a winless J.R. Tucker team. The road to a postseason bid for tonight's loser becomes extremely difficult.

Clover Hill (0-4) at Cosby (2-2), MONDAY 7pm: The Titans begin play in seventh place in 6A South in their sub-region of Conference 3 and 4, only a half-point ahead of James River, with Riverbend right on their heels. There can't be any slip-up here as Cosby needs to hold serve at home, After hosting Huguenot for Homecoming next week, it's a trip to L.C. Bird, followed by the Rapids coming to the Titans on October 21st in what could be a battle to ensure a trip to the postseason to the winner.

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