It’s 10 a.m. Saturday, mere hours since I rolled back into Roanoke from Pearisburg where Giles senior Ian Mann put up more than three bills of rushing yardage and threw a TD pass in the Spartans’ 41-14 win over James River in the first round of the Division 2 West Section football playoffs.
Sixty-four games took place across Virginia on Friday night. Eight more are today, wrapping up the opening round. The Central Region finished its regular season last night. The Richmond-area Group AAA teams will join the playoff party next week.
Here’s what jumped out at me Friday:
1. Some Group A schools from the 434 and 804 struggled big-time.
Covington destroyed Rappahannock 51-28 on the road, while Parry McCluer handled Charles City 33-7 in the Division 1 East Section. Bath County nearly pulled off a second straight first-round win in losing at No. 2 seed Sussex Central 14-10. Also, in Division 2 Gretna was hammered at Grayson County 44-31, while Dan River got steamrolled 55-27 at home by Stuarts Draft. Division 2 East top seed Essex, unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in Group A by the AP, had a fairly close shave against 3-7 Luray before winning 28-12.
Was the Dogwood District that far down this year? It appears so after last night. William Campbell, at 3-7, saved some face for the league with a 41-22 win over West Point in Division 1 East. Altavista, seeded No. 4, hosts Surry County today, but this is an Altavista team that lost earlier this year to James River.
Conversely, the Shenandoah District had a pretty good night. Stuarts Draft, Riverheads and Wilson Memorial all had blowout wins. East Rockingham also won a Division 2 East game and will get its shot at Essex next week. The game between Riverheads and Wilson Memorial next week in Fishersville should be a monster.
2. Who said there’s no such thing as a River Ridge District football tournament?
Next week’s Region IV Division 4 semifinals feature four River Ridge teams — Christiansburg at Hidden Valley, and Pulaski County at Salem. Obviously, those are rematches of regular-season games. Salem beat Pulaski 28-14 just eight days ago, while Hidden Valley got Christiansburg 28-0 earlier this year at Dwight Bogle Stadium. Christiansburg’s 64-28 win over Bassett was the highest scoring playoff game in the state Friday night. Pulaski County’s 32-0 win over Magna Vista was one of seven shutouts across the state.
3. See you sooner.
Last year Northside played Brookville in the Region III Division 3 final, and Cave Spring played at Richlands in the Region III Division 3 final. This year, those matchups will be one round earlier. Northside goes to Brookville next Friday in another installment of what is becoming an annual rivalry. The same goes for Cave Spring and Richlands. Brookville will enter the Northside game after having two weeks off. We’ll see if rest or rust prevails. Cave Spring, which won at Richlands last year after losing at Ernie Hicks Stadium in 2010, will not see the Blue Tornadoes at full strength. Richlands will be without perhaps its best player, A.J. Johnson, who was ejected from the regular-season finale against Tazewell after drawing two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.
4. Zac Hill.
Is there a more valuable player to his team? Maybe not. William Byrd was in position to claim first place in the Blue Ridge District several weeks ago until Hill dislocated his left elbow with the Terriers leading Northside in the fourth quarter. Byrd lost that game, then dropped Blue Ridge games to Staunton River and Rockbridge County. Last night the Byrd quarterback returned and played through the pain, sparking Byrd to a 23-0 win over Lord Botetourt for the school’s second playoff win ever. Friday, the Terriers (5-6) will play at Heritage, which until Friday was the only team Byrd had beaten in a postseason game.
5. Thanks for playing.
Eight of the nine teams that entered the first-round with losing records lost Friday. William Campbell, now 4-7 after its fourth straight win, was the exception. Three more sub-.500 teams play today including 3-7 Radford at defending Division 1 state champion Clintwood. William Byrd and William Campbell were the only two teams with a losing record that won Friday night. Nine lower seeds knocked off upper seeds Friday.
6. Record run
Ian Mann of Giles has an outside shot of breaking the VHSL’s single-season touchdown record if the Spartans can play into December. Mann has 36 TDs on the season after his three on Friday. The record is 51, set in 2007 by Takeem Hedgeman of Monticello. Clintwood running back Gavan Meade enters today’s game against Radford with 30 TDs. Logan Moore of Riverheads has 33 TDs after Friday’s game.
I don’t think anyone will ever break this record though: Riverheads place-kicker Sam Goodson has 225 career PATs. That number might be off by one or two, but it doesn’t matter because he will add many more. Eastern Montgomery fans remember Goodson. He kicked nine PATs in Riverheads’s 63-49 win over the Mustangs in the Division 1 state final in 2010. He has broken the old state record by more than 30 PATs and he’s just a junior. Goodson has AVERAGED 75 PATs per year for three seasons. He should get close to the 300-mark by the end of 2013. Think about it: THREE HUNDRED extra points. Over four 12-game seasons, that’s better than SIX extra points per game for four years. Unreal.
Here are the pairings for next week as of Saturday morning (unbeaten teams remaining are L.C. Bird, Hermitage, Ocean Lakes, Westfield, Lake Taylor, Phoebus, Stone Bridge and Yorktown in Group AAA; Briar Woods, Brookville and Salem in Group AA; and Essex and Franklin in Group A):
Meadowbrook (9-1) at Varina (9-1)
L.C. Bird (10-0) at Hermitage (10-0)
Salem-Virginia Beach (10-1) at Oscar Smith (10-1)
Bethel or Western Branch at Ocean Lakes (11-0)
Chantilly (8-3) at Westfield (11-0)
Oakton (7-4) at Centreville (8-3)
Battlefield (8-3) at C.D. Hylton (8-2)
Colonial Forge (9-2) at Stonewall Jackson (9-1)
Hanover (7-3) at Lee-Davis (7-3)
Hopewell (7-3) at Dinwiddie (7-3)
Lakeland (8-3) at Lake Taylor (11-0)
Hampton (9-2) at Phoebus (11-0)
Langley (7-4) at Westfield (11-0)
South County (6-5) at Yorktown (11-0)
Brooke Point (6-5) at North Stafford (9-1)
Mountain View (7-4) at Potomac (7-3)
Courtland (7-4) at Chancellor (8-2)
King George (9-2) at Smithfield (9-1)
Liberty-Bealeton (7-4) at Briar Woods (11-0)
Loudoun County (9-2) at Tuscarora (10-1)
Jefferson Forest (7-4) at Amherst County (8-2)
William Byrd (5-6) at Heritage (9-1)
Pulaski County (6-5) at Salem (10-0)
Christiansburg (7-4) at Hidden Valley (6-4)
Park View-South Hill (9-2) at Lafayette (9-1)
York (9-2) at James Monroe (9-1)
Kettle Run (9-2) at Skyline (10-1)
Monticello (9-2) at Western Albemarle (10-1)
Northside (7-4) at Brookville (10-0)
Liberty-Bedford (7-4) at Rockbridge County (8-2)
Cave Spring (6-5) at Richlands (9-1)
Marion (7-4) at Tunstall (6-3)
Grayson County (9-2) at Fort Chiswell (10-1)
Giles (10-1) at John Battle (10-1)
Stuarts Draft (7-4) at Graham or Union
Riverheads (9-1) at Wilson Memorial (9-1)
East Rockingham (8-3) at Essex (11-0)
Strasburg (10-1) at Central-Woodstock (9-2)
Manassas Park (8-3) at King William (10-1)
Buckingham County (9-2) at Goochland (9-2)
Galax (7-4) vs. Honaker (10-1)
J.I. Burton (8-3) at Eastside (8-3)
Haysi (8-3) at Clintwood (10-1)
Rural Retreat (7-4) at George Wythe (10-1)
Covington (6-5) at Franklin (11-0)
William Campbell (4-7) vs. Altavista (9-2)
Colonial Beach (7-4) at Central-Lunenburg (10-1)
Parry McCluer (7-4) at Sussex Central (10-1)