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  1. Semifinals: Class 6 Oscar Smith 18 Colonial Forge 16 (Highlights)--Ethan Vasko's 55-yard touchdown pass to Amonte Jones midway through the fourth quarter--on fourth and 8--gave OS the winning points. Forge had five turnovers, four in the first half. South County 28 Westfield 21 (Highlights)--Matt Dzierski threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers and Brock Spalding--the recipient of one of those touchdown strikes--intercepted a pass in the end zone as time expired. Class 5 Maury 17 Varina 14 (Highlights)--Maury's high scoring offense was largely held in check, but the less heralded defense kept Varina scoreless until the fourt quarter and put the game away with a late interception. Stone Bridge 44 North Stafford 15--Jared Cole ran for 131 yards and three touchdowns as Stone Bridge advanced to their ninth state championship game since 2005. Class 4 Lake Taylor 36 Patrick Henry-Ashland 35 (Highlights)--The Titans stuffed a last-second two-point conversion attempt to hold on after PH scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes. Malik Newton ran for 128 yards and was in on the tackle on the decisive play. Tarrion Washington-Jacobs added another 116 yards and two scores. Patrick Henry QB Alex Sikkar ran for 160 and three touchdowns. Tuscarora 36 Salem 20 (Highlights)--Sophomore RB Bryce Duke ran for 203 yards and four touchdowns, and while Salem amassed 21 first downs, the Huskies defense bent but didn't break in the second half. Class 3 Hopewell 35 Goochland 28 (Highlights)--Hopewell trailed 28-14 after three quarters, but Kaiveon Cox touchdown runs tied the game, and Trey Henderson plunged in from the 1 yard-line with a minute left to put the Blue Devils into the final. Henderson finished with 211 yards and 3 touchdowns on 21 carries. Goochland QB CJ Towles threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more. Lord Botetourt 25 Heritage-Lynchburg 14 (Highlights)--Botetourt RB Hunter Rice outdueled Heritage's KJ Vaughan 192 yards to 126, and QB James-Ryan Salvi scored on both sides of the ball as Botetourt avenged last year's semifinal loss. Class 2 Stuarts Draft 49 TJ-Richmond 7 (Highlights)--Draft's Wing-T put up 358 yards on the ground as they ended TJ's storybook run. Blake Roach and Dustyn Fitzgerald both topped 100 yards rushing, while Freddie Watkins scored four times. Appomattox 28 Graham 13 (Highlights)--Tre Lawing threw three touchdown passes as 2015-17 champions Appomattox return to the championship game after a one-year absence. Class 1 Riverheads 56 Essex 15 (Highlights)--Zac Smiley ran 90 yards for a touchdown on the first offensive play for Riverheads, who continue to be unstoppable against Class 1 opposition. Galax 41 Patrick Henry-Glade Spring 16 (Highlights)--After years of having running backs put up huge numbers, Galax had allegedly shifted to a more balanced attack this year, but this one was like the old days as Denver Brown ran for 276 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries. The Maroon Tide defense limited Patrick Henry to 29 rushing yards of their own. Maryland: Wise dropped Northwest 35-14 to capture their fourth Class 4A championship in five years. Damascus did the same in Class 3A, blanking Linganore 38-0. West Virginia: Martinsburg won their one billionth consecutive state championship, 49-21 over Cabell Midland. The Bulldogs scored two touchdowns in the first 30 seconds of the game and five more in the last 3:16 of the first half.
  2. Montverde and IMG are both playing in the St. James tournament in Hagerstown, MD at the end of January. Wonder how much they had to shell out to get those teams to play in the same tournament. Hillcrest Prep and some other decent teams will also be there. When Montverde played in this tournament a few years ago they lost to St. Benedict's in the final and they cancelled the trophy presentation and cleared the gym when the coaches were ready to fight in the handshake line. https://www.stjames.edu/athletics/tournaments/sjit-homepage
  3. At pretty much the same time, the PVI girls were at home beating #1 in the nation Westlake of Atlanta 67-58...kind of a shame that the scores weren't identical.
  4. Springfield Central has almost double the enrollment of Duxbury and should be in Division 1 but thanks to weird rules there are no Central or Western Mass. teams classified in Divisions 1 or 2 for football.
  5. Today's Super Bowls from Gillette Stadium streamed on https://www.patriots.com/ 9am - Division 7 - Abington vs Leicester11am - Division 6 - Bishop Fenwick vs Ashland1:30pm - Division 5 - Swampscott vs Amherst3:30pm - Division 4 - Melrose vs Plymouth South6pm - Division 3 - Duxbury vs Springfield Central8pm - Division 1 - St. John's Prep vs Catholic Memorial Division 2 and 8 games were last night. Mansfield, who played LaSalle OH earlier in the year, won the D2 championship.
  6. Don't have time to write much about tomorrow's semifinals, but here are the matchups: Class 6 Colonial Forge (11-2) at Oscar Smith (12-1)--fifth time in seven years they have met in the playoffs, Oscar Smith has won all the previous meetings. South County (13-0) at Westfield (13-0)--in the 2015 semis Westfield crushed an undefeated South County team 40-8, which ignited Westfield's run of three straight championships. Class 5 Varina (11-2) at Maury (13-0) North Stafford (9-4) at Stone Bridge (11-1)--Stone Bridge has won their last six semifinals, while North Stafford has lost their last four. Class 4 Patrick Henry-Ashland (10-3) at Lake Taylor (11-2) Tuscarora (12-1) at Salem (12-1) Class 3 Goochland (12-1) at Hopewell (13-0) Heritage-Lynchburg (12-1) at Lord Botetourt (13-0)--Heritage won a 42-39 slugfest in last year's semi Class 2 TJ-Richmond (11-2) at Stuarts Draft (12-1)--TJ coming off their first regional title in their 90-year history. Graham (11-2) at Appomattox (12-2)--defending champions Graham against the 2015-17 champs Appomattox. Class 1 Essex (12-1) at Riverheads (13-0)--Essex has given Riverheads their toughest tests in their title runs the last two years. Galax (11-1) at Patrick Henry-GS (13-0)
  7. Just a joke--they've only won 55 in a row, but they have been so far ahead of the other teams in their state over the last decade they it just feels like they've won about a thousand games in a row.
  8. After last week's upsets it was mostly comfortable wins for the favorites in the regional finals...even though three of the lower seeds won in Class 5 I don't think any were big surprises. Class 6 Oscar Smith 29 Thomas Dale 7--OS limited Dale to 139 yards of offense and Romon Copeland scored three times for the Tigers. Colonial Forge 42 Massaponax 21--Forge racked up 360 rushing yards. South County 31 Lake Braddock 15--Brock Spalding caught three touchdown passes from Matt Dzierski and also returned an interception for a score at the Stallions pulled away in the second half. Westfield 35 Yorktown 7--Noah Kim threw three TD passes for the Bulldogs. Class 5 Maury 35 Salem-VB 14--KeAndre Lambert scored rushing and receiving touchdowns and threw for another score. Varina 34 Manchester 16--No letdown for Varina as Bobby Dunn hooked up with Barry Hill on two long TD passes and Jailin Walker added two scores on the ground. Stone Bridge 57 Woodgrove 15--SB led just 22-15 at halftime but dominated in the second half. Jared Cole ran for 168 yards and three touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass as well. North Stafford 21 Mountain View 10-Jamir Boyd three for 337 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Wolverines eliminated the Wildcats for the third straight year. Class 4 Lake Taylor 41 Churchland 13--Malik Newton ran ford 213 yards and Jeff Foster tossed three TD passes for the TItans. Patrick Henry-Ashland 13 Dinwiddie 6--Jordan Allen;s fourth quarter TD run was the difference in this defensive struggle. Tuscarora 30 Broad Run 7--Ethan Gick threw four touchdown passes as the Huskies avenged their season-opening loss. Salem 35 EC Glass 24--Glass took a 24-21 lead in the third quarter, but Shawn Collins immediately put Salem back on top with a 99-yard kickoff return. Isaiah Persinger scored the other four touchdowns for Salem. Class 3 Hopewell 19 Phoebus 6--Trey Henderson ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Goochland 20 James Monroe 7 Heritage-Lynchburg 43 Spotswood 20--KJ Vaughan scored all six touchdowns for Heritage. Lord Botetourt 31 Northside 23 Class 2 TJ-Richmond 30 King William 28--TJ continues to make history after holding off a late King William rally. Stuarts Draft 14 East Rockingham 7 Appomattox 35 Gretna 14 Graham 43 Wise Central 14 Class 1 Essex 60 Rappahannock 28 Riverheads 46 Sussex Central 0--Riverheads held Sussex Central to minus-12 yards of offense. Galax 52 George Wythe 6--Denver Brown ran for 317 yards and four scores, including touchdown runs of 98, 90, and 63 yards. Patrick Henry-GS 24 JI Burton 0 Maryland Update: Defending 4A State Champs Quince Orchard were upset 22-13 by county rivals Northwest in the semifinals. Northwest faces Wise for the championship. DC Update: Dunbar beat HD Woodson 21-12 on Thanksgiving morning to take the DCIAA title. The Crimson Tide will battle Friendship Collegiate for the DCSAA championship after Friendship beat Archbishop Carroll 7-0 in their semifinal. West Virginia Update: Martinsburg made it 999 straight wins by squeaking past Parkersburg South 77-20 in a Class AAA semifinal. No need to worry about the slim margin, Bulldog fans; it was 77-6 after three. Martinsburg goes for their historic 1,000th straight win when they take on Cabell Midland for the championship.
  9. It's good. The ginger taste comes through clearly without being overpowering or artificial-tasting.
  10. Last week I promised myself I would drink that beer sitting on my kitchen counter before Thanksgiving and it is just so satisfying to finish a job several days before the deadline.
  11. Regional Final schedules are up: https://www.vhsl.org/brackets/football/ Gets harder to find stats every year. Class 6 Thomas Dale (9-3) at Oscar Smith (11-1)--OS had a tougher-than-expected 20-16 win over Landstown last week. While they've scored a lot of points this year, their district rivals flopped in the playoff and they still have to prove whether their offense, led by soph QB Ethan Vasko, can score against good teams. Thomas Dale features 5* Notre Dame committ Chris Tyree, who has been limited by injury but resumed running back duties last week and put up 110 yards, and all-around threat Jasiah Williams, who has thrown for over 1,000 yards, rushed for about 600, and often slides over to receiver, where he has caught 22 passes. When he gets bored, he returns kicks for touchdowns like he did in last week's win over Ocean Lakes. Massaponax (10-2) at Colonial Forge (10-2)--Forge won the regular season meeting of district rivals 21-3, and has held Massaponax to a total of 10 points over the last three seasons. Ponax has two RBs over 1,000 yards and a third who ran for a thousand last year and just came back from injury, so the potential to break loose is there, as evidenced by last week's upset of Freedom where they put up 370 rushing yards and 45 points. Forge has only conceded more than seven points three times this year. Lake Braddock (10-2) at South County (12-0)--South County won 40-29 the final week of the regular season. It wasn't as close as the score indicates--28-0 at the half and LB never got closer than two scores--but the Bruins offense was effective enough in the second half to give SC something to think about. South County's balanced offense is led by senior QB Matt Dzierski (2,700 yards passing, 34 TD, 5 INT, 524 rushing yards) and his favorite targets Brock Spalding (64 receptions, 1120 yards, 17 TD) and JoShawn Lewis (43 receptions, 693 yards). Running back has been by committee, and increasingly features 240-pound back Zion Dayne (Ron's son, of course), who will probably play LB at Yale but ran for four scores in the regular-season matchup. LB counters with Junior QB Billy Edwards (2,556 yards, 30 TD, 5 INT), who will play some type of D1, RB and state wrestling champ Joe Murray, who is just short of 2,000 rushing yards on the season, and Michigan commit Matt Hibner (36 receptions, 832 yards, 11 TD), who is a TE on the recruiting sites but can be a deep threat in high school as well as a terror on defense. Yorktown (11-1) at Westfield (12-0)--Westfield gave up a touchdown on the first possession of the postseason and hasn't conceded a point since. Senior QB Noah Kim, who recently switched his commitment from Virginia Tech to Michigan State, is back for his third season as the Bulldogs' starter and has tossed 27 touchdowns against just one interception. Soph RB Mikal Legall has added 23 rushing TDs. Yorktown didn't play a very strong regular season schedule, but impressed with a 25-10 win last week against a Madison team that played Westfield within a touchdown. Senior QB Grant Wilson has thrown for nearly 2,500 yards for the Patriots. Class 5 Maury (12-0) at Salem-Va Beach (12-0)--Certainly the game of the week. Maury scored 64 points last week, Salem hasn't conceded 64 total points this season. Maury QB EJ Gibson has thrown for nearly 3,000 yards, with Penn State-bound KeAndre Lambert his top target, while CJ Beasley has run for over 1,300. Salem, who edged Woodside on a late touchdown pass last week, features 1,600-yard rusher, while the stingy SunDevil defense is led by LB Anwar Sparrow. Varina (10-2) at Manchester (11-1)--Not far behind Salem-Maury in the GOTW standings. Varina coming off their huge win over Highland Springs now has a chance to avenge their other regular season loss, with Manchester having taken a 45-38 double-overtime win in the season opener. Varina's Barry Hill intercepted four passes last week against the Springers, and also caught a touchdown pass from Bobby Dunn, who has thrown for 28 TDs on the season. Kent State commit Isiah Page is only 5-7 but is both a rushing and receiving threat for Varina, snagging region player of the year honors. Manchester graduated a ton off of last season's Class 6 state champs, but hasn't dropped off very much, with dual-threat QB Roemel Garcia stepping in for Brendon Clark and topping 1,000 yards through the air and on the ground. Woodgrove (7-4) at Stone Bridge (10-1)--Stone Bridge won 44-14 in the regular season, with UMass commit Jared Cole rushing for four scores. North Stafford (8-4) at Mountain View (10-2)--North Stafford eliminated Mountain View from the playoffs the last two years, but both years NS had also roughed up MV during the regular season, whereas MV won this year's October meeting 34-26. QB Edward Ware has run for 1,013 yards despite missing some time to injury, RB Mark Shelton is just short of a thousand, and freshman Ike Daniels has added five touchdowns in two playoff games. North Stafford lost four-year star RB Devyn Ford to Penn State, but has built an air attack around QB Jamir Boyd (2,781 yards, 28 TD), Indiana commit Javon Swinton (42 receptions, 733 yards, 10 TD), and Holt Egan (55 receptions, 933 yards, 10 TD). Class 4 Churchland (10-2) at Lake Taylor (10-2)--Churchland won their first playoff game in history two weeks ago and then they won their second. Lake Taylor's Malik Newton has rushed for 30 touchdowns and scored on a pick six last week. Churchland is nicknamed the Truckers, which doesn't really bring an image of speed to your mind, but RB Kenny Gallop has a perfect name for his position. Dinwiddie (7-5) at Patrick Henry-Ashland (9-3)--Dinwiddie a familiar face at this stage of the playoffs, while Patrick Henry is a rare visitor. Dinwiddie star RB Robert Barlow left last week's game with a sprained ankle. Tuscarora (11-1) at Broad Run (12-0)--Big question is whether Broad Run's starting QB and Wake Forest commit Mitch Griffis will play, or if younger brother Brett will fill in as he has for the first two playoff games. Tuscarora's offense has put up 100 points in two playoff games behind QB Ethan Gick (2,080 yards and 20 TD passing, 1,287 yards and 17 TD rushing), sophomore RB Bryce Duke (1,526 yards, 20 TD). Jevonn Gilyard (45 receptions, 1,072 yards, 14 TD) is the deep threat while Ryan Upp (56 receptions, 775 yards) finds open space across the middle. Tuscarora DE Matei Fitz was district defensive POY. EC Glass (11-1) at Salem (11-1)--Glass QB DreSean Kendrick has run for 1,950 yards on the season. Class 3 Phoebus (11-1) at Hopewell (11-0)--Every year we wonder if this is finally the year for Phoebus. James Monroe (9-3) at Goochland (11-1) Spotswood (12-0) at Heritage-Lynchburg (11-1)--KJ Vaughan ran for 223 yards and four touchdowns in Heritage's win over Liberty Christian last week. Spotswood has outscored opponents 500-98 but the defending state champs are a step up in competition for them. Northside (9-3) at Lord Botetourt (12-0)--Botetourt won 14-7 late in the regular season. LB's Hunter Rice, who has started since he was a freshman and has a UVa offer, ran for 303 yards against Hidden Valley last week. Class 2 King William (9-3) at Thomas Jefferson-Richmond (10-2)--No one ever expected a Richmond City team to win two playoffs games but then no one really expected a Richmond City team to be playing in Class 2 either. East Rockingham (8-4) at Stuarts Draft (11-1) Gretna (9-3) at Appomattox (10-2)--Appomattox had a run of three straight state championships broken last year. Wise Central (10-2) at Graham (10-2)--Defending state champs Graham destroyed Union 48-7 last week to avenge their only in-state loss. Class 1 Rappahannock (9-3) at Essex (11-1)--Anyone who's tried to avoid 64 and 95 by driving from Hampton Roads to Northern Virginia via US 17 and 301 knows Tappahannock is home to a 25 mph speed limit and several traffic lights, but not many know that Tappahannock is also home to Essex High School, which goes for their third straight regional title this week. Sussex Central (10-2) at Riverheads (12-0)--Riverheads looking on course for their fourth state title in a row after winning their first two playoff games by a combined 104-6. George Wythe (9-2) at Galax (10-1) JI Burton (10-2) at Patrick Henry-Glade Spring (12-0)
  12. Tomorrow at 6:00.
  13. Wow, Erie Cathedral and Imhotep both lost tonight. How many years in a row had they played in the 4A final?
  14. Upsets tonight! --Varina beat Highland Springs 27-21. Was 27-6 in the fourth before the Springers attempted a rally. 40-game win streak and 4-year state championship streak is over. --Massaponax over Freedom 45-42 on a last-second field goal. Panthers held the potent Freedom offense to seven second-half points after a 35-35 halftime tie. --Patrick Henry-Ashland got a late field goal of their own to knock off unbeaten Louisa 16-15. In the same region Dinwiddie pulled off their second straight upset, 25-17 over Eastern View. --Salem-VB narrowly avoided an upset at the hands of Woodside, scoring on a 62-yard pass in the final minute to pull out a 21-19 --In other unbeaten teams losing news, Manchester beat Deep Run 35-18, Tuscarora whipped Liberty 53-22, and Phoebus rolled York 41-18. None of those were really upsets though.
  15. One line about the large school matchups, and small school pairings. Seems like there was a lot of "first playoff win since" last week. Class 6 Landstown (8-3) at Oscar Smith (10-1)--Landstown needed a late comback to beat unheralded Franklin County last week, OS heavy favorites. Thomas Dale (8-3) at Ocean Lakes (8-3)--Ocean Lakes looking to set up a showdown with their former coach. Both teams too some heavy defeats during the regular season. Massaponax (9-2) at Freedom-Woodbridge (11-0)--Freedom has scored a ton of points but questions about their opposition, especially after the other playoff qualifiers from their district got hammered last week. State law requires me to mention that Massaponax runs the option and that teams don't always know how to defend it nowadays. Colonial Forge (9-2) at Patriot (10-1)--Forge looking to make the quarterfinals for the seventh time in eight years but have never made the final. They beat Patriot in the regular season in 2017 and 18 but they didn't play this year. TC Williams (8-3) at South County (11-0)--SoCo won 41-13 in September. When TC played at South County in the 2013 playoffs, they ran on to the field through SC's inflatable tunnel thing, which the message boards told me was the worst thing any football team has ever done. Lake Braddock (9-2) at Mount Vernon (10-1)--Would be a breakthrough win for Mount Vernon, who won their first playoff game since 2008 last week. South Lakes (7-4) at Westfield (11-0)--Westfield looking to eliminate South Lakes from the playoffs for the fifth straight year. Madison (8-3) at Yorktown (10-1)--Madison played a much tougher schedule. Class 5 Woodside (10-1) at Salem-VB (11-0)--Salem has conceded 22 points on the season and Woodside has given up 45, so something has to give. Read that a few Woodside players visited Rutgers last week, hopefully that doesn't rub off on them. Nansemond River (9-2) at Maury (11-0)--Nansemond emphatically avenged one of their losses last week. Maury hasn't been challenged all year. Varina (9-2) at Highland Springs (11-0)--Highland Springs won 27-20 two weeks ago. Manchester (10-1) at Deep Run (11-0)--Deep Run undefeated but with more to prove after playing a weak schedule. Potomac Falls (5-6) at Stone Bridge (9-1)--Stone Bridge won 41-0 a few weeks ago, not many expect the rematch to be any more competitive. Briar Woods (6-5) at Woodgrove (6-4)--BW won the regular season meeting 28-0, but had lost three straight before winning their playoff opener over a one-win team last week. William Fleming (4-7) at Mountain View (9-2)--Fleming has bounced back after winning just one game over the previous two seasons, but the records say it all. Patrick Henry-Roanoke (7-4) at North Stafford (7-4)--Rare Saturday game as Patrick Henry makes the long trip to the Northern Virginia exurbs. The Patriots won their first playoff game since 1994 last week, while North Stafford won a playoff game for the ninth straight year. Class 4 Warwick (7-4) at Lake Taylor (9-2)--Warwick beat Peninsula rivals Hampton for their first playoff win since 1990, but avenging a 45-12 September loss to Lake Taylor is a big ask. King's Fork (4-7) at Churchland (9-2)--King's Fork's challenging schedule paid off as they dumped 8-2 Warhill last week. Churchland took their first-ever playoff win last week, beating a Menchville team that was in the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Patrick Henry-Ashland (8-3) at Louisa (11-0)--Patrick Henry played unbeaten Class 5 Deep Run within a field goal earlier; Louisa's only close game was against Class 6 survivors Massaponax. Dinwiddie (6-5) at Eastern View (10-1)--Rubber match after the teams split a pair of playoff barnburners the last two years. Loudoun Valley (7-4) at Broad Run (11-0)--Broad Run's Wake Forest-bound QB has missed two of the last three games including the playoff opener last week. LV gave them a decent game during the regular season, 28-14. Tuscarora (10-1) at Liberty-Bealeton (11-0)--Tusky's only loss was the season opener against Broad Run, most are expecting a rematch. GW-Danville (8-3) at Salem (10-1)--Salem's defense has stepped up since getting shredded by Martinsburg, but GW averages over 40 points a game. Always a surprise when Salem loses. Pulaski County (9-2) at EC Glass (10-1)--Pulaski has only conceded more than 14 points once this season, Glass averages 44. Class 3 Norcom (7-4) at Hopewell (11-0) Phoebus (10-1) at York (11-0) Skyline (6-5) at Goochland (10-1) Brentsville (8-3) at James Monroe (8-3) Liberty Christian (8-3) at Heritage-Lynchburg (10-1) Rockbridge County (9-2) at Spotswood (11-0) Hidden Valley (7-4) at Lord Botetourt (11-0) Magna Vista (8-3) at Northside (8-3) Class 2 Greensville County (8-3) at Thomas Jefferson-Richmond--has been a long time since a Richmond city school won two playoff games. Poquoson (7-4) at King William (8-3) Strasburg (8-3) at Stuarts Draft (10-1) East Rockingham (7-4) at Buckingham (10-1) Glenvar (7-4) at Appomattox (9-2) Gretna (8-3) at Radford (9-2) Wise Central (9-2) at Ridgeview (9-2) Graham (9-2) at Union (9-2) Class 1 Washington & Lee (6-5) at Essex (10-1) West Point (7-4) at Rappahannock (8-3) Franklin (4-7) at Riverheads (11-0) Altavista (4-7) at Sussex Central (9-2) Auburn (6-5) at Galax (9-1) George Wythe (8-2) at Narrows (11-0) Holston (7-4) at Patrick Henry-Glade Spring (11-0) Chilhowie (9-2) at JI Burton (9-2)
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