August 25, 2011

Top games and predictions

The season is upon us! Hallelujah!

Before we move into previewing and predicting the games being played in AAA tomorrow night, it's arguably important that we first discuss some changes being made at VirginiaPreps.com this season in regards to our coverage -- some that you may have already seen, others still to come.

First, know that fans in the Eastern and the Central Regions will still get the best news from their regions from Matthew Hatfield and Tom Garrett, respectively, as you have been receiving for several seasons now.

Fans in the Northern and Northwest Regions will see most of our coverage produced by me but may also find content items coming from sites with whom we are partnering in hopes of bringing some more on-the-spot news to our readers.

Speaking of partnerships, I'll let the cat out of the bag here that we have met with the publisher at VHSL-Reference.com and have developed a partnership agreement that will spelled out in full detail in the coming months as our plans come together. I hope that you see this as the big deal that I do because I think that combined we can offer a much richer experience.

Anyway, that leads into my plans for coverage this year which are sketchy, at best. But, it does include some weekly features.

One of those will be the Top Games and Predictions article seen below including game scores produced by using the VHSL-Reference.com game simulator.

Let's get it started.

#20 Brooke Point at #15 Osbourn...

Meeting in the opening game last season, the Eagles blitzed the Black Hawks racing out to a 26-0 halftime lead before cruising home to a 42-21 victory snapping Brooke Point's three-game winning streak in this series.

Brooke Point is a team with high expectations this season as they are likely the D5 team to beat in the Northwest Region now that Osbourn has moved back to the D6 level. Quarterback Zack Deutel returns to lead an offense that scored 45 points in their last game, a playoff loss to Massaponax and he's got plenty of skill kids surrounding him including wide out Alex Figueroa and Raevaun Redd.

The Eagles were paced by one of the most explosive players in the state last season but Dominique Terrell has graduated and now plays for the University of Virginia but Coach Steve Schultze has replaced that level of talent before. Stepping in as the team's top playmakers will be Robert Carter and Cedric Delaney who each bring 4.5-type speed to the gridiron.

This marks the seventh consecutive year that the Black Hawks and Eagles have squared off with each winning three. It should be a down-to-the wire battle with the outcome in doubt until the end and, if you are looking for offensive fireworks, Manassas will be the place to be...Osbourn 42, Brooke Point 34

First Colonial at #1 Bayside...

Meeting in the ninth week of the season last year, Bayside blanked First Colonial 13-0 forcing five turnovers as the Marlins prepped for their postseason run that saw them capture the Eastern Region championship in Division Six.

Coach Sam Scarborough returns to the Pats sidelines and brings the triple option veer attack with him with quarterback Joey Brown and running back Justin Cormier his primary threats. Old Dominion commit Anderson Miller leads a stingy defense capable of testing the Bayside offense if they play assignment football.

Expectations don't get any higher than they are at Bayside where the fish enter the season as the state's top-ranked squad. Quarterback Deion Stitt is an experienced three-year starter surrounded by DI talent in Anthony Cooper, Taquan Mizell and Quin Blanding while the defense features several all-district performers including Mike Phillips and Anthony Lamb.

The Marlins have won four straight against the Patriots but have had a rough time doing so capturing games of 30-11, 20-17, 21-17 and 13-0 since 2007. But, this Marlins team is riding high on confidence after winning the regional title last year and will open big....Bayside 30, First Colonial 10

#5 Battlefield at Gar-Field...

Battlefield won the regular season meeting between these two programs 31-0 last season then escorted the Indians out of the playoffs with a 17-13 victory which kick started their run to the Division Six state championship.

The Bobcats suffered devastating graduation losses as key players on both sides of the ball moved on to the college level but the program's history and development of players should lessen the impact of the losses. Quarterback Ryan Swingle is an experienced game manager and Andrew Smith is a top-level athlete stepping in at running back and returning as the team's top linebacker. They'll need to gel in the trenches early but Coach Mark Cox and staff are as good as it gets at building a team.

Gar-Field has a solid running back threat in Shakeem Copeland who will threaten the Battlefield defense on every carry while quarterback Ryan Mason can beat the Bobcats through the air. As evidenced by their four-point loss in the playoffs, the Indians can challenge the champs.

The Bobcats are looking to capture their sixth straight win in the series and should be prepared to handle the challenge of having a target on their backs. The names will have changed but the result will likely be the same...Battlefield 28, Gar-Field 14

#19 Salem at Cox...

The Sundevils scored all 19 of their points in the first half last season cruising to a 19-0 victory over the Falcons in week seven last season.

The Salem defense should be just as strong this season with an exceptionally talented secondary including scholarship athletes Kimdrick Feaster, Divante Walker and D'Metrius Williams. Quarterback Bucky Hodges is a top-level BCS prospect entering his junior season which is usually the breakout campaign for most superstars.

Cox utilizes an option attack focusing on grinding down opponents to eat up the clock and shorten the football game and they are quite successful at playing the game at their pace though they will be searching for playmakers early in the season. On the other side of the ball, Virginia Tech commit Alston Smith will lead the defensive charge in the trenches.

As the state-ranked team, the Sundevils should open as the prohibitive favorites in this contest but the Falcons have proven to be quite pesky in this series winning two of the last three meetings...Salem 28, Cox 17

#24 Ocean Lakes at Tallwood...

Meeting early season last year, Ocean Lakes topped Tallwood 35-14 to up their record to 3-0 while dropping the Lions to 0-2 en route to the Dolphins 8-4 campaign (the Lions finished 3-7).

Though ranked #24 in the state, the Dolphins are only projected as the #3 team in their own district as Bayside and Salem are picked ahead of them which should provide more than enough motivation for this talented team headed up by University of Virginia commit Eli Harold who is surrounded by a talented group.

Coach John Kepple steps in as the leader of a Lions program that has not recorded a winning season since 2006. The schedule makers could have done him a favor by saving Ocean Lakes for later in the season but Kepple and a young group of players headed up by Allen Hayes, a running back / middle linebacker can hang tough if they limit their mistakes.

It's been four years since Tallwood has won a game in this series and they've not been within 19 points in any of the contests. Harold and company should open with a solid 'W'...Ocean Lakes 27, Tallwood 14

#22 Norcom at Wilson...

In a 47-7 victory last season the Greyhounds hit Wilson with over 200 yards and three touchdowns through the air while limiting the Presidents to 121 total yards.

The Norcom aerial attack may not be as potent this season but wideouts Hakiem Swann and Isaac White are playmakers and running back Chavelle Atkins, the 2010 district offensive player of the year, demands attention in the ground game opening up opportunities out wide.

Wilson is not devoid of athletes as their roster is headed up by Virginia Tech commit Der'Wuon Greene and potential scholarship athlete Rayshad Riddick so they can hit the 'Hounds for some big plays.

Not only have the Greyhounds won eight straight times in this series, they've done so in dominating fashion blanking the Presidents in all five meetings between 2006-2008 (they met twice in both '07 and '08). The last two meetings have gone Norcom's way to the tune of 80-13...Norcom 29, Wilson 13

William Fleming at #23 Franklin County...

In their first of two meetings this season, Franklin County will look to duplicate their 30-7 victory over the Colonels last season and the two-time defending league champs have the talent to do so.

Quarterback Dom Dunnaville and running back DeVontae Martin will pace the Fleming attack as they will rely upon their ground game to help eat up the clock and keep the Eagles offense off the field. Defensively, linebacker Jonathan Hagans and defensive back Miles Henderson should emerge as their standout playmakers.

The Eagles also used a ground-based attack led by the league's most explosive running back Alex Keys who will be supported by potential scholarship athlete Christian Witcher and fullback Jonathan Altice. A rugged defense will be led by defensive end Tarell Basham, an all-region level performer.

Defense has been the name of the game for the Eagles the past two meetings as they've limited the Colonels to just one score in both 2009 and 2010. They might not be quite as stout as in the recent past but should have enough talent to open with a victory...Franklin County 28, William Fleming 14

GW-Danville at Petersburg...It could be a humdinger of a good game here as the Eagles make the drive from Danville to test themselves against a potential Central Region playoff team. The edge goes to the Wave at home but they'll have to earn it...Petersburg 21, GW-Danville 20

Green Run at Princess Anne...The Stallions will look to run their winning streak to six straight in this series and, though the Cavaliers seem to be a program on the rise, the edge goes to Coach Shawn Wilson and company...Green Run 28, Princess Anne 14

Kellam at Kempsville...A roller coaster series has swung the Chiefs' way lately as Kempsville won both the 209 and 2010 meetings after dropping four straight to the Knights. Both teams are young this year but Kellam appears to be just a bit tougher...Kellam 22, Kempsville 17

Norview at Hickory...Ten years into this series and the Hawks have proven to be the better of the two teams having won eight of ten including a 56-21 win in 2010. Two coaches making their debuts square of in this one with the advantage going to Jupiter Wilson...Hickory 28, Norview 17

Kings Fork at Booker T. Washington...The first ever meeting between the Bulldogs and the Bookers could be a close one but, ultimately, it will be the home team using their superior speed to their advantage...Booker T. Washington 29, Kings Fork 14

Forest Park at Stonewall Jackson...The battle of 2-8 teams last season went the Bruins' way as they put a 40-12 hurting on the Raiders after falling to them 23-7 the season prior. Coach Dave Coccoli takes over the FP program this year and should open his career with a 'W'...Forest Park 26, Stonewall Jackson 14

Mt. View at Freedom (PW)...After Freedom won the first meeting between these two schools in 2005, it's been all Mt. View as the Wildcats have won five straight in the series, the last three by at least 12 points each. Should be more of the same this year...Mt. View 27, Freedom 14

Potomac at Stafford...Quite possibly the most evenly matched game of the week as the Panthers pulled out a 24-23 victory over the Indians last season making it their third straight meeting decided by a touchdown or less. Should be another one-point type of game this year though maybe not as high-scoring...Potomac 23, Stafford 22

Park View (St) at Broad Run...Though Broad Run has moved up to the AAA level this season, they'll open the campaign against a AA Park View team who they've beaten three straight times by at least two touchdowns including doubling them up last season 42-21. Look for the same kind of statement to be made this year...Broad Run 39, Park View 17

Freedom (LC) at Loudoun County...After Loudoun County won blowout games from 2007-2009, the Raiders had to sneak out with a 12-0 win last year against Freedom who looks like they will finally turn the tide in this series and put a notch on their belt this year...Freedom 22, Loudoun County 17

Western Albemarle at Albemarle...The schools have split their last two meetings but the 00's were pretty much owned by the Patriots who topped the Warriors in 8 of the last 11 meetings including a 15-6 win last season...Albemarle 17, Western Albemarle 8

Massaponax at Courtland...The Panthers have captured three of the last four games in this series including a 49-20 victory last season but the Division Four Cougars are ranked #5 in the state in AA and will challenge for the win this year. Ultimately though, they're meeting an AAA power on the edge of cracking their way into the state's Top 25 rankings. The Panthers captured a 49-20 victory last season but will have to claw their way to a win this season...Massaponax 23, Courtland 20

Chancellor at Riverbend...The Division Four Chargers doubled up on the Bears last season 34-17 given them five wins in the seven games played in this series since 2004 and should still have enough firepower to capture this year's battle...Chancellor 23, Riverbend 17

Halifax at Jefferson Forest...Neither team is coming off a stellar campaign as the Comets won one game last season and the Cavaliers collected two victories so both will be looking to change their fortunes in 2011...Jefferson Forest 31, Halifax 6

Patrick Henry at Hidden Valley...Last season, the Patriots opened the year with a convincing 35-7 payback win over the D3 Titans who won the 2009 contest. The rubber match should be a repeat performance for the Pats...Patrick Henry 28, Hidden Valley 14


Rod Johnson is the Football Editor for VirginiaPreps.com, the #1 High School site on the Rivals.com network of sites and the internet resource for high school sports in the state of Virginia. He can be heard weekly on ESPN 94.1 FM from 11:00 am to noon as a co-host of The VirginiaPreps.com Hour alongside Matthew Hatfield and makes a weekly appearance on The Tony Mercurio Show on Thursdays at 3:25 pm. To contact Rod, send him an email at vaprepsrod@cox.net or via facebook at VirginiaPreps Rod Johnson.




 

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