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For the sixth time in the last three years, Central (11-0) and Strasburg (8-2) meet on the gridiron; this time in the second round of the VHSL playoffs.
In their first meeting this year, Central emerged victorious and claimed the Bull Run District Championship with a 28-7 win.
That game was closer than the final score implies as Central added a few late scores.
Strasburg had numerous opportunities in that game to put points on the board where they came up short and a few defensive plays that allowed 4th down conversions.
If Strasburg can correct those mistakes, they will be able to go toe-to-toe with one of the most dominant teams in Virginia over the last two years in Class 2 football, the Central Falcons.
Central has not lost since last year’s State Championship against Graham and has looked to be on a mission to get back to Salem.
The Falcon’s dynamic running game was too much for the Rams in the last matchup which allowed star running back Tyler Forbes to reach 164 yards and Jacob Williams-Warner to reach 140 yards on two carries.
Forbes recently claimed the Central High School career rushing record in the first round matchup against Stuarts Draft when he passed Johnnie Williams with 3,308 yards.
Central’s gameplan will once again revolve around Forbes and his bruising style, but they have shown some big play capability through the air as the season has progressed.
Both team’s have been dominant in the trenches and it will basically be a Bull Run All District All Star game between both team’s lines.
The more physical team who can limit mistakes will win the game.
Strasburg has a nasty taste in their mouth after losing to Central in last year’s playoffs and in the regular season finale, but the Falcons playoff experience and home field advantage should give them the boost they need to get past the Rams in a tight one, 22-14.
Press play below for my interview with Strasburg Head Coach Mark Roller.
Last week, the Fauquier Falcons (1-3) travelled to Front Royal and Warren County stole their first win of the season on an insane finish.
This week our High School Football Game of the Week on The River 95.3, Fox Sports Radio 1450, theriver953.com and the Tune In Radio App, will see the Falcons return to town to face the Skyline Hawks (0-4) as they continue to search for their first win.
Fauquier regularly plays Warren County, but this is the first time they have played Skyline since 2014.
Skyline has struggled out of the gates for a variety of reasons, some of which are self imposed.
The Hawks have suffered from penalties week after week including over 100 penalty yards against Millbrook and James Wood, while late penalties cost them a chance at the win Week 1 against Strasburg.
The ground game has also struggled as Aidan Vaught has been unable to find space behind the Hawks offensive line.
One of the leading rushers in the area the last few years has been to under 100 yards per game this season, a milestone that seemed a given every week last year.
Fauquier has struggled this season as well but when they saw success in their win vs Culpepper County, it came with an effective rushing attack.
Their F-1 backfield led by Aaron Lewis and Mason Hamilton, ran for 348 yards and six touchdowns.
Many of those carries came behind the blocking of their 6’5″ 275 left tackle Dillon Epperson, a future D-I athlete committed to the University of New Hampshire.
Skyline is going to come out hungry for that first win in front of their home crowd.
The Hawks have prepared to contain Fauquier’s run-heavy gameplan, featuring almost 50% buck sweeps.
I predict Skyline taking home their first win of the season behind 150 yards and 2 touchdowns from Aidan Vaught, 35-20.
Press play below for my interview with Skyline’s Head Coach Heath Gilbert.
Tonight’s High School Football Game of the Week on The River 95.3, Fox Sports Radio 1450, theriver953.com and the TuneIn Radio App features the 61st matchup between James Wood (2-2) and Handley (1-3).
This is one of the most anticipated games in the area every year thanks to one of the oldest rivalries.
This year’s installation will feature two head coaches looking to make their first mark in the rivalry.
Handley’s head coach Dan Jones is in his first year with the program after coaching at Sherando last season.
Todd Wilson has served on the Colonel’s coaching staff as the offensive line coach for the last 4 years before taking over the head job.
Coach Jones will bring with him a Handley offense that has explosive potential from numerous spots on the field.
Running Back Manno Lusca enters the game as one of the area’s leading rushers with 380 yards, 9.2 yards per carry, and six touchdowns, but he is just one of many players who could go the distance at any time.
Hassan Akanbi possesses track athlete speed and has already taken one catch 99 yards to the house this season.
Breylon Miller looks the part of a future Division I athlete at 6’6″ 218 lbs. and has stats to back it up.
Miller is second in receiving yards in the area with 264 yards off 12 receptions with two touchdowns.
James Wood’s defense looks to be up to the task, already having faced some of the best offenses in the area.
The Colonel’s limited the an explosive Brentsville offense to just one second half touchdown and forced two turnovers in that half.
They also contained last year’s state runner-ups, Kettle Run, on the first three drives forcing two turnovers and a turnover on downs.
Two leaders on that opportunistic defense include defensive back Justin Gwinner, the area’s leader in interceptions with 4, and linebacker Zack Smith, the area’s leading tackler with 46.
They will need to keep the explosive Handley offense in front of them and force a few turnovers to come away with the victory.
Handley must focus on efficiency inside the red zone and execution on special teams.
Last week the Judges were stuffed on numerous opportunities in the red zone.
I look forward to another great installation of this rivalry which gave us a classic game as recently as last season when Handley came back from trailing 16-0 early and a 10 point deficit with 3:47 remaining to come away with a 37-30 win in overtime to clinch a playoff birth.
This will be another close game but Handley’s playmakers should help the Judges prevail on the road, 27-20.
Press play below for my interview with James Wood Head Coach Todd Wilson.
This week’s Friday Night Game of the Week on Fox Sports Radio 1450, The River 95.3 and streaming at theriver953.com and the Tune In Radio App features Clarke County (3-0) hosting Warren County (0-2), two team’s trending in opposite directions.
There is still plenty of time for Head Coach Josh Breeden’s Wildcats to turn things around and they have showed some bright spots.
Sr. Sully Zewar has looked strong at wide receiver, a position featured much more in the new spread offense.
Sr. QB PJ Dellinger has showed confidence at quarterback, his first year in the position.
Before the bye week, Millbrook applied a lot of pressure on Dellinger, but he stayed calm and confident in the pocket throughout the game.
The early bye week could help Warren County get their offense back on track, as they are still scoreless in the second half of their first two games.
Clarke County looks to be back in their usual form as a power in Class 2.
They have destroyed their opponents through the first three games averaging 38.7 points per game and allowing just 6.7 points per game.
Clarke County relies on a balanced rushing attack with a number of ball carriers who carry the ball efficiently.
The entire offensive line returned from last season and features four seniors.
They helped lead the Eagles to 305 yards on the ground against Buffalo Gap last week.
Warren County’s bye week and recent experience against Millbrook’s single wing offense could help the Wildcats keep it close early, but Clarke County’s rushing attack may be too much, Eagles 34- Wildcats 16.
Press play below to hear my interview with Warren County Head Coach Josh Breeden.