Rankings are based on latest NBC12/WHAN Radio Top 10 Poll....
#5 ATLEE (7-1) at #1 HIGHLAND SPRINGS (8-0): Listen LIVE beginning at 6:30pm tonight on 102.9 FM, WHAN Radio and online by CLICKING HERE!
Simply put, this is the biggest regular season game in the Central Region thus far this season. The Springers are unbeaten, coming off an impressive 18-6 win at Henrico, proving they can win low-scoring, defensive struggles as well as shootouts. The Atlee defense will be hard pressed to stop all the available weapons, from Michigan State commit wide receiver Felton Davis, Old Dominion commit Marcus Taylor and K.C. Hinton, to D.J. Anderson, K'Von Wallace, Tank Scott and more. Javon Carter has progressed at quarterback as a sophomore. It will be up to the Atlee defensive line to put as much pressure on him as possible, disrupting the rhythm of the Springer offense.
For Atlee, they rang up 56 unanswered points to put away Armstrong last week. With their own set of weapons, including quarterback Rashard Harris and tailback Loumond Dandridge, the Raiders can score from anywhere at anytime. Highland Springs hasn't seen an offense this prolific yet this season. They allowed 30 points to Armstrong three weeks ago, but nothing over 19 points otherwise. That likely changes tonight.
As much offense that will be on this field tonight, the game will likely come down to whichever defense plays the most consistently. Last year, Atlee won at home 49-42. Can the Springers return the favor?
#10 HANOVER (5-3) at VARINA (4-4), 7pm: The Hawks remain stuck as the precarious #8 seed in 4A South. After winning two straight post-return of sophomore quarterback Clayton Cheatham from a hand injury, Hanover is on a roll, scoring 95 points in those victories. Varina, though, has also righted their ship, and are in a dogfight for the eighth and final playoff berth in the 6A South Sub-Region with James River and Riverbend. The winner tonight takes a huge step forward in either securing home-field in the first round of the playoffs (Hanover) or in simply making the postseason (Varina). Hanover's last win over Varina? 49-28, in 2010.
DEEP RUN (0-8) at PATRICK HENRY (4-4), 7pm: Finally, a senior class has more to play for than just pride on Senior Night in Ashland as the Patriots can all but clinch a 5A North playoff berth, their first postseason berth in seven years, with a win in the annual "Camo Bowl" against a Wildcats team that has hit rock bottom under second-year coach David Davis, falling at home to Thomas Jefferson last week 20-17.
Hunter Hart has performed admirably as a freshman quarterback, giving first-year head coach Bryan Davis a foundation for building a program. Look for Bender Vaught to have a big night running the football, doing it with purpose as PH looks to win five games in a season for the first time in four years, helping ensure they play an eleventh game this season.
LEE-DAVIS (2-6) at ARMSTRONG (5-3), 6:30pm: The Confederates play for pride the final two weeks, as their playoff hopes were ended with the home loss to Hanover last Friday. This is the first time since 2008 that Lee-Davis will finish with a losing record. They face an Armstrong team that has lost three straight after a 5-0 start, trying to get momentum back on their side as, if healthy, and playing as well as they did early in the season, the Wildcats have the potential to make noise in the 3A East playoffs. But they must cut down on mistakes, especially on special teams. Lee-Davis' best chance for a road win tonight are if they can play mistake-free football, keep the Wildcat offense off the field with long drives, and capitalizing on the Armstrong miscues when they come.
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