Appomattox vs. Rustburg football 02

Rusburg players swarm Appomattox running back Cristian Ferguson during the Raiders' win over Rustburg at Appomattox County High School on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019.

Amherst at Blacksburg

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

RADIO: 1420 AM

RECORDS: Amherst 0-2. Blacksburg 1-1.

LAST WEEK: George Washington chopped down Amherst 55-29. Lord Botetourt reigned over Blacksburg 23-7.

FACTS: The Lancers’ brutal three-game out-of-district stretch concludes today. This matchup could prove intriguing if Amherst can clean up some of its mistakes and put together a solid 48 minutes of football. It took a 14-0 lead against GW last week before suffering an offensive lapse in the second quarter and then giving up 35 second-half points. The Lancers also were hurt by committing seven penalties and two turnovers. Amherst amassed nearly 300 yards of total offense, but allowed GW to post a whopping 562 yards of total offense. Blacksburg is the type of team that can make ACHS pay for mistakes, so the Lancers will have to play smart football this week. But the pieces are coming together under Bob Christmas. There appears to be more resolve and camaraderie in Amherst, so the wins will start coming eventually.

E.C. Glass at Franklin County

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

RECORDS: E.C. Glass 1-0. Franklin County 1-1.

LAST WEEK: E.C. Glass was idle. Franklin County was edged by Salem 27-21.

FACTS: The Hilltoppers, who took their bye in Week 2, return to the gridiron for the first time since barreling past Charlottesville 58-0 on Aug. 29. They’ll have to be on guard this week; Franklin County is no slouch. The Eagles blanked Liberty in Week 1 before losing by a single touchdown at hostile Salem last week. FCHS is led by dual-threat quarterback Josh Luckett, who fired off a 44-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter last week to even the score at 21. One of FC’s biggest strengths can be found in its defensive front line, which is filled with 6-foot-2, 6-3 players. This one could turn into a test of strength, since Glass’ lines also are loaded with size. ECG has won the last two meetings, including last year’s 41-20 decision at City Stadium. Running back Ty Foster (1,286 rushing yards in 2018) returns for Glass after sitting out Week 1’s game. But a virus has been going around the campus at E.C. Glass, so the Hilltoppers could find themselves short-handed today.

Jefferson Forest at GW-Danville

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

RADIO: 100.9 FM

RECORDS: Jefferson Forest 1-0. GW 1-1.

LAST WEEK: Jefferson Forest surged past Staunton River 42-14. GW commanded Amherst 55-29.

FACTS: Forest opened its season with a bang last week, putting up 348 yards of total offense that was punctuated by new senior quarterback Blake Riddlebarger, who threw for 120 yards. The task gets much more difficult today. The high-octane Eagles have put up big numbers in the first two weeks: 42 in a loss to Dinwiddie and 55 against Amherst last week, for an average of 48.5 per game. That could stress the JF defense, which buckled down last week for two straight scoreless quarters after a first quarter Staunton River TD. GW’s defense hasn’t been too impressive, though, so watch for this one to turn into a shootout. That would be in keeping with the only other two times these teams have faced off. Forest fans likely remember all too well a 57-56 loss to GW two seasons ago. And they certainly remember JF getting revenge with a 27-21 affair in 2018. JF enters in need of a strong defensive showing; the Black & Blue bowl against E.C. Glass, which left the Cavaliers bruised last season, is scheduled for next week.

Appomattox at Heritage

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

RADIO: 102.1 FM

RECORDS: Appomattox 1-1. Heritage 1-1.

LAST WEEK: Appomattox shut out Rustburg 17-0. Heritage overruled John Marshall 57-20.

FACTS: Two straight victories over Appomattox has to help Heritage players enter this year’s game with plenty of confidence. “But they’ve also got to understand that what you did last year or the year before that doesn’t really mean anything,” HHS coach Brad Bradley said. “It’s about four quarters, 48 minutes. You’ve just got to go play football, and I think that’s what’s really important, because we’ve really tried to focus this year on what you did last year doesn’t matter.” Expect two disciplined, hard-nosed teams at City Stadium tonight. Appomattox is still learning the ropes, but the Raiders are showing signs of gelling quickly. “They’ve definitely been the team for us to beat,” ACHS coach Doug Smith said. “They require you to work that much harder in the season. You’re not in the playoffs yet, but you’ve got to work really hard to beat a team like Heritage.” The same goes for Appomattox.

Altavista at Rustburg

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

RADIO: 105.5 FM

RECORDS: Altavista 2-0. Rustburg 1-1.

LAST WEEK: Altavista snuffed out Prince Edward 35-0. Rustburg lost to Appomattox 17-0.

FACTS: Altavista is off to its best start in three years, picking up two wins in its first two weeks. Friday, the Colonels look to match the three-win start of 2016, but they’ll have to overcome their toughest opponent yet. Rustburg so far has showcased a handful of reliable rushers in its new option offense, including senior Tre Tucker (61 yards on 18 carries) and RJ Anthony (67 yards on 11 carries). Jaylin Jones also figures into the run game, but last week, after Jaidian Johnson left the game early with an injury, Jones was forced into the QB role. RHS coach Jack Baker was unsure of Johnson’s status following the game last Friday, but how the Red Devils adjust this week will be key to picking up a victory in the teams’ final non-district game. Rustburg’s defense, meanwhile also will be tasked with stopping the run. Jayllen Jones, Marquel Johnson and JaQuallen Jones all have multiple touchdowns and more than 120 yards on the ground so far.

Liberty at Staunton River

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

RECORDS: Liberty 1-1. Staunton River 0-2.

LAST WEEK: Liberty pillaged vs. Fort Defiance 21-20. Staunton River lost to JF 42-14.

FACTS: The Minutemen receive a much-needed boost today, as burly senior running back Carlos Lorenzo returns after missing the squad’s first two games with a hamstring injury. But the Minutemen will still have to move players around in order to make up for a host of injuries that have occurred since the first scrimmage in mid-August. LHS received strong play last week from Garrett Whorley, who scored twice and rushed for 91 yards in the win. Tanner Stanley also threw for 99 yards for LHS, going 5 for 8 in the passing department. The Golden Eagles have shown signs of improvement, but haven’t yet put together a strong four-quarter performance. LHS will have to watch out for two SRHS playmakers who shone in Week 2: Lucas Overstreet, who threw for 107 yards against JF, and Aiden Brown, who had nearly 100 rushing yards. This is the 50th anniversary of the first Bedford brawl, which took place in 1969. Liberty and Staunton River have played every year since. Liberty has won 41 of the matchups, including last year’s game, which ended a streak of three straight SRHS victories in the series.

Nelson at Fluvanna

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

RECORDS: Nelson 1-1. Fluvanna 1-1.

LAST WEEK: Page County ripped Nelson 46-14. Fluvanna was flightless at Spotsylvania 36-27.

FACTS: Lopsided results have defined Nelson’s first two games of the 2019 campaign. The Governors’ big win in Week 1 balanced Page County’s runaway over Nelson in Week 2. This week, NCHS faces another tough test, this one on the road against the Flying Flucos. Several questions surround the matchup, which last took place more than a decade ago. Fluvanna came out on top of the 2006 meeting with a 3-0 victory. Expect this one to feature more scoring, with quarterbacks for both teams proving pretty effective through the season’s first two weeks. Both Nelson’s George Brown and Fluvanna’s Kobe Edmonds are coming off performances of 183 passing yards and two touchdowns. So the key to a win could lie in the teams’ secondaries. Keep an eye out, too, for Brice Wilson for the Governors, who at safety can fly around to make important tackles and also has proven an asset as a receiver (eight catches for 115 yards and two TDs in two games) and as a kick returner.

Liberty Christian at Staunton

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

RADIO: 90.9 FM

RECORDS: Liberty Christian 1-1. Staunton 1-1.

LAST WEEK: LCA cooked Brunswick 42-14. Staunton fought past Covington 20-7.

FACTS: After suffering a lopsided defeat in Week 1, LCA bounced back in a big way, starting the scoring onslaught early with 29 points in the first quarter on its way to a victory over Brunswick. Friday’s matchup should be more even, and will feature a pair of talented signal callers. For LCA, Josh Nelson leads the charge and enters Week 3 with 239 passing yards and three touchdowns to his name. Tyler Rose, who has six receptions for 84 yards and two touchdowns, will figure heavily into the Bulldogs’ passing game, too. On the other side, Will Dod is a dual threat at QB for the Storm. In his first season under center last year, he put up nearly 1,800 combined rushing and passing yards, and so far has 130 yards of total offense this year. If the Bulldogs can key in on Dod, and use their experience to their advantage against a team full of young players, LCA could be in for an important momentum-building, non-district win heading into a tough Seminole District slate.

William Campbell at Stonewall Jackson (Quicksburg)

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

RECORDS: William Campbell 2-0. Jackson 0-1.

LAST WEEK: Campbell struck down Central Lunenburg 34-20. Stonewall Jackson crumbled to Central (Woodstock) 55-8.

FACTS: It’s been nearly four years since Stonewall Jackson has picked up a win. In a battle of two sets of Generals tonight, the prospects for Stonewall to finally end the skid don’t look promising. If Stonewall, playing its home opener tonight, hopes to turn the tides on its fate, it will have to clean up sloppy play that defined its blowout loss last week, when it committed three turnovers on its first six drives. The Generals of Quicksburg must take advantage of Rion Dennison, their most promising rusher who picked up 55 yards on 10 carries, if they want to make any kind of a mark on the scoreboard against William Campbell. The Generals of Naruna, meanwhile, have multiple options in quarterback Jermiah Smith, who has gained 581 total yards (rushing and passing) and scored five touchdowns in two games. Jordan Young also has accounted for three scores on the ground, and Smith has multiple receiving options in Young, Russell Thompson and Rashawn Stevens, both of whom have a touchdown and more than 64 receiving yards. Look for Campbell to run away with this one.

Brunswick Academy at Virginia Episcopal

KICKOFF: Saturday, 2 p.m.

RECORDS: Brunswick Academy 0-1. VES 0-0.

LAST WEEK: Brunswick was idle. VES’ game was postponed.

FACTS: Virginia Episcopal begins its new eight-man season Saturday after having its first game postponed last week because of rain in Chesapeake. The Bishops also begin the Tra Nicholson era. The new coach, a former UVa standout, already has brought energy and excitement to the program. He has a new transfer in former Brookville basketball standout Piercen Young, who fits in at wide receiver. VES features a youthful lineup, including 5-foot-8 sophomore Robby Matos, whose brother is a standout defender at Penn State. Look for co-captain Josh Staggers and Huntley Davenport to contribute, while 6-3 junior Tanner Nau steps into the quarterback spot for the first time. VES made it to the Virginia Independent Schools Football League tournament semifinals one year ago.

— Compiled by Ben Cates & Emily Brown

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Emily Brown covers the Hillcats, ODAC and high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5529.

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