Heritage at E.C. Glass
KICKOFF: 7 p.m.
RADIO: 102.1 FM, 105.1 FM, 1050 AM
RECORDS: Heritage 7-1. E.C. Glass 8-0.
LAST WEEK: Heritage held off Jefferson Forest 28-20. Glass cruised over Amherst 63-7.
FACTS: Members of both teams on Thursday said this week produced the best practices of the season. It’s easy to understand why that’s the case. Players don’t need much incentive to come to practice focused when the little brown jug is on the line. Everyone’s focus right now is on this game. But looking to the future, there’s a chance Heritage (Class 3) and E.C. Glass (Class 4) could both play at Liberty University for separate state titles in December. That’s how talented these two clubs are. “There’s no place I’d rather be than right here, and there’s no place [fans would] rather be on Friday night than watching these two teams go at it,” Glass coach Jeff Woody said this week. And Heritage coach brad Bradley expects all the fireworks typically associated with the Jug Bowl and then some. “I expect a war,” he said. “It’s a privilege, not a right, to play for both programs.”
Brookville at Jefferson Forest
KICKOFF: 7 p.m.
RADIO: 100.9 FM
RECORDS: Brookville 4-4. Jefferson Forest 4-4.
LAST WEEK: Brookville shut down Rustburg 21-2. Jefferson Forest fell short against Heritage 28-20.
FACTS: Superior defense and special teams play proved the difference for Brookville last week in a win over Rustburg. Daniel Garrett scored twice for the Bees on a fumble return and blocked punt return. But both of those shining moments took place against Rustburg, which failed to do much of anything offensively and only scored two points on a safety. This week, the Bees’ defense will be tested by Jefferson Forest’s burly back and Division I commit Keenan Cupit, who had his way last week against Heritage in the second half. The senior has eclipsed the 1,100-yard mark for the season and looks to increase that total as the Cavaliers work to figure out their passing game under relatively new quarterback Davis Lane. Still, the sophomore has reliable options in sure-handed receiver Danteas Braxton (458 yards and six TDs) and the athletic Jacob Hackworth, who scored twice in the loss to HHS. The Cavaliers nearly pulled off the upset after a furious second-half rally last week, so they should have momentum after scaring one of the district’s best. But Brookville, with offensive weapons like Jared Glinski (641 yards rushing) and Ryan North (588 yards rushing), along with freshman QB Drake McDaniel (24-for-51 passing for 507 yards and six touchdowns) and receiver Zach Thompson (364 yards receiving), won’t go away easily as they look to add to their four-win total.
Liberty at Rustburg
KICKOFF: 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Liberty 1-7. Rustburg 2-6.
LAST WEEK: Rustburg was trounced by Brookville 21-2. Liberty lost to Liberty Christian 48-12.
FACTS: Both of these teams are struggling heading into tonight’s matchup. Rustburg has dropped five consecutive games, while Liberty has lost six straight. With both teams undermanned this year, tonight’s game provides a more even playing field than either squad has faced through most of the season. Tonight should be a battle of run games, with both Liberty and Rustburg featuring quarterbacks and running backs that can gain a handful of yards per carry to wear down defenses. For RHS, it’s senior running back Tre Tucker who leads with charge with 350 yards on 83 carries, and Jaylin Jones isn’t far behind with 308 yards on 100 carries. RJ Anthony also should figure prominently into the mix after picking up 263 yards through eight games. On the other side, it’s Tanner Stanley and Garrett Whorley, who both have taken snaps at QB, who run the ball most. Carlos Lorenzo also can break away for big runs if he has the blocking. The one factor that could separate Liberty is John Gass, a 5-11 senior who has made big plays as a receiver. But if Liberty’s to get back in the win column, the defense must stand firm against a Rustburg squad that has stayed in games against some of the better teams in the Seminole District.
Amherst at Liberty Christian
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m.
RADIO: 90.9 FM
RECORDS: Amherst 1-7. Liberty Christian 6-2.
LAST WEEK: Amherst lost to E.C. Glass 63-7. Liberty Christian overwhelmed Liberty 48-12.
FACTS: Amherst enters this one in desperate need of a win, while Liberty Christian has put together one of its best seasons in recent years. Tonight, expect LCA to leave Williams Stadium with its third straight win. The Bulldogs, who enter with a 4-1 record in Seminole District play, have showcased multiple weapons throughout the season, but that was especially evident last week. Multiple players scored, with Anthony Moore doing damage on the ground and Josh Nelson (1,104 yards passing, 14 TDs), once again, punishing the Bulldogs’ opponent through the air. Tyler Rose (479 yards), the senior receiver who has for years been at the top of the charts for stats among area receivers, proved his athleticism by scoring not only on a pass from Nelson but also on a big run. Amherst’s secondary first must find a way to stifle Nelson so LCA doesn’t pile up the points, but the Lancers also face the tricky task of getting stops against backs who run through the center of the field. Amherst’s offense, too, has to perform better for the Lancers to prevent a blowout. ACHS has scored just once in each of the last four games, all losses, while opponents have scored an average of 51 points. CJ Rose is Amherst’s best option, with the quarterback having tallied a combined 801 yards passing and receiving and five touchdowns.
William Campbell at Appomattox
KICKOFF: 7 p.m.
RECORDS: William Campbell 4-4. Appomattox 6-2.
LAST WEEK: William Campbell gouged Nelson 60-26. Appomattox shut down Chatham 63-13.
FACTS: Neither team could’ve asked for a better performance last week, so with each coming off big wins, tonight’s matchup is shaping up to be a battle of who can better capitalize on the momentum they bring in. William Campbell posted 60 points last week, made possible by the performance of Jordan Young. The 5-10 senior running back had a monstrous night with 400 yards and seven touchdowns, numbers that put him among elite company in the VHSL record book. Young, of course, is the player to watch for Campbell, but the Generals also boast other playmakers in QB Jermiah Smith, who’s up to 1,814 combined passing and rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns, and receiver Ra’Shawn Stevens (343 yards receiving). Appomattox, meanwhile, is riding a five-game winning streak and looks to remain undefeated in Dogwood District play. The Raiders’ offense has clicked during the streak, putting up 45 or more points against four of those five opponents. Tre Lawing has broken out for 1,100 combined passing and receiving yards and 16 TDs, and Cristian Ferguson (727 yards rushing) continues to punish opponents on the ground. A win for William Campbell would provide all kinds of confidence for a team that only recently broke out of a four-game skid. But a result the other way would prove that Appomattox, once again, should be feared in Class 2 with the playoffs rapidly approaching.
Dan River at Gretna
KICKOFF: 7 p.m.
RADIO: 106.3 FM
RECORDS: Dan River 6-3, Gretna 5-3.
LAST WEEK: Dan River got back on track by beating Altavista 42-34. Gretna fell short against Thomas Jefferson (Richmond) 27-26.
FACTS: Twice now, Gretna has come up just short of a win. Against Radford earlier in the season and against Thomas Jefferson (Richmond) last week, the Hawks fell by one point. Tonight, then, will be a chance for GHS to see how it responds to that frustration. Against Thomas Jefferson last Friday, the Hawks had success moving the ball on the ground thanks once again to Cameron Mabins, Daelyn Miller and Jorden Berger — who have combined for more than 2,000 yards rushing — but they couldn’t come up with stops later in the game. Gretna will keep putting the ball in the hands of those playmakers to rack up yards on the ground this week as it hopes to get back on the right track, but on the other side of the ball, they’ll be tested by a completely different style of offense. Dan River, which has won four of five in Dogwood District play, is dangerous through the air thanks to QB Tracy Glass, who could surpass 2,000 yards passing by the end of the regular season. The 6-foot-3 junior has racked up 1,780 yards and 19 touchdowns. He has multiple options, with six players currently sitting at 105 receiving yards or more, but fellow junior Robert Carter (841 yards on 40 receptions) is his favorite target. He averages 21 yards per catch and has been on the receiving end of 11 TDs. With just one more game left in the regular season after this week, tonight’s matchup is important for momentum and for playoff seeding.
Chatham at Altavista
KICKOFF: 7 p.m.
RADIO: 105.5 FM
RECORDS: Chatham 5-3. Altavista 3-5.
LAST WEEK: Chatham was torn down by Appomattox 63-13. Altavista lost to Dan River 42-34.
FACTS: Heading into the regular season’s final weeks, both Chatham and Altavista could use a boost. The Colonels have lost five of their last six games and are winless in Dogwood District play. The Cavaliers started the season strong, putting together four straight wins, but suddenly, they’ve fallen to 1-3 in district play and sport a losing streak for the first time this season after falling last week to Appomattox and the week before to Nelson. Looking for a jolt to improve its postseason outlook as a member of a packed Region 2C, Chatham should turn to senior QB Ethan Reynolds, who has thrown for 969 yards and 12 touchdowns. Senior Zae Edmunds should once again prove the biggest receiving threat after racking up 532 yards on 37 catches (14.4 yards per reception) through eight games. The Cavaliers also thrive in the run game, with three players tallying 226 yards or more on the ground. Their most successful option there is junior Michael Gunnell, who has 654 yards on 107 totes. For Altavista, QB Jayllen Jones is the name to circle. His quickness has led to several touchdowns on the ground. He’s complemented by JaQuallen Jones and Marquel Dawkins.
Staunton River at William Byrd
KICKOFF: 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Staunton River 1-7. William Byrd 2-6.
LAST WEEK: Staunton River was defeated by William Fleming 27-3. William Byrd lost to Northside 26-16.
FACTS: The Golden Eagles are fighting for a spot in the postseason, and tonight’s game will feature a more favorable matchup for the Moneta-based team than many of the previous weeks. Staunton River, which currently sits outside the eight-team Region 3D field in ninth place, has lost five straight in another rebuilding season, but William Byrd hasn’t fared much better. The Terriers have lost six of seven. The lone win in that stretch came against William Fleming, the team that beat SRHS handily last week. Staunton River managed just a field goal in that loss, but got solid contributions from Aidan Brown and Jacob Kirtley. The Golden Eagles likely will look to Brown, a junior running back who has 518 yards on 66 carries, for the bulk of their offense. For Byrd, Joshua Moore is up to 606 yards rushing, and QB Logan Baker has 487 yards on the ground while also putting up 628 yards through the air. The last eight meetings between the teams have been split down the middle, but Byrd has won the last two, so Staunton River will look to snap the skid and grab back bragging rights.
Virginia Episcopal at St. Anne’s Belfield
KICKOFF: 6 p.m.
RECORDS: VES 4-2. St. Anne’s 6-1.
LAST WEEK: VES was idle. St. Anne’s walloped Kenston Forest 42-0.
FACTS: The Bishops head into the Virginia Independent Schools Football League eight-person playoffs tonight against a familiar opponent. St. Anne’s earned a 69-36 victory the first time the two teams played, in early October. But, courtesy of a bye, VES has had an extra week to prepare for this one. St. Anne’s features a three-pronged rushing attack that includes Amani Woods (866 yards), Nick Reese (457 yards) and Gabe Decker (346 yards). The Bishops have run the ball with success this year, too, but the bulk of the offense usually comes through quarterback Tanner Nau, who has multiple options at receiver, including the prolific Piercen Young. Nau has thrown for 1,568 yards and 20 touchdowns on 108-of-170 passing. Young has 49 catches for 822 yards and 13 TDs. VES is the No. 3 seed, St. Anne’s the 2. On the other side of the bracket, top-seeded Covenant takes on No. 4 Greenbrier Christian.
Bye week: Nelson
Compiled by Emily Brown and Ben Cates