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Region quarterfinals often end up as regular-season encores

Kevin Mays • Nov 6, 2018 at 10:24 PM

The long-awaited postseason is here for Southwest Virginia football.

The Region 2D and Region 1D quarterfinals kick off Friday night and continue with a couple of contests Saturday.

Heading into the weekend, here’s a few football facts regarding the VHSL regional playoffs.

Not all winners

Not all of the teams in the opening round of the regional playoffs enter the postseason with winning records.

Across the state, 32 teams will play in their regional playoffs this weekend in the Class 2 division. Of the 32, nine have either a 5-5 or losing mark. In Class 1, nine of the 30 teams in the playoffs have records of 5-5 or worse.

Class 1 has only 30 teams playing in the division statewide because Region 1B puts only six teams in the regional playoff field — and for good reason. Two of the six Region 1B teams in the postseason — Cumberland and Stonewall Jackson — are both 0-10.

Way too familiar

VHSL officials, primarily high school principals, are not big fans of cross bracketing — having Region D foes face Region C foes throughout the playoffs, for instance. The chief complaint seems to be travel and related expenses.

As a result, the regional playoffs create way too many repeat games, particularly in the early rounds.

In Region 2D, three of the four quarterfinal games not only pit teams that have already played each other this season, but they also pit district opponents against each other.

Union and John Battle ended the regular season last weekend with Union taking a 12-0 win over Battle. This weekend the teams will meet again when the Trojans visit the Bears for a Region 2D quarterfinal.

The regional quarterfinals also send Wise Central to Ridgeview in a game between Mountain 7 District foes. Ridgeview beat Central 54-0 in Week 3 of the regular season.

Southwest District opponents Graham and Virginia High meet again in another regional quarterfinal. Graham beat the Bearcats from Bristol 44-7 in their meeting during the regular season.

Richlands travels to Grayson County on Friday night in the only 2D quarterfinal game featuring opponents that haven’t played each other this season.

In Region 1D, two of the four games feature familiar opponents. No. 8 seed Eastside travels to No. 1 Chilhowie just a couple of weeks after the Warriors beat the Spartans 46-7 and Honaker travels to Patrick Henry after losing to the Rebels 46-15 earlier in the season.

Two other games pit opponents that didn’t meet during the regular season.

In a Saturday contest, J.I. Burton hosts Holston. These teams played in one of the most exciting playoff games in VHSL history in 2009. Burton blocked a punt that rolled out of the end zone to give the Raiders a 2-0 victory.

One could hope for such excitement Saturday afternoon when the Raiders and Cavaliers meet again at Lawson-Fitchko Stadium in Norton.

The final 1D quarterfinal game pits teams from two of the far corners of the region when Thomas Walker travels to Grundy.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Mason Hardin, Rye Cove

Rye Cove did not make the Region 1D playoffs this year, but that did not stop Mason Hardin from having a solid season.

The sophomore running back led the Eagles to a 28-8 win over Scott County rival Twin Springs last Friday night.

Hardin rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns and had 93 yards receiving with a touchdown catch.

TOP SIX PICKS

After the Southwest Virginia High School Football Top Six all won last weekend to close the regular season, a look at the teams with ranking, previous ranking, record and how they fared:

1. Chilhowie (1) (10-0) beat Holston 52-0

2. Abingdon (2) (8-2) beat Lee High 26-8

3. Ridgeview (3) (9-1) beat Honaker 58-13

4. Graham (4) (9-1) beat Marion 25-12

5. Union (5) (9-1) beat John Battle 12-0

6. Patrick Henry (6) (9-1) beat Northwood 43-0

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