VHSL Football (Photo: Andy Hilton/recruit757)
Football season is almost here! The VHSL Calendar is now available
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
It’s not Christmas Day, but it might feel a little bit like Santa Claus coming to town. The VHSL schedule is yet another sign that football season is almost here.
The full VHSL Football Schedule can be seen here for all high school football programs in Virginia.
We’re going to share a few of the unique highlights of the entire slate. Don’t be upset if we don’t mention your favorite team. After all, there are well over 300 high schools playing public school football in the Commonwealth.
First, two of the three programs who didn’t field a team in 2018 are back. Park View (Sterling) and Manassas Park are on the schedule. Class 1 Charles City is not on the schedule. Class 2 Bruton, who forfeited quite a few of their games in 2018 due to a lack of numbers, has a full schedule in 2019, but they’re not playing many Bay Rivers District schools. Manassas Park is playing at least a partial schedule of 8-man games.
In the 757, the season kicks off with a BANG at Darling Stadium. Labor Day Saturday, August 31, is the date for the recruit757 Kickoff Classic. It will feature home team Bethel against last years Region 5A Champion Maury High School, who has aspirations for a state championship this season. In the nightcap, 2018 Class 3 runner-up Phoebus will host Class 4 runner-up Lake Taylor. Both games are a rematch from 2018, but they’re combined on one ticket for two games of football at Darling Stadium in Hampton.
There are some games that will be played on August 29 and 30.
Some schools play in Week Zero. That’s the identifier placed on the opening week so that everyone is eventually on track for a ten week season. Week Zero includes August 29 and 30. That’s Thursday night before Labor Day weekend and the Friday of Labor Day weekend.
The new reclassification is in place starting with this season, and one of the biggest changes is that Class 6 is ruled by Northern Virginia. Region 6A is a combination of the 757 and 804, plus Franklin County (near Roanoke). Region 6B, 6C and 6D are all Northern Virginia, so that region is guaranteed to place a team in the state championship game if not two.
In Class 6, Hayfield visits state runner-up Freedom-Woodbridge in what could be a barn burner to open the season. Freedom ended Hayfield’s season in 2018 by a 29-19 score in the Region 6C semifinal. South County, who should be solid once again, will open against Woodbridge High School. Woodbridge missed the playoffs with a 7-3 record last year while South County went 7-5. Both aspire to do more in 2019. Centreville and Stone Bridge square off, giving us two teams who have been state title contenders in Class 6 and Class 5 this past decade.
In Class 5, Cox (Virginia Beach) drops from Class 6 and opens against last year’s Region 6A runner-up Ocean Lakes. All Virginia Beach teams play only Beach District teams in their season, so every week there’s bound to be a top match up at the Beach. In the 804, Varina hosts defending Class 6 state champion Manchester on Thursday, August 29. That’s an opportunity for Varina to make a statement, and Manchester graduated a lot of seniors who contributed to their perfect season in 2018.
Class 4 sees a lot of change as some prime teams like Lafayette move out and others like the Hampton Crabbers move in. Eastern View visits Culpeper on Friday night of Labor Day weekend and both teams come in after deep playoff runs in 2018. Culpeper fell to Eastern View 37-0 in 2018, but went on to win Region 3B. Eastern View won Region 4B last year. Culpeper moves up to Class 4 this season. Also in the opening weekend, Dinwiddie (11-2 in 2018) hosts GW-Danville (8-3 in 2018).
There are changes in Class 3 as well. After strong seasons in Class 2 (three losses in the past three seasons), Goochland moves up. Lafayette (11-1 in 2018) hosts Goochland on Thursday Booker T. Washington takes on an ambitious opener as a Class 3 program when they hit the road to visit Class 6 John Champe on Thursday, 8/29.
Again, you can see the full schedule on the VHSL website. We’ll provide some more updates for you soon, and course we’ll have district-by-district previews once August arrives.
– Andy Hilton