Nansemond River RB X’Zavion Evans (Photo: Sarah Murphy/recruit757)
Several key match ups headline Friday Night games in the 757
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
This may be the best night yet for football in the 757. Several key games will have a bearing on playoff races, with many teams in the recruit757/Friday Night Flights Top Ten getting a real challenge.
All games are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. unless noted.
#1 Maury (5-0) at #7 Ocean Lakes (5-1) – see the preview in our separate article.
King’s Fork (2-3) at #2 Oscar Smith (4-1) – After a season opening loss to Highland Springs, Oscar Smith has been on a roll. The Tigers fell 13-6 to the Springers, and in four games since, their margin of victory is 58-7. King’s Fork has beaten Smithfield (2-4) and Lakeland (0-5). Coach Kermit Buggs has the Bulldogs on the come up, but there’s tough sledding ahead in the Southeastern District. Sophomore QB Ethan Vasko is the leading passer in the Southeastern District with 1,033 passing yards and 17 touchdowns.
#3 Salem (5-0) at First Colonial (0-6) – This has the potential to be the most lopsided game of the week. Salem has shut out four of their five opponents and each of the last three. First Colonial scored 15 points in their opener against Kellam and is scoreless since.
#4 Woodside (6-0) vs. Menchville (2-3) – This Peninsula District game at Todd Stadium will provide a challenge for Menchville to get on the scoreboard. Much like Salem, Woodside has only been scored upon in one game this season. Against Peninsula District teams, Woodside is 5-0 and unscored upon. Geo Hales is the hero for Menchville on the offensive and defensive side of the ball, rushing for 761 yards and seven touchdowns on the season.
#5 Phoebus (4-1) vs. Denbigh (0-6) – This is a 2:00 Saturday afternoon game at Todd Stadium. Denbigh has a 20-game losing streak going.
Western Branch (2-3) at #6 Deep Creek (5-0) – The Hornets have to be careful not to look ahead to the final four games of their season where they match up against Oscar Smith, King’s Fork, Indian River and Nansemond River. Western Branch has been better than expected this year.
Landstown (4-2) at #8 Cox (4-1) – The Falcons’ only loss was a close one against Ocean Lakes in the season opener. A win here keeps them in the mix for the Beach District title. Princess Anne and Salem remain on Cox’ schedule, so there’s room for a continued rise. Landstown on the other hand, would be hurt by a third loss. The Eagles are currently seeded sixth in the Region 6A Power Ratings.
I.C. Norcom (4-1) at #9 Lake Taylor (4-2) – read more on this game in our separate article.
#10 York 29, New Kent 28 – The Falcons survived a scare against unranked New Kent on Thursday night.
Indian River (3-2) at Hickory (2-3) – Indian River has a five-game winning streak against Hickory, going back to Glenwood Ferebee’s first season at Indian River. Marcus Ferebee is now the head coach at Indian River, and the results shouldn’t be much different. Hickory is a better team this year. The average result over the last five seasons has been 50-5. Indian River has all of the firepower here.
Nansemond River (4-1) at Grassfield (2-3) – this is homecoming for Grassfield and the school will honor World Champion hurdler Grant Holloway at halftime. That will likely be the highlight of the night for the Grizzlies. Grassfield has given good teams a run this fall, but Nansemond River’s rushing attack may be too much to bear. X’Zavion Evans has 787 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on the season. Freshman quarterback Nolan James has 338 passing yards and seven touchdowns. That’s just enough production in the passing game to keep defenses honest.
Lakeland (0-5) at Great Bridge (1-4) – Both teams have struggled to score points this season. Great Bridge is getting on the scoreboard, averaging 14 points a game. Lakeland is barely moving the needle at 8 points per game.
Green Run (2-3) at Kellam (2-3) – The winner here keeps themselves in the hunt in the Region 5A playoff race. It’s a clash of styles. Kellam has a plodding running game that will eat up clock and physically push the ball down the field. Green Run will work to open up the field and pass the ball. If athleticism wins out, Green Run gets the W. If the game comes down to field position and time of possession, Kellam gets the W.
Tallwood (2-3) at Bayside (2-3) – Bayside always plays their homecoming game on Saturday. This year, Tallwood draws the game. The Marlins have their backs against the wall after a 1-3 start. Bayside is coming off of a key win against Princess Anne, while Tallwood bounced back against Kempsville last week. Both teams are in playoff contention, but in danger of missing out if the losses pile up.
Kempsville (0-6) vs. Granby (1-4) – A week ago, this game looked like the Futility Bowl. Kempsville is on a 62-game losing streak. Granby had lost 17 in a row before nipping Wilson last Thursday night by a score of 9-7. Both teams have had issues in all phases of the game. A win here breaks the losing streak for Kempsville, while a win for Granby gives them a winning streak: their first since the middle of the 2017 season when they piled up five wins in a row, all against district opponents.
Churchland (5-1) at Norview (1-5) – this series has been one where Norview has rattled off five straight wins, including a lopsided 69-0 total in 2016. The odds are not looking good for the Pilots to make it six straight. Churchland holds the #1 seed in Region 4A. Norview is out of the Region 5A playoffs as of now.
Gloucester (3-3) vs. Bethel (3-3) – Gloucester is powered by a youth movement while Bethel has a new head coach (Creighton Incorminias) who has been rounding his team into form. Both have a bright future ahead. Right now, they’re both trying to stake their claim as contenders in the Region 5A playoff race. The winner here stays on track while the loser may start a fade from contention.
Tabb (1-4) vs. Grafton (1-4) – this neighborhood rivalry has the potential to be a blowout. Grafton’s only win came against a depleted Denbigh squad, while Tabb gave York a run last week in a 10-7 loss.
King William (4-1) vs. Warhill (5-0) – their records say this game has a chance to be a good one, but Tidewater District foes don’t match Bay Rivers competition. Warhill has to keep an eye on the opponent in front of them rather than looking down the road at games against York and Lafayette that finish out the season. King William took their first loss last week in a 32-29 nail biter against Washington & Lee (3-2).
Arcadia (3-2) at Bruton (0-5) – the Panthers couldn’t get on the scoreboard in a 48-0 blowout loss to Currituck last week. Arcadia has held their own against Eastern Shore (Virginia and Maryland) competition. This is the Firebirds’ first trip off the Eastern Shore this season.
Catholic at McDonogh (MD) 6:00 p.m.
Norfolk Academy at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
Norfolk Christian at Isle of Wight Academy
Blue Ridge vs. Atlantic Shores (VB Sportsplex)