Both opening round playoff games will be rematches of regular season matchups. Though the Gators didn’t do much in a tough TCIS this year, they made up for it with non-conference wins over Hampton Christian, Portsmouth Christian, and (most impressively) Blessed Sacrament-Huguenot. The Gators are easily the most balanced team in the D-IV bracket.
The Eastern Region Division 6 draw is a gauntlet. When a team like Granby goes 9-1 in the regular season and ends up as the eighth seed, you know there are some good football teams in the mix.
Division 5 gives us quite a disparity between the top and the bottom. Many of the usual suspects are back at the top, and we have some new blood making a bid for a title run. It’s going to be tough sleddding for the underdogs in this bracket.
In Region I, Bay Rivers District teams get to square off against the best of the Southside and Battlefield districts. Fortunately for our home teams, there’s little on the schedule that sets them up to knock each other out early. In Division 4, there’s a chance we could see the bracket 75% filled by local teams after this week’s games are through.
Bethel’s season is not quite over, but lineman Ricky Walker is prepping for a busy offseason. College interest is steadily streaming in, and another ACC school has jumped into the mix. Walker may be focusing on the playoffs, but it’s clear that colleges in the region have turned their focus to him.
This week’s Freedom Ford Player of the Week is Salem running back Daijon Bland. Last Friday night, with starting quarterback Bucky Hodges on the sideline for the entire game, Salem Head Coach Robert Jackson turned to his running game. Bland was the key to the SunDevil offense in a resounding 48-7 win over Princess Anne High School.
Tallwood lineman T.J. Goosen is setting himself up for an active recruitment. As one of the anchors on the Tallwood line, he has ample opportunity to showcase his skills, but the Lions haven’t had a winning season in years. T.J.’s pro-activity will help him get the college attention he’s looking for, regardless of his team’s record on the field.
The brackets for Region I, featuring Smithfield, Grafton, Warhill, York, Lafayette and Poquoson are set. The Bay Rivers District has the opportunity to hold three of the four semifinal slots after this weekend’s game if their teams can take care of business in the opening round.
When it all came down to it, Cox and Granby won when they had to, but Granby held the advantage and made the playoffs. In Division 5, Nansemond River lost a nailbiter to Lakeland on Friday night, so Maury grabbed the #8 seed in spite of a loss to Granby on Saturday.
There’s still time to vote for this week’s Freedom Ford Player of the Week on recruit757. Throughout the regular season, fans have been able to select the Freedom Ford Player of the Week for the region from the nominees provided. Go to recruit757 on Facebook now to register your vote. The poll question is pinned to the top of the page.