Gloucester vs. Phoebus 2017 (File Photo: Kim McCaffrey/recruit757)
We’ll miss some games that could have been key to determining the playoff race
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
In the final weeks of the football season, fans usually look forward to the games that will play a big role in playoff seeding.
High-stakes competition is what makes football great.
Unfortunately, we’re not getting enough of that this year.
The playoff field is half as large and the sample size (total games) is half of what it would normally be. In fact, private schools are not even in the picture. All Richmond Public Schools opted not to play. Suffolk Public Schools are in week three of a six-week schedule of their own making, so those schools will still be in their regular season when the VHSL postseason starts. We also have key teams missing games because of COVID precautions.
There are a few key games this weekend that are off the schedule and aren’t expected to be rescheduled.
Lake Taylor (4-0) at Churchland (3-0) CANCELLED
It would have been good to see if the Truckers could knock off the Titans for the first time since 2010. You have to back to 1999 to find the next time that Churchland topped Lake Taylor. This year’s Churchland squad feels more than ever like they could beat Lake Taylor, especially after losing to them in the regular season and in the Region 4A Final in 2019.
Instead, we expect both teams to make the VHSL Class 4 playoffs and they very well could collide there.
Churchland is scheduled to play their season finale against Maury (3-1) at Powhatan Stadium on Thursday, April 1. The Titans visit Norview (2-2) next week on Friday night to finish out their season.
Phoebus (3-0) at Gloucester (1-0) CANCELLED
The Dukes have been on a COVID hiatus since they played their season opener. Gloucester Athletic Director Kristy Hunter confirmed Friday morning that the game would not be played. The Dukes came off of quarantine on Thursday. Their final game will be Friday, April 2 at home against Bethel.
Gloucester’s 1-0 record is not enough to get them into the playoffs in a very deep Region 5A. Cox, Deep Creek, Salem and Princess Anne all seem to be headed for the playoffs with Gloucester, Bayside, Maury, Kempsville, and Indian River on the outside looking in. Of that group on the outside, all have only one loss with the exception of Indian River. Deep Creek and Princess Anne are set to make the postseason with one loss each; Deep Creek to Oscar Smith (3-0) and Princess Anne to Salem (3-0).
Phoebus is in good position for the VHSL Class 3 playoff, but they could have used a win against a Class 5 opponent to boost their power rating. Instead, they’re chasing top-seeded Lafayette and the Phantom’s scheduled season finale against Denbigh was played to start the season. That schedule change was because both Phoebus and Denbigh lost their opening week opponent due to quarantine. Phoebus could go three weeks between games going into the opening round of the playoffs.
As a fan, it’s disappointing to see the schedule filled with holes. For senior athletes, the loss of playing time and potential recognition from college coaches is even more upsetting.
Bravo to the coaches who’ve kept the season going and to the parents who have worked hard to keep their kids eligible to play.
– Andy Hilton