Starting strong is good. Finishing strong is epic.
The home stretch for local “Big-11” high school football is upon us, and the opportunity presents itself for some teams to continue their strong starts, while others look to rebound from slow starts to finish the season with a bang.
We still have three of the “Big-11” rolling along in undefeated mode, although that trio will all have bull’s eyes on their backs the rest of the way. Postseason playoff seeds are also up for grabs where it looks at this point at least 9 of 11 teams will extend their campaigns.
Here’s a glimpse at what to look for in the final four weeks of the regular season.
Heading up the undefeated ranks are the Glenvar Highlanders at 7-0. Glenvar showed its muscle last Friday night with an impressive 38-0 win over Allegheny in Low Moor. While all the talk in west Salem points to the rivalry matchup in two weeks against Giles, the Highlanders must avoid the sure-fire trap game at home this week against one-loss Floyd County. Glenvar sits in the top spot in Region 2C, with Giles #2 and Floyd Co. lurking in the shadows.,
William Byrd enjoyed an open week last Friday before returning to action this Friday night with their second straight game against William Fleming, this time on the new carpet at Robert Patterson Stadium. The 6-0 Terriers’ main challenge may be not looking ahead to the matchup in two weeks against undefeated Staunton River and new VHSL career touchdown leader Grayson Overstreet. Despite being undefeated, Byrd stood at #6 in Region 4D this week.
Roanoke Catholic rounds out the three perfect “Big-11” squads. The Celtics finished up six straight road games to start the season with a tough 14-7 win over Fuqua last Friday. Catholic now returns to Vinyard Park for the first time as Hargrave Military comes calling. Little doubt all eyes will be pointing to the following Saturday when the Celtics make the trek across town for the private school showdown with North Cross.
Salem gets an open week this Friday after the 5-2 Spartans escaped a 56-42 shootout win over Patrick Henry last Friday night at Merrill Gainer Field. Salem returns to action in two weeks when Cave Spring and Hidden Valley visit Salem Stadium in successive weeks. Salem was ranked #4 in Region 4D this week.
PH sits at 3-3 heading to this Friday’s trip to Cave Spring, their second game at Bogel Stadium after the first in week-one produced an overtime win over Hidden Valley. The Patriots sit in 10th place in Region 5D, with home games against Pulaski Co. and Staunton River looming in weeks 9-10.
Lord Botetourt rebounded from its first loss of the season with a convincing win last Friday night in Daleville over Greenbrier East (WV). The Cavaliers have an open date this Friday before a pair of road games at Northside and William Byrd await. Botetourt sits in the #2 spot in Region 3D rankings released October 9th.
Northside rings in at 4-3 after a 27-20 win over Fleming last Friday. The Vikings sit at #4 in Region 3D, but things get brutal with games against Staunton River, Botetourt and Byrd to finish the final three in the regular season.
North Cross, 4-1, has had two weeks to regroup after its first loss of the season against Blue Ridge. The Raiders head east this Friday to face Atlantic Shores Christian before the matchup against Roanoke Catholic. The nine-game North Cross regular season concludes with a home game against Covenant on Sat. October 28th followed by a road trip to Hargrave.
Cave Spring and Hidden Valley have one win between them, leading to the distinct possibility the winner in their traditional season-ending matchup at Bogel Stadium on November 3rd will get a playoff spot, while the loser will not. Cave Spring gets PH this Friday followed by a trip to Salem and home game against Christiansburg. Hidden Valley has its best chance for its first win this Friday night at Christiansburg before having to face juggernauts Blacksburg and Salem the following two weeks. The Knights sat at #6 in Region 3D and the Titans #9 heading into this week’s play. The Top-8 get playoff bids.
William Fleming stands 0-7 heading to the home stretch with the daunting task of having to face Byrd, Staunton River and Botetourt in their final three games. Those three have lost only one game between them so far, so the Colonels will be looking to pull off a colossal upset to end the year.