Staff writ­ers Eric Kolenich and Tim Pearrell make their picks for the open­ing round of the play­offs. Games are Fri­day at 7 p.m. un­less oth­er­wise noted.

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - SCOREBOARD - — Eric Kolenich


No. 7 James River (3-7) at No. 2 Manch­ester (10-0): Manch­ester has 38 se­niors on the ros­ter, and the back­ups have played a lot of min­utes af­ter the starters built big leads this seasaon. James River is much younger with just 16 se­niors. The Rapids start three or four fresh­men on de­fense and one at quar­ter­back. Af­ter start­ing 0-7, James River has won its past three games and earned a play­off spot. “The kids had ev­ery chance to pack it in and fin­ish 0-10,” Rapids coach Bobby Hen­der­son said. Eric: Manch­ester 35-10 Tim: Manch­ester 48-14

No. 6 Cosby (4-6) at No. 3 Thomas Dale (8-2): Quar­ter­back Ejay Walker and re­ceiver Jasiah Wil­liams are back from in­juries, and Thomas Dale coach Kevin Tucker said the Knights are get­ting healthy at the right time. Cosby has a big-time re­cruit in ju­nior LB Ethan West. The Ti­tans have lost four in a row, in­clud­ing two in over­time, and didn’t score more than 14 points in those four losses. Eric: Dale 28-10 Tim: Dale 31-14

No. 5 Clover Hill (5-5) at No. 4 Franklin Co (6-4): Un­der first-year coach Bryan Jen­nings, Clover Hill im­proved from a 2-win sea­son last year to 5-5 this year. Chris Hous­ton has rushed for 907 yards. Clover Hill beat Huguenot in Week 10 to end a four-game los­ing streak.

Eric: Clover Hill 32-28; Tim: Clover Hill 21-16


No. 8 Deep Run (5-4) at No. 1 High­land Springs (10-0): Af­ter three years of fin­ish­ing 9-1, the Springers com­pleted a per­fect reg­u­lar sea­son. “It just means you can’t lose one down the stretch,” coach Loren John­son said. When th­ese teams last met, in the first round of the 2016 play­offs, High­land Springs claimed a 55-0 vic­tory. Deep Run is mak­ing its fourth play­off ap­pear­ance in school his­tory. The Wild­cats start 12 sopho­mores, in­clud­ing QB Bo Kite. Coach Chad Hornik said it’s the most sopho­mores he’s ever started on a team.

Eric: High­land Springs 34-9 Tim: High­land Springs 45-7

No. 7 Dou­glas Free­man (7-3) at No. 2 L.C. Bird (8-2): With QB An­drew Bland back from in­jury, the Rebels re­turn to a two-quar­ter­back of­fense. “You just go by feel,” Free­man coach Mike Hen­der­son said of how he chooses who will play. He said the team is self­less and doesn’t care who scores the touch­downs as long as the Rebels win. Free­man lost its sea­son opener 17-7 to Mid­loth­ian then won seven of its last nine games. Bird has won five games by a mar­gin of 10 points or less. “It’s been fun,” coach Troy Tay­lor said. “I like to win those close games.”

Eric: Free­man 17-14 Tim: Bird 21-20

No. 6 Va­rina (8-2) at No. 3 Hen­rico (8-1): Va­rina QB Dwayne Tay­lor re­turned last week and threw for 79 yards, a touch­down and an in­ter­cep­tion against High­land Springs. He missed the first Hen­rico game, which the War­riors won 28-27. The Blue Devils scored in the fi­nal min­utes but missed an ex­tra point at­tempt. Hen­rico QB Jalon Jones was the key to the War­riors’ suc­cess, pass­ing for 219 yards and rush­ing for 153. Eric: Hen­rico 38-35 Tim: Va­rina 30-28

No. 5 Glen Allen (8-2) at No. 4 Atlee (7-3): Both teams made big strides in 2018. Glen Allen won just two games last year but al­most fin­ished 9-1 this year. A missed 2-point con­ver­sion against Free­man was the dif­fer­ence. “It’s been a wild ride for us,” Jaguars coach Sal Camp said. “It’s very sur­real.” QB Dono­van Rid­dick has pro­vided more than 2,300 yards of of­fense for Glen Allen. Atlee im­proved from three wins last year to seven this year. It beat Hanover 27-7 last week, end­ing a two-game score­less streak. Eric: Atlee 20-14 Tim: Glen Allen 28-22


No. 8 Huguenot (4-6) at No. 1 Louisa (10-0), 7:30: Huguenot QB Jaylen Tyler has av­er­aged 207 pass­ing yards this year, and ju­nior Kevin Gayles is one of the area’s top re­ceivers. Louisa has one of the state’s most re­cruited play­ers, se­nior LB Bran­don Smith, who has com­mit­ted to Penn State. Eric: Louisa 28-14 Tim: Louisa 35-7

No. 7 Powhatan (6-3) at No. 2 Monacan (8-2), 7:30: Powhatan coach Jim Wood­son said he’ll re­tire af­ter this sea­son. “We have a game plan that we have to ex­e­cute per­fectly for it to work,” Wood­son said. Monacan is the sec­ond seed for the sec­ond year in a row. Monacan se­nior QB Stone Sny­der av­er­ages 200 rush­ing and 114 pass­ing yards.

Eric: Monacan 28-27 Tim: Monacan 21-14

No. 6 Court­land (8-2) at No. 3 Din­wid­die (9-1), Satur­day at 1: Din­wid­die’s win­ning streaks in the Cen­tral District and reg­u­lar sea­son came to an end in Oc­to­ber against Hopewell. “It was time for us to get knocked down a notch,” coach Billy Mills said. Louisa, Monacan, Din­wid­die and Eastern View are the top four seeds in this re­gion for a sec­ond straight year but in a dif­fer­ent or­der. “Our re­gion, top to bot­tom, is solid,” Mills said. “I don’t think there’s an easy out any­where.”

Eric: Din­wid­die 34-31 Tim: Din­wid­die 35-13

No. 5 Mid­loth­ian (6-4) at No. 4 Eastern View (10-0): Mid­loth­ian pulled off its big­gest win in a while in Week 9 when it beat Monacan 24-20. Then it dropped its fi­nal game of the sea­son, 21-10 to James River. The Monacan win showed the Tro­jans “We can do this,” coach Matt Hutch­ings said. He said it showed Midlo is no longer the “lit­tle brother” of the Do­min­ion District. Eastern View is 10-0 for a sec­ond straight sea­son. Eric: Eastern View 21-20 Tim: Eastern View 34-14

No. 7 Peters­burg (7-3) at No. 2 Hopewell (8-1): Hopewell al­lowed 99 points in nine games this sea­son — 49 of them came in a dou­bleover­time loss to Thomas Dale. Hopewell beat Peters­burg 35-14 in Septem­ber, but Peters­burg didn’t have RB Up­ton Bai­ley, who has re­turned from an in­jury. Hopewell also has QB Daniel Greer back.

Eric: Hopewell 21-8 Tim: Hopewell 42-20

No. 8 Arm­strong (1-9) at No. 1 Culpeper (6-4), 7:30: Arm­strong won only one game this year, but the mar­gins of de­feat were more nar­row this year, coach Kenny Pain­ter said. “Inch by inch it’s com­ing,” Pain­ter said. “I tell the kids ev­ery day you got to be­lieve in the process.” For the first time, all five Rich­mond city schools made the post­sea­son. “That’s his­tory man,” Pain­ter said. “We got some­thing to smile about.”

Eric: Culpeper 23-17 Tim: Culpeper 34-16

No. 7 Ge­orge Wythe (0-10) at No. 2 Spot­syl­va­nia (6-4): The clos­est Ge­orge Wythe came to a vic­tory this year was against Mid­loth­ian, when it lost 43-32. In that game, Diy­onte Plum­mer threw for 127 yards and rushed for a touch­down. Wythe got on the score­board in eight games this year. Eric: Spot­syl­va­nia 37-14 Tim: Spot­syl­va­nia 42-6

No. 6 James Mon­roe (3-7) at No. 3 Thomas Jef­fer­son (5-5): Last year, Thomas Jef­fer­son was the top seed in this re­gion. But with a new, younger team in 2018, T.J. fin­ished 5-5. RB Shamar Gra­ham av­er­ages 70 rush­ing yards per game. “We play ugly foot­ball,” T.J. coach P.J. Adams said. “We en­joy ugly foot­ball.” Adams said the team plays a “3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust” kind of foot­ball.

Eric: Thomas Jef­fer­son 16-12 Tim: Thomas Jef­fer­son 20-13

No. 5 John Mar­shall (4-6) at No. 4 Brentsville District (5-5): This is John Mar­shall’s first play­off ap­pear­ance in 26 years, which is the same age as its coach, Phillip Sims. “I think we’re chang­ing the nar­ra­tive of John Mar­shall foot­ball,” Sims said. The Jus­tices lost five con­sec­u­tive games in the mid­dle of their sea­son then won their last two against J.R. Tucker and Thomas Jef­fer­son. Eric: Jayem 37-26 Tim: Jayem 26-20


No. 8 Brunswick (3-7) at No. 1 Goochland (10-0): Goochland wrapped up a per­fect reg­u­lar sea­son last week by beat­ing Amelia 1712. Quincy Snead and Devin McCray each scored a touch­down for the Bull­dogs. It was the sec­ond time Goochland has al­lowed more than 10 points in a game. The Bull­dogs recorded four shutouts this year.

Eric: Goochland 38-7 Tim: Goochland 45-12

No. 7 Ar­ca­dia (5-5) at No. 2 Amelia (9-1): Af­ter win­ning its first nine games, Amelia fell in Week 10 to Goochland 17-12. Jalen Brown threw for 305 yards, but Amelia turned the ball over three times. In the four games be­fore Goochland, Amelia had scored 46 points or more. Eric: Amelia 44-22 Tim: Amelia 40-17

No. 5 Greensville (6-4) at No. 4 King Wil­liam (9-1): Last year, King Wil­liam started 0-5 be­fore fin­ish­ing 5-5. This sea­son was much smoother for the Cava­liers, who won their first four games and fin­ished 9-1. Eric: King Wil­liam 29-8 Tim: King Wil­liam 35-6


No. 3 St. Christo­pher’s (5-4) at No. 2 Bene­dic­tine (5-3), Satur­day at 1: Bene­dic­tine won its fi­nal two games against Avalon and Blue Ridge to se­cure a home play­off game. An­drew Puc­cinelli has thrown for 972 yards, and Ste­vie Walden has rushed for 647. Jay Wool­folk has rushed for 434 and passed for 295. The Saints have lost three in a row, in­clud­ing a 35-21 de­feat to Col­le­giate in the reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale. Will Tazewell caught seven passes for 88 yards, and Pa­trick Rout­sis com­pleted 24 of 40 passes for 298 yards, two touch­downs and two in­ter­cep­tions. Eric: Bene­dic­tine 38-31 Tim: Bene­dic­tine 31-28


No. 3 Fuqua (4-5) at No. 2 Blessed Sacra­ment Huguenot (6-2): In the off­sea­son, BSH’s ad­min­is­tra­tion con­sid­ered drop­ping down to eight-man foot­ball. In­stead, the school kept its tra­di­tional 11-man team and found plenty of suc­cess in 2018. “This hasn’t been a sur­prise to us at all,” coach Shawn Pick­ett said. “This is the best se­nior class I’ve ever been around.” The team has rushed for more than 3,000 yards in nine games, with Trevor Parker and Mike Kemp lead­ing the way. Kemp rushed for 221 yards last week against Rich­mond Chris­tian.

Eric: BSH 38-20 Tim: BSH 26-13


Last week: Eric 20-1; Tim 18-3

Sea­son: Eric 190-60 (.760); Tim 197-53 (.788)

Pick of the week: Eric was pretty close in his pre­dic­tion of last Satur­day’s East End matchup be­tween High­land Springs and Va­rina. He picked the Springers to win 35-10, and then the Springers won 33-12.


Fri­day night brings yet an­other good chance for rain across cen­tral Vir­ginia, but it will keep the thun­der chance at a min­i­mum. Satur­day af­ter­noon will fea­ture sun­shine but a brisk, chilly breeze. Ex­pect tem­per­a­tures in the lower-50s with winds from the north­west gust­ing to 25 mph.

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