High School Football: What does the playoff picture look like?

High School Football: What does the playoff picture look like?

High School Football: What does the playoff picture look like?

Published at 3:09 AM Friday, November 10, 2023

We’ve seen a lot of good high school football during the 2023 regular season. From the heat of summer, through the mix of warm and cool temperatures in fall with plenty of rain, wind, and even some sunny days in between, to the looming cold of winter, it’s been hard to predict. What to expect in the future. One particular night on the iron.

However, through all the uncertainty of blowouts or heart-wrenching drama, the playoffs have finally arrived for Virginia’s high school football teams. A total of 24 regional titles will be handed out and six state champions will be crowned on December 9 – those awards being handed out to the last teams standing in Class 6 and Class 5 at UVA’s Scott Stadium; in Chapter 4 and Chapter 3 at Liberty University’s Arthur L. Williams Stadium; at Salem Stadium in Salem for Class 2 and Class 1.

So what does it look like for teams across the region? Here’s a quick shot…

High school football playoffs

There is no shortage of interesting storylines in District 2B. Central-Woodstock is the top seed with a 10-0 record overall, returning a large portion of its team that fell to Graham in the Class 2 state final last year. To open the season, the Falcons beat the Riverheads 8-7 in their opener of the year.

The Riverheads (9-1) is the No. 2 seed in this region, and is scheduled to host No. 7 seed Madison County (5-5), which ironically is 0-17 all-time with all those games coming from 1982-98. The Gladiators have won seven straight state titles at the Division I level, but now they’re ramping up competition for a playoff trip here in 2023.

The Gladiators feature one of the best players on the field with running back Kayden Cook-Cash, the state’s Division I Offensive Player of the Year the past two seasons. Cook-Cash struggled with injury earlier in the season, but recently received an offer from the University of Virginia.

Buckingham enters as the No. 3 seed and with a 9-1 record overall. They will host sixth-seeded Clark County (8-2), whose Knights have reeled off nine straight wins since their 23-6 loss to Appomattox in their season opener. Coach Seth Wilkerson has a stingy defense that has held five straight opponents to six or fewer points since a 13-10 win over Lunenburg.

A win over Clark County would be the third postseason victory since 2015 for the Knights. Clark County’s offense will be a threat as the Eagles are averaging 32.2 points per game and have a wealth of playoff experience, having recently reached the state finals in 2015.

Zone 2A:

8-2 Lunenburg Central will host Southampton, which finished 5-5 overall while competing in the Tri-Rivers Region. The Indians opened 1-5 overall before catching fire by winning their final four games of the regular season.

Meanwhile, the Chargers dropped their regular-season finale to Amelia County before having a bye week to rest and heal some injuries. Their ground attack routinely produces over 250 yards per game behind senior Connor Mattox, who has topped 1,400 yards on the season. Mattox and Seth Bishop, two mainstays of the program, anchor a defense that will challenge coach Will Thomas to raise their level of play if they hope to make some history and win a regional title in their first season back from the Division I ranks.

Other Quarterfinal Matchups Host top-seeded Poquoson (8-2) and eighth-seeded Nandoah (5-5) in a matchup at 6 p.m. Thursday; Fourth-seeded King William (5-5) hosts fifth-seeded Broughton (5-5); Third-seeded Amelia (7-3) hosts sixth-seeded Greensville County (6-4).

Poquoson, behind speedster Baker Green, who has committed to running back at Eastern Kentucky, was viewed as the favorite after losing on a late field goal to Bay Rivers District powerhouse Lafayette in a game in which they led 14-0. But watch for King William, which is just two seasons away from a state title, as a sleeper after playing one of the toughest schedules among Division II teams with four of their opponents from higher seedings.

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