The Northern Region football schedule is set for next season, other than some possible date changes.
Below are some observations on the 2013 schedule, but a couple of things first:
The games the week of Sept. 12 are scheduled for a Thursday night because of Yom Kippur, so some schools are moving that game to late August and taking a bye the week of Sept. 12. So some of the scheduled season openers might actually end up being the second game of the season (Madison-Oakton, for one, is apparently headed that direction) because of the second game being moved ahead of it.
Also keep in mind that the Northern Region playoffs are no longer. The Virginia High School League has implemented a new playoff alignment with Northern Region schools competing in the 6A North and 5A North classifications. See the new alignment plan here.
Sixteen teams in each classification will advance to the playoffs. The 6A North champion will play the 6A South champion in a state final. The same goes for 5A.
The football schedule is done in two-year cycles, so the matchups for 2013 also will be the matchups for 2014, just at the opposite sites.
Some things that stand out:
Lake Braddock’s first three games are against Stone Bridge (14-1), neighborhood rival Robinson (5-6) and Westfield (12-1). So quarterback Caleb Henderson and the Bruins (8-3) will be tested early. Lake Braddock and Stone Bridge have never faced each other.
Chantilly (8-4) will face Yorktown (12-1) in an intriguing late-season non-district game. Centreville (8-4) at Washington-Lee (5-5) is another odd late-season coupling. But both Yorktown and W-L are in 6A with the largest schools in the region. So while Yorktown escapes perennial power Stone Bridge (still in 5A), it has an even more imposing playoff gauntlet to run.
Westfield and Stone Bridge will meet in the fifth game.
The not-yet-named Robinson coach will inherit not only 2,300-yard rusher Joe Wilson but a manageable non-district schedule of W.T. Woodson (2-8), Lake Braddock, Mount Vernon (4-6), Lee (3-7) and Madison (8-3).
The early season West Potomac-Fairfax game will feature two of the region’s top running backs — visiting Demornay Pierson-El and Nick Scott. Pierson-El has an offer from Old Dominion and heavy interest from other schools and Scott has offers from Penn State and Boston College.
Madison (8-3), now a 6A team, will play Oakton, Chantilly and Robinson out of district.
Barring a change in the schedule order, Marshall and Wakefield are scheduled to meet in the opener. Both teams went winless last season, so somebody will be happy. Wakefield also scheduled 2A school George Mason (1-9).
Stone Bridge has Lake Braddock, Broad Run (5-5) and Westfield out of district.
One last thing about the new alignment: In Prince William County, some of the 6A teams are in the South (Gar-Field, Hylton, Forest Park, Woodbridge), with the Richmond and Virginia Beach schools, and others are in the North (Battlefield, Stonewall Jackson, Osbourn, Osbourn Park, Patriot), with the Northern Region schools.
So you could have two Prince William teams meet in a state final. You could not have two Northern Region teams meet in a state final.