No. 14 North Stafford (2-0)
at Potomac (1-1)
North Stafford riddled Stonewall Jackson for 44 points and Liberty for 35. But the Wolverines were averaging 25 points when they lost, 17-0, to Potomac in the fifth week of last season.
In fact, the Panthers have shut out North Stafford the past two years to break a three-game losing streak in the series.
Potomac Coach Keith King, his team's defensive coordinator last season, acknowledges the Wolverines' no-huddle offense is much sharper than its attack in 1998, when quarterback Chris Ashinhurst completed just 16 of 38 passes against the Panthers.
Ashinhurst has been so successful throwing this season in part, King believes, because teams have not pressured him. That will be the challenge for the Panthers against a quarterback King calls one of the best in the state.
"If you rush only three people, I don't care how many people you have in coverage, somebody's going to get open," King said. "If you sit there and let him have the time to throw the ball, it's going to be a long night for you."
Potomac has made changes in the secondary, though not necessarily by choice. Sophomore strong safety Shawn Woodson broke a finger late in last week's 21-14 win over Brooke Point and might not be available. The Panthers might shift sophomore linebacker Tony Blackwell to strong safety and bring in senior Brian Freeman to fill Blackwell's spot. The Potomac cornerbacks are senior Tyrus Davis and sophomore Gary Price.
Though Ashinhurst threw 38 times in this game last season, it was four Potomac tosses that helped key the win. The three completions went for 103 yards and a touchdown. North Stafford played that 1998 game without two of its top running backs, including Allen Woodbridge, who was injured. Woodbridge is healthy. This week, he committed to play defensive back at Boston College.
Three times against Potomac last season North Stafford penetrated the Panthers' 20-yard line but did not score. Fruitless drives have been a concern this fall as well. Last week in a 35-0 win over Liberty, the Wolverines reached the 2-, 3-, 15- and 25-yard lines without scoring.
Besides pressuring Ashinhurst, King said, the Panthers must sustain drives. But being methodical is not always an option with senior speedster Rico Lloyd in the backfield.
"We'll tell him to run 15 yards and stop," King joked.
That would be fine with North Stafford.
"As fast as we are," Wolverines Coach Chris Beatty said, "I don't think any of our guys are going to catch [Lloyd]. Potomac has the athletes to match up with us."
Colonial Forge (0-2)
at Brentsville (2-0)
By playing at home, Brentsville can be assured of at least one thing: no waiting on the bus for 2 1/2 hours for the rain to stop like the Tigers did last week at Luray. This after driving more than 90 minutes just to get to the game.
Brentsville Coach Mike Madison was concerned about how his players would respond after being cooped up for so long.
"They were just so glad to get to do something other than sit on the bus," he said.
The Tigers did more than weather the storm. They took a 22-0 lead in the first half on their way to a 29-16 win. A victory over Colonial Forge would result in Brentsville's first 3-0 start since 1995.
With a win, the Tigers also could reap a slew of Virginia High School League power points. Even though seven of Colonial Forge's games will be against junior varsity teams, by beating the Eagles, Brentsville will receive the same number of power points it would receive by beating a full-fledged Virginia AAA team, a VHSL spokeswoman said.
Teams receive six points for beating an A team, nine points for beating an AA team and 12 points for beating an AAA team.
Colonial Forge will be playing its last game against a varsity opponent.
"This is their chance to put their name on the map, and we're the ones they're going to try to do it with," Madison said. "Anybody who thinks that their talent level is [inferior to] ours is mistaken. Those kids come from good feeder systems and from good football teams."
Colonial Forge lost, 26-20, to Broad Run last week on a 74-yard punt return with 2 minutes 55 seconds left.
at Gar-Field (2-0)
For a nonregion game, this has developed into a nice little rivalry, with Annandale holding a 3-2 edge since the current series began in 1994.
"They like playing us, and we like playing them," Annandale Coach Dick Adams said.
Three of the five games have been decided by a touchdown or less, including the Atoms' 14-12 win last season. Gar-Field scored with 1:38 to play but could not connect on a two-point pass conversion that would have tied the game.
Gar-Field is pleased with its victories over George Washington-Danville and Fauquier, but the Indians remember starting 2-0 last season, too.
"We were in this same situation and lost three games in a row," Coach Tony Labozzetta said. "We hope it turns out a little better for us."
Gar-Field agreed to move the game to 7:30 p.m. Saturday--it originally was scheduled for Friday night--because inclement weather postponed Annandale's game at Madison to Monday night. The Atoms did not punt in winning, 28-6, but turned the ball over six times, in part because of muffed exchanges between the center and senior quarterback Abdulah Konteh, who had been out almost three weeks with a shoulder injury.
Senior Sam Korpoi ran for 221 yards and three touchdowns against Madison, and senior Stephen Ageyman ran for 101 yards and the other score. The Atoms dropped their opener to No. 7 Fairfax, 14-11.
Annandale returned 14 starters off a 7-3 team, including two-way lineman Jeremiah Davis, who has committed to Penn State. Adams calls free safety Ageyman the hardest-hitting defensive back he has seen in years.
Manassas Park (3-0)
at King George (2-0)
This is a relatively rare opportunity for Virginia A team Manassas Park--the chance to play an AA team. And not only that, play an AA team that beat AAA Osbourn. And Osbourn beat AAA Stonewall Jackson.
In other words, a victory over King George could go a long way toward the Cougars gaining more converts in the Manassas area.
"My kids keep saying, 'Coach, nobody respects us,' " said Cougars Coach Jeff Lloyd, who relishes his team's underdog status. "It's an opportunity to prove to some people that we're a little better than they might think. But until you beat some people, you shouldn't get [respect]."
The Cougars have beaten Quantico, Luray and Page County despite senior running back James Fitchett being out with an ankle injury. He has no carries since toting five times in the opener, but he could be ready to play this week--if he can work his way back into a talented lineup.
King George is coming off a bye week after its 26-15 season-opening win over Osbourn and its 20-6 win over Washington & Lee. In the second win, senior Joe Young rushed 26 times for 216 yards and two touchdowns.
Brooke Point (1-1)
at Osbourn Park (1-1)
With two of its next three games coming against No. 2 Hylton and No. 14 North Stafford, Osbourn Park needs a strong showing against the Black-Hawks.
"We're at that fork in the road in our season," Yellow Jackets Coach Mike Feldman said. "I don't know which fork we're going to take."
Osbourn Park lost, 13-12, to Stafford last week on a blocked punt and dropped punt. Brooke Point lost, 21-14, to Potomac in overtime.
"Brooke Point is probably in the same boat we are," Feldman said. "I'm sure they felt like they let one get away that they shouldn't have."
Osbourn Park and Brooke Point have not met since 1995, a 42-0 win for the Black-Hawks.
No. 9 Park View (2-0)
at Osbourn (1-1)
It is probably a good thing for Osbourn this game has been moved to 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Eagles might need all the time they can muster to prepare for Park View's deceptive single-wing offense. The Virginia AA Patriots have outscored Sherando and Courtland 104-6 while racking up 1,017 yards.
The game was bumped to Saturday because Osbourn's meeting with Stonewall was bumped to Monday night. The Eagles shut out the Raiders, 19-0, to give first-year coach Randy Bove his first victory.
Shutting out Park View and the single wing will not be as easy. The Patriots returned 14 starters off a 10-2 team.
"I went and watched them play Courtland, and I enjoyed the heck out of watching them play," said Bove, who is hoping his team's superior size will help Osbourn sustain drives and keep Park View junior quarterback Nick Smith (1,041 rushing yards, 13 touchdown passes last year) on the sideline.
Park View senior running back Nelson Stickley (1,836 rushing yards, 28 touchdowns) sprained his ankle against Courtland and is doubtful for Saturday's game, Patriots Coach Mickey Thompson said.
Stonewall Jackson (0-2)
at Fauquier (2-1)
Both teams are coming off shutout losses--Stonewall, 19-0 to Osbourn, and Fauquier, 35-0 to Gar-Field.
Stonewall has scored just six points this season as it tries to remain competitive with much more experienced teams.
"We played better defensively," Stonewall Coach Jim Powell said, referring to progress the team has made since its season-opening 44-6 loss at North Stafford. "We were more aggressive. We didn't tackle extremely well, but we played better than the week before."
Fauquier Coach Tom Ferrell was not quite as charitable about his team's loss to Gar-Field.
"Every area you can beat somebody, they beat us," he said.
at Dinwiddie (1-1)
These teams are in search of something: Woodbridge for its first win and Dinwiddie for its first winning season since 1992.
Woodbridge is coming off a 44-12 loss to No. 16 Eleanor Roosevelt on the heels of losses to Culpeper and No. 17 Robinson. This is the Vikings' final game before entering Cardinal District play.
Running back Chris Harris rushed for 1,030 yards last season for Dinwiddie, a Richmond area school.
at Courtland (1-1)
Stafford snapped a six-game losing streak with a 13-12 win over Osbourn Park last week.
"We made some big plays, and we didn't do anything to hurt ourselves," said Indians Coach Roger Pierce, whose team's touchdowns came off special teams play. "This gives us some confidence. It's nice to get rewarded for all the work you've done."
Courtland lost, 56-6, to Park View.
Virginia Beach Catholic (2-0)
at Quantico (2-1)
Quantico has won consecutive games since dropping its opener to Manassas Park. Virginia Beach Catholic already has equaled its win total from the past two seasons combined by knocking off Brunswick Academy and Atlantic Shores Christian.
GAME TO WATCH:
* No. 11 Dunbar (1-1-1) at No. 2 Hylton (2-0): D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association champion Dunbar is the third 1998 playoff qualifier Hylton has faced in as many weeks. But the Northwest Washington school returned much more talent than Petersburg and Friendly, the teams Hylton has beaten this season.
Dunbar brought back 16 starters and already has beaten Carroll, 28-24; tied No. 4 DeMatha at 14 in a game shortened by lightning with 2 minutes 59 seconds to play; and lost at St. Ignatius, a Cleveland school that was nationally ranked by USA Today as recently as 1997.
The Crimson Tide is unlikely to get ruffled playing at Hylton, which has won 18 consecutive games.
"No question they're the biggest test we've had thus far and might be as good a test as we'll have all year long," Hylton Coach Bill Brown said.
Dunbar Coach Craig Jefferies felt likewise about the St. Ignatius team the Crimson Tide lost to, 38-14.
"We'd never seen anything like that," he said. "Those guys were hitting, and we had to turn up our intensity a lot, almost up to their level. If we didn't, we would have gotten blown out or physically whooped."
Jefferies had not planned to play DeMatha, St. Ignatius and Hylton in succession, or all in the same season, for that matter. It just worked out that way. Hylton was penciled in before the other two, Jefferies said.
Dunbar, which has no full-time, two-way players, veered from its game plan against St. Ignatius but plans to revert to its ball-control ways against Hylton. Fullback James Lynch has committed to the University of Maryland.
Wide receiver/punter Steven Savoy, offensive lineman Daryl Ruth and cornerbacks Richard Woods and William Hibler, all seniors, are other top Dunbar players.
Hylton should be fortified by the return of lineman Billy Reyers and defensive back Chris Fields, seniors who have been slowed with injuries.
Dunbar will play at Hylton again next season.