Potomac (1-2) at Woodbridge (1-3)
In this Cardinal District opener, Potomac goes from facing the North Stafford no-huddle passing attack to the more conventional air game of Woodbridge.
Regardless of the opponent, the Panthers seem destined to play in a lot of close games this season. Their three outings--losses to Fork Union and North Stafford and a win over Brooke Point--all have been decided by a touchdown.
Last week in a 21-14, last-second loss to North Stafford, the Panthers fumbled on the Wolverines 20-yard line in the fourth quarter and later fumbled on their own 35 to set up the winning touchdown.
"We have to learn how to execute all the time and not just when the going's easy," Potomac Coach Keith King said.
Woodbridge fumbled on the first play from scrimmage last year against Potomac and also threw three interceptions in a 24-7 loss. The Panthers have won the past three meetings by a combined score of 99-13.
Woodbridge beat Richmond area school Dinwiddie, 35-0, Saturday night for its first win of the season. But that 1-3 record should carry an asterisk: The Vikings have lost to No. 14 Eleanor Roosevelt, No. 15 Robinson and unranked Culpeper. Those teams are a combined 10-0.
No. 2 Hylton (3-0) at Osbourn Park (1-2)
It could be an interesting week in the Feldman household. Come Friday, Osbourn Park Coach Mike Feldman will be coaching against son Drew, a junior wide receiver/defensive back at Hylton.
In some ways, it will be two Feldmans against one. Alex Feldman, 11, is an Osbourn Park ballboy. A third son, Tyler, 3, also makes appearances on the Yellow Jackets' sideline.
In this series, Osbourn Park needs all the family support it can muster. The Bulldogs, seeking their 20th consecutive victory, have outscored the Yellow Jackets 172-28 in winning all seven meetings.
"It's not a whole lot different this week," Mike Feldman said of interaction with Drew.
The Feldmans are accustomed to being on the same sideline. Drew served as a ballboy for years at Warwick High School in Newport News, where his father coached.
Hylton Coach Bill Brown said it is apparent Drew Feldman has been around football for a long time.
"You can tell he's a coach's son because you tell him one time, and you don't have to tell him again," Brown said. "He's able to make plays because of his intelligence and his competitiveness."
Brown has been in a similar family situation himself. He coached against Brooke Point when daughter Emily was a cheerleader for the Black-Hawks.
Osbourn (1-2) at Gar-Field (2-1)
The Gar-Field players and coaches spent the early part of their Monday practice talking about the 14-6 loss to Annandale and how it relates to the season. The Indians fully recall slipping to 2-3 last year after a 2-0 start.
"I think the approach will be different this week," said Gar-Field Coach Tony Labozzetta, whose team starts seven sophomores. "I'd be surprised if we play poorly Friday night. We didn't play very well on Saturday night, and our players know that. We drilled that point pretty well [Monday]."
The Indians might be healthier for their Cardinal District opener against the Eagles. Linebackers Frankie Brinson and Nick Nicholson and defensive back Larry Atkinson will be further into their recovery from relatively minor injuries.
Last week, Annandale scored two first-half touchdowns and then held on for the win against Gar-Field, similar to what the Indians did last year in a 14-0 win over Osbourn. Nicholson had 14 tackles that game.
Osbourn also is coming off a loss to a formidable team--25-3 to No. 9 Park View.
Ireton (2-2) at Brentsville (3-0)
This game will mark a homecoming of sorts for Ireton Coach Mike Lalli, who lived in the Osbourn Park school zone but attended Alexandria private school Ireton all four years of high school.
Lalli is looking forward to coaching in front of family and friends, but there is an even greater bonus for taking his team to Nokesville.
"I want them to see what it's like to play against a community school," he said. "As a private school, we don't get that kind of support."
Senior Brian Lalli, the coach's brother, leads the Cardinals with 284 rushing yards. The second-leading rusher is Tucker Langway, son of former Washington Capitals defenseman Rod Langway.
Ireton beat Fairfield (Pa.) in its opener, got shut out handily by O'Connell and St. Stephen's/St. Agnes, and rebounded last week to beat Potomac School, 12-3.
Brentsville last started 4-0 in 1995. Through three games, six Tigers--Justin Thomas, Greg Faith, Erik Croushorn, Justin Waddle, Chris Jenkins and John Jeffries--have scored touchdowns.
Chantilly (1-2) at Stonewall Jackson (1-2)
Chantilly pops up on Prince William schedules on consecutive Fridays. The Chargers host Gar-Field next week.
Chantilly's top two backs each average more than six yards a rush, led by Marchello Squirewell (345 yards) and fullback A.J. Decenzo (121 yards). The team's losses the past two weeks have been to ranked teams--7-3 to No. 7 Fairfax and 21-7 to No. 15 Robinson.
Chantilly won the Division 6 state title in 1996.
Stonewall is coming off a pleasing, 22-15 win at Fauquier. No. 2 Hylton looms on the Raiders' schedule for next week.
James Wood (1-3) at Stafford (1-2)
This is a welcome Commonwealth District opener for two struggling teams. Stafford, perhaps encouraged by the fact that Park View scored 56 points against Courtland the previous week, found the Cougars quite dominating, managing just 64 offensive yards in a 20-0 loss Friday.
The Stafford offense has scored just two touchdowns in 12 quarters this season.
James Wood has lost to Warren County, Martinsburg (W. Va.) and Handley, and has beaten Hedgesville (W. Va.).
Quantico (2-2) at Randolph-Macon (1-1)
In games the past two years, these teams have combined to score 143 points. Quantico won, 54-27, last year and Randolph-Macon Academy won, 48-14, in 1997.
The Front Royal team is led by senior quarterback DeWayne Walker, who rushed for 178 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-27 loss last week to Mercersburg (Pa.). The team's win was 24-21 over Bull Run District team Clarke County.
Quantico lost, 37-0, last week to Virginia Beach Catholic.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Brooke Point (2-1) at No. 13 North Stafford (3-0)
Last year's game came in the middle of a key three-game stretch for North Stafford, sandwiched between a victory over Chancellor and a loss to Culpeper. The Wolverines beat Brooke Point, 21-13, for their first victory in the five-year series.
This season's matchup, the Commonwealth District opener for both teams, also falls in the middle of a crucial stretch. North Stafford beat Potomac last week and faces Culpeper next week.
"When we went into the season, we wanted to start well, and we looked at these three games to tell us how good we'd be," North Stafford Coach Chris Beatty said. "These are three games we need to use as a measuring stick."
The Wolverines, outscored 125-12 by Brooke Point the first four years of the series, are measuring up quite well so far. But they needed a late Potomac fumble last week to set up a touchdown with 13 seconds left for a 21-14 win. Senior quarterback Chris Ashinhurst completed 26 of 38 passes for 245 yards.
The tight game came on the heels of blowouts of Stonewall Jackson and Liberty.
"It was a good thing, because you don't learn a lot about what kind of heart and character the team has if you beat people 44 to whatever," Beatty said.
Last year against Brooke Point, Ashinhurst completed eight of 12 passes, threw for a touchdown and ran for another. He might find more resistance this season. The Black-Hawks, who shut out Osbourn Park, 20-0, last week, have given up just 17 points in three games.
After the Culpeper game next week, the schedule softens somewhat for North Stafford, with games against Osbourn Park, Fauquier, Sherando, James Wood and Stafford.
Quantico at Randolph-Macon, 4
Chantilly at Stonewall Jackson, 7:30
Osbourn at Gar-Field, 7:30
Hylton at Osbourn Park, 7:30
Potomac at Woodbridge, 7:30
Brooke Point at North Stafford, 7:30
James Wood at Stafford, 7:30
Ireton at Brentsville, 7:30