Madison County (4-3, 2-0)
at Manassas Park (6-1, 2-0)
These teams, as well as Brentsville, are perched atop the Bull Run District with 2-0 records. Madison, new to the Bull Run, is accustomed to being in such a lofty position. The Mountaineers made their eighth state championship appearance last season, losing, 27-14, to Powell Valley in the Division 2 final.
Madison's 4-3 record is deceptive. Its three losses have been to AAA Culpeper (8-0), AA Orange (6-1) and AA Spotsylvania (6-1). Those teams are riding a collective 20-game winning streak.
For scheduling such tough opponents, Madison Coach Eddie Dean, in his 33rd season, has wondered aloud whether the school should fire its athletic director. Of course, Dean can say that because he's the AD. Spotsylvania is new to the Mountaineers' schedule, but Madison plays Culpeper and Orange every season.
"We went out on a pretty big limb," said Dean, who estimates that his team has reached the playoffs in 10 of the past 11 years.
Madison is led by senior Raymond Kirkley, who has gained approximately 900 yards this season and 3,700 for his career. Senior Juan Brown has approximately 600 receiving yards and is another 200 or so from establishing a school record.
Manassas Park also is hanging up impressive numbers. Junior Nick Bertrand scored five touchdowns in three quarters last week in a 39-0 win over Clarke County.
Sophomore running back/rover Jonathan Abrams, who separated his shoulder last month against King George, is practicing with the Cougars this week and should be ready to return for next week's game against George Mason, Coach Jeff Lloyd said. Manassas Park still has George Mason and Brentsville to play; Madison still has Brentsville and Clarke County.
Madison County and Manassas Park last met in the 1994-95 seasons. The Mountaineers won, 14-0 and 21-12.
Strasburg (4-3, 0-2)
at Brentsville (6-1, 2-0)
Brentsville Coach Mike Madison says his school has not beaten Strasburg since 1983. There is no time better than now to snap that streak, because a win would keep the Tigers tied for first place in the Bull Run District with games left against Madison County and Manassas Park, the district's other two unbeaten teams.
Brentsville lost, 28-0, last year to Strasburg. The Rams have outscored the Tigers, 196-56, in their games from 1991 to '98.
Brentsville senior running back Greg Faith ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns last week in a 34-14 win over George Mason. Strasburg, a Division 1 state semifinalist last season, lost, 34-16, to Madison County last week.
Potomac (3-4, 2-2)
at Stonewall (2-5, 1-2)
Cardinal District football followers, including Potomac Coach Keith King, are curious to see how the Panthers respond to their surprising 34-0 homecoming loss to Osbourn Park.
"We played the worst football game I've ever been associated with," King said. "It was nothing like it was the first six games with intensity and kids out there hitting. That's more discouraging than losing. . . . We just rolled over.
"I hope they remember how embarrassing it is and how many fans were there to watch them play like that. That's the first time I'd seen that group of kids not put forth the effort they're capable of putting forth."
Potomac played without senior running back Rico Lloyd (ankle) and junior linebacker Derrick Dent (neck). Lloyd is expected back this week; Dent, the team's emotional leader on defense, might be lost for the season.
With other players hurt, the Panthers have 34 players in uniform for varsity games, after boasting about twice that many players in August.
"I'd rather have 11 kids who want to play than 60 kids who want to dress out and be seen in a uniform," King said.
Stonewall, which lost, 28-14, last week to Gar-Field, had won at least seven consecutive games against Potomac until a 10-0 loss last season. Raiders wide receiver John Puvogel caught five passes in that game.
Osbourn (1-6, 0-4)
at Osbourn Park (2-5, 1-2)
This game pits Osbourn Park senior quarterback Frankie Hogan against his old teammates. Hogan moved from Osbourn territory to the Osbourn Park school district before this season.
"We're trying to keep him focused, telling him to stay calm and just play his game," said Yellow Jackets Coach Mike Feldman, who used Hogan some at running back last week. "I don't anticipate any shenanigans at all."
"There's a little rivalry, but [the players] are friends," Osbourn Coach Randy Bove said.
Playing for Osbourn last year in a 41-0 win over the Yellow Jackets, Hogan rushed for 56 yards and two touchdowns and completed 8 of 16 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles have outscored Osbourn Park, 78-7, the past three seasons.
The 41 points last year marked Osbourn's highest offensive output in a game since 1994. Jon Latimer returned an interception for a touchdown, and Stuart Hedges caught five passes for 68 yards.
Osbourn in recent weeks has undergone a youth movement of sorts, with Bove working more freshmen and sophomores into the lineup. Last week, in a 34-0 loss to Woodbridge, only one senior (Latimer) started on offense.
Three injured Eagles--senior linebacker Bruce Gantt (thumb), senior quarterback Chris Coates (shoulder) and senior punter/place kicker Sean McLaughlin (ankle)--might return this week.
Osbourn Park is trying to keep the momentum from its 34-0 win at Potomac. "If anything, our kids are a little more focused," Feldman said. "They're trying to get consistent instead of being consistently inconsistent."
Not counting four consecutive wins it had to forfeit two seasons ago, Osbourn Park is looking for its first back-to-back victories since the middle of the 1994 season, when the Yellow Jackets beat North Stafford and Potomac for their lone wins that year.
James Wood (1-6, 0-3)
at Brooke Point (5-2, 3-1)
Brooke Point needs to win to retain a shot at grabbing the Commonwealth District title. The Black-Hawks play at first-place Culpeper next week before closing out the regular season in a nondistrict game against Osbourn.
Junior Larry Smith rushed for 138 yards and three touchdowns Friday night in a 35-7 win over Stafford that marked the sixth time in seven games this season the Black-Hawks have given up a touchdown or less.
James Wood lost, 56-7, to Culpeper last week. Sophomore Ronnie Perkins caught three passes for 100 yards.
Brooke Point and James Wood did not meet last season.
Sherando (0-7, 0-3)
at North Stafford (6-1, 2-1)
North Stafford has scored 206 points, and Sherando has given up a Commonwealth District-high 240 points, so the Wolverines might have their hopes set on another rout like the 38-14 win over Fauquier last week. Senior quarterback Chris Ashinhurst threw for 317 of his 377 yards in the first half.
North Stafford still has James Wood and Stafford to play. Sherando was idle last week.
Fauquier (3-4, 1-2)
at Stafford (3-4, 2-2)
Stafford's outside shot at the Commonwealth title was all but foiled last week in a 35-7 loss to Brooke Point. Sophomore quarterback Brad Hayes threw for 133 yards.
Fauquier fell behind 38-0 against North Stafford in a 38-14 loss. Senior Eric Bailey and junior George Minor scored on short touchdown runs in the fourth quarter.
Fauquier and Stafford did not meet last season.
Colonial Beach (2-4)
at Quantico (3-5)
Sophomore Johnnie Bess's extra point in the third quarter gave Quantico the edge in a 21-20 win over Maret last week.
Shortly after Maret fumbled at its own 40-yard line in the third quarter, Quantico senior Jesse Schenkoske scored on a one-yard run, his second touchdown of the game, to knot the score at 20. Bess broke the tie with his extra point.
The victory snapped a four-game Quantico losing streak. Sophomore Jerard Anderson scored the other touchdown for the Warriors.
Colonial Beach lost, 36-0, last week to West Point.
Quantico beat Colonial Beach, 33-25, last season to halt a three-game losing streak.
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 17 Gar-Field (6-1, 3-0)
at No. 2 Hylton (7-0, 3-0)
Although each team has two games remaining after this one, consider this the Cardinal District championship. The other district teams have at least two losses apiece.
Hylton and Gar-Field also boast the two highest Virginia High School League power ratings among Northwestern Region Division 6 schools. They met in the region championship last year, with Hylton winning, 46-15.
The Bulldogs also won last year's regular season matchup, 35-21, and have won four of the past five meetings to take a 5-3 series lead. They are shooting for their 24th consecutive win.
"It's a great rivalry no matter what the records are," said Hylton Coach Bill Brown, a Gar-Field graduate (class of 1970) whose team beat the Indians twice handily last season.
Gar-Field, whose lone loss this season was to Annandale, matches up with Hylton at many positions. Perhaps the most striking difference between the teams is on offense. With Gar-Field, it stands to reason that one of the Atkinson brothers, Jamar or Larry, will figure prominently--they have combined for 1,321 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground this season running behind a mammoth offensive line.
The Hylton offense is a bit more mysterious. The district's leading scoring team (26.6 points per game) has four running backs with more than 200 yards, led by junior D.J. Walton (546 yards). And senior quarterback Kenny Irby, averaging about 22 yards a completion, has connected with eight receivers, led by sophomore Ahmad Brooks (nine catches).
In the region final, played in rainy conditions, Hylton took a 6-0 lead when Gar-Field punter James Pruna was forced to chase three errant snaps toward his own goal line. He dispatched the ball out of the end zone each time for safeties to avoid setting up short scoring drives. Even so, Hylton scored four touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 40-0 lead.
Gar-Field gained one first down in the first half, and besides the three high snaps, the Indians gave up 86 yards and a touchdown on punt returns and 101 yards on kickoff returns. Hylton scored four touchdowns on drives that lasted five plays or fewer.
Special teams concerns have cropped up the past two weeks for the Indians. Last week in a 28-14 win over Stonewall Jackson, they dropped a punt and missed an extra point.
"We definitely won't be able to play like we did Friday," said Gar-Field Coach Tony Labozzetta, whose team has allowed a district-low 55 points. "We can't give Hylton the ball inside the 20 and expect them to come out with no points. That's not going to happen."
Special teams is a Hylton strength. Senior Andy Wilfong, who has made five field goals in eight attempts and 21 of 23 extra point tries, has been punting in recent games while Irby rests a sore hip. Irby began punting again in practice this week and might reclaim the job, Brown said.
Gar-Field still has Osbourn Park and Woodbridge left to play; Hylton still has Osbourn and Potomac.
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Potomac at Stonewall Jackson, 7:30
Osbourn at Osbourn Park, 7:30
Gar-Field at Hylton, 7:30
James Wood at Brooke Point, 7:30
Sherando at North Stafford, 7:30
Fauquier at Stafford, 7:30
Madison County at Manassas Park, 7:30
Strasburg at Brentsville, 7:30
Colonial Beach at Quantico, 1:30
VHSL POWER RATINGS
These are the Virginia High School League Weekly Ratings used to help determine postseason qualifiers.
Teams earn 12 points for a victory over a Virginia AAA school, nine for beating a AA school and six for defeating a A team. Teams also earn one additional point for each win the opponents they beat notch against VHSL competition. The rating is a team's total points divided by number of games played.
District champions automatically reach the playoffs; the power ratings determine the remainder of the four-team postseason field in each division.
Virginia AAA Northwestern Region
North Stafford 11.6
George Washington-Danville 10.4
Brooke Point 9.6
Franklin County 5.6
Stonewall Jackson 3.7
Osbourn Park 3.7
William Fleming 12.5
Cave Spring 9.7
E.C. Glass 6.4
Pulaski County 6.3
Patrick Henry-Roanoke 3.4
James Wood 1.3
Virginia A Region B
Madison County 5.3
Amelia County 5.1
Buffalo Gap 4.6
Buckingham County 3.6
Prince Edward 2.6
Page County 2.1
Wilson Memorial 2.0
Clarke County 0.0
Stonewall Jackson-Quicksburg 7.3
Manassas Park 6.8
George Mason 2.2
Sports Phone: To report football scores, call 1-800-955-6397, Ext. 6525.