Of the six Virginia playoff games involving area football teams, four are rematches. The AAA Northern Region, Division 6 championship game between the state's top-ranked team, T.C. Williams, and high-scoring Annandale headlines the action.
The teams played in the third week of the season and the Titans (11-0) handed Annandale its only loss, 28-14. This game pits the region's best offense (Annandale's) against one of the best defenses when they meet Saturday at 1:30 at W.T. Woodson for the right to host a state semifinal. Since the teams played, Annandale (10-1) has scored at least 28 points each week, twice eclipsing 50.
The key to the Annandale attack has been running back James Milliner. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior has gained 1,981 yards in 11 games and scored 29 touchdowns. Backfield partner Richard Roberts had more than 100 yards last week.
But the Titans have the players to challenge the Annandale ground game. They have allowed only 64 points and have four shutouts. T.C. Williams has linebackers with speed in Ricky Ross and Willie Sydnor, who missed last week's game with an injury but is expected to play.
On offense, running back Rashawn Jackson had more than 200 yards in last week's 44-14 victory over Madison and forms a solid backfield duo with Ratcliff Thomas.
The other Northern Region title game has West Potomac and Hayfield meeting for the second time, today at 1:30 at Washington-Lee.
West Potomac took a 14-7 victory and the Gunston District title in the first game. The Wolverines have allowed only 45 points and have outscored opponents by 224-18 in the last five weeks. In their 47-0 victory over Edison last week, they rolled up 401 yards rushing.
West Potomac, the Division 6 state champion last year but competing in Division 5 this season, faces a stiff challenge from a Hayfield defense that last week shut down the region's top runner, Yorktown's Andre Yates. Linebacker Steve Leigh and end Marco White are outstanding up-front players, and Dejuan Lawrence is a hard-hitting free safety.
The AAA Northwestern Region Division 5 game has Potomac (11-0) hosting Heritage (11-0) tonight at 8. In last year's region final, Potomac romped over Heritage, 52-14, but the Panthers and their excellent defense probably will have a much more difficult time tonight.
Heritage features two runners with more than 1,000 yards: J.T. Morris (1,716) and Chris Parker (1,378). They have accounted for 224 of Heritage's 336 points.
Potomac has surrendered only 76 points and its linebacking crew of Keith and Kevin McAfee, C.J. Morgan and Kevin Lewis is outstanding.
The AAA Division 6 game is a reprise for Commonwealth District teams Gar-Field (9-2) and Fauquier (9-2) tonight at 8 at Gar-Field. Fauquier has been district runner-up the past four years, but if the Falcons win it will be their fourth straight region title. Fauquier won, 13-7, in overtime earlier this season.
Chancellor, the Battlefield District champion, hosts Loudoun Valley Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the AA Region II final. The host Chargers (10-1) have two fine running backs in Rodney Woodward and Melvin Davis and their defense has yielded 23 points in the last six games. The Vikings (8-3) have won five straight.
The A Region B championship game is another rematch as Bull Run District titlist Strasburg hosts Clarke County tonight at 7:30.