Centreville (10-2) vs. Varina (12-0)
Virginia AAA Division 6 Semifinal
Kickoff: Varina High, today, 1:30.
Analysis: The road to the AAA Division 6 championship has gone through Centreville the past two seasons. Last season, the eighth-ranked Clifton school suffered a semifinal defeat to Hylton, and in 1997, the Wildcats lost to Robinson. Varina of Richmond, which has won the Central title three straight years but is only 1-3 in semifinal appearances, was runner-up to Hylton last season. Centreville, the two-time Concorde District champion and Northern Region champion, is led by senior running back Mike Williams, who has rushed for 1,337 yards and 18 touchdowns, and Sam McElroy (784 and four touchdowns). The Wildcats advanced by defeating previously unbeaten Lake Braddock, 21-17. Varina, which also relies on a formidable ground attack, outscored opponents, 471-82, this season (including four shutouts). But Centreville ended the regular season yielding only 8.1 points per game. The winner advances to host the Hylton-Princess Anne winner at University of Richmond Stadium on Dec. 4.
Notable: Centreville enters with a five-game winning streak. Varina RB Lamont Abrams rushed for 272 yards and a school-record five touchdowns last week in Varina's 41-21 victory
over Patrick Henry of Stuart.
Directions: From Capital Beltway, take 95 South to 74C (US-33 West/US-250 West Broad St). Make right on N. 25th St. Make Left on E. Main Street, which turns into Va-5. Make left on Messer Road. School is about 1 mile on left.
-- Tarik El-Bashir
Culpeper (12-0) at Hampton (12-0)
Virginia AAA Division 5 Semifinal
Kickoff: Darling Stadium, Hampton, today, 1:30.
Analysis: Sixth-ranked Culpeper is in its first AAA state semifinal in 58 years. Nationally ranked Hampton, which is seeking its fifth straight state title, holds the state records for victories (631), championships (16) and consecutive titles (four). The Crabbers are led by quarterback Marcus Hagans, who has thrown for 1,256 yards, 20 touchdowns and two interceptions in 120 attempts. Hagans is also a threat on the ground, rushing for 521 yards and 11 touchdowns. After two losses in the regional final the past two years, Culpeper enters averaging 35 points per game. The Blue Devils have allowed only 15 points in their last five games. Quarterback Mike Jenkins has set school records for completions, passing yards and touchdowns. In last week's 29-8 victory over William Fleming of Roanoke, Jenkins, limited by a small cut on his throwing hand, rushed for three second-half touchdowns. The Blue Devils' backfield of Brandon Jones and Jermaine Cropp has combined to rush for more than 2,000 yards.
Notable: Hampton has outscored its opposition, 548-26, and shut out 8 of 11 opponents. Culpeper has allowed one touchdown to each of its last four opponents.
Admission: $7. Kids under 6 are free.
Directions: Take 395 South to 95 South. Take exit 84A (295 South toward Rocky Mount, N.C.). Take exit 28 (64 East). Take exit 265A (State Road-167/LaSalle Avenue). Turn left onto Victoria Blvd. Stadium is on the left.
-- Alan Goldenbach
Southampton (11-1) vs. Handley (11-1)
Virginia AA Division 3 Semifinal
Kickoff: Handley High, today, 1:30.
Analysis: The 12th-ranked Winchester school enters with a six-game winning streak and is led by senior quarterback Lang Campbell, senior running back Adam Woods and wide receivers Adam Dutton and Daniel Vipperman. Campbell has completed 117 of 218 passes for 1,738 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Woods has rushed for 1,517 yards and a school record 26 touchdowns. "We've been good against the run, but we don't see that many passing teams in our area," Southampton Coach Littleton Parker said. "We're very concerned about their passing game." Southampton of Courtland is primarily a running team. Senior tailback Pervis Binns has rushed for 2,057 yards and 26 touchdowns. The Indians also have three other running backs who have rushed for more than 500 yards apiece. "They have real good size on the line and they move fairly well," Handley Coach Todd Hill said. "They're probably one of the most athletic teams we'll face all year and that may be a problem for us."
Notable: Southampton, which last won a state title in 1979, is making its first trip to the state semifinals since 1989. Handley won the 1994 state title.
Directions: Take 1-66 West to U.S. 17 North. Make a left onto U.S. 50 West. Follow U.S. 50 into Winchester. Stay on U.S. 50 to school on the left.
-- Nathan Max
Princess Anne (10-2) vs. Hylton (12-0)
Virginia AAA Division 6 Semifinal
Kickoff: Hylton, today, 1:30.
Analysis: No. 2 Hylton, the defending AAA Division 6 champion, puts its 28-game winning streak on the line against a team that has shown no indication of wilting in the face of unbeatens. Princess Anne won the Eastern Region by handing both Deep Creek and Bayside their first losses of the season. The Virginia Beach school's postseason run is surprising for a number of reasons: Its most recent state semifinal appearance came 20 years ago. In the region final, the Cavaliers shut out Bayside, a team they had lost to, 36-0, during the regular season. And the team dresses only 36 varsity players, most of whom are juniors. "People look at us when we come on the field and say, "Is that a Triple-A school?'" fourth-year Cavaliers coach Jeff Ballance said. Both teams are led by experienced quarterbacks. Princess Anne junior C.J. Fayton, a three-year starter, threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the regional final. Hylton senior Kenny Irby, the starter throughout the Woodbridge school's win streak, was named the Northwestern Region offensive player of the year. Hylton's balanced offensive attack is led by junior D.J. Walton (904 yards rushing, 15 TDs), an all-district performer at running back, defensive back and kick returner. Princess Anne counters with junior Cedrick Humes, who rushed for more than 1,400 yards.
Notable: If Hylton wins today, its championship game opponent would not be a stranger. No. 8 Centreville and Varina of Richmond, which meet in today's other Division 6 semifinal, were Hylton's state semifinal and final victims, respectively, last season.
Directions: Take I-395 to I-95 South to Route 234 North. Follow Route 234 for 3.1 miles to Route 640 (Minnieville Road). Turn right onto Route 640. Proceed three miles to Spriggs Road. Make a left onto Spriggs Road. Travel one mile to the school, on the right.
-- Steve Lewis
Thomas Stone (12-0) vs. Seneca Valley (12-0)
Maryland 3A Final
Kickoff: Byrd Stadium, University of Maryland, today, 7.
Analysis: The top-ranked Germantown school, Seneca Valley, will be making its third straight appearance in a Maryland final. The reason -- at least a large part of it -- is versatile senior All-Met Chris Kelley. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound quarterback-linebacker has passed for 1,520 yards, a school-record 26 touchdowns and only five interceptions this season. Kelley also is Seneca Valley's leading rusher with 1,124 yards and 15 touchdowns on 135 carries. No. 7 Thomas Stone of Waldorf has a threat of its own in senior All-Met running back Marcus Whalen. A powerful and deceptively quick runner, Whalen is 151 yards shy of the 2,000-yard rushing mark this season. But the key to the Cougars' success has been the one-two punch of Whalen and senior RB Mike Finamore, who has rushed for 1,147 yards.
Notable: Seneca Valley has won a Washington area-best 38 straight games dating from 1997. The Screaming Eagles also are 10-0 in state titles games, including a 36-0 victory over Thomas Stone in 1980. The Cougars, who never have won a state title, made their last playoff appearance in 1996, when they lost in the first round to eventual-state champion Damascus.
Directions: From Baltimore and North: Take Interstate 95 South to Exit 25, College Park/U.S. Route 1 South. After approximately one mile, exit off of U.S. 1 onto Maryland Route 193 West. Go two traffic lights to Stadium Drive. Make a left turn and Byrd Stadium is straight ahead. From Washington/Richmond and South: Take Interstate 95 North until Exit 25 College Park/U.S. Route 1 South. Take above directions to Byrd Stadium.
-- Angie Watts
Yorktown (9-3) vs. Henrico (11-1)
Virginia AAA Division 5 Semifinal
Kickoff: W.T. Woodson, today, 1:30.
Analysis: Yorktown Coach Bruce Hanson decided that watching Henrico on film was not enough preparation for this week's game, so he went on the Internet to find out more about the Central Region champions. He discovered that the Richmond team has one of the best passing offenses in the state. Henrico is led by junior QB Aaron Alexander (6 feet 4, 180 pounds) and senior receivers Princell Brockenbrough (6-4, 190-pounds) and Anthony Hansom, (5-8, 150). Alexander has thrown for 2,516 yards and 37 touchdowns. Brockenbrough has 49 receptions for 950 yards and 18 touchdowns; Hansom has 39 catches for 690 yards and 19 touchdowns. The team averages almost 40 points per game. "There is no tandem of receivers in Northern Virginia like [Brockenbrough and Hansom]," Hanson said. "They are great athletes and they can make a lot of big plays. We got all the articles on them from the Internet and we asked some Yorktown alumni who live in Richmond to send us articles so we could show them to our kids." The Warriors also make big plays with a running game led by senior J.R. Solomon (1,500 yards rushing). Henrico won its first region title since 1970 last week. No. 14 Yorktown is playing in its first state semifinal since 1988. The Arlington-based school earned its fourth straight victory when it routed South Lakes, 40-12, last week to advance. The Patriots will attempt to keep the ball away from Henrico's offense with a running game led by RBs Anthony Tigney (more than 1,300 yards rushing) and Donovan Carmichael (500 yards rushing) and offensive linemen Kevin Keys (6-2, 225), Lawrence Rubyida (6-2, 275) and Brian Boggs (6-2, 225). In the win over South Lakes, Tigney rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns.
Directions: Take Beltway to Route 236 west (Little River Turnpike). After ninth traffic light school is on the right.
-- Christian Swezey