The Virginia High School League recently released its master football schedule for the 2015 season, which begins July 30 with the first day of practice.
Here are a few highlights:
● When two teams in different conferences agree to play, they typically set it up as a two-year, home-and-home series. The upcoming campaign marks the start of a new two-year cycle, which means there are fresh matchups and schedules across the board.
● The new conferences that were created in 2013 as a result of the VHSL’s realignment from a three-tier model to a six-classification format will now be reflected in each football team’s schedule. For the past two years, a team like Stone Bridge, which previously competed in the AAA Liberty District before being reclassified to Class 5A, would still be slated to play each of its former district rivals. Now, as an official member of Class 5A’s Conference 14, Stone Bridge’s schedule will feature matchups with fellow conference foes, such as Briar Woods and Tuscarora. The same goes for schools like Yorktown and Hayfield, which shifted from the National District to Conference 6 following the reclassification (Other sports like basketball, baseball and soccer began following the new model in 2013).
● After seeing how the playoffs in each classification unfold, many fans are left juggling hypothetical scenarios, such as how last year’s Class 6A runner-up Centreville would fare against Class 5A runner-up Tuscarora. The 2015 schedule allows for some of those arguments to be put to rest, as many of the Class 5A heavyweights have been paired with perennial Class 6A powers. Some intriguing contests:
September 25: Centreville at Tuscarora
October 9: Stone Bridge at Robinson
● Conference 21 in Virginia’s 4A West region has been split into an A and B division. Woodgrove will be the lone local representative in the A division. Rock Ridge, which opened its doors in 2014 and fielded freshman and junior varsity teams last fall, will be joined in the B division by Dominion, Heritage, Loudoun County, Loudoun Valley and Park View.
● Speaking of conference movement, a few other football teams have new homes for at least the next two seasons.
- Freedom-Woodbridge is now a part of Conference 4 in the Class 6A South region.
- Mount Vernon is now a part of Conference 7 in Class 6A’s North region.
- Manassas Park and Brentsville are now a part of Conference 28 in Class 3A’s East region.
Finally, here are three matchups to circle on the calendar:
Hylton at Battlefield, Aug. 28: The familiar foes will renew their rivalry in Week 1, as Hylton features sophomore sensation running back Ricky Slade and Battlefield is led by do-everything senior Zac Kerxton.
Centreville at Lake Braddock, Oct. 2: After just missing out on a meeting in the last two 6A North region finals, the much-anticipated matchup will take place in the heart of fall. The contest continues a gantlet schedule for Centreville, which must fill the void left by more than five graduated starters, while Lake Braddock boasts returning standouts Kyle Edwards at quarterback and Ibrahim Mansaray at running back and in the secondary.
Stone Bridge at Briar Woods, Nov. 6: The Ashburn football stalwarts will end the regular season with a bang by facing off in football for the first time.