Final week of the regular season in Ohio, who do you think will win
Digital Scout Staff (@DigitalScout)
October 30, 2014
Over the past several years, we here at Digital Scout have competed in a friendly game of who-knows-more-than-who when it comes to Ohio High School Football.
In a game dubbed as the "Digital Scout Ohio Pick 'Em", our staff members make selections each week on high school football games in our home state of Ohio.
Whether they be our neighboring schools, big matchups in either the Ohio Capital Conference, Central Catholic League or the Greater Catholic League or just a marquee matchup from somewhere across the state, we at Digital Scout compete for office bragging rights in a cumulative score contest.
It is at this time, that we wanted to share this fun with our loyal readers and fans alike.
Our staff will be making their selections soon, and we encourage you to do the same. Leave a comment with your picks, tweet your picks to us, let us know on Facebook which school you’re pulling for. Hashtag #OhioPickEm and mention @DigitalScout to be in the conversation!
Let it be known! Show your school pride.
Timber Creek running back Jacques Patrick commits to FSU
By: Nick Bray (@nabray92)
October 27, 2014
At 6:00 pm this Monday evening, highly touted running back Jacques Patrick made his college decision in front of his family and fellow peers at Timber Creek High School (Fla.). Patrick narrowed his final schools to Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and Texas A&M.
After keeping his recruitment process relatively quiet, Patrick finally announced that he would attend Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida only four hours away from his Orlando home.
“It’s the school I always felt comfortable at,” Patrick said about FSU. “The coach has recruited me since my freshman year. I talked to Jimbo (Fisher) last night and he said that he was going to sleep well tonight knowing that I was a Seminole now.”
Patrick also took to his Twitter account to display his pleasure that his recruiting process had culminated.
Standing at 6-foot-3 and 233 pounds, Patrick will continue to be a power back for the Seminoles, something he has been for his Timber Creek team so far this season. Patrick could be compared to former FSU running back – James Wilder Jr. who also stood over 6-foot-2 and weighed in over 225 pounds. Arguably his greatest strength is after contact where he can regain his balance and accelerate quickly past tacklers and through holes, almost regularly.
Patrick has rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons at Timber Creek high, becoming the first ever player to do so in the Orlando area. He currently is listed at No. 7 on the all-time FHSAA rushing total and still has two regular season games left in his senior season for the Wolves, not to mention at least one playoff game this season.
Patrick joins a cast of other FSU commitments who have pledged their allegiance to the defending National Champions this season from all across the country.
Wolves roll past Huskies, 28-14 with help from RB Patrick
By: Nick Bray (@nabray92)
October 27, 2014
Timber Creek (Fla.) hosted Hagerty High School (Fla.) this past Thursday night with the playoffs already well in sight. Timber Creek defeated Hagerty 28-14, remaining atop the Class 8A, District 3 standings.
While the playoffs were in clear sight, the victory for the Wolves over the Huskies clinched the obvious and punched their ticket into the FHSAA postseason.
With his college decision looming, running back Jacques Patrick rushed for 283 yards and 4 touchdowns to win the game for the Wolves. He was clearly excited to be playing a few more games this season as he took to his Twitter account to display his joy.
As you guys can see I was a bit happy last night after our playoff clinching win! I love my team 🏈😈 pic.twitter.com/wCrPGFED8d— The Boy Nino (@jacques_patrick) October 24, 2014
In the first quarter, Patrick notched a pair of touchdown runs to help Timber Creek jump out to an early 14-0 lead. His first score was from 37 yards out while his other one came in the red zone from 14 yards away.
Timber Creek dominated the first quarter on both sides of the ball.
However, the tides would turn just before halftime with an explosive punt return from Tristan Tucker resulted in a 70-yard touchdown for the Huskies. After the ball landed short and bounced into his hands, Tucker broke several tackles up the middle before breaking the run to the sideline. A convoy of blockers led the way for Tucker as he dove into the end zone to cut the Wolves lead to 14-7.
Once again, Patrick would respond, as on the very next possession he scored a touchdown run near the goal line, giving Timber Creek a 21-14 lead.
He then put subsequently iced the game as he scored from 35 yards out giving Timber Creek an insurmountable 28-14 lead late in the game.
Patrick’s performance moved him into 7th place on the Florida High School’s all-time career rushing list.
Patrick will announce his college decision on Monday, October 27. His top schools include Florida State, Texas A&M, Alabama, Ohio State and Florida.
Patrick’s was recently quoted in the Orlando Sentinel to be seemingly higher on Texas A&M than the others.
“Texas A&M was one of the best visits I had,” Patrick told the Orlando Sentinel. “A lot of people are sleeping on A&M, but watch out.”
Coffman, Liberty square off to stay atop the Ohio Capical Conference
By: Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
October 21, 2014
Remember way back in early September when Olentangy Liberty hosted Olentangy High School? Two cross-town rivals, both pegged to finish near the top of their divisions, squaring off against one another in an early season marquee matchup.
Remember when that game went all the way down to the wire with two of the Ohio Capital Conference’s top teams squaring off? Tied at 28 at the end of regulation, the Braves score first in the extra period and force the Patriots to retaliate with a touchdown of their own.
Remember when Liberty scored and could have seemingly tied the ball game once again to force a second overtime with a simple extra point? How about instead, do you remember when their two-point conversion attempt from Alex Lando to Jacob Wiseman fell incomplete and the Patriots were cut short of an upset over their bitter rivals?
Of course you remember all of that. Or well, at least now you remember.
That game should seem like mere peanuts however, come this Friday when Dublin Coffman comes to town.
While that 35-34 overtime loss to an undefeated Olentangy team remains the Patriots lone blemish, this season has turned out to be an incredibly successful 2014 campaign for the Patriots.
Liberty is averaging nearly 30 points per game this season and have gained a total of 2794 total yards of offense through eight games.
Both the rushing and passing attacks have seen equal shares of success in 2014 as the Patriots have gained 1468 yards on the ground while accumulating 1326 through the air.
The Liberty offensive attack averages over five yards per play (5.3) while averaging just under 350 yards per game (349.3).
Led by sophomore quarterback, the aforementioned Alex Lando, the Patriots have thrown for 12 touchdowns this season and have scored 20 touchdowns on the ground. Senior Nicholas Durtschi leads all rushers with 958 yards and nine touchdowns while fellow senior, Wiseman has recorded eight touchdowns and 342 yards on the ground.
He also has seven touchdowns on the receiving end of Lando throws.
Durtschi himself leads the team by averaging 195.4 yards per game between rushing, receiving, kick and punt return yards. Wiseman and Durtschi have combined for 1979 of the teams 2784 offensive yards this season.
When the Patriots take the field this Friday night at 7:30, they will be facing their stiffest test to date lining up against an undefeated, 8-0 Dublin Coffman team.
The Shamrocks will head to Powell, bringing with them an eight-game winning streak and a prolific offense that averages 37.4 points per game.
Coffman, similar to their foe on Friday, has seen a fair share of success both in the rushing and passing attacks this season. The ’Rocks have scored 20 rushing touchdowns and 19 passing touchdowns this season, compared to just five turnovers.
Maybe even more impressive than their offense this season – is their defense.
Through eight games in 2014, the Coffman defense has held opponents to just 50 points combined. They have forced 12 turnovers, are holding opponents to 171 yards of offense per game and have held two of their past three opponents to 153 total yards or under.
Led by Isaac McKinney and Griffin Grady on the defensive side, the ’Rocks will battle this Friday night at 7:30 in a game that should not only decide the ever-important playoff seeds, but also for who can call themselves the outright leader of the Central Division of the Ohio Capital Conference.
Digital Scout will be live at the game this Friday night and keeping fans up to date with up-to-the-minute stats and breaking plays as two of Central Ohio’s top teams duke it out in the second to last week of the regular season.
Follow live on Twitter (@DigitalScout) and tell us you’re going to the game by signing up at our event page on Facebook to possibly be featured next week on our site. You can also follow live on the NFHS Network.
Jacques Patrick paces Timber Creek to a 42-21 victory over University
By: Nick Bray (@nabray92)
October 20, 2014
Timber Creek fans were granted another dominant performance from their star running back Jacques Patrick, as he scored all of Timber Creek’s (Fla.) touchdowns in a victory over district foe University High School (Fla.) this past Friday night. Whether it was the offensive line opening up wide running lanes for Patrick or just his singular ability, the senior rushed 24 times for 284 yards and six touchdowns en route to a 42-21 Timber Creek victory.
The Wolves (5-2, 2-0) offense moved the ball with ease against the Cougars (4-4, 1-2) scoring on four of their first five possessions to start the game.
After a false start penalty by the Timber Creek offense opened the game, Patrick took the very first handoff up the middle and raced into the end zone for a 76-yard touchdown, untouched. The 230 pound running back ran right past a Cougar defense that seemed timid to tackle him.
On the very next possession, just one Timber Creek play later, Patrick would score from 14 yards out breaking through tacklers and spinning his way into the end zone.
He knew there would be more to come as after his second touchdown, Patrick signaled ‘two’ to the home crowd.
The University Cougars would respond, however, as Aaron Gipson would run in a touchdown that gave his team a spark of confidence. Timber Creek held the lead 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The star running back’s remarkable night would continue into the second quarter by scoring on three straight drives and widening the Timber Creek lead to 35-14 at halftime. He looked determined near the goal line, rumbling in two touchdowns from the one yard out. After one of those scores, the Timber Creek coaching staff decided to go for a 2-point conversion after a failed point after kick the possession before. The Wolves called for Patrick to showcase his passing skills, so he did, finding Hunter Wilkins in the back of the end zone for two more points.
His fifth touchdown of the evening would be a little different than his previous two, one-yard punch ins. Timber Creek, faced with a long field with the ball at their own 27 yard line, the Wolves figured what better way to score than to give Patrick the ball.
A handoff later, Patrick caught a few blocks on the outside and sped down the sideline for a 73-yard touchdown run.
The home crowd erupted and was left on their feet chanting the running back’s name over and over again as Patrick held up five fingers on his way back to the bench.
Nearing the end of the third quarter, the Wolves looked to put the game away up 35-14. Patrick had one more big play in him to leave the fans sure of a victory and ran 47 yards for his sixth and final touchdown of the evening. After kneeling down and pointing to the sky, Patrick then held up six fingers to the crowd in celebration of his career night.
Preston Samoden accounted for 88 yards passing on just four completions to increase the total offensive yards gained by the Timber Creek offense to 417. The Wolves averaged nearly 11 yards per play and did not commit a single turnover.
The Timber Creek Wolves remain undefeated in district play and sit at 5-2 overall. Their next game will be at home against district foe, Hagerty High School (Fla.) on October 23. The loss drops University High School to 4-4 overall and 1-2 in the district. After a bye week, the Cougars next game will also be against Hagerty High School on Halloween night, October 31.
Patrick now has 1607 yards on the ground and 23 touchdowns through seven games this season.
Westerville Central weathers early mistakes, fight past rival Westerville South
By: Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
October 17, 2014
All week long, the city of Westerville, Ohio had been abuzz. Beat South. Beat Central. Each plastered on school specific social media accounts and all around town. A true cross-town rivalry and battle for city supremacy was put on a night early for students, fans, parents and thousands of viewers on live TV this Thursday night.
Westerville Central (8-0, 5-0) fell behind early, throwing a pick-six on the second play of the game, relinquishing a 6-0 lead to the Wildcats (4-4, 2-2) just 34 seconds in to the game. It was that play that may have paced the Warhawks for the rest of the game, en route to staying blemish free thus far this season.
“Well obviously you can’t let something like (the pick-six) bother you that early in the game,” Westerville Central head coach John Magistro said. “We’re good enough to score some points and we did.”
The Warhawks took whatever coach Magistro’s halftime speech contained to heart as points were scored at a furious pace in the third quarter.
Junior quarterback Gavin Lyon ran in a 10-yard touchdown just over a minute into the third. After a quick Westerville South score, Lyon and junior running back Benny Snell answered right back, leading Westerville Central on a long, sustained drive that ultimately led to three points by way of a 29-yard Alex Barnhart field goal.
The Warhawks defense would step up on the next Wildcats’ possession, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Ty Holmes at their own 39 yard line. After the turnover, Westerville Central’s next possession took just a mere 1:12 off the clock before Lyon punched in his second rushing touchdown of the game, pushing the score to 31-19.
Westerville South would not go away quietly however. On the Wildcats ensuing possession, senior all-purpose player Abu Daramy took a bobbled hand-off, spun off two defenders in the backfield before sprinting to the left sideline, dancing around Warhawks defenders and beating the last line of defense to the pylon for an impressive 56-yard touchdown run.
“We knew it was going to come down to us making some big plays because they were going to make big plays,” Magistro said. “You talk about two really good football teams with a lot of speed. I feel as if we held our composure.”
Hold their composure they did as after Daramy’s electrifying run, Lyon and Snell combined for a quick 49 yards in just 55 seconds to increase their lead to 38-26 after a Snell three-yard touchdown rush.
After a quick three and out for the Wildcats, Lyon would put the proverbial dagger in Westerville South’s chances at the upset, finding fellow junior, wide receiver Cedric Frierson for a 17-yard score and a 45-26 lead.
Westerville Central would hold on, despite a late TD from Westerville South, to defeat their rival 45-32 on Thursday night.
When asked who caught attention for the Warhawks, coach Magistro complimented nearly his entire team.
“Believe it or not, our entire offensive line did a good job,” Magistro said. “Benny runs so hard. Our defense, we put them in a bad situation a few times with field position. We made some big plays when we had to.
“They are a big play team. I think, just coming out with a win we’re happy.”
Lyon finished the game completing 20-of-29 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns. He ran the ball seven times for 18 yards and another two scores. Frierson finished the game with eight receptions for 126 yards and one touchdown.
Setting the pace for the Warhawks all night long with his tough running, Snell finished the game with 228 yards on 34 carries and two touchdowns. Following the game, Snell was one happy running back.
“(This game) means so much to me,” Snell said. “We’ve been preparing for this game ever since we started two-a-days, in practice, running as hard as we can. Hard work pays off.
“I’m just so proud of my team.”
Westerville Central remains one of four undefeated teams in the Ohio Capital Conference. While the Warhawks can relax knowing they will, regardless of how games finish on Friday, remain atop the OCC leaderboard heading into next week’s game against Hilliard Darby. Fellow undefeated teams Dublin Coffman, Olentangy and Pickerington Central are in action Friday night against Westland, Worthington Kilbourne and Newark, respectively.
Westerville South falls to 4-4 on the season, now in need of some victories to ensure their playoff hopes this season. With remaining games against Dublin Jerome and Westerville North, the Wildcats will need a short memory after losing to their rival.
Lincoln Flood finished the game completing 12-of-25 for 127 yards and two touchdowns for the Wildcats while Devin Wade paced them on the ground, rushing 17 times for 108 yards. Daramy totaled 126 yards and two scores on the evening.
Manchester travels to Cosby for the 'Battle for Chesterfield'
By: Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
October 16, 2014
The Manchester Lancers (Va.) will take the field at Cosby High School (Va.) this Friday night at 7:30, having not played a game on their home soil in over a month. The Lancers (6-0, 3-0) are seemingly unfazed heading in to their fourth consecutive road game as they have held all but one of their opponents under seven points or less en route to an unblemished 6-0 record so far this season.
The Lancers’ host this week, cross-town rival Cosby Titans (5-1, 1-1), had seen similar success heading in to their game last week against James River. Despite dropping their first game of the season a week ago, a close fought 13-6 defeat, the contest against Manchester is arguably the biggest game of the season for the two programs.
“It’s a really huge game, not only for me, but for our team,” Manchester quarterback Daniel Rose said. “It’s basically the battle for Chesterfield.”
Cosby has allowed just 20 points over the past four games, including two shut out victories over Huguenot and Clover Hill. Manchester is outscoring their opponents by a combined margin of 243-44 this season.
One of the major reasons for the Lancers success this season is Rose (@d_rose202), their dual-threat quarterback. The 6-foot-2 senior QB has thrown for 909 yards this season and nine touchdowns will also rushing for 308 yards and four touchdowns.
Daniel Rose has thrown for 909 yards and rushed for 308 yards this season. He has accounted for 13 total touchdowns.
Adding more intrigue to an already interesting matchup, Cosby scheduled Manchester as their opponent for their Homecoming game this Friday night. Something that did not sit well with the Manchester QB.
“The two schools absolutely dislike each other,” Rose said. “Plus they picked us for their Homecoming (game), which was disrespectful.”
When asked if that would be a little fuel to the fire for the Lancers this weekend, Rose replied very matter-of-factly.
“Yes sir, definitely,” Rose said.
Rose’s dual-threat ability has led to increased success from running back Justin Pendergrass so far this season. Pendergrass has rushed for 570 yards this season and 15 TDs through just six games. He also returns punts and kicks for the Lancers and is a threat out of the backfield in the passing game.
In the season opening victory over Matoaca, Pendergrass took a pass out of the backfield for 39 yards and a score early in the second quarter that was just the start of a four touchdown performance against the Warriors.
In addition to a strong offense, Manchester’s defense has been nothing to scoff at as they have held their previous two opponents under 100 yards of total offense. Since allowing 21 points to Meadowbrook all in the first half, the Lancers have allowed just three points before the fourth quarter of all four games (a field goal to Clover Hill in September).
Manchester is led by a host of players, one in senior, James Madison University commit Andre Booker, who has accrued 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks so far this season. His biggest play however may have not been a sack, or even a TFL. Rather, Booker (@Lancer95_) stepped up not once, but twice in the aforementioned Meadowbrook game.
Booker has accumulated 24 total tackles, 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. He will play football for JMU next fall.
Up 26-21 with time dwindling, Meadowbrook threatened to score with a 1st and goal at the Lancers three yard line. After a quick two-yard rush that put the Monarchs on the one, it was Booker’s two consecutive stops on second and third down that saved the game and sealed the victory as time ran out on Meadowbrook’s third and goal attempt.
Rose confirmed that Booker’s stops were crucial so far this season, but echoed that the defense certainly isn’t finished.
“It was a win or lose situation (for Booker),” Rose said. “It was huge, but we will definitely have more big plays this season.”
The stout Manchester defense plays in to the hands of their prolific offense.
“We feed off of our defense and they feed off of us,” Rose said. “We are coached to compete and that’s what we do. When the defense scores, the offense puts up points.”
When Manchester and Cosby take the field this Friday night, emotions will be high not only because of the rivalry but also because it will be Cosby’s homecoming and the eighth consecutive regular season matchup between the two. Five of the last seven contests between these two teams have been one-possession games including last season’s 20-19 Manchester victory.
With all the anticipation for this game, Rose is preparing for something much bigger than just a victory over their rivals. He wants to make a statement.
“I love my team,” Rose said. “I love my school and the whole Manchester community.
“This is a statement game.”
Friday night’s game will be one to watch in southern Virginia and across the country as it will be featured on the NFHS Network live on Friday night with Digital Scout’s data-cast. Fans and viewers can also stay up-to-date by following Digital Scout on Twitter and liking on Facebook.
Chargers record first victory after Raiders forced to forfeit amid injuries
By: Bryan Bedigrew
October 14, 2014
This past Friday, two 0-5 teams came together looking for their first win on the season. Senior running back Casey Willyard would lead the Jefferson County North Chargers (Ks.) with 105 yards rushing and two touchdowns in a 28-6 victory over the Immaculata Raiders (Ks.). The victory would also be the first district win for Jefferson County North.
The Chargers (1-5, 1-4) started the game with the ball and impressed with a 10-play drive that culminated with a Willyard five-yard rushing touchdown and a 7-0 Charger lead over the Raiders (0-6, 0-6).
It wouldn’t be until the second quarter that the Chargers would score again. Quarterback Bryce Noll’s two-yard run plus a Joel Abel extra point would increase the Jefferson County North lead to 14-0. The Chargers would put together another second quarter scoring drive, one that was capped by a Kyle Noll five-yard up-the-gut score for a comfortable 21-0 lead for the Chargers.
The Raiders would try to put something together just before the half however, an already slim roster was dealt a huge blow when Raiders senior Tanier Karigan would go down with an injury and not return. This left Immaculata with only 10 players to finish the game.
Not giving up however, the Raiders would receive a big momentum push as with just seconds left before halftime, a complete pass to Michael Valenca to the Chargers four yard line would give them hope heading into the second half. Leading off the third quarter, the Raiders attempted to put something together but gave up the ball on a Valenca fumble on the Chargers 48 yard line.
The Chargers would run seven plays leading to a Willyard three-yard run for a Jefferson County score and a 28-0 lead.
With impressive perseverance, the Raiders would score on their next possession after a six play drive. Valencia redeemed his earlier fumble by putting the Raiders on the board with a two-yard touchdown. The extra point however would fall short making the score 28-6 with 5:04 left in the third.
After the ensuing Raiders kick off, just two plays later Immacaulata would suffer yet another injury as Valenca hit the ground. With the team now down to nine players Raiders coach Fred Elliot elected to forfeit the game with 4:39 remaining on the clock in the third quarter. The Raiders would fall to 0-6 while the Chargers would secure their first win and push their record to 1-5 this season.
Willyard finished the game with the game with 105 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns.
Eagles score last, late in the fourth to secure the victory over Wolves
By: Nick Bray (@NickBray92)
October 13, 2014
The stadium was packed for Homecoming night at Timber Creek High School (Fla.) for a matchup with Edgewater High School (Fla.). The Timber Creek (4-2, 1-0) fans as loud as ever and covered in purple war-paint as the Homecoming festivities commenced.
The Edgewater (4-2, 1-0) fans however would have the most to cheer about in the end as the Eagles scored a last-minute touchdown to win, 21-17.
The Wolves would jump out to an early lead, scoring on their first possession with a rushing touchdown, then converting on a two-point conversion putting them up 8-0. After that score however, Timber Creek had trouble getting their star player back on track. Running back Jacques Patrick had trouble all night long finding open lanes to run through, as the Edgewater front seven did a great job closing the gaps.
With five minutes left in the first quarter, Edgewater quarterback Cortez Pembleton connected with a fade to Buck Watkins for a 35-yard touchdown, cutting the lead to 8-7 heading into the second quarter.
The second quarter was troublesome for Edgewater as the mistakes started to pile up on the field and on the scoreboard. On one Eagles possession, their punter set up to boot the ball away but stepped out of the back of the end zone while holding the ball. After the referees conferred, the play ended as a safety for Timber Creek who would get the ball back with the score now 10-7.
Timber Creek would then drive the distance of the field, to the red zone where, on third and goal, the Wolves drew up a trick play. Patrick lined up at quarterback in a version of the Wildcat formation and as the ball was snapped to him, he faked a run up the middle and decided to throw a pass to Hunter Wilkins who was wide open in the back of the end zone.
The Wolves lead grew to 17-7 in front of a raucous home.
After the halftime festivities for Homecoming ended, so did the momentum for Timber Creek’s football team. The Wolves began an impressive drive down the field in the third quarter before fumbling the ball at the one-yard line where Edgewater would recover and take over.
Edgewater then responded with a 99-yard drive that culminated with Craig Rucker taking a handoff up the middle following behind lead-blocker Adam Williams into the end zone. With just five minutes left in the third quarter, Edgewater closed the gap to 17-14.
Near the end of the third quarter, the home crowd fell silent as Patrick laid on the field rolling in pain for minutes. While the injury wasn’t serious, his leg cramps would force him off the field for their current drive. The Wolves fans would breathe a sigh of relief as Patrick jogged back out on to the field during the next offensive possession. However, they couldn’t muster much more on the offensive side this evening.
After some back and forth between the two, Edgewater would get the ball at the 50-yard line with just over five minutes left in the game with the score still 17-14.
It was on fourth and nine that the Eagles gained most momentum by converting a first down to keep the game alive with a great catch by Rucker. Joe Clark and the Eagles would take the lead for the very first time by juking past the Wolves’ secondary for a touchdown to secure a last-minute victory and send the home fans home disappointed.
The final score of 21-17 improved Edgewater’s record to 4-2. This Friday the Eagles play a district game at home against Lake Minneola High School (Fla.). Timber Creek dropped to 4-2 on the year and will host district rival University High School (Fla.) next as they hope to get their star player Patrick back to full health for an important district game.
Patrick finished the game with 130 yards on just 10 carries.
Monarchs and Knights look to continue winning ways
By: Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
October 9, 2014
Friday nights during the fall in Virginia are normally nothing short of exciting. What should transpire on the field at Meadowbrook High School on Friday night could be something even more.
Meadowbrook (2-3) will host the Knights of Thomas Dale High School (3-2), winners of three straight. The Monarchs, also on a streak of their own, are winners of their past two games after dropping their first three matchups this season.
Both teams were thought of as top teams in Virginia’s stacked 5A and 6A conferences to start the season. In a 5A conference that boasts teams like south Virginia’s Henrico and Manchester and north Virginia’s Broad Run and Briar Woods, or a 6A conference that hosts teams like South County or the high-scoring Ocean Lakes, we’re talking good company. The Monarchs and Knights however have had a more disappointing beginning to their season than either could have anticipated.
Thomas Dale lost their first two games of the season by a combined six points. After a one-point loss to Cosby to start the season, 16-15, they lost a close fought contest with Virginia power Bird High School, 20-15. Meadowbrook suffered similar results, but lost their first three games of the season by a margin of only 20 points.
After dropping their first two games of the season on the road to Hermitage, 27-21 and Manchester, 26-21, they then squandered a 12-0 lead over Highland Springs, ultimately dropping that game to the Springers, 21-12.
Since those results, neither team has lost a game and each has looked sharp in doing so. Dale held on to defeat Varina, 21-14, before blowing out Hopewell and Prince George by a combined score of 103-44. During their three-game winning streak, the Knights have been paced by a dangerous rushing attack led by senior Eric Finney and junior Trent Williams.
Finney has compiled 458 yards and five touchdowns on the ground during the past three games while Williams has rushed for 291 and another three scores. Williams has also accrued another 272 yards either through the air, on kick returns or by his 88-yard interception return for a touchdown against Hopewell.
Coach Kevin Tucker’s defense has been anchored by junior Sammy Stark, whose 22 total tackles over their winning streak has topped the team.
On the other side, the Monarchs have benefited greatly from a much-needed bye week after the heart-breaking Highland Springs loss. Winners of two straight since their off week, Meadowbrook has outscored their past two opponents by a combined 75-24.
After spotting Matoaca an early 10-7 lead, Meadowbrook rattled off 26 quick unanswered points en route to defeating the Warriors, 33-17. The Monarchs followed that game with a 42-14 drudging of Hopewell in which they outgained the Blue Devils 405 to 187, a margin of 218 yards.
Running back Justin Miller has rushed for 209 yards in those two games and three scores. Quarterback D’Angelo Amos has accounted for 345 total yards and another three touchdowns either through the air or rushing on his own. He has also recorded an interception in each of the past two games.
It’s tough to find a matchup across the whole state where two teams are as hard pressed for a victory than one will find this Friday when these two meet. While both are on a tear recently, one team’s winning streak will have to come to an end. Fortunately for both squads, it seems that a loss only provides motivation for the next contest.