The High School Football season for 2017 has reached the midway point for every team. So now the chase for the playoffs is really on and we have a huge slate of games coming next week. But before we get there, some important matchups are on the docket this week.
We go with ‘Co-Game of the Week,’ again as Salem plays host to Landstown – one of just six remaining undefeated teams in Tidewater. The other five are Norcom, Deep Creek, Lafayette, Phoebus and Hampton. Meanwhile, the other Game of the Week features Northern Virginia visitor Broad Run from Ashburn traveling to Norfolk to take on a surprising 4-2 Booker T. Washington.
Let’s go through the games, but first we review the predictions race . . .
2017 Tidewater Predictions Battle
Coach Ed Young
Gloucester's shutout of Bethel and King's Fork win over Nansemond River enabled Hatfield to grow his lead from one to three games over Young
Thursday's Action (10/5/17):
Lake Taylor (3-2) at Granby (3-2) . . . This is a game with enormous meaning for Granby as it pursues a playoff spot in Class 6’s Region A. Lake Taylor hasn’t lost to Granby since 2004, although the Titans needed a game-winning touchdown pass from Ohio State’s Jalyn Holmes to win 27-25 in a memorable 2012 clash. The Titans are giving up 33.8 points per game and defensively not quite as stout or experienced as in years past. They are going for their 45th consecutive Eastern District win and should get it, provided they don’t put the ball on the carpet.
On the season, Lake Taylor has lost 16 fumbles and they sit minus-9 in the turnover margin category. Granby, leaning on the big pass play efforts of QB Daniel Lamb to WR Shaviaea Williams in last week’s 18-14 win over Norview, came up with a crucial stop when they needed it late in the comeback. Tyriek Smith had an interception in the end zone. If the Titans go with freshman Jeff Foster at QB, forcing him into mistakes and capitalizing on them is the way to snap the streak. However, Granby has to be able to slow the Titans strong ground game down, too.
Freshman Malik Newton and senior Deon Smith have combined for 871 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. That dynamic duo running behind a veteran o-line, anchored by Denzel Ewell and Tavion Copeland, could be the difference. Granby has to hold its own in the trenches and get either Roger Williams or Troy Ricks to break off a couple long runs to loosen up the defense for the Comets to hand Lake Taylor its second straight loss.
Matt Says: Lake Taylor 34-19
VHSL-Reference.com Says: Lake Taylor 28-14
Coach Young Says: Lake Taylor 35-7
Lafayette (4-1) at York (4-1) . . . The last time York prevailed over Lafayette was in 2011 by a count of 36-35 in a thriller. Vashod Phillips and Jordan Ballowe enjoyed huge nights as the Rams rolled past Bruton 62-0 a week ago to notch their 46th consecutive Bay Rivers District win. While the offense is clicking much better than earlier in the season, with QB Cesar Ward and WR T.J. Epps developing a nice chemistry through the air, what makes this Rams team so formidable is their defense. York is improving defensively, but they give up 22 points per game, compared to just 4.4 per contest by the Rams.
Cole Lytle has been tremendous for the Falcons in their 4-1 start, coming up with a pair of interceptions, one he returned for a score and seven receptions as they defeated Grafton 42-6. It won’t be as easy against corner Mike Rodgers and the rest of a Lafayette defense, led by LB’s Armonii Burden (Navy commit) and Jack Erwin, that turns opponents into one-dimensional offenses quite frequently.
Matt Says: Lafayette 29-6 =
VHSL-Reference.com Says: Lafayette 35-7
Coach Young Says: Lafayette 38-12
Hampton (5-0) at Menchville (2-3) . . . The Monarchs were brought back down to Earth somewhat last week when they traveled to Norcom and got shut out 39-0. That snapped a brief two-game win streak, where they beat Denbigh and Kecoughtan to thrust themselves in the playoff conversation for Class 5 Region A. Who is sitting in the driver’s seat to be the #1 seed in that region? None other than the Hampton Crabbers, who continue to play lights out defense. Take away their 28-26 overtime escape against Heritage and Hampton is allowing just four points per game. Juanya Majette, Jaquarious Bellamy, Johnny Gaskins and crew are fully capable of keeping Menchville out of the end zone.
Matt Says: Hampton 40-3
VHSL-Reference.com Says: Hampton 41-0
Coach Young Says: Hampton 45-6
*** Check back later for Friday and Saturday's games! ***