The weekend began with four Bay Rivers District schools fighting for the final two spots in the Region I Division 4 playoffs, a situation all the more intriguing because those teams played head-to-head Friday.
Warhill benefited most by virtue of its 32-19 win over Tabb that included a another virtuoso performance from Devonte Dedmon: 281 yards rushing, four touchdowns and a touchdown pass. The victory means that the Lions (5-4, 4-4 district) clinched a playoff berth, even if they lose their regular-season finale to rival Jamestown.
That leaves Tabb (4-5, 4-4), Grafton (4-5, 4-4) and Jamestown (4-5, 4-4) to battle for the final berth. Grafton remained in the hunt with a 24-0 win over Jamestown as Dylan Bartells and Jesse Santiago each ran for more than 100 yards behind an offensive line that had its best game of the season.
Jamestown enters the final week of the regular season with 175 Virginia High School League ratings points, slightly ahead of Tabb and Grafton, tied with 173 points each. Ratings points are allotted to Group AA schools via a scale that awards 20 points for a victory, eight points for a loss, two bonus points for each of a defeated opponent's wins and one bonus point for each of a non-defeated opponent's wins.
That means Jamestown theoretically enters in the most difficult position of the three to reach the playoffs, because it gets fewer points for its result against five-win Warhill than Tabb does against eight-win Smithfield or Grafton against seven-win York. Below we handicap each school's chances.
Jamestown: Makes playoffs if — and only if — the Eagles defeat Warhill and both Tabb and Grafton lose.
Grafton: Makes playoffs if the Clippers defeat York and Tabb loses to Smithfield.
Tabb: Makes playoffs if the Tigers defeat Smithfield.
If all three teams lose, Jamestown is eliminated. Grafton then could get in if Powhatan defeats Charlottesville and Courtland defeats James Monroe, a combination that would give the Clippers 196 ratings points to Tabb's 195.
Tabb gets in if all three lose and unbeaten James Monroe defeats Courtland or if Charlottesville defeats Powhatan. Those games deal with bonus points that give Tabb a one-point margin over Grafton or leave both teams tied, in which case Tabb gets because it beat Grafton.
Lafayette shuts down run
Lafayette coach Andy Linn said his team wanted to make York "one dimensional," and the Rams did so in defeating the Falcons 25-20 in their showdown for a share of first place in the Bay Rivers District between Division 3 playoff-bound teams. The Rams (8-1, 7-1) limited the Falcons (7-2, 6-2) to 33 yards on 25 rushing attempts.
Smithfield homecoming festive
Smithfield celebrated its homecoming with a parade, the appearance of the News Channel 10 helicopter and a 47-6 win over New Kent. The victory puts the Packers (8-1, 7-1) within a win on Thursday against Tabb at Bailey Field of sharing the district title for the second time in four seasons.
Already assured of a Region I Division 4 playoff bye to the semifinals, the Packers also clinch the top seed with a victory.
"Our defense completely shut them down, and their touchdown came against the second string," Packers coach Clark Harrell said. "It was a big crowd and a great football atmosphere for homecoming."
Poquoson defense shines
Austin Turner (141 yards rushing) and the offensive line received much of the ink following Poquoson's 33-12 win that clinched the program's sixth consecutive Region I Division 3 playoff berth. But the first-team defense for the Islanders (4-5, 3-5) deserves its share of the credit for pitching a shutout before the Panthers (2-7, 1-7) got two late scores on the second and third team defenses.
Linebacker Ethan Bryce came up as big as anyone on the Poquoson D. He made three tackles for loss in a stretch of five plays during the third quarter, when the game was still competitive.