Ask a football coach about playoffs before the fifth week of the season and you get two things: the guy's best Jim Mora imitation protesting PLAYOFFS!?, and a primer on how you play them one at a time. By the way, the one at a time thing is something to be respected - looking ahead can be fatal in football.
Still, with this new VHSL playoff format none of us really knows what is important, or when, in terms of being one of the 16 teams to make the playoffs in any region. So when I look at this week's ratings and see Poquoson at No. 15 and Warhill just fractions out of the top 16, then see that that they play one another at Wanner Stadium on Thursday at 7 p.m., one thing comes to mind - Early 3A East Region Playoff Implications.
Sure, either has lots of time to flounder or recover following this game. But Poquoson (2-2, 1-2 Bay Rivers) will look to bounce back from a poor offensive showing in a 13-0 loss to York last week, while Warhill (1-3, 1-2) will try to rebound from poor defensive and special teams showings the past two weeks....all while advancing their playoff prospects.
As expected, Warhill coach Obie Boykin thinks it's too early to talk too much about playoffs, but he does see some long-term importance to the meeting with Poquoson.
"It's not just a chance to win, but it gives us a chance to give another 3A (East) team a loss," he said. "As coaches we don't talk a lot about playoffs, but you can't hide and you don't want to hide playoffs as a motivator.
"The kids read the standings. But as a coach I want to make sure the kids are more consistent every minute of practice, so we're going to emphasize doing more drills and team stuff at game speed."
Boykin will also emphasize special teams more this week, as the Lions set up two Bruton touchdowns with poor punt snaps inside their own 15.
The game features a matchup of two of the district's Division I prospects. Warhill's Devonte Dedmon (606 yards rushing) and Poquoson's Grayson Boyce - who has combined with backfield mate Austin Turner for 525 yards rushing and seven TDs - both have multiple Division I offers.