The big Bay Rivers District football game of the week, and one of the biggest of the entire season, pits Grafton (3-1, 2-1 district) against Lafayette (4-0, 3-0) on Friday at Wanner Stadium. Lafayette was picked as the preseason district favorite, while Grafton was picked to finish second.
"It's going to be a playoff atmosphere," Grafton coach Jared Van Acker said. "Lafayette runs that Wing-T offense to perfection and has a lot of experience on the offensive line.
The Clippers did not fare so well in the trenches in the second half of a 21-7 loss earlier in the month to Poquoson. But the front of Dylan Stallings, Tyler Linhart-Reed, Peter Park, Jared Wenner and Dylan MacDonald were terrific in the Clippers' 35-7 win last week over Bruton.
The Clippers surrendered only 116 yards in the win and Bruton's only touchdown came on the defense's fumble recovery.
"We've come together and have been practicing harder and better," Van Acker said. "I'm a firm believer that you play how you practice, and we did not practice well the week of the Poquoson game."
Smith is money
Seven out of 10 is very good in most sports endeavors. Lafayette wide receiver Thomas Smith's seven touchdowns in 10 receptions this season is almost mind-boggling.
Impressive, too, is the length of his touchdown catches: 69, 54, 40 (twice), 39, 21 and 20 yards. His other three touchdowns on the season — a 71-yard interception return, a 69-yard punt return and a 29-yard run — have gone long as well.
Other stats stuff
York quarterback Alex Johnston has put up the biggest numbers in the district passing the ball, throwing for 728 yards and nine touchdowns. Jamestown's Landon Morrow has 530 yards passing and seven scoring strikes.
Tabb's Andrew Junio leads the district in rushing with 568 yards. Other district rushers on track for 1,000-yard rushing seasons are Lafayette's Will Capers (486 yards), New Kent's Storm Parker (477 yards) and Grafton's Dylan Bartells (464 yards).
Jamestown's Rodney Smith leads the district in receptions (22) and receiving yards (389).
It's never too early to talk playoffs, right? The Virginia High School League doesn't publish power points ratings before midseason, but two lists on VirginiaPreps.com this week updated the situation in Region I.
Were the playoffs to begin today in Division 4 of Region I, Grafton would be seeded No. 1, Warhill No. 2 and both would have first-round byes in the six-team field. First-round matchups would be No. 6 Eastern View at No. 3 Courtland and No. 5 Jamestown at No. 4 Chancellor.
In Division 3, No. 1 James Monroe and No. 2 York would get the first-round byes into the semifinals were the playoffs to start today. The first-round matchups would be No. 5 Poquoson at No. 4 Southampton and No. 6 Park View-South Hill at No. 3 Lafayette.