By Marty Gordon
The area’s two playoff high school football teams both advanced with big wins this past week. Radford rolled to a 48-16 win over Gretna while Christiansburg downed Abingdon 35-7.
Friday night, Radford will host Appomattox in the second round of the playoffs. Staunton River will visit Christiansburg.
The 8-3 Appomattox team is no stranger to these parts. Appomattox and Radford have met several times over the past five years. In 2021, Radford fell both in the regular season 41-
12 and in the playoffs 56-28.
Appomattox finished 6-0 in the tough Dogwood District, is 30-2 in the postseason since 2015 and has outscored its opponents 439-184 this season. The three losses were 35-3 to Lord Botetourt, 27-20 to Rustburg, and 50-14 to Heritage with all three of those coming in the middle of the season. Last week in the opening round of the playoffs, Appomattox beat Alleghany 40-12. In the win, Quarterback Gary Peterson, who is a Virginia Tech football commit, led the team to 374 yards of total offense.
But this year’s Radford squad might be a lot better than the one Appomattox faced last season. The Bobcats have outscored their opponents 439-184. Quarterback Landon Clark, who is only a junior, has rewritten the school’s record book in almost every category.
In the 48-16 win over Gretna in the first round, Clark completed 16 of 24 passes for 267 yards with four touchdowns. He also ran for another score. Marcell Baylor had seven catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns while Parker Prioleau added five catches for 54 yards and one touchdown.
For the season, Clark is 146 for 216 passing with only one interception. He threw for 2,668 yards and 40 touchdowns. He has rushed 104 times for 412 yards with seven individual scores.
Marcell Baylor, who has also committed to Virginia Tech, has 43 receptions for 945 yards with 17 touchdowns. Parker Prioleau is a great secondary receiver with 53 catches for 871 yards with 12 touchdowns of his own.
David Woodward has given Radford a running game other than Clark’s with 94 rushes for 437 yards with nine touchdowns.
Look for the Radford defense to play a big role in the outcome of this game with Charlie Davis leading the team with 91 tackles, 43 solo. As a unit, Radford has 15 sacks on the season.
Prediction: Radford 34, Appomattox 32.
Christiansburg rebounded in the second half of last week’s scoreless Abingdon game and produced 35 points enroute to the win.
Tanner Evans started his fifth game at quarterback and responded by completing seven of 10 passes for 179 yards in the game 179 yards. He also rushed for 114 yards on 14 carries. Senior receiver Jayron Thompson had a career night with six catches for 167 yards with three touchdowns, all more than 50 yards.
Evans also intercepted two Abingdon passes and returned one for a pick six.
In last week’s win over Magna Vista, Staunton River finished the night with four rushing touchdowns and 251 yards on the ground.
Brady Burns was four of five through the air for 127 yards with two touchdowns. Josh Kelley rushed for 70 yards.
The matchup is no stranger to the two schools as they met in last year’s playoffs with Christiansburg rolling to a 48-0 win.
Prediction: Christiansburg 34, Staunton River 17.