This time of year is exciting as high school football teams begin regional playoff action. Both Radford and Blacksburg have true shots to bringing home a championship this fall.
Blacksburg will probably not have to face its rivals in, the Salem Spartans, until the state finals. Also, Radford and Glenvar could be on a path for a rematch before the dust clears.
I wouldn’t count out Auburn either as the Eagles have shown life this season in narrow losses to Narrows and Galax.
Eastern Montgomery and Christiansburg will have to regroup and play their best ball in the month of November in order to make some noise in regional play.
My predictions are as follows for Friday night: Blacksburg 44, Liberty Christian 20; Radford 38, Ft. Chiswell 28; Auburn 28, Narrows 27; Lord Botetrout 34, Christiansburg 14; Galax 38, Eastern Montgomery 14.
Radford might have an easier path to a state title than Blacksburg, but we will just have to see who makes the most noise. At least two of the area schools should be playing as Thanksgiving rolls around.
On a side note, the Saunders’ brothers of Radford are rolling into the playoffs in two different states. While Matthew Saunders leads Radford to the postseason, his brother Kevin has his Georgia High School team in the state regionals for the third time in four years.
Greg Holbrook will take the “Panel Pick” belt away from Randy Hall. Holbrook got the Radford victory right this past week, while Hall took Glenvar.
Leigh Anne Henderson and myself finish tied for second, while Brad Epperley and Brian Tickle claim the basement.
In the college ranks, the top teams are thinning themselves out. My top five are: #1 Alabama, #2 Notre Dame, #3 Clemson, # 4 Oklahoma, #5 Michigan.
Meanwhile in Blacksburg, a lot of people are scratching their heads on what seems, on paper, to be a promising Virginia Tech football team, but the season has not worked out like fans had hoped.
The Hokies are young and the inconsistency on both sides of the ball has plagued them at times. I would say the defense is suspect especially against the run.
There have been some bright spots like Dax Hollifield, but for the most part, the defense has been suspect to the big plays. Also, the offense has gotten better with Ryan Willis under center, but they still lack the go-to-receiver and running back.
The offense has had to focus on throwing the ball. Willis has his moments, but there has not been the explosion most Hokie fans had become accustomed to.
Has the team been hurt by Josh Jackson’s injury? Nope, Willis is more of a deep-throwing threat than Jackson. He has also shown more of a leadership role on the field than Jackson ever did. I don’t think Willis will go to the bench even if Jackson comes back this season from his injury.
Meanwhile, we have seen glimpses of the future when Quincy Patterson comes on the field. He can still play in three more games and be redshirted. Now might be the time to see what the future holds for Hokie football.
The next step is to corral the youngsters who have become regular starters in a very short time. They have to grow up in order for the Hokies to take another step in the Fuente era.
Hokie fans need to be patient as the next two years will determine the future of football in Blacksburg.