By Marty Gordon
The Radford High Bobcats and the Christiansburg Blue Demons used the last weekend of the regular season to claim wins that advanced them into fourth place in their respective districts, which also let them advance to the football state playoffs.
Radford blew out Richlands 42-0 in an add-on game after Carroll County opted out of the final regular season game while Christiansburg used a 57-0 win over Blacksburg to jump past Northside into the final 3D region spot. Bassett lost its final game of the year to finish .22 points behind the Blue Demons.
Radford gained the final 2C regional spot when Ft. Chiswell fell to Galax.
But both teams will have to go through the top team in their respective regions to advance to the second round. Radford travels to (6-0) Appomattox, and Christiansburg will face Lord Botetourt (6-0) Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Region 3D title will go through Botetourt, which has dominated opponents with a 52-15 record since 2013. This year, Botetourt had wins of 70-6 over G.W. Danville, 49-6 over William Fleming, 55-13 over William Byrd, 49-6 over Staunton River and 57-7 over Franklin County.
Christiansburg scrimmaged Franklin County early in the season and won by three touchdowns, the only opponent the Blue Demons share with Botetourt.
The top-ranked regional team ranks third overall in the latest state poll of all classifications and has won 19 of its last 20 games with its lone loss coming in the state championship game two years ago against Hopewell. They finished 14-1.
The team received a week off last week when Northside forfeited its contest.
Botetourt has 18 players over 200 pounds and 10 over 250 lbs. including highly recruited Gunner Givens (6-6, 275, #26 overall recruit in state of Virginia), Colston Powers (6-4, 285, first-team all-state Class 3 last year) and Troy Everett (6-3, 280, the #51 recruit nationally).
Running back Hunter is the workhorse for the team, having rushed 14 times for 173 yards and five touchdowns in the team’s last contest against Franklin County.
Botetourt returned nine starters on both sides of the ball and has dominated the line of scrimmage.
Rice had 1,751 yards rushing with 18 touchdowns last season.
In the Franklin County game, Botetourt quarterback Sam Peery was 6-for-7 passing for 221 yards. Receiver Kyle Arnholt had four catches for 117 yards.
Christiansburg is coming off a 57-0 win over Blacksburg in which Kenyon Johnson-Buchannon rushed 11 times for 97 yards with three touchdowns. Quarterback Casey Graham was 4-of-6 passing for 104 yards with a touchdown. MJ Hunter returned the second-half kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.
The Blue Demon defense limited their cross-county rivals to 95 yards on the ground and six yards through the air.
Meanwhile Radford will face an opponent similar to Botetourt. Appomattox has dominated the Class 2 ranks for a long time. They finished the shortened spring season with a 6-0 mark. Wins included: 53-0 over William Campbell, 83-6 over Nelson and 42-6 over Altavista.
The only other time Radford and Appomattox have faced each other was in 2018 when Radford pulled off a 28-25 win.
Radford’s season had been left in limbo after a COVID-19 contact tracing incident. The Bobcats had a no-contest with Floyd during that time and looked to have its final season against Carroll County also eliminated. But another game was added when Carroll said it would not play last week.
So, enter Richlands which also had an open spot after an opponent bowed out because of a COVID-19 issue. Radford rolled to the 42-0 win and with a Ft. Chiswell loss to Galax, moved into the final playoff spot in Region 2C.