By Marty Gordon
The playoff picture became a lot clearer this past week as three of the county’s and city’s teams are headed to the postseason.
With Christiansburg’s win over Cave Spring, the Blue Demons locked down home field advantage through the Region D playoffs. Meanwhile, Radford’s loss to Glenvar will still give the Bobcats one game at home, but the road could still go through Glenvar.
Eastern Montgomery could be headed to the Class 1 region C playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Blacksburg and Auburn will be left sitting at home watching the area’s other school’s making a run.
Those latter two open the door for several questions. Auburn faces some major obstacles with the lack of numbers and whether that will continue next year. Similar schools like Bland and Craig have taken several years off before being able to field a football team.
This comes with a “why” as Auburn has had back-to-back state champions in volleyball for the girls and both baseball and basketball for the boys. The school recently announced a decision not to field a wrestling program this winter.
In Blacksburg, Coach Eddie Sloss has had consecutive winless seasons. He is 19-12 in four seasons and took over a program that had won a State Class 4 title and had a second deep run the year after. Earlier this week, Blacksburg forfeited a game to Salem. This week, Sloss will try to pick up a win against Cave Spring in a situation that could dictate his future at the school.
Area Top Five: 1) Salem, 2) Christiansburg, 3) Glenvar, 4) Giles, 5) Radford.
Games this week:
Cave Spring (2-5) at Blacksburg (0-8)
Last week: Both of these teams are finding it tough to pick up wins as last week Cave fell to Christiansburg 37-14, and Blacksburg took its eighth loss of the year at the hands of Hidden Valley 35-0. Christiansburg held Cave to 21 yards rushing in the loss.
Prediction: Blacksburg 21, Cave Spring 20.
Christiansburg (8-1) at Pulaski (4-5)
Last week: Christiansburg took out Cave Spring as Stephen Mrythril (15 for 175) and Kenyon Johnson-Buchannon (10-132) led a school record 342 yards rushing in a game. Mrythril scored three times. Tanner Evans also added 73 yards on five carries. The defense held Cave to 154 yards of total offense with four sacks.
Patrick Henry took out Pulaski in a 42-13 contest as the Cougars were limited to 37 yards passing but managed 201 on the ground with John Lyman putting up 154 yards.
Prediction: Christiansburg 38, Pulaski 30.
Parry McCluer (6-3) at Eastern Montgomery (5-4)
Last week: Eastern Montgomery set themselves up for a chance at a Pioneer District title (3-1 in district play) and an appearance in the postseason with a 25-22 win over Covington. Seth Burleson continued his campaign for offensive player of the year with 28 carries for 219 yards and three touchdowns. Eli Brown added 107 yards on 11 carries in the win.
Parry McCluer rolled to a 49-0 win over Bath County as seven different players scored in the romp. The last time Eastern Montgomery was able to pull off a win over Parry McCluer was in 2008, 35-28 in the spring.
Prediction: Eastern Montgomery 27, Parry McCluer 24.
Radford (7-2) at James River (5-4)
Last week: James River pulled out a 16-13 win over Carroll County and, like Radford, has only one loss in Three Rivers District play. James River quarterback James Hammons passed for 264 yards in the win. Jake Bailey caught seven passes for 135 with a touchdown.
Radford lost on a game-ending touchdown by Glenvar. Quarterback Marcell Baylor rushed nine times for 183 yards that included a 52-yard score with less than two minutes to go in the ball game for a temporary lead.
Prediction: Radford 30, James River 29.