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July 24, 2013

Top Ten Countdown : Class 3A

3A

Throughout the month of July, we'll begin previewing the 2013 football season by counting down the top ten teams in the state for each of the six classifications.

The state is going to look very different this year come playoff time. All the programs in the state have been realigned based on their enrollment numbers and each classification has been divided into either North / South or East / West regions.

Sixteen teams from each region will advance to the postseason and the bracket will play down until there is one regional champion standing on each half of the state. Those two champions will then meet to determine the state title.

CLASSIFICATION 3A

1. TBD

Outlook:

2.TBD

Outlook:

3. Monticello Mustangs

Outlook:A lot has changed for the Mustangs with the arrival of state championship coach Jeff Woody from Brookville in the offseason. While it may take some time for Monticello to move to the multi-formation spread the earned Woody two consecutive titles, the pieces are in place for another playoff run after the Mustangs were knocked out by Kettle Run in the region championship last fall. Senior T.J. Tillery has shown the ability to dominate on both sides of the ball in his career and will be the key player for Monticello this year.

4. James Monroe Yellow Jackets

Outlook:With two consecutive state championship game appearances to their credit and experience returning on offense and defense, the Yellow Jackets are poised to contend once again in 2013. Junior Jay Scroggins returns at quarterback and James Monroe will have an aggressive offensive line in front of him. The running back position is up in the air heading into August, but there is never a shortage of speed or power for the Jackets.

5. Heritage Pioneers

Outlook:The Division 4 runners up from 2012 have a lot of holes to fill on offense and defense, but the success from coach Brad Bradley's first season in charge in Lynchburg should bring the athletes to the field for the Pioneers. Elijah Gallagher, Tyquante Simms and Antwone Comer are three returning starters to watch on defense, where the Pioneers were outstanding for much of 2012.

6. Brookville Bees

Outlook:There are lots of question marks for the two-time defending state champions coming into 2013. They have to replace four-year starting quarterback Kendall Becraft. Coach Jeff Woody headed north to take the Monticello job, leaving longtime assistant Marshall Schmitt as the interim coach in 2013. Still, there are pieces left that will likely make the Bees a team to watch out for this fall, including offensive tackle Josh Mason and leading receiver Ben Hogg.

7. Lafayette Rams

Outlook:Lafayette's strong regular season in 2012 was unexpectedly derailed with an upset loss to Park View in the region semifinals. The Rams will try and bounce back from that disappointment in 2013 with Jahlil Green, an all-region performer on offense and defense last season, leading the way. The Bay Rivers schedule should have Lafayette prepared for another shot at the postseason this fall.

8. Liberty (Bedford) Minutemen

Outlook:Loads of young talent returns in Bedford, including juniors Matt Smith and Austin Porter and sophomore Devin Carper. Liberty rarely struggled to score points last fall, but must show a commitment to defense if they're going to be a real contender in 2013 after a 7-5 finish in 2012

9. Rockbridge County Wildcats

Outlook:The big question mark in Lexington is at quarterback with Porter Abell now at the University of Richmond. Senior Trey Merchant figures to be the starter there (as well as at linebacker), where he and Adam Doll-Hennis are among nine returning starters for the Wildcats, who exited the playoffs in close games against state champion Brookville the past two years.

10. Magna Vista Warriors

Outlook: The Warriors are looking for a fifth consecutive playoff appearance in 2013 and they have the skill positions player back to make that happen. Senior quarterback Calin Jamison and twin backs Brent and Bryce Hankins headline a solid core of returning starters. Magna Vista has struggled to get past Salem and Christiansburg in region IV in the past several seasons, but they could be a surprise team in 3A in 2013.



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