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August 22, 2014
Games to See in Tidewater
Practices and scrimmages all around the state have been going on in full force, thus the 2014 High School Football season is about to get underway. Two games are on the docket this evening and we're here to highlight for you the Games to See in Tidewater, taking a closer look at the matchups that fans will want to mark on their calendar throughout the year.
Let's dive into the schedule . . .
Other games on the docket that night include Beach District teams starting its season. Possibly of interest are Landstown visiting Bayside and Kellam playing host to Salem.
That's not the only game in town that night. Another one that will be worth watching for sure is Lafayette hosting Brunswick, the Group 2A runner-up for the state title a season ago. Lafayette was ranked #1 in the state in 3A for much of the season until losing to James Monroe in the playoffs. The coaching debut of Sekou Wilson at Granby takes place when the Comets host Woodside at Powhatan Field, while Denbigh plays Tabb in a rare Peninsula District vs. Bay Rivers District tilt.
Besides the Phoebus/Lake Taylor battle, Green Run visits Salem in a key Beach District contest. Salem won both meetings a year ago by wide margins, including in the 5A-South regional semifinals. Bethel travels to Western Branch and those two have played tight games each of the last two years, one coming in the quarterfinals of the regionals. Also, there's Woodside at Hampton. Those two played an epic shoot-out a year ago with the Wolverines outlasting the Crabbers 65-44.
Also worth watching for those on the Southside will be Oscar Smith hosting Indian River. These two Chesapeake rivals are very close to one another in terms of proximity, and the Braves want to make this a competitive rivalry again against the school that is pretty much considered the gold standard when it comes to High School Football in Hampton Roads.
Over in the Beach District, Ocean Lakes at Green Run will offer up fans lots and lots of speed on both sides. Those are two of the faster teams around that have no problem slinging it around either. Poquoson at Bruton could be an under-the-radar Bay Rivers game that turns out to be competitive and down to the wire.
Those that don't want to fight the traffic and big crowd on that side of the water may prefer to stay on the Southside and check out one of four games of note. In the Southeastern District, King's Fork visits Great Bridge in a game that was exhilarating last year, won by the Bulldogs 44-43 in double-overtime. The Beach District has Cox at Salem as these two played a very close, hard-fought game in 2013 that the SunDevils won late. Ocean Lakes visits Bayside and these two have had athletes galore and a couple of tight ones over the years. Then there's Lake Taylor hosting Maury in the Eastern District in what might have first place on the line in that one, too.
But as venerable public address announcer will tell us, "Don't go anywhere my friends because we have TWO!" Yes, two games at Todd that day as Menchville vs. Kecoughtan follows in the double-header. Believe it or not, just two years ago the Monarchs upset the Warriors in the regular season finale.
King's Fork at Indian River could be rather interesting to say the least. These are two teams that seem to be on the rise and need a win in this spot to keep any ascension going. The Newport News battle between Heritage and Woodside is one to watch as well. Only one team in the last seven years has kept Phoebus from finishing atop the Peninsula District and that's Woodside back in 2011. Heritage has aspirations of doing that this year and can't slip up against a dangerous Wolverines bunch coached by Danny Dodson.
Another one in the Beach District that is sure to have significant meaning is Bayside at Green Run. The Marlins led for much of the way a year ago until Green Run rallied in the second half behind the arm of QB Austin Lynch, the area's leading passer in 2013 looking to repeat his performance as a senior.
A few teams might be on upset alert on this night, though. Phoebus travels to Woodside, Norcom visits their Portsmouth rival Churchland and Cox is at Kellam. All three of the perceived underdogs in those games (Churchland, Kellam and Woodside) have pulled the upset at some point in the past five years. In the case of Kellam, it happened just last year.
Another Southeastern District game that can be very crucial to the playoff picture in multiple division, in this case 6A and 5A, is Grassfield at Great Bridge. It's a Chesapeake rivalry that usually produces a strong turnout.
Great Bridge at Oscar Smith is sure to have a sizeable crowd to watch the Tigers and Wildcats tangle. When they meet, Oscar Smith could be looking for their 73rd win in a row against Southeastern District foes, a remarkable streak that dates back to their 2006 los to Hickory.
Another game perhaps of equal importance will be Norcom traveling to Lake Taylor with both teams probably vying for the Eastern District title that the Titans have owned more times than not under Hank Sawyer. Larry Archie's Greyhounds have a new quarterback in Churchland transfer Jaylin Spruill and will try to topple Lake Taylor for the first time since 2010, the year they pitched a 29-0 shutout in Portsmouth on their way to reaching the Eastern Region Division 5 Final.
Matthew Hatfield has covered football and basketball since 2004 for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and don't forget to listen to him on High School Sports Talk Saturdays at 10AM on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.
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