Eastern Region D-5 Quarterfinals Preview

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The Eastern Region Division 5 quarterfinals get
underway at four different sites on Friday night, all re-matches from the
regular season. The higher seeded teams
won each of the regular season meetings all by double-figures.
style=> Will it be more of the same with blowouts or
is an upset in the cards?

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Before we start to breakdown this week's quarterfinal
matchups, let's review the Eastern Region Prediction Standings with State
Football Editor Rod Johnson, and Matthew Hatfield.

Election Day was Tuesday and it's almost time to select a Champion in this
Prediction battle. VHSL-Reference closed
the gap some with a nice 18-1 week, missing only on Kecoughtan/
class=SpellE>Menchville. Rod went
17-2 last week, slicing Hatfield's lead to just two games thanks to Booker T.
Washington's win over Wilson. Matt
settled for a 16-3 mark ("I should've
picked Phoebus over Hampton . . . bad mistake by me," Hatfield said when asked
about last week's showing.).

Lake Taylor:
font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'> For
the third time in six years, Lake Taylor under Coach
normal'>Hank Sawyer ran off a perfect 10-0 regular season in capturing
their tenth Eastern District crown in 14 years.
Lake Taylor comes in as the second highest scoring offense in the
Eastern Region at 46 points per game behind quarterback
normal'> Williams, who has a remarkable 23-0 touchdown-interception ratio
on the season, and set a school single-game record earlier this year with 6TD's
through the air in their victory over Maury.
Eight times this team has eclipsed 40 points, and their two running
backs - - Brandon 'Pork Chop' Moore and
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Davis - - are major reasons why,
combining for 2252 yards and 27TD's on the ground.
style=> Pork Chop was the Eastern District Offensive
Player of the Year.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Three offensive linemen made All-Eastern District First
Team for the Titans in senior center Cliff
Arrington, junior tackle Justice
Gilbert and sophomore guard A.J.
Williams. That unit could be
class=GramE>key to them making a deep run in the postseason as they will
be counted on to get good push up front and help make sure they remain
explosive offensively.
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Donovan Powell gives them a versatile
weapon that can run, pass or catch the football,
scoring 4TD's rushing in last week's victory over Norcom.
style=> Wideouts
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Harry Freeman (25Rec. 470Yds. 11TD's)
and Jakale
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Pinkney (13Rec.
295Yds. 3TD's) and tight end
normal'>Jalyn Holmes (13Rec.
154Yds. 4TD's) round out a talented receiving core.
style=> On defense, the Titans have made 39 sacks
with Holmes, Brandon Lynch,
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Marquise Poole,
normal'> 'Big Money' Harris,
normal'>Shiheem Johnson and
co-Eastern District Defensive Player of the Year
normal'> Spellman all applying pressure.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'> After going only
3-17 over the last two seasons, year two of the
normal'>Chris Fraser tenure has seen improvement for the Maury Commodores,
who are making their fifth playoff appearance since 2005.
style=> The Commodores scored at least 21 points in
each of their first five games, knocking off last year's Peninsula District
Champion Woodside to grab early momentum.
Their offense is putting up a respectable 28.3 points per game, but the
Commodores have scored only 21 points over the last two contests with junior
star receiver Davion
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Taylor out due to a torn meniscus.
style=> Not turning over the football is important
because in last week's 32-8 rivalry loss to Granby, Maury had four of them,
including three interceptions that proved to be costly.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Without Taylor, they lean more on their running game
that features QB Anthony Smith (546
yards passing, 14TD's total), running back Nigel
English, Russell Barclift
and freshman tailback
class=GramE>Little (725 rush yards, 8TD's).
style=> On defense, Maury got double-digit tackles in
their regular season finale from sophomore LB/DE
normal'>Derek Wilder, the son of ODU Head Football Coach Bobby Wilder.
style=> Derek will factor into the equation on offense
as well at tight end. He and Taylor were
the only players chosen First or Second Team All-District on defense for
Maury. Smith makes a huge chunk of their
tackles on defense from the linebacker spot.

the Matchup:
font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'> With
Moore looking like he's not quite 100% the last two weeks, Davis has come on
with 33 rushes for 309 yards the last two games, giving the Titans that
lift. Powell and Williams both brings a
dimension to their offense, and Maury has to find something they can dial up
defensively to create turnovers.
Furthermore, their offense can't be predictable without a bail-out
playmaker in Taylor.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Opponents believe the way to test Lake Taylor is
through the air rather than running against them, where they've given up only
102 yards on the ground the entire season, fewest in the region.
style=> Even back there in the defensive backfield,
sophomore corner Nhyre
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Quinerly has
made four interceptions on the year and junior
normal'>Aaron Chandler came up with a big pick six against Granby, so
offenses must carefully pick their spots to attack.

Maury establish anything offensively?
Remember, in their regular season meeting that the Titans won 48-14,
Maury gave up six touchdown passes through the air and this is a Commodores
defense giving up 29.2PPG (most among all playoff teams), so their best chance
of winning is in a high-scoring affair, not a low-scoring defensive
battle. Both of their TD's in the
regular season meeting came from Taylor and he's gone.
style=> The Titans are so very balanced on offense
and are going to move the ball and score, even if they get off to a slow
start. This is simply a tune-up type
game for Lake Taylor as they prepare for the regional semifinals, at least one
would think. Look for them to sniff out
the run from the get-go, and attack defensively from all angles in a rout.

Says: Lake Taylor 56-10
Rod Says: Lake Taylor 40-7
VHSL-Reference Says: Lake Taylor 42-14



"Verdana","sans-serif"'> For the second year
in a row, the Lakeland Cavaliers are in the Group AAA Division 5 Eastern Region
Playoffs, only this time they are at home instead of opening up on the road in
Portsmouth against Norcom, which eliminated them a
year ago. Coach
normal'>Glenwood Ferebee has an offense that can
be potent at times, scoring 35 points or more in five of their seven wins, and
one that also can get in a rut when they failed to crack 200 total yards, which
occurred in losses to Western Branch and Oscar Smith.
style=> Quarterback
normal'>Zach Super has completed 118 of 198 pass attempts with 1773 yards
and a 16-11TD/Int. ratio, playing his best football down the stretch.
style=> At Super's disposal are a host of playmakers,
led by wideout Antonio
Jefferson, who has made 43 catches for 695 yards and 7TD's go with a district-high
eight interceptions.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Last year's co-Southeastern District Offensive Player
of the Year, running back
normal'>Raekwon Johnson,
has had his ups and downs, rushing for just 727 yards and 10TD's after
accumulating over 2000 all-purpose yards as a junior.
style=> Receivers
normal'>Derrick Edghill,
normal'>Darnell McMillian and Mike
class=SpellE>Piersawl help spread the field and allow the Cavs to
spread the field. When teams double
Jefferson, it opens the door for one of them to make an impact.
style=> Outside of four games giving up 21 points or
more, the Lakeland defense has held every other opponent to nine points or
less. Only a freshman, linebacker
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Yulee is a major force for them,
coming through with some timely plays last week.

King's Fork:
their first playoff appearance in school history,
normal'>Joe Jones' King's Fork Bulldogs have come on strong to end the
season, upsetting Grassfield 25-21 on the road in
late October, and giving Oscar Smith quite a scare in the regular season
finale. They led the Tigers 20-7 in the
third quarter and 28-21 with under a minute to play before falling 42-35 in
double-overtime. Six times this year
they have rushed for 200 yards and their season low of 23 came in a 35-7 loss
to Lakeland. Virginia Tech
class=GramE>commit Charles Clark and
East Carolina commit Davon
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Grayson are the senior leaders for
this team. Junior quarterback
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Uriah Adams has raised his level of
play with over 1000 yards rushing and passing, and freshman RB
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Wethington is
a promising part of their offense for years to come.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Clark has rushed for 10 touchdowns and has followed up
being the Southeastern District Defensive Player of the Year as a junior by
returning four interceptions for scores this season.
style=> Grayson leads the team with 28 receptions for
414 yards, collecting 11 of them for 127 yards last week against Oscar Smith
with most of that work coming on shovel passes.
Senior linebackers TC Livingston,
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Johnson and
normal'>Will Black along with
normal'>Tarrell Lassiter from
the safety spot will deliver some solid hits.
Limiting big gains has been an issue for this group at times, giving up
over 300 yards of offense four times in the past six weeks.

the Matchup:
font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'> Can
Lakeland establish the running game? On
the year, the Cavaliers have rushed for only 875 yards, less than four yards a
pop and four times finished with minus yards on the ground, including against
non-playoff qualifiers Hickory and Nansemond River.
style=> Now, that being said, the Cavs did rush for a
season-high 265 yards against King's Fork in their regular season victory.
style=> But will Lakeland's offensive line have
trouble opening up holes and are their snaps going to be iffy like last week vs.
Nansemond River? It's imperative that
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> White,
normal'>Chris Rodgers, Craig Taylor and
company are sharp in the trenches.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Meanwhile, King's Fork needs to be able to shut down
Jefferson on the outside with Clark, Grayson,
normal'> Diggs or whoever because in a tight battle like this he's
dangerous enough to be a game-breaker.
Furthermore, run the ball and wear Lakeland's defensive front down.
style=> The Cavs aren't real deep outside of the
skill positions. When the Bulldogs run
the rock upwards of 40 times, they are 5-1, but they are just 2-2 with less
than 40 carries. It's not hard to figure
out that they're a team in that option/pistol system have four weapons with QB
Adams, RB Wethington, SB Clark and WR Grayson give
opponents problems and have the ability to keep the defense guessing.
style=> Even James
Hibbs plays an integral role on offense and has
to be accounted for by the defense.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'> This is a game
I've gone back and forth on who will win all week.
style=> Quite honestly, it's a toss-up and either
result wouldn't surprise me. A blowout
would be a little surprising. It's a
huge night for the city of Suffolk, known more for its basketball.
style=> To get a team to the regional semifinals is a
giant step towards gaining some respectability in a district where Chesapeake
has dominated for years and years. King's
Fork seems to have more momentum (if you
believe in such a thing) coming off taking Oscar Smith to 2OT's and beating
Grassfield just a few weeks ago.
style=> Rather quietly, the Lakeland defense is
playing quite well, not allowing a touchdown in the last three weeks, and Super
at QB is making defenses pay when he gets time to throw.
style=> Ultimately, a compelling case can be made for
either team and I see it coming down to converting in the red zone and
minimizing the type of miscues that lead to points for other teams.

Says: King's Fork 30-28
Rod Says: Lakeland 28-21
VHSL-Reference Says: Lakeland 28-27



the 35th time in the past 36 years, the Hampton Crabbers are in the
playoffs. They go with the postseason
like Santa Claus does with Christmas.
style=> Their jolly guy wearing red is Coach
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Mike Smith (
normal'>well, jolly sometimes), a man with 436 career wins, most in VHSL history.
style=> The Crabbers have claimed more state titles
than any other program in Virginia, but haven't won one since 2005 when
class=SpellE>Tyrod Taylor, now of the Baltimore Ravens, led the way.
style=> This team has put up some mighty strong
numbers, averaging 37.6 points per game and pitching five consecutive shutouts
until last week's 35-21 loss to Phoebus in the regular season finale in a game
where they out-gained the Phantoms. It's
quite possible they see Phoebus again in the regional semis.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>On offense, they are led by senior quarterback
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Deon Newsome and junior running back
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Williams; both Virginia Tech commits
who together have racked up 1929 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns.
style=> Newsome dislocated his kneecap in last week's
loss, but should be okay to play here.
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Roscoe Hale gives them a speed
dimension running the ball to complement those guys, accumulating over 100 yards
on the ground in each of the past two games.
On the offensive line, left tackle
normal'> Spriggs, guard
normal'>Troy Garrett and center
normal'>Daunte Wilson all
earned either First or Second Team All-Peninsula District honors.
style=> Defensively, Wilson and Garrett are sure tacklers
along with safety and ODU commit
normal'>Daquin Moore.
style=> D-lineman
normal'> Henry also returns to the lineup this week.

Larry Archie had his share of
concerns going into this season with last year's Norcom
team that made it to the regional title game graduating a lot, including their
entire starting secondary and receiving core.
Nevertheless, Norcom rebounded from a 1-2
start to reach the playoffs for a fourth straight year and notch their fifth
winning season in a row. Offensively,
they go where running back
normal'>Traquan Martin takes
them. Diminutive, yet shifty and
elusive, Martin has rushed for 1021 yards and 7TD's on 143 attempts.
style=> They balance things out with a powerful,
between the tackles runner in Aaron
Parker, and even QB Darron
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Downing is capable of making things
happen with his legs. Speaking of
Downing, he has thrown for 753 yards on the season, often targeting
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Kevin Jones and lately
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Kenneth Wilder Jr.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Six of the opponents they've played, the Greyhounds
have given up 14 points or fewer. Through
the first six games of the year, Norcom was allowing
only 105.3 yards rushing per game. Since
that point, they are giving up 229 yards rushing a contest, including over 300
in a win over Maury. They give up some
yardage, but usually buckle down in the red zone, which was the case in a 24-13
triumph over Maury where senior defensive back
normal'>Darius Jackson came up with two clutch interceptions.
style=> At linebacker,
normal'>Fred Harris,
normal'>Triquan Holman and
Antony 'Tweety'
Styles don't miss too many tackles and excel fairly well at closing rushing
lanes for ball carriers. Sophomore LB
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Brian Cavicante has
stepped up lately, too.

the Matchup:
font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'> It's
a really simple formula for success for the Greyhounds.
style=> When they rush for over 150 yards, they
win. They are 6-0 when that
happens. However, when their running
game is bottled up for less than 125 yards, they have gone 0-4, three times
being limited to less than 70 yards on the ground.
style=> The offensive line must create running room
for Martin and give Downing time to throw so he doesn't have to scramble out of
the pocket so much to buy time. This
task will be up to DeAndre
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Morrison,
normal'>Devin Morrison, Marques
Harvey and the rest of that bunch up front.

also has to be able to stop the run, something they've not done against quality
foes. Hampton passes as one of those quality
foes. Whether it's Newsome, Hale,
Williams or even freshman Demetrius
Strickland, the Crabbers have dynamic rushing options, all capable of
busting one to the house, even against a Norcom
defense that doesn't give up too many big plays.
style=> What Hampton can't do is let this game come
down to having to make a lot of plays in the passing game because they've been
kind of spotty in that area. In other
words, if they get behind a score or two, things could get a little dicey.

biggest question is which Norcom team will show
up? If it's the one we saw for about the
first 15 minutes against Lake Taylor, where they were driving to take a 21-7
lead before fumbling in the red zone, then the Greyhounds have a great shot at
springing the upset. If it's the one we've
seen given up a ton of yards rushing on the ground and gave up 42 unanswered
points to the Titans, they have next to no shot at advancing.
style=> This team has been largely inconsistent
against teams that have winning records with each of their four losses coming
to playoff teams and the only victory over a postseason-bound squad being
versus Maury. Even if Newsome is not at
full strength, Hampton has enough firepower to get the job done and their
defense is playing even better than when Norcom saw
them back on September 8th.

Says: Hampton 28-7
Rod Says: Hampton 28-14
VHSL-Reference Says: Hampton 24-13



"Verdana","sans-serif"'> Everything
including the kitchen sink has been thrown at the Phoebus Phantoms' football
program. Chasing an unprecedented fifth
consecutive state title, which would be a VHSL record, Phoebus went through
some turmoil at the midway point when Stan
Sexton was dismissed as Head Football Coach following an incident at
practice. Shortly after that incident,
star running back Tony Pittman was
suspended two games, and defensive coordinator
normal'>Jeremy Blount became Head Coach.
The Phantoms showed their grit, determination and Championship mettle
though, not missing a beat and concluding another 10-0 regular season, making
their record 151-11 since 2001. Possibly
most impressive, Phoebus is undefeated with a freshman QB in
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Terrell Toliver,
who has 10 touchdown passes and yet to throw an interception.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Pittman returned following his two-game suspension and
continues to run like a bull, rolling up 1465 yards on the ground, third most
currently in the Eastern Region, and 17 touchdowns.
style=> He was a driving force during their playoff
run last year and will be tough to stop as will
normal'> Lane, their #2 option on the ground with 1683 yards and 11
touchdowns. To go with an offense
averaging 42PPG, the defense allows only 9.8PPG, combining speed, physicality
and toughness with Wilson, Lewis, Kevin
Lyles, Richie Staton
(12TD's total), linebacker
normal'>Atavius Matthews and
freshman corner Robbie Robinson leading
the way.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'> It has been a
wonderful year in season two under George
Massenburg for the Heritage Hurricanes, which
earned its first postseason berth since 2007 and now will seek their first
playoff win in 12 years. After being
shutout by Hampton in the opener, Heritage proceeded to average 35 points per
game over the next four, which included a 28-27 nail-biting loss to the
Phantoms. That was the most points the
Phoebus defense has given up all year.
Heritage did suffer a late-season setback with a 35-14 loss to Warwick,
which didn't make the playoffs. Throw
out that performance and a loss to Bethel where they gave up 41 points and the
defense is allowing only 14.6PPG.
Offensively, they are led by the Peninsula District Offensive Player of
the Year in Khalid Abdullah.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Abdullah, who one offer on the table from James Madison
University, has an unorthodox running style, but it's successful to the tune of
rushing for 1555 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Heritage will mix in fullback Cameron
Siler at times, and even Richard
Outlaw will take off on some quarterback keepers.
style=> Credit goes to the Heritage offensive line as
well, which is anchored by Second Team All-District performer
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Ian Giddings, a sophomore with nearly
50 tackles on the year on defense.
Defensively, d-lineman
normal'>Deonte Tucker,
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Charlie Harrison and sophomores
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Holloway at linebacker and corner
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Marcus Van Hook have all risen to the occasion
at different times.

the Matchup:
font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'> Phoebus
did have a tough time slowing down Abdullah in the first meeting as he got over
100 yards and nearly led the Hurricanes to an enormous upset.
style=> The Phantoms know they have to put Heritage
into some third-and-long passing situations where Abdullah isn't in the
equation. Forcing the Canes to pass
increase the number of takeaway opportunities for the defense, plus allows guys
like Staton, Wilson and Matthews to tee off on

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>What seems to be a daunting task for Heritage in this
matchup is neutralizing that strong Phoebus running game by penetrating through
the offensive line. The Phantoms are
massive on the o-line with Jamal Earls,
Harry Lewis, ODU commit
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Mark Wilson,
normal'>Anthony Burrell,
normal'>Tyreek Bailey and
All-PD guard Walter Brantley.
style=> Those names mentioned earlier, such as
Holloway, Harrison, Van Hook and Tucker, are all vital to the run stuffing
effort for Heritage.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'> This one comes
down to simply whoever can slow down the other team's workhorse running
back. Given how much Phoebus raises its level
of play in the postseason and thrives on playoff re-matches, the edge has to go
to them. They just beat their archrival
last week and could come out a little flat, except Heritage played them close so
they will take them very serious on their 'Drive for Five.'
style=> Heritage has to be able to shorten the game
with Abdullah and make the freshman beat them.
So far, Toliver is doing a great job of being
a game-manager and not taking many risks at all.
style=> Phoebus had the well-documented coaching change,
but they don't seem to let much bother them when it comes to kickoff and
between those white lines. Experience
should mean a lot here, too.

Says: Phoebus 31-13
Rod Says: Phoebus 42-13
VHSL-Reference Says: Phoebus 42-6



115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>Matthew Hatfield
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>
has covered Eastern Region Football & Basketball since 2004 for
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>, part of the
Network. Check out
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Hatfield's Twitter page
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'> for more sports related updates,
and you can also read his work in the
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Suffolk News Herald
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>.
To contact Matthew, please e-mail
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>, and don't forget to listen to him
Saturdays from 10AM to Noon on
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>ESPN Radio 94.1
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>
plus watch him on the
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>Cox 11 Sports Report
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>.
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>

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