Mountain Empire District

George Wythe at Fort Chiswell

Last meeting: George Wythe 6, Fort Chiswell 2 (Aug. 31, 2018 in Wytheville, Va.)

George Wythe suffered a 45-23 loss at Radford last week, but that didn’t keep Cole Simmons of the Maroons from putting on an air show. … Simmons was 15-of-27 for 349 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He threw scoring strikes to Braydon Thompson (five catches, 212 yards, two TDs) and Jude Reigelsperger (two receptions, 71 yards, one TD). … Isaac Dunford’s 25-yard field goal with three seconds remaining gave Fort Chiswell a 15-14 season-opening win over Rural Retreat last week. Quarterback Dylan Bailey, wide receiver Eli Jones and linebacker Jonathan Poole also played well as Chris Akers was victorious in his debut as the head coach of the Pioneers. … After the teams combined for just eight points in the 2018 meeting, there should be many more points put up in this year’s matchup and most of them will come from the Maroons.

Prediction: George Wythe 40, Fort Chiswell 18


River View (W.Va.) at Grundy

Last meeting: Grundy 40, River View 12 (Aug. 31, 2018 in Bradshaw, W.Va.)

Grundy opened the season with a 28-8 Black Diamond District win over Twin Valley last week and a star was born in the process. Freshman running back Ian Scammell rushed for 188 yards and three touchdowns in his varsity debut for the Golden Wave. … Defensive tackle Reid Campbell also had a productive night for Grundy. … River View (1-1) opened the season with a 20-6 win over Montcalm, before dropping a 21-20 decision to Mount View. Quarterback Boo Roberts is the catalyst for the Raiders. “River View is the most improved team we have scouted,” said Grundy coach Craig Plymal. “They have great size on the line and good skill people around them. They play a ball control offense and do it well.” … Grundy is 4-0 all-time against River View and has won every game by at least 20 points. That trend will continue tonight.

Prediction: Grundy 33, River View 8

Castlewood at Honaker

Last meeting: Honaker 21, Castlewood 6 (Aug. 31, 2018 in Castlewood, Va.)

Honaker can claim the Russell County championship for the second straight year. … The Tigers limited Lebanon to five first downs in a 14-0 victory last Friday. Trevor Dye, Levi Glymp, Travis Musick and J.C. Horn led the way for the defense. … Honaker quarterback Levi Miller left that game with a knee injury in the second quarter. He has a MRI scheduled on Friday. … Trevor Dye’s TD run with less than five minutes left clinched Honaker’s win over Castlewood last year. … Castlewood was crushed by Patrick Henry in Week 1 by a 41-6 margin. Gavin Monk and Jeremiah Allen were strong in defeat for the Blue Devils with Allen finishing with more than 15 tackles. ... “We face another physical football team this coming week in Honaker,” said Castlewood coach Chris Lark. “Coach [Doug] Hubbard always has his teams prepared to play. We need to be ready to play from the first whistle to have a chance.”

Prediction: Honaker 31, Castlewood 12

Rye Cove at Hurley

Last meeting: Hurley 18, Rye Cove 7 (Aug. 24, 2018 in Clinchport, Va.)

This will be the season-opener for Rye Cove, but it wasn’t originally scheduled that way. The Eagles were supposed to play at Jenkins (Kentucky) last Friday, but the Cavaliers cancelled due to a lack of healthy players. … Matthew Hardin will have to deliver on both sides of the ball for Rye Cove tonight, while linebacker Jon Howell will also be counted on to get stops against Hurley’s rugged rushing attack. … Hurley finished with more than 300 yards rushing last week in a 22-14 trumping of Tug Valley (West Virginia) as the trio of Matt Blankenship, John Matt Justus and Dustin Stinson led the way. It was the first win for Austin Cooper as the head coach of the Rebels. … Hurley should roll in this one and be 2-0.

Prediction: Hurley 34, Rye Cove 15

Twin Valley at Montcalm (W.Va.)

Last meeting: Twin Valley 22, Montcalm 16 (Aug. 31, 2018 in Keen Mountain, Va.)

This is the epitome of small-school football as Montcalm (Enrollment: 218) and Twin Valley (Enrollment: 188) go for their first win of 2019. … Xzavier Ward and Isiah Boyd played well in Twin Valley’s 28-8 season-opening loss to rival Grundy last Friday. … Montcalm got mashed, 36-6, by River View (West Virginia) in its opener on Aug. 26. Two-way standout Christian Hudgins, lineman Zach Sayers and defensive stalwart Alex Pruitt (13 tackles in the opener) are the leaders for the Generals. … This should be tightly-contested showdown, much like it was last year. “We feel like it should be a very competitive game against one of the only teams we play that will have about the same number of kids on their roster as we do,” said Montcalm coach Adam Havens.

Prediction: Twin Valley 22, Montcalm 16

Eastside at Patrick Henry

Last meeting: Patrick Henry 53, Eastside 46 (Sept. 7, 2018 in Emory, Va.)

These two teams combined for 99 points and 897 yards of total offense in last year’s matchup. Cody Smith scored three of his four touchdowns in the second half as the Rebels prevailed. … Don’t expect similar offensive fireworks tonight as PH’s defense has improved immensely under new defensive coordinator Billy Testerman. The Rebels limited Castlewood to 119 yards of total offense last week in 41-6 triumph as Ean Rhea and Chase Brown led the way. … Eastside allowed 515 rushing yards last week in a 51-20 loss to Wise County Central and the Spartans will once again face a top rushing attack tonight. Smith and Zach Brown of PH make things tough on opponents. “They aren’t fancy, but what they do they are extremely good at and probably the most physical team on our schedule,” said Eastside coach Mike Rhodes. “The Brown kid is one of the best [Class 1 running backs] in the state and while they are a run-first team, the quarterback [Dakota Rector] throws the ball really well.”... Eastside assistant coaches Seth Padgett and Ryan Padgett played at now-defunct St. Paul High School and one of their mentors there was current PH boss Mark Palmer.

Prediction: Patrick Henry 42, Eastside 16

Holston at Twin Springs

Last meeting: Holston 44, Twin Springs 0 (Aug. 31, 2018 in Damascus, Va.)

One of these teams will be 2-0 and will get a major confidence boost. … Austin Faris, Jordan Ezzell and Lane Blevins shined in Holston’s 53-26 overpowering of Eastern Montgomery last week. The Cavaliers led 40-6 at halftime. … Twin Springs topped Northwood, 30-14, in its opener as Conner Gilmer (14 tackles) and Corbin Kilgore (154 rushing yards) had top-notch performances. … “Twin Springs is a well-coached and much-improved team,” said Holston boss Derrick Patterson.”They have backs that run hard and have good speed. Their linemen get after it and they have an athletic quarterback [Mason Elliott] who makes things happen throwing or running.”

Prediction: Holston 29, Twin Springs 14

Northwood at Narrows

Last meeting: Narrows 55, Northwood 13 (Nov. 18, 2005 in Narrows, Va.)

The fortunes of these two squads couldn’t be any different. … Narrows finished as Region 1C runner-up in 2017 and 2018 and posted a 14-0 season-opening win over Auburn. … Linebacker Reid Bowman, safety Jake Robertson and linebacker Ty Robertson were among the stars in that defensive effort. … Northwood has lost 10 straight games and the Panthers have allowed 30 or more points in each of those defeats. A 30-14 setback to Twin Springs last Friday prolonged the skid. … This was a late addition to the schedule after the Bland County Bears cancelled their 2019 season in August. … This is the third meeting, but first regular-season matchup between the squads. Northwood beat Narrows in the first round of the 2003 Region C, Division 1 playoffs and the Green Wave returned the favor two years later. … Northwood’s struggles will continue.

Prediction: Narrows 42, Northwood 14

Rural Retreat at Eastern Montgomery

Last meeting: First meeting

One of these teams will get in the win column and atone for a tough Week 1 loss. … Rural Retreat dropped a 15-13 decision to Fort Chiswell on a field goal in the final moments, while Eastern Montgomery was manhandled in a 53-26 loss to Holston. … Poor ball security and missed tackles contributed to Eastern Montgomery’s loss. Darion Moore played well offensively, while defensive end Cole Shepherd showed promise in the loss. … This is the first meeting between the two squads, but Rural Retreat did play Shawsville (Eastern Montgomery’s predecessor) nine times, the last occuring in 1978. … “Rural Retreat is a very physical football team that will run right at you play after play,” said EM coach Jordan Stewart. “Defensively, they fly around and make tackles. It’s going to be a dogfight.”

Prediction: Rural Retreat 28, Eastern Montgomery 22

Virginia High at John Battle

Last meeting: Virginia High 20, John Battle 13 (Aug. 31, 2018 in Bristol, Va.)

Not much went right for Virginia High last week as the Bearcats were overwhelmed by the speed of Tazewell. Sophomore running back Stevie Thomas did contribute 61 yards rushing on 21 carries while first-year quarterback Gage Richard threw for two scores. The focus of VHS tonight must be on defense. … John Battle had no answer for the size and versatility of Abingdon, especially after the loss of playmaker Zane Poe to injury. The Trojans did play well in spots behind linemen Tyler McCloud (6-1, 228) and Eddie Rodriguez (6-0, 253). … VHS holds a 45-11 edge in this series, reeling off five wins a row. That streak will be in jeopardy tonight.

Prediction: John Battle 20, Virginia High 14

Northeastern Conference

Elizabethton at Sullivan East

Last meeting: Elizabethton 63, Sullivan East 0 (Aug, 31, 2018, at Elizabethton, Tenn.)

Both teams have had two weeks to prepare for this one… Sullivan East (0-1) lost an early lead to fall at Johnson County 14-13, while the Cyclones (1-0) opened with their second straight win over Science Hill…Sullivan East, which lost 14-0 last year to the Longhorns, had an opportunity with a pass into the end zone on the final play, but it fell incomplete. Dylan White connected with Clayton Ivester and Mason Hayworth added a touchdown run for the Patriots, who took an early 13-0 lead… Elizabethton has scored 122 points over the last two seasons in wins over the Patriots, the first meetings between these clubs since 2009…Cade Maupin led the Cyclones past the Hilltoppers, not only running for 153 yards and a touchdown, but the Dobyns-Bennett transfer had a nifty late interception to preserve the victory. Bryson Rollins also ran for two touchdowns and threw for one more for the Cyclones…Sullivan East will have to play keep-away with the ball to keep this one close.

Prediction: Elizabethton 43, Sullivan East 13.

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