Paintsville (Ky.) at No. 2 Union
Class 1A Paintsville (3-2) dropped a 23-14 decision at Hazard last week. The Tigers are outscoring foes by an average margin of 26-19. … Union has averaged 34 points en route to five straight wins. First-year quarterback Brody Gibson has thrown for four scores and over 300 yards while senior Mason Polier has supplied 13 touchdowns and over 500 yards rushing. Union will use this game a tune-up for next week’s Mountain 7 showdown against Ridgeview at Bullitt Park.
Prediction: Union 28, Paintsville 7
Mountain Lakes Conference
No. 3 Tennessee High at Volunteer
Last meeting: Tennessee High 49, Volunteer 0 (Sept. 28, 2018, at Bristol, Tenn.)
Tennessee High (4-1) has averaged 39.5 points during its four-game win streak, while the Falcons (2-3) have surrendered 36.4 points, including 44.3 in their three losses. …The Vikings have won the last eight against Volunteer, with the Falcons putting 34.3 points a game during that streak. …Volunteer, which is 2-0 against Sullivan County teams (Sullivan Central, Sullivan East) this season, last defeated the Vikings in the 2007 postseason. ...Cole McBrayer has thrown for 1,038 yards and 11 touchdowns and has also run for three more scores for the Vikings. …Tennessee High has allowed just 39 points in the last four games, with 23 of those coming late in a big win over Virginia High. …The Vikings are currently tied for first in the Mountain Lakes with Cherokee and David Crockett.
Prediction: Tennessee High 42, Volunteer 13.
No. 4 Graham at Princeton (W.Va.)
Last meeting: Graham 49, Princeton 10 (Sept. 28, 2018 in Bluefield, W.Va.)
Graham quarterback Cam Allen starred in this matchup last season, rushing for 145 yards and three scores. …Princeton (1-3) allowed 270 yards rushing last week in a 10-7 loss to Tazewell but did pass for 162 yards with three interceptions. The Tigers opened the season with a 45-16 loss to Bluefield. ...Graham averages 35 points but the defense was vulnerable in losses to Bluefield (41-27) and Union (37-35). Sophomore receiver Xayvion Turner leads the G-Men with five touchdowns.
Prediction: Graham 35, Princeton 7
Gate City at No. 5 George Wythe
Last meeting: Gate City 21, George Wythe 14 (Dec. 1, 2007 in Gate City, Va.)
Gate City has lost four straight after a season-opening win over Richlands, falling 35-28, 42-12, 42-7 and 28-14. However, don’t let the record fool you says George Wythe coach Brandon Harner. “Gate City is the best 1-and-4 team I have seen,” Harner said. “You have to completely ignore their record or you will get beat. Gate City is physical on both sides of the ball and has played a very tough schedule and for the most part given all those teams a game until the end.” … George Wythe has won four straight since a season-opening setback to Radford. The Maroons are averaging 37.8 points per game with quarterback Cole Simmons at the controls. Simmons has thrown for 1,227 yards and rushed for 367 more. He has not been intercepted in 98 pass attempts. … Braydon Thompson (26 catches, 682 yards) is the top receiving target and Ravvon Wells (89 carries, 547 yards) gets it done on the ground for GW. … These teams split a pair of classic state semifinal games in 2002 and 2007. This regular-season matchup should be just as entertaining.
Prediction: Gate City 23, George Wythe 20
No. 6 Patrick Henry at Rural Retreat
Last meeting: Patrick Henry 46, Rural Retreat 13 (Sept. 28, 2018 in Emory, Va.)
Patrick Henry running back Zach Brown is expected to miss this game due to an ankle injury, making the matchup more intriguing. Brown had gained 574 yards on 51 carries this season before exiting last week’s win over John Battle early. … Cody Pruitt has performed well at fullback and inside linebacker for PH, while quarterback Dakota Rector is directing the offense with a steady hand. … Rural Retreat got a quality win over Holston last week. … Patrick Henry led just 8-7 at halftime against Rural Retreat last year, but pulled away over the final two quarters. … “Rural Retreat is playing very well right now,” said PH coach Mark Palmer. “Defensively, they have been very stingy and the offense is starting to click. They are well-coached and always play physical. When you play Rural Retreat you have to show up ready to play your best.” … Somebody will have to step up for Patrick Henry tonight in Brown’s absence.
Prediction: Patrick Henry 30, Rural Retreat 13
No. 7 Chilhowie at Virginia High
Last meeting: Chilhowie 37, Virginia High 7 (Sept. 28, 2018 in Chilhowie, Va.)
Chilhowie held Virginia High to 32 yards rushing last season while generating 408 total yards. …Sophomore Ajaani Delaney and 5-10 sophomore Stevie Thomas (440 yards rushing, five TDS) have been productive for VHS. … Chilhowie, looking for its first win in Bristol since 2010, has relied on steady linebackers Jarred Johnson, Gabino Silverio and Thomas Peery. Silverio has reached double-digit in tackles the past three games. The last regular loss for Chilhowie came in 2017 at VHS. …“Virginia High’s record is deceiving because their schedule has been very tough,” Chilhowie coach Jeff Robinson said. “Thomas is one of the most dynamic playmakers I’ve seen on film this year. He can really make things happen.”
Prediction: Chilhowie 28, Virginia High 14