Tazewell (7-3) at No. 1 Graham (8-2)
Saturday, 1 p.m.
Last meeting: Graham 45, Tazewell 0 (Sept. 6, 2019 in Bluefield, W.Va.)
In the second week of the season, Graham opened a 35-0 halftime lead and rolled up 295 total yards. Old Dominion University commit Devin Lester led the party by passing for 162 yards and four scores, while 200-pound senior Tre Booker added 78 yards rushing. …Tazewell managed 206 yards rushing in the earlier meeting, as Chancellor Harris accounted for 93 yards on 18 carries. Harris is now sidelined by injury along with six other regulars. Despite those setbacks, the Bulldogs earned their first playoff berth since 2014 and first winning record since 2009. … Junior quarterback Gavin Nunley (1,647 total yards) and junior Josiah Jordan (1,033 total yards) lead Tazewell, while Graham features a variety of playmakers.
Prediction: Graham 42, Tazewell 14
Honaker (5-5) vs. No. 3 Patrick Henry (10-0)
At Emory & Henry College
Last meeting: Patrick Henry 49, Honaker 21 (Oct. 25, 2019 in Emory, Va.)
Having completed a perfect regular season for the first time since 1997, Patrick Henry is three wins away from doing what no team in program history has ever done – win a regional title. … Patrick Henry coach Mark Palmer has been proud of his team’s focus. Cody Smith has 1,203 rushing yards and 247 receiving yards for PH and is a big-play threat every time he touches the ball. Quarterback Dakota Rector has thrown for 897 yards and nine touchdowns with tight end Ean Rhea (15 catches, 347 yards, two touchdowns) as a reliable target. … Connor Beeson scored three touchdowns in PH’s regular-season win over Honaker. … Honaker won the Black Diamond District title, but the Tigers have battled injury issues all season. Senior Trevor Dye is the program’s all-time leading rusher. … Will this be Doug Hubbard’s final game as head coach at Honaker? He’s been at the helm of the Tigers since 1983. “My plan is to take a couple of weeks at the end of the season and let everything settle down and see what is best for the football program, myself and my family,” Hubbard said. … This will be the second year in a row that the Rebels and Tigers met in the regular season and the playoffs. PH will make it a season sweep again.
Prediction: Patrick Henry 50, Honaker 10
Gate City (4-6) at No. 4 Union (8-2)
Last meeting: Union 28, Gate City 14 (Sept. 27, 2019 in Big Stone Gap, Va.)
In the regular season meeting, Union built a 21-0 halftime lead. The Bears finished with 385 total yards, including 278 rushing. …Gate City collected 277 yards on the ground in the loss as senior running back Michael Calhoun (6-0, 255) accounted for 153 yards and two scores. … Mason Polier, who supplied 99 yards rushing and three scores against GC in the regular season, must carry a big load tonight on offense and defense. …Both teams have been slowed by injuries, but Union is one of the few programs in far Southwest Virginia with depth. Look for an old school ground-and-pound battle, with a couple big runs from Polier making the difference.
Prediction: Union 21, Gate City 7
Marion (3-7) at No. 5 Ridgeview (8-2)
Last meeting: Marion 46, Ridgeview 21 (Oct. 21, 2016 in Marion, Va.)
This will be another showcase for Ridgeview running back Trenton Adkins. The graceful 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior has accounted for 2,426 yards rushing and 42 touchdowns while attracting an assortment of major college offers. Adkins is the son of Antonio Vaughn, who was a standout running back at Hunters Lane High School in Nashville, Tennessee. … Ridgeview has lost to Union and Pikeville, Kentucky, but the next closest game for the Wolfpack came in a 41-20 defeat of Wise County Central. … Marion has wins over John Battle, Grayson County and Lebanon, but the Scarlet Hurricanes have endured five straight blowout losses. Standouts include senior lineman Will Moss (26 tackles for loss), sophomore Matt Pruitt (10 sacks) and senior quarterback Tanner Tate, who has thrown for 995 yards and nine scores while rushing for over 560 yards.
Prediction: Ridgeview 42, Marion 0
Richlands (6-4) at No. 6 Wise County Central (8-2)
Last meeting: Richlands 45, Wise Co. Central 0 (Sept. 9, 2016 in Richlands, Va.
C.J. Crabtree leads Wise Central with 19 touchdowns and 1,592 yards rushing, with an average of 9.9 yards per carry. Noah Bolling (459 yards), Matthew Boggs (438) and Matt Peters (398) have also been productive on the ground, while Ethan Mullins has thrown for 667 yards. … In addition to senior kicker Levi Forrest (11 field goals) and a veteran line corps, Richlands features senior quarterback Cade Simmons (1,311 yards, 12 TDs passing), 6-2 junior athlete Logan Steele (914 yards rushing, 10 TDs) and sophomore speedster Sage Webb, who has accounted for 960 total yards and 11 scores.
Prediction: Richlands 17, Wise County Central 14
Thomas Walker (6-4) at No. 7 Chilhowie (8-2)
Last meeting: First meeting
This is not only the first matchup between these squads, but it will mark the first time Chilhowie has played a team from Lee County since 1947. The Warriors won 14-6 that year at Pennington, according the records kept by Rick Baker of www.fourseasonsfootball.com. … Thomas Walker enters the playoffs on a three-game losing skid. … The last postseason win for TW came in 1996 and the Pioneers currently have the longest playoff victory drought among all teams in far Southwest Virginia. … Running back Kenny Ball (1,181 rushing yards, 16 touchdowns) and defensive end Jason Cowden have been the leaders all season for Thomas Walker. … Chilhowie has never lost a Region 1D playoff game since the most recent realignment, having won the regional championship in 2017 and 2018. The Warriors lost 15 seniors from last year’s squad, but have still been strong. “If you had told me coming into this year we would be 8-and-2 at this point, with our only two losses to two 10-and-0 teams [Narrows and Patrick Henry] by a combined nine points – games that we had a chance to win at the end – I’m not sure I would have believed that,” said Chilhowie coach Jeff Robinson. “All the credit goes to this team, how they have played selflessly and for the commitment they have shown. I feel like we are battle-tested and ready for the playoffs.” … Chilhowie senior Logan Adams is as versatile of an athlete as you’ll find in Region 1D. He’s thrown for 982 yards, rushed for 362 yards, punted for a 33.4-yard average, made 35 tackles and snagged two interceptions. … “Coach Robinson is one of the best coaches in Southwest Virginia,” said TW boss Nick Johnson. “To go to back-to-back state title games and lose the players they lost and be right back with an 8-and-2 record is a testament to him and his staff. They are loaded from top to bottom. We are going to have to play our best for four quarters to have a chance.”
Prediction: Chilhowie 49, Thomas Walker 12