The Bristol Herald Courier's Super Seven Poll (first-place votes in parentheses).
1. Graham (4)
4. Tennessee High
6. Patrick Henry
Others receiving votes: George Wythe, Grundy, Holston
No. 3 Union at No. 1 Graham
Last meeting: Graham 28, Union 7 (Nov. 17, 2018 in Big Stone Gap, Va.)
This second round playoff matchup was played before an overflow crowd at Bullitt Park last year. Graham earned the win as quarterback Cam Allen accounted for 406 total yards. …. While Allen has already earned playing time in the defensive backfield at Purdue, Graham is churning out 36 points per game behind an array of offensive weapons. Five players, including versatile senior Devin Lester, have scored at least two touchdowns for the G-Men. Lester collected over 100 yards receiving against Union last year. … Thanks to four touchdowns from Mason Polier, Union earned a wild 42-20 victory last week against Letcher County Central in rural Whitesburg, Kentucky. That contest, which ended after midnight, was delayed by lightning, numerous penalties and hot tempers.
Prediction: Graham 21, Union 7
Mountain 7 District
Gate City at No. 2 Ridgeview
Last meeting: Ridgeview 35, Gate City 7 (Sept. 28, 2018 in Gate City, Va.)
Ridgeview running back Trenton Adkins rushed for 198 yards and three scores against GC last year as the Wolfpack built on a 21-0 halftime lead. … Adkins has attracted statewide attention though three weeks this season, charging for 17 touchdowns and rushing for at least 295 yards in each game. Senior tight Joe Yates (6-1, 220), junior offensive lineman Andrew Edwards (6-3, 245) and senior fullback Alijah Sproles (6-0, 220) have cleared running lanes for Adkins. …. After impressive performances against Richlands and Abingdon to open the season, Gate City made four turnovers in a 42-12 loss to Sullivan South last week. The Blue Devils also face challenges in their next two games against Union and George Wythe.
Prediction: Ridgeview 28, Gate City 14
Mountain Lakes Conference
Morristown East at No. 4 Tennessee High
Last meeting: Tennessee High, 35, Morristown East 19 (Sept. 14, 2018, at Morristown, Tenn.)
Tennessee High finally returns to the Stone Castle to face the winless Hurricanes…The Vikings (2-1), who have played their last five games away from home, rolled past Virginia High last Friday, led by Cole McBrayer, who set a school record by throwing for 401 yards and six touchdowns. He connected with 10 different receivers…Morristown East (0-4), which has lost two straight and three of the last four against the Vikings, have dropped three games this season by 4, 6 and 4 points. That includes a season-opening 23-19 loss to county rival Morristown West…Caleb Stover is in his first year as head coach of the Hurricanes, who managed just 133 yards of offense in last week’s loss to Knox Gibbs, including 67 through the air by Cole Henson.
Prediction: Tennessee High 35, Morristown East 20.
No. 5 Abingdon at Richlands
Last meeting: Abingdon 17, Richlands 10 (Oct. 21, 2016 in Abingdon, Va.)
The spectacular work of Ridgeview’s Trenton Adkins has fans in Southwest Virginia buzzing, but Abingdon’s Martin Lucas has been productive. The 6-3, 230-pound sophomore has rushed for 366 yards and scored seven touchdowns. …. Abingdon lost its center to an injury in the opening moments of last week’s 49-0 home loss to Pulaski County. The Falcons then coughed up three fumbles while being held to four first downs. Four AHS players have at least 50 yards receiving. … After opening the season with losses to Gate City and Union, Richlands will face Bluefield, Radford and Tazewell after tonight’s showdown. Speedy sophomore Sage Webb is a big-play threat for the Blue Tornado along with 6-6 tight end Hayden Whited while senior linebacker Jake Absher is a tackling machine.
Prediction: Abingdon 24, Richlands 17
No. 6 Patrick Henry at Lee High
Lee High has been outscored an average margin of 48-13 in two games. Quarterback Tanner Laster has generated 235 yards in total offense while Nick Napier has 99 yards rushing and Bryce Clark has 11 solo tackles. … The key for Patrick Henry will be to counter the large line corps of Lee. Senior outside linebacker Isaac Chaffin and offensive lineman Hunter Wachob have been solid as first-year starters for PH. After making the circuitous trek to Buchanan County last week to face Hurley, PH will cement its road warrior status tonight with the 93-mile journey to Ben Hur. … With 420 students, PH has the largest enrollment among all Region 1D schools. Lee High (666 students) is the second-largest school behind Richlands in Region 2D.
Prediction: Patrick Henry 28, Lee High 7