Mountain 7 District
No. 1 Abingdon at Gate City
Last meeting: Abingdon 45, Gate City 13 (Aug. 31, 2018 in Abingdon, Va.)
In addition to depth, Abingdon displayed a balanced offense and physical defense last week against John Battle. Junior defensive back Tyler Harless is one of several heavy-hitters for a Falcon team that held Battle under 140 yards in total offense. … Gate City was the talk of far Southwest Virginia last week after its 34-29 victory at Richlands. Relying on basically the same cast as last year, the Blue Devils rushed for 295 yards behind the power of senior running back Michael Calhoun (6-0, 255) and the speed of 6-2 senior D’Andre Mack. … Look for an overflow crowd at Legion Field, but Abingdon will gradually pull away behind 6-3 tailback Martin Lucas.
Prediction: Abingdon 28, Gate City 12
Tazewell at No. 2 Graham
Last meeting: Graham 41, Tazewell 19 (Aug. 31, 2018 in Tazewell, Va.)
Graham was hurt by big plays in a 41-27 loss to rival Bluefield last week, but Old Dominion commit Devin Lester lived up to his all-star billing. The 5-11 Lester rushed for 251 yards on 33 carries while throwing for 177 yards without an interception. … The maturation process for Tazewell began to kick in last week as the Bulldogs compiled 470 yards rushing in a 55-14 win against Virginia High. Junior running back Chancellor Harris collected 277 total all-purpose yards. … The hefty line corps of Graham makes the difference here.
Prediction: Graham 35, Tazewell 14
Shelby Valley, Ky. at No. 3 Ridgeview
Last meeting: Ridgeview 49, Shelby Valley 0 (Aug. 31, 2018 in Pikeville, Ky.)
Shelby Valley managed just six first downs and 117 total yards in this matchup last season. The Class 2A Wildcats opened this season with wins over Letcher County Central (44-22) and Pike County Central (12-7) in last week’s Pike County Bowl. … Junior running back Trenton Adkins was nearly unstoppable last week against J.I. Burton, sprinting for 357 yards rushing and five scores. Senior receiver Timmy Hess provided a nice counter-balance for the Wolfpack, catching six passes for 92 yards. … Adkins will top the 200-yard mark again tonight.
Prediction: Ridgeview 28, Shelby Valley 7
Richlands at No. 4 Union
Last meeting: Union 42, Richlands 28 (Aug. 31, 2018 in Richlands, Va.)
Union silenced some doubters last week by rushing for 416 yards in a 41-7 rout of Lee High. Gritty senior Bryce Guerrant led the fun run with 153 yards while five players scored touchdowns. … Richlands was hurt by turnovers in the upset loss to Gate City but 6-2 senior quarterback Cade Simmons was impressive. In his first game since eighth grade, Simmons completed 16 of 31 passes for 220 yards. … Union wins this one behind a solid linebacker corps and the homefield advantage.
Prediction: Union 28, Richlands 14
Mountain Lakes Conference
No. 5 Tennessee High at Daniel Boone
Last meeting: Daniel Boone 26, Tennessee High 21 (Aug. 31, 2018, at Bristol, Tenn.)
Daniel Boone (1-1) suffered more much more than a loss last week to two-time defending Class 4 state champion Greeneville. The Trailblazers have reportedly lost star Charlie Cole to a broken forearm, which could leave him sidelined for tonight and perhaps for up to six weeks…Tennessee High head coach Mike Mays isn’t so sure, commenting, “I’ll believe it when I see it”…Cole, who has committed to play next at Army, will be tough to replace…Tennessee High has had two weeks to prepare for this one, after Dobyns-Bennett scored 16 unanswered points for a 20-point win over the Vikings. Tennessee High (0-1) struggled to get a running game going in that one, but Cole McBrayer did thrown for nearly 300 yards against the Indians, including two passes that speedy Jaden Keller turned into long touchdowns…Tennessee High will benefit from the return of linebacker Connor Bailey, who missed the opener due to concussion protocol…Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins was not pleased with the tackling of his Blazers against Greeneville, and his club managed just 213 yards on offense…Daniel Boone, which opened with a win over Sullivan South, has won the last three games in this series.
Prediction: Tennessee High 23, Daniel Boone 20
No. 6 Chilhowie at J.I. Burton
Last meeting: Chilhowie 49, J.I. Burton 14 (Aug. 31, 2018 in Chilhowie, Va.)
This is one of the top games on tonight’s Southwest Virginia docket. … Chilhowie ran its regular-season win streak to 15 games with a 46-26 triumph over Marion last week. The Warriors overcame eight penalties, four fumbles and two blown coverages by winning the turnover battle and relying on a balanced attack. … Defensive lineman Lucas Greer had 14 tackles and two fumble recoveries in the win, Malachi Thomas snagged two interceptions, Logan Adams threw four TD passes, Lucas Doss had two touchdown catches and Jonathan Gilley amassed 204 yards of total offense. … J.I. Burton led Ridgeview 13-7 early in the second quarter last week, but allowed 33 unanswered points. Sophomore Jaymen Buchanan played well in his first start at quarterback for the Raiders. … Chilhowie has won six of its last seven meetings with Burton. … “J.I. Burton is one of the most talented teams in Region 1D,” said Chilhowie coach Jeff Robinson. “They have lots of speed and playmakers to go with a massive line. With the game being at their place, we will have to bring our A-game to have a chance to win.”
Prediction: Chilhowie 30, J.I. Burton 27