Parry McCluer (3-7) at George Wythe (7-2)
Last meeting: Parry McCluer 14, George Wythe 9 (Nov. 10, 2017 in Wytheville, Va.)
George Wythe senior Ravvon Wells has rushed for 920 yards in nine games and if he gains 80 yards on the ground tonight, he’ll give the Maroons a neat distinction. That’d mean GW would have a 1,000-yard rusher, a 1,000-yard receiver (Braydon Thompson has 1,155 receiving yards) and a 2,000-yard passer (Cole Simmons has thrown for 2,075 yards). … Simmons has been intercepted just once in 103 pass attempts. “GW is a lot like [Pioneer District champion] Narrows,” said PM coach Mark Wheeler. “They run a very effective spread offense in which they catch you on the outside with quick screens and passes and jet sweeps, then gut you up the middle with traps and quick-hitters. They also have the capability of hitting the deep ball on you. Their quarterback is an excellent athlete with a strong supporting cast. GW will no doubt be a challenge for our defense, so we are going to have to score a lot of points.” … Parry McCluer started the season 0-5 and the Blues managed just six points in those five games. … Running back Keaton Coleman (587 rushing yards), 6-foot-3, 270-pound offensive lineman/defensive end Brendon Conley, quarterback/defensive back Ty Ruley, kicker/punter/defensive back Jacob Wootten and 6-foot-3, 275-pound sophomore offensive lineman Trey Orren are the leaders for Parry McCluer. … Look for George Wythe to roll and Wells to join the 1,000-yard club.
Prediction: George Wythe 41, Parry McCluer 16
Castlewood (6-4) vs. J.I. Burton (8-2)
Last meeting: J.I. Burton 28, Castlewood 7 (Oct. 25, 2019 in Norton, Va.)
These Cumberland District rivals clash at Lawson-Fitchko Stadium for the second time in less than a month. … Castlewood led 7-6 at halftime in the previous meeting, but failed to score in the second half as Mikey Culbertson took over on offense for J.I. Burton. … Esau Teasley has been a gamebreaker for J.I. Burton. He’s rushed for 866 yards and is averaging 15.7 yards per carry. Culbertson (831 rushing yards) and Najee Steele (603 rushing yards) give J.I. Burton plenty of options in the ground game. … J.I. Burton has won eight straight games since opening the season with back-to-back losses to Ridgeview and Chilhowie. “Burton is big, fast and physical and we must be able to tackle and contain their speed,” said Castlewood coach Chris Lark. “We played well the last time, but must play a complete game on both sides of the ball to move on.” … A 42-32 loss to Eastside last week cost Castlewood a home playoff game. … Jeremiah Allen has rushed for 1,057 yards to lead the way for Castlewood. … J.I. Burton is averaging 10.1 pass attempts per game, while Castlewood throws it an average of 8.2 times per contest. … “Castlewood is a hard-nosed, physical, well-coached football team,” said J.I. Burton boss Jacob Caudill. “They came to Norton about three weeks ago and we struggled early against their defense. Going into Friday night’s matchup, we are going to have to be focused, trust one another in our blocking and be more physical than they are.” … Castlewood’s last win over J.I. Burton came in 1971.
Prediction: J.I. Burton 40, Castlewood 29
Holston (6-4) at Eastside (5-5)
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Last meeting: Holston 40, Eastside 22 (Nov. 1, 2019 in Coeburn, Va.)
One of these teams will be staging a major celebration on Saturday at Carl McConnell Stadium. Holston hasn’t won a playoff game since 2009, while Eastside’s last postseason victory occurred in 2012. … Holston beat Eastside in Coeburn two weeks ago. Quaheim Brooks, Jordan Ezzell and Logan Walden made key plays in the second half as the Cavaliers outscored Eastside 16-0 over the final two quarters. … Brooks has passed for 959 yards, Walden has 444 receiving yards, Lane Blevins has amassed a team-high 120 tackles, while Austin Farris has rushed for 706 yards and made 96 tackles. “Having played them just two weeks ago we are somewhat familiar with them,” said Eastside coach Michael Rhodes. “They are extremely physical and athletic. Coach [Derrick] Patterson does a great job and they are very well-coached.” … When Eastside opened in the fall of 2011 from the consolidation of Coeburn and St. Paul, the first team the Spartans ever scrimmaged was Holston. … Linebacker Evan Bellamy has racked up 164 tackles for Eastside. The Spartans played seven playoff teams in the regular season. They got a boost last week when Garrett Whited – who missed the season’s first nine games with an injury – returned and provided a spark in a win over Castlewood. … “Eastside is one of the more athletic teams that we have played this season and with them getting Garrett Whited back they are even more explosive,” Patterson said. “He makes a huge difference for them on each side of the ball. The last time we played them they hit some huge plays against us for scores, so we must find a way to keep them from doing that.”
Prediction: Holston 33, Eastside 32
Abingdon (5-5) at Northside (7-3)
Last meeting: Northside 7, Abingdon 0 (Nov. 10, 2017 in Roanoke, Va.)
This Interstate 81 clash should provide an interesting contrast between football in the Roanoke Valley and far Southwest Virginia. … Abingdon sophomore Malique Hounshell, who replaced injured starter Martin Lucas at running back, has rushed for 522 yards. Lucas collected 887 yards rushing through seven games before sidelined with a foot injury. The Falcons opened 35-0 lead after one quarter last week against Lee High. … Kicker Graham Griffith has contributed 41 points for AHS, while linebackers Jake Johnson (84) and Eli Ratcliff (46) lead in tackles. …Northside (7-3) clinched the No. 2 regional seed last week with a 35-7 victory at Staunton River as senior Christian Fisher (1,366 yards rushing, 17 TDs) rushed for 84 yards and freshman quarterback Sidney Webb accounted for 126 totals. The Vikings advanced to the Region 3D title game last year, but lost several players via transfer. Northside also features junior end Zach Horton (6-3, 225), 6-3 senior lineman Gavyn Preston (75 tackles) and senior lineman Ethan Blank (6-2, 301). Horton has nine sacks.
Prediction: Northside 14, Abingdon 0