In finance or football, these always are the questions:
Whose stock is up? Whose stock is down?
The numbers from last week’s games are in. Here is the updated portfolio:
Stock up: Cave Spring, Liberty Christian, Lord Botetourt, Turner Ashby, Radford, Grayson County, George Wythe, Narrows, Appomattox County.
Stock down: Patrick Henry-Roanoke, Independence, Amherst County, Magna Vista, Galax.
Volatility in this market remains.
It is a weekly roller coaster. With three Fridays left in the 2002 VHSL season, no one is retiring comfortably yet. (See previous weeks’ numbers.)
Region 6A outlook: The top five teams along with Cosby all won last week, with Manchester’s 31-30 overtime victory over previously unbeaten Midlothian the closest call. Manchester has a clear path now to a 9-1 finish. That won’t be enough to grab the No. 1 spot if Oscar Smith sweeps its last three games against Nansemond River, Western Branch and Phoebus, but that is no easy feat. Thomas Dale still has to get through L.C. Bird and unbeaten Dinwiddie. Franklin County’s best hopes for a top-four spot and a first-round home playoff game appear to be a win over Lord Botetourt on Oct. 28 and/or a loss by Western Branch to Oscar Smith on the same night. James River-Midlothian has a decent shot to move into the top eight, particularly if Landstown defeats Floyd Kellam this Friday.
Region 5D outlook: Patrick Henry’s 34-28 loss Friday at Cave Spring dropped the Patriots from No. 5 to No. 7 and took some serious luster off the season-ending home game against Salem. PH first has to get through Christiansburg and Pulaski County with the latter on the road, and the Patriots likely would need a three-game sweep to have any chance at a top-four finish. Mountain View’s loss Friday to Colonial Forge likely ended any hope of obtaining the No. 1 seed. It would be a surprise if No. 1 Stone Bridge loses to any of its final three opponents: Woodgrove, Potomac Falls and Independence. Speaking of falls, Independence took its first loss last week and dropped all the way from No. 4 to No. 8. History buffs take note, 0-7 Harrisonburg has three more chances to avoid an 0-10 record. According to fourseasonsfootball.com, Harrisonburg has been playing football since 1921 and has never experienced a winless season.
Region 4D outlook: E.C. Glass and Salem figure to take it to Week 11 in a battle for No. 1 that is currently separated by 0.14 points. If Glass and Salem finish with identical records, the Hilltoppers would appear to have the edge in points. Three of the teams that Louisa County has defeated have not won a game this fall, and that is why the Lions are No. 3 despite an 8-0 record. Louisa probably needs Salem and E.C. Glass both to lose if the Lions have a chance at No. 1. The top five teams appear safe. Orange County has a solid shot of moving past Amherst into the No. 4 spot. Orange has a makeup game Tuesday against Albemarle. The last three spots should go to the survivors of this group: Jefferson Forest, Pulaski County, Western Albemarle, George Washington and Halifax County. Any team that can win two games down the stretch has a huge edge. Western Albemarle and Halifax County are the most likely of the quintet to do it.
Region 3C outlook: How strong is the Seminole District? It has the No. 1, 2, 4 and 8 teams in this region, and the No. 1, 4 and 6 teams in Region 4D. Heritage’s strength of schedule, with losses to unbeatens Dinwiddie and Liberty Christian, has the No. 2 Pioneers well ahead of unbeaten Staunton and it’s not really close. Go ahead and pencil in LCA at No. 1 and Heritage at No. 2 by season’s end. Staunton will have to keep winning to hang on to one of the top four spots. With upcoming games against Buffalo Gap, Riverheads and Wilson Memorial, there’s no guarantee. Will anyone outside the current top eight make the playoffs? Not very likely.
Region 3D outlook: Cave Spring’s 34-28 win last Friday over Patrick Henry has made the Knights a legit threat for one of the top four spots. Christiansburg needs a win this week over PH to have any chance of catching Lord Botetourt for the No. 1 seed. Bassett appears headed for an 8-2 finish after starting the season 0-2. Magna Vista is certainly still in the picture to place among the top four. The Warriors, idle, this Friday, could find themselves in the No. 4 spot heading into next week. Who wants to play William Byrd in the postseason? The Terriers have given Botetourt, Franklin County and Bassett cause for concern in competitive losses. The guess here is the Terriers will earn a berth against a team they already have played this season.
Region 2C outlook: The game of the year in Region 2C so far is Friday when unbeaten Radford visits Floyd County. It has been mostly a competitive rivalry with Radford holding a 12-10 edge in the last 22 meetings. If Radford wins just two of its final three games, the Bobcats should emerge as the No. 1 seed. Martinsville looks solid at No. 2. The Bulldogs, who dropped their first game last week at Magna Vista, would need a season-ending win over Bassett to have any chance of moving up. Appomattox County is coming hard. The perennial region champs have won 60 of their last 63 games against Class 2 competition. The losses this year have been to Rustburg, Heritage and Lord Botetourt. The Raiders most likely will face Glenvar or Floyd County in the first round. There will be a close battle for the last two spots. Gretna has the inside track at one of them. The other one might go to the winner of the Oct. 28 Dan River-Chatham game, but it is way too early to tell.
Region 2D outlook: Graham has one more real hurdle in the way of claiming the No. 1 spot: this Friday’s home game against Pulaski County. The G-Men dismissed a challenge from Virginia High 49-21 last week in Bristol with a shorthanded lineup. Regardless, Virginia High should claim a first-round home game. Unbeaten Ridgeview needs to keep some gas in the bus. The No. 2 Wolfpack finishes with road games against Abingdon, Bluefield (W.Va.) and No. 3 Gate City. The Blue Devils have recovered nicely from their 62-12 loss at Radford in Week 2. Speaking of road trips, No. 7 Tazewell has played at Riverheads in Augusta County and at Colonial Heights, which is located just south of Richmond. The Bulldogs appear safe for a berth along with No. 5 Union and No. 6 Lee. Richlands and Central-Wise are fighting for the last spot. This week’s game between Central and Lee in Ben Hur could be pivotal in that regard.
Region 1C outlook: Is the jury still out on Grayson County? The Blue Devils haven’t defeated a team with a winning record, but at the same time none of their seven wins has been closer than a 13-point margin. The answer will come soon enough. Grayson finishes off a four-game Mountain Empire District road stretch at Fort Chiswell, George Wythe and Galax. George Wythe already has played two of a handful of remaining unbeaten teams in the western part of the state: Radford and Graham. The Maroons were ready for last Friday’s trip to five-time defending region champ Galax, where they won 20-7. Narrows almost certainly will join the three MED teams in the top four spots after last week’s comeback win at Covington. This week’s Covington-Parry McCluer game could have implications. It might be a long shot, but even at 0-7, Covington is not out of the picture but a sweep of Parry McCluer, EastMont and Craig County is necessary. Sitting at No. 7 with a tough road ahead, Fort Chiswell is glancing over its shoulder.
Region 1D outlook: PH-Glade Spring would have to collapse to fall out of the No. 1 spot. That means if there is a postseason rematch of PH’s 28-20 season-opening win over Grundy, it would be on the Rebels’ home field. Rye Cove will be idle for a second week in a row. The Eagles were open last week, and this Friday’s game disappeared when Twin Valley canceled its season. Regardless of what else happens, Rye Cove has engineered perhaps the best comeback seasons in the VHSL. Don’t discount No. 5 Lebanon’s chances to finish among the top four. Who will get the final two spots? Honaker and Hurley are have the last two places now, but watch out for Rural Retreat and J.I. Burton flipping that script.
NOTE: VHSL Rating Scale points are used to determine qualification and seeding for region playoffs. Each team’s average determines its position. Eight teams qualify in each of the following regions. Games played against non-VHSL-recognized opponents do not factor into the ratings.