Area Teams On Track For Football Playoffs

It’s looking like if you’re an area high school football fan, you’d better have a good sweatshirt and a pair of long johns picked out because our teams are going to be busy on the second week of November.

With three or four games to go (depending on bye weeks), four of the area teams are solidly in the 16-team field for Group 4A West and Group 2A East according to the Virginia High School League’s power ratings. Those rankings are used for qualification and to seed the brackets.

Sherando, at 6-0 heading into tonight’s clash against winless Handley, is tied atop the 4A West standings. Millbrook, at 5-2 with a bye this week, is ninth in the standings. James Wood, at 4-2 heading into a contest against Skyline (2-4) tonight, is 12th.

Clarke County, 5-1 going into tonight’s showdown against George Mason (4-2), is tied for second in the 2A East rankings.

Barring a major collapse down the stretch, all of these schools should be playing when playoff action kicks off on Nov. 13.

Wood, the most vulnerable right now, has a more than two-point advantage over the 17th place team and all but one of the teams ranked below the Colonels have at least three losses heading into tonight’s games.

Should four area teams qualify for the postseason, it will be the first time since 2011 that has happened.

That would be good news for area football fans, but the end of the regular season also promises some excellent rivalry action.

Millbrook will be at the center of the activity with successive games against James Wood, Handley and Sherando to close out the season. Wood ends its season at Handley.

If early matchups between the area teams that are in playoff competition are any indication, some of these games could be special. Two have gone down to the final seconds.

Millbrook topped Clarke County 20-14, capping a comeback win with an interception near the goal line with less than a minute left.

Sherando rallied in the final quarter to edge James Wood 14-10, halting the Colonels on fourth down from the Warriors 25 with 34.6 seconds left.

And if Sherando, Millbrook and James Wood advance to the playoffs, there’s a decent chance they could see a familiar face in former Pioneer coach Reed Prosser at some point.

In his third season, Prosser has Heritage 6-0 and fourth in the VHSL rankings heading into a showdown tonight against Woodgrove (5-1). Prosser’s squad, which is averaging 43.3 points per game, knocked off Wood 55-21 to open the season.