1. Highland Springs 2-2, 1
2. Manchester 2-1, 2
3. Thomas Dale 2-0, 3
4. Dinwiddie 1-0, 4
5. Varina 2-0, 6
6. Hopewell 2-0, 7
7. Hermitage 1-1, 5
8. Douglas Freeman 4-0, 10
9. Patrick Henry 2-1, 8
10. Matoaca 3-0, 9
Top 5 unanimous
Top-ranked Highland Springs hadn’t lost multiple games in a season since 2013, but their 26-25 loss to West Virginia power Martinsburg does nothing to knock them off their perch. Manchester had perhaps the weekend’s most impressive result, thrashing Powhatan (2-1) 38-6 on the road. Thomas Dale was still paused amid COVID concerns, but the Knights could be back this week as they’re slated to host No. 10 Matoaca in a marquee Central District showdown after the Warriors, who’ve been impressive in their three decisive victories, were idle last week. Varina picked up a signature road win at previous No. 5 Hermitage (more on that later) to round out a Top 5 that our voters agreed upon unanimously.
4-0 Mavericks continue to climb
The first Region 5C team to reach four victories, Douglas Freeman jumped up two spots after handling an outfit from Atlee (3-1) that dominated its first three opponents. Quarterback Owen Fallen, running back/safety Bradley Perkins and receiver Jahrell Horne are the primary weapons for a Mavericks team that’s also shown an offensive line adept at creating holes for Perkins and Fallen and a defense that stymied the Raiders’ potent rushing attack. Freeman’s next three opponents — Mills Godwin, John Marshall and Deep Run — haven’t won a game among them, so the Mavericks might not get tested until an Oct. 15 showdown with Hermitage.
Blue Devils trending up
Hermitage played Varina close, but the Blue Devils from the East End committed 15 penalties in that game, and a win on Hermitage’s field shouldn’t be taken lightly. Get to know the name Tae’mon Brown; he’s the workhorse behind an imposing offensive line. The junior back carried 26 times for 158 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers. Junior quarterback Myles Derricott is coming into his own, and senior receiver/safety Kamaree Wells is a sure-handed go-to weapon for a Varina team that’s put itself firmly in the conversation among the 804’s best.
Meanwhile, the Blue Devils from Hopewell are getting rolling after overcoming a COVID pause to begin their season. Ricky Irby’s always dynamic outfit beat Henrico (0-2) 36-0 behind quarterback Mason Cumbie’s standout performance (12 of 24 passing, 166 yards, TD, interception; 8 carries, 132 yards, 2 TDs). The postponed Battle of the Blue Devils, now slated for Oct. 5 at Hopewell’s Merner Field, should be standing room only.
St. Christopher’s (3-0) trounced St. Alban’s (Washington, D.C.) 37-6 behind quarterback Joshua Powell (20 of 32 passing, 200 yards, 3 TDs; 9 carries, 44 yards, TD) and receiver Andre Greene Jr. (8 catches, 108 yards, 2 TDs). The Saints haven’t played anyone local yet, but an Oct. 1 meeting with Benedictine (1-2) should help us figure out where they belong in the local hierarchy.
Trinity Episcopal (3-1) took care of Norfolk Academy (2-1) 39-3 behind Mario Thompson (6 carries, 119 yards, 3 TDs) and Zahir Rainer (2 INTs, TD). The Titans have been rolling since a Week 2 loss to Bishop McNamara (Maryland), and continue to knock on the door of the Top 10.
— Zach Joachim