Holston’s Derrick Patterson and Graham’s Tony Palmer have directed their teams to top seeds in their respective regions. They also happen to be the only two Black high school football head coaches in far Southwest Virginia.
“I do not know [Palmer] personally, but I know who he is,” Patterson said. “I really do not focus on things like that, but when you think about the lack of minority representation in the coaching community it is a pretty cool accomplishment.”
Holston earned the top spot in Region 1D as the Cavaliers have won five straight games and claimed their first Hogoheegee District title since 1984.
“It means a lot to us to accomplish this,” Patterson said. “We were so close to getting a home playoff game last season and missed some opportunities. To achieve it this year is something to be really proud of and we hope to make the most of it.”
Graham is the top seed in Region 2D as they aim for a third straight regional championship. The G-Men have a 58-14 record in Palmer’s six seasons as head coach and won a state title in 2018.
Graham and Abingdon – each 5-0 – carry unbeaten records into the postseason.
Dates, times and official pairings will be released by the Virginia High School League today at 10 a.m. The following is a look at the matchups as determined by the playoff power point rating scale:
George Wythe (3-2) at Galax (6-0): “We’ll see them again,” George Wythe sophomore linebacker Leyton Fowler said following a 7-0 loss to Galax on March 13. “For sure, yeah.” Fowler was right as the Mountain Empire District rivals tangle in a win-or-go-home contest.
Castlewood (5-1) at Holston (5-1): Holston is hosting a playoff game for the first time since a first-round loss to Radford in 2013.
J.I. Burton (3-1) at Patrick Henry (5-1): The teams also tangled in playoff games in 2017, 2018 and 2019. PH posted a 24-0 win over the Raiders in the 2019 Region 1D championship game.
Union (4-2) at Graham (5-0): These teams have met in the playoffs in 2012, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and now in the spring of 2021.
Tazewell (3-2) at Wise County Central (4-1): This will be the first-ever meeting on the gridiron between the Bulldogs and Warriors.
Carroll County (4-1) at Abingdon (5-0): Sam Beasley’s 1-yard touchdown run in overtime gave Carroll County a 27-21 Region IV, Division 4 playoff win at Abingdon in 2003, the only previous postseason meeting between the programs.
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