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PREP FOOTBALL: Predictions for Friday's high school football games

PREP FOOTBALL: Predictions for Friday's high school football games

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Cumberland District

Thomas Walker at J.I. Burton

Today, 7 p.m.

Last meeting: J.I. Burton 44, Thomas Walker 6 (Nov. 8, 2019 in Ewing, Va.)

J.I. Burton recorded a big 32-17 win last week at Castlewood as Esau Teasley led the way. The Raiders (1-1) have won 14 straight Cumberland District games. “J.I. Burton is the best team in the Cumberland year in and year out and until someone beats them in our district, they are the king of the mountain,” said Thomas Walker coach Nick Johnson. “They have size and speed and are very well-coached. They really have no weakness when you watch them on film. We will have to play as close to perfect as we can this week, but it will be a great measuring stick for our team to see where we are halfway through the season.” … Burton is 16-0 all-time against the Pioneers. … Quarterback Zack Kidwell is a dual threat for Thomas Walker, while Jason Cowden, Jaron Warf, Elijah Harber, Riley McCurry and Xander Spears have gotten high marks in the season’s early stages. … Teasley had three TDs against Thomas Walker last season and expect him to get plenty of touches tonight for the Raiders.

Prediction: J.I. Burton 38, Thomas Walker 12

Eastside at Rye Cove

Today, 7 p.m.

Last meeting: Eastside 53, Rye Cove 16 (Oct. 11, 2019 in Coeburn, Va.)

Eastside is trying to keep a pair of perfect records intact. The Spartans (2-0) are the only unbeaten team still standing in Region 1D and they also have a 9-0 all-time record against Rye Cove. … Eastside quarterback Will Stansberry has accounted for 171 passing yards and two touchdowns in two games, while rushing for 112 yards and three TDs. …Rye Cove’s Mason Hardin runs as hard as anybody in Southwest Virginia, but the Eagles will be outnumbered in terms of playmakers tonight against the crew from Coeburn.

Prediction: Eastside 33, Rye Cove 16

Hogoheegee District

Holston at Northwood

Today, 7 p.m.

Last meeting: Holston 47, Northwood 0 (Oct. 18, 2019 in Damascus, Va.)

Holston (2-1) is averaging 29 points per game with quarterback Quaheim Brooks as the point man for a balanced offensive attack. Three different players have rushed for touchdowns and three different receivers have caught touchdown passes for the dudes from Damascus. … The defense has been pretty darn good for the Cavaliers too as Lane Blevins has already racked up 40 tackles – 11 of which have occurred behind the line of scrimmage. Dustin Bott and Brycen Sheets have also doled out their share of hard hits. … “Holston has one of the premier playmakers in our area with Q,” said Northwood coach Tim Johnson. “On top of that, they have a really good football team surrounding him and are really well-coached. Coach [Derrick] Patterson and his staff have done an amazing job with their program.” … Northwood (0-2) is much improved defensively, but the Panthers are struggling to score points. Getting speedster Michel Frye the ball in space is a must if the squad from Saltville hopes to compete this evening.

Prediction: Holston 28, Northwood 8

Chilhowie at Rural Retreat

Today, 7 p.m.

Last meeting: Chilhowie 52, Rural Retreat 14 (Oct. 18, 2019 in Chilhowie, Va.)

Chilhowie (2-1) has won both of its games by shutout as top tacklers Jordan Williams and Gabino Silverio have led the way for the Warriors. … The offense has been inconsistent for Chilhowie, however, and that must be corrected. … Running back Gatlin Hight has produced some highlights for Rural Retreat (1-1) thus far this season. “Rural Retreat has a very good football team,” said Chilhowie coach Jeff Robinson. “I have been impressed with them on film. Their two running backs [Height and Lucas Brewer] run hard behind a physical offensive line. It should be a hard-hitting, old-school Chilhowie-Rural Retreat football game.” … Chilhowie sits in second and Rural Retreat is fourth in the latest VHSL Region 1D playoff power points rating scale. That makes this game pivotal in terms of postseason hopes. “The Hogoheegee is as competitive from top to bottom as I have seen it in a long time,” Robinson said. “Anyone could beat anyone else on a given night. It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out.”

Prediction: Chilhowie 24, Rural Retreat 20

Mountain 7 District

Lee High at Abingdon

Tonight, 7 p.m.

Last meeting: Abingdon 49, Lee High 14 (Nov. 8, 2019 in Ben Hur)

Abingdon delivered a statement last week in a 13-7 victory at preseason Mountain 7 favorite Wise County Central. With offensive leader Martin Lucas sidelined for three quarters following a big hit, first-year quarterback Cole Lambert responded with 135 yards passing and two scores to 6-foot-3 junior receiver Peyton McClanahan. … Lee High has been outscored 70-0 in two games, managing just 129 total yards. … AHS built a 35-0 first quarter lead and compiled 460 total yards in the 2019 meeting against the Generals.

Prediction: Abingdon 35, Lee High 0

Gate City at Wise County Central

Tonight, 7 p.m.

Last meeting: Wise County Central 35, Gate City 21 (Nov. 1, 2019 in Gate City)

Gate City (0-3) has found success with the passing attack the past two games behind senior quarterback Luke Reed and junior playmaker Carson Jenkins. Basketball standout Eli Starnes added 37 yards rushing last week. … Wise Central averages 126 yards on the ground, with senior C.J. Crabtree (127 yards) setting the pace. The Warriors rushed for 375 yards in the 2018 clash at Gate City.

Prediction: Wise County Central 21, Gate City 7

Southwest District

Virginia High at Lebanon

Tonight, 7 p.m.

Last meeting: Lebanon 28, Virginia High 20 (Oct. 25, 2019 in Bristol, Va.)

One week after opening the season with a 27-6 win at Russell County rival Honaker, Lebanon allowed 440 yards in a 49-6 setback at Graham. Hunter Hertig is an impact player for the Pioneers. …. The spread offense of VHS was grounded last week in a 37-0 loss to Richlands. Versatile running back Stevie Thomas is looking to make more progress from a serious knee injury, while Kavonta Smith has become a force on the defensive line. … Lebanon running back Alden Ward rushed for 152 yards and three scores against VHS in 2019 as the Pioneers earned their lone win of the season.

Prediction: Virginia High 20, Lebanon 13

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