The Gridiron Blog brings you the scores, stats and stories from Fredericksburg-area high school football.
Saturday’s Playoff Capsules
Brooke Point (9–3) at North Stafford (9–2)
Where: North Stafford
When: 2 p.m.
How North Stafford got here: It’s the Wolverines’ eighth all-time playoff appearance. North Stafford won the Commonwealth District’s regular-season title and had a first-round playoff bye. Kevin Daniels ran for a career-high 227 yards and three TDs to lead the Wolverines over G.W.–Danville, 41–7.
How Brooke Point got here: This is Brooke Point’s 12th playoff appearance in the school’s 18-year history. After an up-and-down regular season, the Black–Hawks have rolled through the playoffs with a 42–35 win against Mountain View, and last week’s 47–27 victory against Broad Run.
Series history: Brooke Point has won 15 of 22 matchups against the Wolverines, including its 38–3 regular-season victory this year. This is the first time the two Stafford County schools have met in the postseason.
Wolverines keys: North Stafford was the Commonwealth’s most consistent team this season, with the exception of one game: a shellacking by the Black–Hawks. Brooke Point sacked district offensive player of the year Austin Grebe five times and forced three interceptions. Simply put—North Stafford must play better if it expects a different result.
Black–Hawks keys: Self-inflicted wounds crippled Brooke Point in each of its three regular-season setbacks. But Brooke Point has won three straight—including two in the playoffs—by avoiding costly errors. The Black–Hawks were spreading the passes around early in the season, but WR Tyus White has emerged as the No. 1 threat in the last three games. He’s caught seven TD passes during the current winning streak, and quarterback Zach Deutel has completed 55 percent of his passes in those games.
Courtland (8–3) vs. Grafton (8–3)
Where: Bailey Field, York High School
When: 7:30 p.m.
How Courtland got here: The Cougars were 6–1 in the Battlefield District’s regular season and earned the No. 2 seed in the Region I, Division 4 playoffs. Last week Courtland trailed, 10–0, against Warhill but rallied for a 20–10 victory.
How Grafton got here: Grafton’s three regular-season losses were all against Division 3 playoff teams—Poquoson, Lafayette and York. The Clippers’ 200 rushing yards and athletic defense held strong against Chancellor last Saturday in a 20–16 victory.
Series history: The only two meetings between the schools have been a pair of playoff classics. Courtland beat Grafton, 35–34, in 2005 when Hakeem Moore blocked an extra point in the game’s first overtime period. Last year, despite being held to 178 yards of offense, two key receptions by Wahid Moore set up a pair of second-half touchdowns, and Courtland rallied from a 13–0 deficit for a 14–13 win in the region semifinals.
Clippers keys: The Clippers were hot and cold against Chancellor. At times, their wing–T attack looked like a sure bet for five yards every down. Running back Dylan Bartells had 142 yards on 39 carries, often hiding behind Grafton offensive linemen and then bursting through a small seam. On the other hand, there were many series where Grafton looked ho-hum. Quarterback play remains an issue. Jett Johnson played the entire second half last week, but he was just 1-for-3 passing for 8 yards.
Cougars keys: The Cougars will run, run, and run some more but can they do it better than Chancellor did last week? Grafton held the Chargers to a season-low 18 rushing yards, and Bay Rivers defensive player of the year Dylan Stallings was a factor at defensive end. Courtland can’t afford a slow start like it had last week against Warhill, and the Cougars must account for Stallings, especially in passing situations.
James Monroe (11–0) vs. York (11–0)
Where: Bailey Field, York High School
When: 1:30 p.m.
How James Monroe got here: The highest-scoring team in James Monroe history absolutely manhandled its regular-season schedule, with no outcome decided by fewer than 23 points. The Jackets blasted Lafayette, 56–21, last Friday.
How York got here: It was a similar story for the Falcons, who won the Bay Rivers regular-season title on the strength of their high-powered offense. York topped Poquoson, 35–22, in the region semifinals last Friday.
Series history: The Falcons and Jackets have met just one other time—in the 2005 region final, when JM won, 54–41.
Yellow Jackets keys: Whatever JM has done in its first 11 games, it should keep doing today—why mess with a successful formula? That likely means a healthy dose of running back Ethan Preston, who is averaging nearly 10 yards per carry (164 rushes for 1,608 yards) with a Fredericksburg-area best 29 touchdowns. And if that’s not enough, JM’s other speedy weapons can get involved—like during last Friday’s 99-yard touchdown pass from quarterback DeMontaz Brown to do-everything receiver A’darius Brown.
Falcons keys: Whose speed reigns supreme? That’s the key question today. Whereas JM’s attack starts with Preston, the Falcons offense revolves around Bay Rivers and Region I offensive player of the year Alex Johnston, who had 500 rushing yards and 1,500 passing in the regular season. History is on the Falcons’ side, as three straight Bay Rivers teams have won the Region I, Division 3 title. But common opponents tell a different story—York needed a late two-point conversion to beat Lafayette, a team JM demolished last Friday. And the Falcons beat Grafton just 7–0. The Clippers struggled to put away Chancellor last Saturday, another team James Monroe routed in the regular season.