FLS Varsity brings you the scores, stats and stories from Fredericksburg-area high school sports.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Saturday’s Playoff Game Capsules
READ MORE: Taft Coghill Jr. brings you a feature story on today’s North Stafford and Massaponax 5A-North Region semifinal between familiar foes.
NORTH STAFFORD (10–2) at MASSAPONAX (12–0), 2
Waiting next week: The winner here gets the Broad Run–Briar Woods victor in the 5A–North region championship game. note: Brun-Briar Woods is Friday at 1:30 p.m. We should be able to plug this info in for saturday morning’s paper
Series history: Massaponax won this year’s meeting, 23–17 in overtime, and leads the all-time series, 8–5.
This week’s matchup: Last month’s exciting overtime victory by the Panthers was a classic, and today’s rematch has the makings of a repeat performance. Both teams have been impressive since that game, rolling through the playoffs with solid victories. The Wolverines recorded decisive wins over Thomas Jefferson and a strong Tuscarora squad, while the Panthers outscored Falls Church and Thomas Edison by a combined 115–43 margin. North Stafford is led by area rushing leader Von Purvis (1,753 yards, 25 TDs) and a big-play defense that is giving up just 12 points per game. LBs Jae’Wuan Horton and Nakia Thomas set the tone with their aggressive play. Massaponax has been the No. 1 team in 5A–North for most of the season and has done nothing to tarnish that ranking. Depth has been a key factor, especially in the backfield, where a bevy of running backs has carried the load. Seniors Javonte Latney (12 TDs), A.J. Forbes (13 TDs) and Alphonso Trice (12 TDs) are the top rushers in the balanced attack. Latney scored the game-tying and game-winning points in the Panthers’ overtime win in October. All-purpose DB Tony Barnett and lineman Steven Sobczak are team leaders on defense. Besides today’s matchup, the teams have met twice before in the postseason. The Wolverines won 27–20 in 2004, and the Panthers prevailed 26–0 in 2003.
JAMES MONROE (8–4) vs. LAFAYETTE (12–0) at Wanner Stadium, Williamsburg
Waiting next week: Group 3A is cross-bracketed for the state semifinals—the two remaining 3A–East teams will play the two remaining 3A–West teams, with the winners advancing to the state championship game.
Series history: JM defeated Lafayette in the 2011 Group AA, Division 3, Region I semifinals, 56–21.
This week’s matchup: After shutting down Kettle Run with a swarming defense, the Yellow Jackets get another major test on the road against the top-seeded Rams. Lafayette has steamrolled its way to 12 straight victories, averaging 48 points per contest while allowing just 8.8. So far in the playoffs, the Rams have outscored their opponents 120–7 with a relentless wing-T offense and a suffocating defense. William and Mary commit Jahlil Green is the featured back with 1,933 yards and 34 touchdowns. His six rushing touchdowns in last week’s 63–7 victory over Warren County set a single-game school record. Veteran LBs Blake Guminsky, Darren Patton and Deacon Smith are playmakers on defense. JM is in the midst of another deep run in the playoffs thanks to a gutsy performance by its defense and the strong leg of kicker David Dit last week. LB James McFadden and lineman Antonio Wynn–Coleman led a late defensive stand that kept Kettle Run off the scoreboard in a 6–3 victory. Meanwhile, Dit set an area single-season record with his 16th and 17th field goals. QB Jay Scroggins (2,125 yards, 20 TDs passing) and WR Jarmal Bevels (53 catches, 11 TDs) set the pace for the Jackets’ spread offense. JM is 13–3 in the playoffs since 2008 and has been to the state title game three times.