Playoff spots up for grabs this weekend

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Three area high school football teams have postseason spots on the line Friday night as the season winds to a close.

The private schools finish up the regular season this week. Just like last season, Southampton Academy is in a do-or-die situation, while Isle of Wight Academy can wrap up the top spot in the Division III rankings. The private schools take the top four seeds from each classification to the playoffs.

The private school playoff system works different this year than it did last year. As usual, the Division III schools receive six points for a win over another DIII school, nine points for a win over a Division II school, and 12 points for a win over a Division I school. This year, though, the state rankings have added win points. For each win a team has, it receives a win point for each win the team they beat has. Confused? For example, last week Isle of Wight Academy beat Southampton Academy. The Chargers received six points for beating SA and received another six points because SA has six wins.

Even though IWA lost to Broadwater Academy earlier in the season, the Chargers still have the number one spot in the state. IWA was able to make up the difference in win points and also beat Bishop Sullivan Catholic, a Division I school.

&uot;We want to schedule teams that are competitive,&uot; said Dale Chapman, IWA head coach. &uot;The situation Broadwater is in, they played some teams that are not having a winning season. They beat us in the regular season, but our strength of schedule speaks for itself.&uot;

This week, IWA hosts Greenbrier Christian Academy, a Division II school, at 7:30 p.m. Friday. With a win over GCA, Isle of Wight will secure the number one seed and have homefield advantage in the playoffs.

&uot;They have a good passing game that makes a lot of things happen,&uot; Chapman said. &uot;Our secondary will have to have a good game this week.&uot;

Southampton Academy is currently the number four team in the Division III standings. Massanutten Military Academy and Roanoke Catholic both lost this past weekend, setting up a showdown for fourth place between SA and Blessed Sacrament Huguenot in Powhatan at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The winner takes the fourth playoff spot.

Ironically, it was BSH that knocked Southampton Academy out of the playoffs last season with a 28-20 win.

&uot;They are like the three teams we have lost to,&uot; said Dale Marks, SA head coach. &uot;They are a little bigger and more physical up front than we are. They don’t have the weapons in the backfield that Isle of Wight did. My feeling is they are going to line up and run it right at us, which is what we have had a problem defending all year.&uot;

Another irony: If both Isle of Wight Academy (8-1) and Southampton Academy (6-3) win, the two will face each other in the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 9 at Isle of Wight.

Franklin also needs to win its last two games, both on the road, to get homefield advantage for the first round of the playoffs. The Broncos travel to Sussex Central on Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff in another key Tri-Rivers District matchup.

Franklin (6-2, 1-1) head coach Darren Parker said his team does not pay attention to the state rankings.

&uot;I don’t even know where we are ranked,&uot; Parker said. &uot;The only thing we are concentrating on is this week’s game. Sussex Central is well coached, and this is always a rivalry game. You can throw the records out when you play that game.&uot;

In other action this weekend:

*Smithfield hosts York at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a Bay Rivers District contest.

*Nansemond-Suffolk Academy hosts Hampton Roads Academy at 7 p.m. Friday.

* Southampton plays at Jamestown at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in a Bay Rivers District game.