Game of the Week: Isle of Wight Academy at North Cross

Published 12:47 am Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The playoffs begin this week for private schools, and Isle of Wight Academy finds itself back in the postseason. If the Chargers are going to win a fourth straight Virginia Independent Schools Division III title, this time the road starts in Roanoke.

By finishing third in the Division III standings, the Chargers (9-1 overall, 5-1 Virginia Commonwealth Conference) must travel to Roanoke to face second-place North Cross at 3 p.m. Friday. The game has an unusual start time because North Cross’ stadium does not have lights.

In the other Division III playoff game, fourth-place Hampton Christian Academy (8-2) will play at top-seeded Blessed Sacrament Huguenot (11-0, 6-0 VCC).

Holy Cross lost its first game of the season, 14-7 to Blessed Sacrament Huguenot. Since then, the Raiders have had four shutout wins.

Perhaps in IWA’s favor, North Cross has only beaten one team with a record over .500. Still, Dale Chapman, IWA head coach, expects a tough battle. In a phone interview after Friday night’s game, Chapman said North Cross has been able to attract some public school players.

“A lot of talk has been made that they have several public school transfers and they are actively recruiting to play football. That’s not a great situation for us to have,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to compete with that type of athlete. That’s going to be an uphill battle.”

Chapman said his team is healthy and happy to be in the postseason.

“I don’t think anyone assumed we’d be in this situation. I attribute it to our kids and playing together as a team,” he said.

Chapman said an extra win here or there from some of the opponents that the Chargers beat would have put IWA in a better situation.

“If Greenbrier would have won one more game or Southampton Academy, that would have given us some points, but it didn’t work out that way.”

In other action Friday night:

Franklin will host Windsor at 7 p.m. This Tri-Rivers District rivalry game will mean more for Windsor and Franklin than just being the last game of the season. The Broncos need this win to hold second place in the Group A Region A Division I playoff picture. Despite losing to Sussex Central on Friday night, the Broncos caught a break when West Point lost.

Windsor must win to stay alive for the Group A Region A Division 2 postseason. Northampton is locked up as the fourth seed by winning the Eastern Shore Region. Windsor must finish third to get in the playoffs and must beat Franklin to do that. Currently, King William is in third place, just percentage points ahead of the Dukes.

Southampton closes the season at Poquoson at 7:30 p.m. in the Indians’ final Bay Rivers District game.