Broncos and Tigers face off Friday

Published 7:56 am Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The anticipated showdown between Franklin and Sussex Central is here and plenty is at stake, including the Tri-Rivers District championship and perhaps the number seed in the Group A Region Division 1 state playoffs.

The teams will kick off at Sussex at 7 p.m.

Franklin is 7-1 and has given up just 94 points in eight games, about 12 points per game. Since losing to West Point, Franklin has won its last three games by a combined 109-0.

Since the Tigers (7-1) lost to Essex a month ago, Sussex has won four straight games, including last week’s 44-20 win over Charles City. Sussex has had four games where it has given up 8 points or less and has scored 314 points, about 40 points per game. Sussex is ranked 7th in Group A by

More importantly, the log jam at the top of the Group A, Region, Division 1 power rankings includes both teams. Sussex is the top team in the region right now with 21.5 points. West Point is second with 20.7 points. Franklin is third at 20.1. It is likely the winner of this game, barring upsets the last week of the season, will end up number one.

Last year, the teams split. Sussex blew Franklin out in the regular season, but the Broncos came back just two weeks later and knocked the Tigers out of the postseason.

Despite the playoff atmosphere, Franklin head coach Darren Parker said Franklin is treating the game like any other.

“We have Sussex Central Friday night. We don’t worry about the rankings,” Parker said. “The winner of this game is probably going to be the number one seed in the region. Windsor (next week) is just as dangerous as anyone else.”

“We prepare for every game like it’s a championship game. We are spending late nights. We’re preparing. As coaches, we are watching plenty of film and critiquing. The kids are excited and ready to roll,” he added.

Parker said Sussex is always a tough competitor.

“They are a very disciplined and physical team. Things don’t really change with them,” Parker said. “They are going to come at you, so you just have to prepare and not really worry about everyone else. We are trying to improve on the small things. This is fine tuning time. We are looking forward to it.”

In other action Friday night:

Southampton Academy has a must-win game at Blessed Sacrament Huguenot. The Virginia Commonwealth Conference showdown will be played in Powhatan at 7:30 p.m. The Raiders (7-2) must win to have a chance to make the VISAA Division III playoffs.

BSH (7-2) bounced back from a loss to Isle of Wight Academy two weeks ago with a 33-6 win over Roanoke Catholic last Friday.

Southampton (3-5) hosts Greensville County (3-5) in a Southside District matchup at 7:30 p.m. Greensville began the season losing its first five games, but has since won three straight, including a 40-29 victory over Prince Edward County last Friday.