James Wood (6-1, 4-0) at Sherando (5-1, 3-0)
Skyline (5-2, 2-2) at Brentsville (1-5, 1-2)
Central (1-6, 0-4) at Warren County (2-5, 0-4)
Clarke County (5-2, 1-0) at Madison County
Manassas Park (1-5, 1-0) at Strasburg (1-6, 0-1)
Riverheads (4-2, 1-0) at Stonewall Jackson (3-3, 0-1)
Millbrook (4-3, 2-2) at Handley (5-1, 3-0)
James Wood 17
Warren County 30
Manassas Park 27
Stonewall Jackson 10
Clarke County 32
Madison County 14
11:38 a.m. -- It's early, especially after last night's deadline frenzy involving the ALCS. The Rays' historic meltdown in the final seven outs cause a little havoc, forcing me to stay at the office until well after 1 a.m. But here I am, ready to go on Friday after a two-week hiatus. I hope Tommy Keeler served you well in my absence.
3:23 -- Less than four hours until kickoff. When I left the Daily two weeks ago for vacation, the Northwestern District was wide open. Sherando and Handley were preparing for the battle, and Skyline was still flirting with an undefeated season. The landscape has changed somewhat, especially with the Judges' impressive wins over the Warriors and Hawks, but there is still plenty of intrigue. Tonight is James Wood at Sherando, a game identified by the Daily sports staff in the preseason as a battle of the top two teams. In unpublished preseason rankings, the Daily sports staffers unanimously voted Sherando No. 1; James Wood was tied with Millbrook for No. 2. Handley, now the top dog, was a distance fourth. That's why we play the games, though.
6:06 -- Quite a busy night on desk. Here are the assignments: Craig Juer gets the marquee game, James Wood at Sherando, which is scheduled to start in just under an hour. Tommy Keeler will skirt down to Quicksburg to see if Stonewall Jackson can overcome the loss of Colton Koontz and pick up a crucial Shenandoah District win over Riverheads. Tim Tassa will make the short trip to Front Royal for the battle between Central and Warren County. And the lone part-timer, Jeremy Stafford, will catch the Mansassas Park at Strasburg contest. If any readers come across info from these contests or the games we are not covering (Skyline, Clarke County), then feel free to comment and pass that info along. That's what this blog is for.
6:25 -- Former Northern Virginia Daily sports writer Matthew Stanmyre has a piece on James Wood kicker Andrew Lloyd in today's Washington Post. Check it out here
6:50 -- Almost time for kickoff in Stephens City. Obviously, much of the area's focus tonight is on James Wood at Sherando. The Warriors have dominated this series this decade, but the last three matchups have been closely contested. Sherando won the regular-season matchup, 29-22, in 2006, then won last season, 28-13, in the regular season before holding off the Colonels in the playoffs, 21-14. James Wood controls its own destiny in terms of winning the Northwestern District, but loses that power with a loss tonight.
7:08 -- We are under way in Stephens City -- finally. Sherando gets the ball first.
7:17 -- Sherando, James Wood exchange punts. Dirtman, your predictions are in the comment section of the blog post title "Week 8 Picks -- We're the Experts?" That's where most are.
7:36 -- Still scoreless in Stephens City as other area action gets under way. A huge pass play for the Colonels puts them in the red zone. Sherando, to this point, has been plagued by penalties. Odd.
7:38 -- James Wood quarterback Trae Tinsman sneaks in from the 1-yard line on 2nd down for the touchdown. Colonels 7, Warriors 0. 8:53 left of the 2nd quarter.
7:44 -- A pair of updates: Riverheads 6, Stonewall Jackson 0, 4:49 left of the 1st; Strasburg 6, Manassas Park 0. The Rams take the lead on a 70-yard touchdown run by Bub McKelvey.
7:48 -- The Fightin' Yews! take a quick 14-0 lead. Matt Sherfey hit Hoyle Laughlin for the first touchdown, then after recovering the kickoff, Sherfey connected with Thomas Cooper for another score with 9:01 left of the opening quarter.
7:50 -- Sherando ties it up with James Wood, 7-7.
7:51 -- Riverheads 6, Stonewall Jackson 0. End 1st.
7:54 -- Sherando's score was a 16-yard touchdown pass by Ross Metheny. Still 7-7, but the Colonels are knocking on the door again.
7:57 -- A field goal by Andrew Lloyd puts the Colonels on top, 10-7.
7:59 -- Jeremy Stafford reports that Strasburg's Sheldon Stickley has been injured making a tackle. Will update when we have more information.
8:00 -- Skyline leads Brentsville, 13-0.
8:01 -- Dylan Dawson scores from three yards out as Stonewall Jackson takes a 7-6 lead with 8:02 left of the first half.
8:06 -- Manassas Park ties it up, 6-6, after the PAT fails.
8:07 -- A barn burner in Front Royal, as a Marty Haley touchdown for Warren County ties the score at 14-14. More Fightin' Yews! chants would help, I bet.
8:12 -- A mess of penalties for Sherando inside the 20-yard line just before the half resulted in no points for the homestanding Warriors. Penalties just devastated Sherando in the first half. James Wood 10, Sherando 7. The Colonels receive the ball after intermission.
8:15 -- Manassas Park scores on a 22-yard pass and adds the PAT to take a 13-6 lead over Mark Roller's squad.
8:27 -- A late field goal puts Stonewall Jackson up 10-6 at the half. The Generals' defense is all over Riverheads, allowing just four yards on the ground and 53 yards total. Dylan Dawson has 56 yards at halftime.
8:31 -- Warren County 14, Central 14. Two rushing touchdowns by Marty Haley helps the Wildcats tie up the game. Score is at halftime.
8:36 -- McKelvey with 93 yards rushing -- no passes -- at halftime as the Rams trail 13-6.
8:50 -- James Wood is simply dominating Sherando. Trae Tinsman hits Jordan Dallman down the middle for a touchdown and now leads 17-7 with 3:21 left of the third quarter.
8:57 -- Sherando strikes back, with Ross Metheny connecting with Derrick Dehaney for a touchdown.
8:58 -- Riverheads takes a 13-10 lead late in the third quarter.
9:06 -- Mike Yew's bunch falls behind on a 24-yard field goal by Jeff Moxie. Warren County 17, Central 14.
9:12 -- Riverheads doubles up Stonewall Jackson, 20-10, with 9:07 left in the game.
9:09 -- A bad snap on a punt by Sherando results in great field position for James Wood -- who still leads -- with time ticking away.
9:17 -- Sherando trails by 3 points with less than five minutes left and is driving to tie or take the lead.
9:25 -- James Wood comes up with a big interception in the red zone with Sherando trying to take the lead. Devon Stonier with the pick. He returned the interception inside the 5-yard line. 1:50 left of the game.
9:26 -- Thanks to dirtman for the Clarke County updates!
9:33 -- Manassas Park scores to make it 27-12 with 4:36 left.
9:35 -- Sherando stops James Wood on the 1-yard line on 4th down, then Ross Metheny hits Dalton Boyd to put the Warriors in position to tie or win -- again. Under 30 seconds to play...
9:35 -- Japeth Chunn with an 81-yard touchdown reception to put Warren County up 24-14. Central's Matt Sherfey has left the game with an injury.
9:36 -- Sherando's Lukas Stump misses a 35-yard field goal as time expires. James Wood 17, Sherando 14. Wow. Just...wow.
-- Now 30 unanswered points by Warren County as Marty Haley scores again on the ground. Wildcats 30, Falcons 14.
10:54 -- The final we have are now listed at the top of this blog. Notable stats so far: Sherando's Ross Metheny finished the losing effort with 403 yards on 28-of-45 passing. Derrick Dehaney caught half of those balls for 186 yards.