First and foremost, my apologies for my extended absence. It's been a busy time in sports at the Daily, which has included postseason coverage for volleyball, cheerleading and football, as well as dealing with the departure of Craig Juer from the sports staff. Craig is now living it up in Philadelphia, presumably on a steady diet of cheesesteaks (I have pictures to prove it).
So here we are on the first day of postseason football. There are four teams left, with a maximum of three able to survive the first of four playoff weekends. Tonight, Clarke County hosts Appomattox and James Wood travels to Potomac Falls. We will have a staffer at both sites, including art in Saturday's issue of the Daily accompanying the recap of Clarke County's game.
Additionally, Tim Tassa is en route to Richmond for the state volleyball semifinals at VCU's Siegel Center. He'll also be passing along updates starting with their 5 p.m. tip.
Stay on this page and comment often.
Appomattox at Clarke County, 7:30 p.m.
James Wood at Potomac Falls, 7:30 p.m.
3:16 -- Tommy Keeler has arrived in the office here in Strasburg. I'm about to send this bundle of fun to Potomac Falls for the James Wood game. TK was bemoaning the fact that he had to drive, but I quickly reminded him of the undesirable desk duty I fulfill every night. That didn't seem to sway him, so I reminded him that Tim Tassa is on a three-hour (one way) trek to Richmond for volleyball, and that I could still switch him assignments. He now seems content to get paid to watch football and call it a night.
4:22 -- About 30 minutes from the start of the Group A state volleyball semifinals between Strasburg and Wilson Memorial at VCU's Siegel Center in Richmond.
5:02 -- TK has departed and we are about 2 1/2 hours from the start of the football postseason, but the Rams' volleyball match is about to get under way in Richmond. Stay here for updates.
5:33 -- Strasburg jumps out to a 1-0 lead over Wilson Memorial in the Group A state volleyball semifinals. The Rams won Game 1, 25-15.
5:50 -- Up 9-6, Strasburg welcomed Wilson Memorial to the match, who played dominant in evening the match score at 1-1. Score of Game 2: 25-16 in favor of Wilson.
6:10 -- The Rams are playing like a team destined to defend a state title. Strasburg now leads the match, 2-1, after a convincing win in Game 3. One more and the Rams will return at 5 p.m. tomorrow for another shot at a championship.
6:19 -- FYI, Game 3 was 25-10 in favor of Strasburg. Wilson leads Game 4 as the match flirts with a decisive Game 5.
6:34 -- Strasburg wins Game 4, 25-23, to advance to tomorrow's Group A state championship match against the winner of Gate City-Auburn. That match will take place at 7 p.m. tonight.
7:26 -- Jeremy Stafford has checked in from Berryville and Tommy Keeler from Potomac Falls. Both are ready to go, and TK had a couple of hot dogs, so he's guaranteed to be less moody.
7:32 -- Potomac Falls will get the ball first.
7:35 -- Appomattox QB Kenny Scott raced 70 yards on the second play of the game to put the visitors up, 7-0, on Clarke County.
7:45 -- Clarke County ties Appomattox at 7-7. Sam Shiley rushed eight times for 35 yards and capped a drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to even the game in Berryville.
7:52 -- Lots of punting in the James Wood/Pot Falls game. Potomac Falls winning the battle of field position and are currently in the red zone.
7:55 -- Clarke still knotted up at 7-7. Jeremy Rhoads came up with a sack to force a turnover on downs. The Eagles are driving.
8:00 -- Eagles take the lead, 13-7, on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Zach Shiley to Tyler Morley. Earlier in the drive, Morley (Yes, Morley) hit Caleb Hartsock with a 29-yard pass.
8:07 -- Apparently everyone is going to throw for Clarke County. Sam Shiley has hit Scott Douglas on a long touchdown pass to make it 20-7 in favor of the Eagles.
8:11 -- Danny Cooper with a touchdown catch to give the Colonels a 7-3 lead.
8:17 -- Damp conditions impacting the Colonels and Panthers, with multiple fumbles and slow, deliberate offenses the story in the first half. Still 7-3, James Wood, who has the ball.
8:18 -- Appomattox creeps back into the game with a 5-yard touchdown run by Joe Reed. After the missed PAT, Clarke County leads 20-13.
8:25 -- Potomac Falls returns a fumble 47 yards for a touchdown.
8:26 -- Potomac Falls 10, James Wood 7. Almost halftime.
8:28 -- Three interceptions in a matter of 30 seconds in the Clarke County game. Zach Shiley threw a pick, then came up with an interception on a pass by Appomattox QB Kenny Scott, and then Zach Shiley threw another pick himself with 12 seconds left of the half.
8:33 -- Wow. As time expires in the first half, Appomattox QB Kenny Scott hits wide receiver Neal Thomas for a 52 yard touchdown. The two-point conversion is no good. Clarke County 20, Appomattox 19. Halftime.
8:50 -- Some stats from halftime at Clarke County: Sam Shiley has 43 yards rushing on 12 carries; Zach Shiley has 61 yards passing and 1 TD with 2 INTs; In the James Wood/Pot Falls game, both teams have 106 yards of total offense at the break.
8:53 -- James Wood ready to start the second half down 10-7. The Colonels get the ball.
9:01 -- Clarke County spends nearly half of the third quarter on a scoring drive, capping it with a 1-yard run by Grant Shaw to make it Eagles 27-19 with 5:02 on the clock.
9:04 -- Appomattox QB Kenny Scott has left the game with an injury.
9:10 -- Another field goal -- this time from 37 yards -- puts Potomac Falls up 13-7 in the third quarter.
9:13 -- Clarke/Appomattox game reaches the fourth quarter, still 27-19. Appomattox QB Kenny Scott has returned.
9:18 -- James Wood knocking on the door with a chance to take the lead with a touchdown and PAT.
9:20 -- Trae Tinsman hits Danny Cooper for the second time tonight for a touchdown pass that ties the score at 13-13 with the PAT pending.
9:21 -- James Wood 14, Potomac Falls 13.
9:28 -- James Wood's Andrew Lloyd hits a 40-yard FG to put the Colonels up 17-13 in the fourth quarter.
9:34 -- Potomac Falls scores to take the lead on a short touchdown run.
9:51 -- See dirtman's updates in the comments section. Thanks for the help!
9:35 -- A late interception seals the win for Clarke, 27-19.
9:35 -- Potomac Falls contemplates going for 2, but will kick the PAT.
9:36 -- And they miss the PAT anyway. Potomac Falls 19, James Wood 17. This has all the makings of a game-winner by Andrew Lloyd.
9:45 -- Pot Falls trying to milk the clock and prevent Lloyd's leg from becoming a late-game factor.
9:50 -- Panthers have first down inside the five-yard line with time winding down. The Colonels' season is hanging by a thread.
9:52 -- Pot Falls scores a touchdown. An extra point will make this a two possession game.
9:53 -- Potomac Falls 26, James Wood 17.
9:55 -- Just received the Strasburg/Wilson volleyball game story from Tim Tassa in Richmond. Will be right back.