Posted September 27, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

Keeler: Halfway point a positive indicator

Tommy Keeler

By Tommy Keeler Jr. - tkeeler@nvdaily.com

We're now about halfway through another exciting fall season. The halfway point is always a good time to gauge how teams are doing and take a look at what's ahead.

It appears it's going to be another great season for area football teams. Four of our six public schools have one loss or less at the halfway point of the year.

Skyline and Warren County are both 4-0 and have looked really sharp this season. The Hawks have used a balanced rushing attack, a solid passing game and a top-notch defense to get off to the great start. They will have a big test tonight against Kettle Run, which advanced to the Group AA, Division 3 state semifinals last year. The Cougars are also undefeated this year.

The Wildcats have also been dominating opponents with a defense that has 11 interceptions in four games. They also have a very balanced attack on offense. Both Skyline and Warren County are in a tough district, but I think both will challenge for the district title this year. I think both squads could have strong playoff runs this season.

Strasburg is now 5-0 after a really good win over Clarke County last week. The Rams are in a good position to be one of the top teams in the playoff seedings, although there's still a lot of games left to be played. Strasburg's biggest threat for the district title could be Central, which is 4-1. The Falcons still have to play Clarke County on Oct. 12, and there are still plenty of other good teams in the district. However, the district title could very well come down to the Strasburg-Central game, the final week of the regular season just like it did last year.

The Rams are led by Rakwon White, who has rushed for 861 yards, but Troy Gordon's ability to make plays from the quarterback position gives them another offensive threat. The Rams have looked very strong on defense as well.

Central's only loss came to Warren County. The Falcons have looked really strong with their passing game, and have also shown that they are very capable running the ball as well. Central's defense has also looked very good all season, including shutting down a very potent Broadway running game.

Strasburg and Central each won a playoff game last season, and both teams are hungry to go even further this year.

Sherando started off slow, but has won two of its last three games heading into the Northwestern District season. Sherando's running game has been strong, and the Warriors are always a contender in the district.

Stonewall Jackson has not won a game this year, but I think that will change tonight against Buffalo Gap. The Generals are always well-coached, and I think they will make a run for the playoffs during the second half of the regular season.

R-MA and MMA have been up and down, but they have both shown they can put a boatload of points on the board. Last week MMA put up video-game-like numbers in a 52-38 loss to Covenant. MMA quarterback Kenya Ray-Abrams threw for 410 yards, and wide receiver Travis Fulgham had 11 receptions for 313 yards.

The local teams are also doing well in other sports. Stonewall Jackson's volleyball team got off to a great start, and looks to be a factor in the always tough Shenandoah District. Strasburg is off to a slow start, but a very young Rams squad could certainly turn things around and make some noise in the Bull Run.

Warren County is also off to a very good start this season with a very experienced team. The Wildcats may surprise some teams in the Evergreen District this season. Sherando lost some key players from last year, but will still be a team to watch out for in the Northwestern District. SVCA is also having another stellar season. After a slow start, Central is really coming on strong and could make a mark in the Bull Run.

The area cross country teams look very strong once again, led by Warren County's girls squad. The Wildcats have a lot of seniors and will certainly have a chance of racking up some more district titles. Individually, Skyline's Thomas Madden, Strasburg's Anthony Wallis and Warren County's Kayla Gibbons look as strong as ever, and should be threats in districts, regionals and states this season.

The golf season is winding down, but there's still plenty of local athletes with a chance to go far. Strasburg and Stonewall Jackson will have a shot at moving on as a team on Monday in the Region B tournament. There's also a good chance some individuals will advance to the state tournament.

As we begin the second half of the fall season, fans in the area should be excited. I think the first half of the season was really good, but I think the second half is going to be even better.

-- Assistant sports editor Tommy Keeler Jr. can be reached at tkeeler@nvdaily.com.

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