FRONT ROYAL — A lot will be on the line when Warren County hosts William Monroe on Friday in Class 3 Northwestern District football.
The two teams are battling for a playoff spot in Region 3B. Warren County is in ninth with a 14.14 power rating, while William Monroe is in eighth with a 14.17 power rating. The top eight teams advance.
It is also senior night and Warren County senior Logan Schultz said it will be a special night.
"I'm super excited for it," Schultz said. "Last home game, it will be very emotional against a pretty solid team."
The Dragons (2-4, 1-2 Class 3 Northwestern) are looking for their third win of the season and have a solid offense led by wide receiver Shea Jeffers.
William Monroe likes to run the ball with senior Troy Jones and sophomore quarterback Davien Griffieth.
Warren County coach Jerry Sarchet said they will have to be able to defend against the run and pass.
"We'll have to play good on the back half of the defense and make sure that we don't lose track of (Jeffers)," Sarchet said. "Because they do run the ball so much and it's easy to kind of get relaxed into that. So it's just discipline."
William Monroe likes to put a lot of players up front and bring pressure.
The Wildcats (1-6, 1-2 Class 3 Northwestern) are coming off their first win of the season, an impressive 48-7 win over Manassas Park. Warren County ran for 378 yards in its single wing offense.
Warren County's offense has been led this season by younger players. Warren County brought up freshman Michael Hooper from the JV squad for last week's game and he had seven carries for 78 yards and two scores. Freshmen Gavin Dodson and Christian Weller have been two big contributors in the run game as well.
"I think he was a little nervous coming in," Sarchet said of Hooper. "He didn't know what to expect. And after he had some success, he calmed down and realized that he could play with anybody. At the end of the game we had Weller, Dodson and Hooper all in the game together. So three ninth graders in the backfield to end out the game."
Sophomore P.J. Dellinger is the team's leading rusher and junior quarterback Nick Foltz had his best game running the ball last week as well. Sarchet said he's happy with how the running game played and the play of the offensive line, which has improved since junior offensive lineman D.J. Rizzo returned from injury.
Sarchet said his defense also played better after giving up 48 points to Meridian the week before.
"We had one missed coverage and Manassas Park took advantage of that in their long (touchdown) pass," Sarchet said. "But after that they really just sat and played good sound gap control. And I don't know what their total yards was but I think besides that one long play running the ball, I think they had less than 30 yards running the ball. It's good because this week against William Monroe we got to stop the run and then our defensive backfield has just got to sit at home (in their coverage)."
Sarchet said the play of the Wildcats' front seven on defense will be important to stopping the Dragons' running attack.
Schultz said the win last week felt great after six straight losses to start the season.
"It was amazing," Schultz said. "We had been looking for it, especially in the district. That helps us for the playoffs. We really needed that, especially a win like that with (scoring 48 points)."
Another win this week would give Warren County back-to-back wins for the first time since 2017.
Sarchet said the program is building up and he hopes they are ready for the next step.
"I think we've built ourselves up to this point, because we've had some growing pains," he said. "But we've gotten better each week. So it will be a good test for us on Friday."