Playoffs, home field on the table

Published 11:07 pm Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Uncertainty about a playoff berth remains for only one Suffolk football team entering the final week of the regular season for the city’s public schools.

Lakeland High School is near the bottom edge of the top 16 teams in Region 4A South that qualify for the playoffs. Friday night’s action will be significant because of how it could affect which teams would end up being in the final group of 16.

The Cavaliers are in a similar situation to the one Nansemond-Suffolk Academy found itself in last week approaching its final game of the regular season: Win the game and secure a playoff berth without a doubt. The Saints won and begin postseason play on Friday.

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Lakeland (3-6) will travel to Grassfield High School (3-6) on Friday, and there are some factors riding in the Cavs’ favor.

The Grizzlies are experiencing a down year and appear to be vulnerable. This was evidenced by Nansemond River’s season-opening 21-19 win over them and King’s Fork’s 19-10 win in which junior feature back Deshaun Wethington ran for 339 yards.

Additionally, Grassfield is out of playoff contention in the competitive Region 6A South, which might leave it with little drive as it closes out its season. Lakeland, on the other hand, has everything to play for.

If the Cavs lose, they may still have a chance to make the playoffs, but would have to wait until results from other games come in to know for sure.

King’s Fork High School has already secured its playoff berth and is searching now for home field advantage. If the Bulldogs defeat visiting Western Branch High School on Friday night, they could finish at No. 4 in the region and play their first two playoff games at home.

If King’s Fork loses, it might have to hit the road in round one to play defending Group 4A state champion Dinwiddie High School.

Though Western Branch (7-2) has been a Southeastern District opponent that is used to blowing out its Suffolk opponents, the Bruins do not appear to be as strong this year, which gives the Bulldogs a viable shot at a win.

Nansemond River (4-5) has secured a playoff spot and will likely finish anywhere from No. 10 to No. 13 in the region. The Warriors close their season on the road against Deep Creek High School (0-9) on Friday.

Virginia High School League weekly football ratings

The top 16 teams at season’s end make the playoffs. The teams are listed with their records and ratings.

1. Lake Taylor, 9-0, 31.33333

2. Heritage (NN), 9-1, 31.10000

3. Phoebus, 7-3,  28.20000

t-4. Powhatan, 8-1, 27.44444

t-4. Monacan, 7-2,  27.44444

t-6. I.C. Norcom,  8-1, 27.33333

t-6. Hanover, 6-3, 27.33333

8. King’s Fork,  7-2, 26.77778

9. Dinwiddie,  7-2, 25.55556

10. Grafton, 6-3, 23.66667

11. Nansemond River, 4-5, 23.55556

12. Tabb, 6-3, 23.33333

13. B.T. Washington, 4-4, 22.25000

14. Churchland, 4-5, 21.55556

15. Lakeland, 3-6, 21.44444

16. Denbigh, 3-7, 21.30000

17. Woodrow Wilson,  3-6, 20.77778

18. Smithfield, 4-5, 20.55556

19. Midlothian,  2-8, 19.40000

20. J. R. Tucker, 3-6, 19.22222

21. Glen Allen, 1-8,  17.66667

22. Deep Creek, 0-9, 17.44444

23. Caroline, 0-9, 15.44444

24. Jamestown, 0-9, 14.88889

Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association weekly state football ratings

The regular season has ended, and the top four teams made the playoffs. The teams are listed with their records and ratings.

1. St. Anne’s-Belfield, 9-1, 12.20

2. Bishop Sullivan, 8-2, 11.50

3. Trinity Episcopal, 6-4, 8.10

4. Nansemond-Suffolk, 5-5, 6.70