Division 3 playoff field set, Divison 4 still up in air

Friday's results set the field for the four-team Region I Division 3 football playoffs, regardless of how any of the teams fare the final week of the regular season. Bruton (7-2) currently leads the VHSL ratings in the region, followed by James Monroe of Fredericksburg (7-2), Park View-South Hill (6-3) and Poquoson (5-4).

Bruton and James Monroe have clinched home field in the playoff semifinals, but this week's results will determine which is the highest seed. This week's results will also determine whether Poquoson or Park View is the No. 3 seed, and which of those two Bruton hosts in the semifinals.

DIVISION 4 PLAYOFFS NOT SET Only one of the four playoff spots in Region I Division 4 is set. Powhatan (9-0) has earned one berth as Southside District champion, and will likely be the No. 1 seed, while Chancellor (7-2) has clinched at least a tie for the Battlefield District title and is the likely No. 2 seed.

That leaves Courtland (6-3), Smithfield (7-2) and Tabb (6-3) to battle for the final two spots, which will be determined by results this week. York (6-3) could earn a berth if it beats Grafton on Friday, and two of the other three teams battling for playoff spots lose this week.

IT DOES MEAN SOMETHING Officially, it's meaningless. Unlike in other sports, it has nothing to do with your seeding in the playoffs. All you get is a trophy.

But winning its third straight Peninsula District championship – a first for its program – was a huge deal for Phoebus.

"Oh, it means everything," senior Colby Goodwyn said after Friday night's 17-14 overtime win over Bethel. "It really shows how good Phoebus football is. All along, we just wanted to keep up the beat."

"This is our first goal," added quarterback/safety Paul Morant, who completed 11-of-15 passes for 174 yards. "We always talk about district before anything else."

Phantoms coach Stan Sexton, in something of a fishbowl after replacing Bill Dee, credited the Phoebus administration.

"They've been super supportive," he said, "and never put any pressure on me."

HONORING A LEGEND Denbigh High School unveiled its refurbished weight room and dedicated it to the memory of former athletic director Dale Roe, who died earlier this year. The hallway that leads to the room has been named Dale Roe Way.

The weight room was redone with equipment donated by Denbigh alum, and current Pittsburgh Steelers coach, Mike Tomlin.

Roe spent 40 years at Denbigh as a teacher, softball coach and athletic director.

BAY RIVERS CHAMPION This is the first time since 1980 that the winner of an area Group AA football district will have at least two district losses. In 1980, Tabb won the York River District championship with a 6-2 district record.

Tabb can clinch at least a tie for its first district title since 1993 with a win on Thursday at Bruton, which can win its first Bay Rivers title with a victory. Smithfield, which shared its only Bay Rivers title in 1993 with Tabb and Nansemond River, can tie with Bruton or Tabb for the district title with a win on Friday at Poquoson.

COULD BE HIGHER At 6-4 overall, Bethel is going to the playoffs for the third consecutive year. The Bruins' seed could have been a lot higher.

Three weeks ago, the Bruins led Hampton 13-7 in the fourth quarter but ended up going to overtime, where they lost on a missed extra point. Friday night, Bethel led Phoebus 14-0 in the second quarter but again lost in overtime.

The latest setback was particularly tough. The Bruins were in position to win in regulation before losing a fumble at the Phoebus 10-yard line with 1:10 left. Bethel then fumbled on its first (and only) possession of overtime, which allowed the Phantoms to play for a winning field goal.

So Bethel is only a couple of plays away from being 8-2.

"We've just got to go out on the field next week and iron out the mistakes," Bruins coach Jeff Nelson said. "No matter who we play."

BACK FOR BASKETBALL Ben Edwards caught a few passes during warm-ups for York's game on Friday at Bruton. ….one-handed. JR Riddick tried to signal "Y.M.C.A." to the famous Village People tune, but could only raise one arm.

With the potent Edwards-to-Riddick passing-receiving combo sidelined – both with broken collar bones – York lost a thriller, 30-24 at Bruton, that damaged its Region I Division 4 playoff hopes. Both said they expect to be ready to compete again early in basketball season, good news for a York team expected to make a return trip the Region I tournament if they are at full strength.