Sunday notebook: More on the Bay Rivers District playoff scenarios

York High holds its playoff fate, and possibly that of Bay Rivers District rival Tabb's in its hands. If the Falcons (6-2, 5-2 district) win their final two games they will earn a berth in the four-team Region I Division 4 playoffs as at least the fourth seed, regardless of whatever else happens. But the Falcons' 62-27 loss on Friday to Lafayette put them in jeopardy of missing the playoffs, opening the door for Tabb (5-3, 5-2) to perhaps step in. Should York lose one of its final two, Tabb will likely overtake it in the power points ratings by winning its final two games. Powhatan (8-0) is pretty much a sure bet to get into the four-team Division 4 field as Southside District champion, while Smithfield (7-1, 6-1 district) has the inside track to win the Bay Rivers and earn the district's automatic berth. That leaves Battlefield District teams Chancellor (6-2) and Courtland (6-2) to fight it out with York and Tabb for the final two berths. Courtland and Chancellor play on Friday, and the loser's playoff hopes will take a hit. The best and only scenario for York to make the playoffs is to defeat Bruton and Grafton in its final two games. Because the Falcons will be favored against Grafton, this Friday's game at Bruton is key. York must lose for Tabb to make the playoffs. The Tigers then would have a chance to finish with more power points than either Courtland or Chancellor but not both, and only if it finishes the regular season with wins over Warhill and Bruton. Bruton (6-2, 5-2) has clinched its first Division 3 playoff berth in nine years and is likely to play its first-round game at home. Poquoson can clinch its third consecutive D-3 playoff berth with a win on Friday at New Kent. For more on the playoffs, visit the "Inside the Bay Rivers District" blog.

SHOUT-OUT FOR THE LINE After losing several starters from last season's Division 4 playoff team, Tabb's offensive line was a question mark coming into the 2009 season. This year's group answered any lingering questions by blowing open huge hole after huge hole in the 35-7 win over Poquoson on Friday. Corey Patrick ran through those openings for 305 yards and two touchdowns. Afterward he spent much of his interview time praising the group: tight end Jacob Kimball, guards Roger Huff and Derek MacDonald, center Zach Kezar, and tackles Cody Norris and Thomas St. John.

HAMPTON'S DEFENSE IMPROVES There were other reasons for Hampton's first two losses this season, but maybe the biggest was defense. The Crabbers had no answer for Woodside quarterback Aaron Evans or for Warwick's running game. But in the last three weeks, things have changed. Hampton has allowed an average of 148 total yards against Bethel, Phoebus and Kecoughtan. Also in that span, the Crabbers have given up 11 points a game during regulation. "We have people in there who are moving to the ball," linebacker Monte Haney said. Hampton dominated Kecoughtan Friday night, allowing the Warriors 26 total yards in the first half. On its first 12 offensive plays, Kecoughtan had a minus-1 yard. "We're getting better on defense," Hampton coach Mike Smith said. "We've been playing a lot of young people, and they're getting better."

BETHEL PLAYS SOLIDLY Bethel coach Jeff Nelson talks about the importance of playing 48 minutes of football. The Bruins didn't necessarily do that Thursday night, but they played a pretty good 12 minutes in the second quarter. Of Bethel's 344 total yards in a 28-7 win over Warwick, 192 came in the second period. The Bruins scored three touchdowns and had a fourth nullified by a holding penalty. Defensively, the Bruins allowed 18 yards and no first downs on 12 plays. "We just started clicking," Nelson said.

A BIGGIE FRIDAY NIGHT The Peninsula District's biggest game next week will come Friday night at Darling Stadium – Bethel (6-3, 5-3) vs. Phoebus (9-0, 8-0). For the Bruins, it will be a chance to solidify their playoff hopes. They were ranked 10th in the Eastern Region Division 5 before Friday night's win and are expected to rise at least two spots. For the Phantoms, it will be a chance to lock up the No. 1 seed. They had a 3.1-point lead over Norcom, which lost Friday night to Lake Taylor.

RICHARDSON MOTIVATED Menchville running back Clifton Richardson came into Friday night's game versus Heritage 133 rushing yards behind the district leader. Yet, Richardson said after the game he didn't know how many yards he needed Friday to overtake the lead. Instead, his motivation was more personal. "It's so exciting. We had a camp with them in the offseason, so we wanted to come out here and win big," Richardson said. "And we're going to do it again next Saturday." Heritage quarterback Adore Pope, who exchanged handshakes with Richardson after both teams had left the field, knew the feeling. "I'm happy for them because I know a couple of players on their team, but at the same time, it was our homecoming," Pope said. "It was our last game for seniors, two of our players switched over from our school to their school last year, but you just have to play hard in your last game. "Go hard or go home."

JUST NOTES Despite averaging 87.1 yards passing per game, Menchville quarterback Henry Booth only attempted two passes Friday, completing both for 31 yards. Richardson maybe had a little something to do with the lack of a passing attack Friday, as the junior quarterback rushed for 238 yards and 4 touchdowns on 27 carries. ... Heritage used the triple option Friday more prominently than they had all season. The offense allowed the Hurricanes to rush for 357 yards as a team and allowed quarterback Adore Pope to spring for 142 yards on 19 carries, a season high.,,, Referee Creig Moore worked his final Peninsula high school football game Friday, finishing off a 21-year career in the district. Creig, an assistant fire chief for the Newport News Fire Department, starts his new job as the head fire chief of Huntington, West Virginia Monday.