0906_dnr_SPOT-William Monroe FTB_6

Spotswood's Ethan Barnhart gets around the Dragon's defense for a big gain.

1. If Spotswood has a let down after last week's rout.

The highs and lows of high school sports are challenging at times to handle, but that's what Spotswood coach Dale Shifflett is dealing with going into tonight's contest.

The Trailblazers are riding high after squeaking out a rivalry win in Week 1 over East Rockingham and then showing off their full arsenal last week in a 75-13 rout of William Monroe that showcased all the reasons they're considered the area's best team.

Despite facing a Western Albemarle team that is 0-1 after a 48-26 loss to Turner Ashby a week ago, Spotswood needs to be careful not to look past this Warriors team.

Western is a program known for winning — they haven't started 0-2 since 2002 and have made the playoffs seven of eight seasons — and is hungry to right the ship.

The Warriors have an array of talented skill players and if the offensive and defensive lines can improve at all, they've got enough talent to keep this one interesting.

How the Trailblazers handle that will tell us a lot about this team's potential.


2. What East Rockingham looks like after its bye week.

Teams don't usually enjoy early-season byes, but East Rockingham may have.

The Eagles were worn down in a season-opening loss to Spotswood, but are now fully healthy as they head into a showdown with non-district rival Riverheads in Elkton.

This game will certainly be physical as well, but it may allow us to see a bit more of the ERHS offense we came into the year expecting rather than the one against SHS.

The Eagles have some playmakers on that side of the ball and the ability to open things up, but were forced to mostly rely on running back Trenton Morris in the season opener.

East Rock has typically given the Gladiators fits with their different offensive schemes in the past and RHS coach Robert Casto called the Eagles the "best team we'll play."

Staring at a possible 0-2 start, it's now or never for East Rock to showcase its ability.


3. How Turner Ashby handles its new-found success.

The talk of the area football scene was Turner Ashby this week and for good reason.

The Knights are feeling good about themselves after a 48-26 win over Western Albemarle that put them at 2-0 for the first time since 2010, but now they have expectations.

TA isn't going to sneak up on any opponents the rest of the way and although it has a very winnable non-district slate the rest of the way, it must take each game seriously.

The Knights are good - don't get me wrong - but they don't have quite the type of talent capable yet of playing poorly and still coming out with a win against some teams.

Turner Ashby will need to be at its best moving forward if it hopes to compete.

If the Knights continue to play the way they have the first two weeks, they could insert themselves into the Valley District title conversation by season's end.


4. Whether or not the Streaks can finally get a win.

There's no better time than right now for Harrisonburg.

The Blue Streaks are sitting at 0-2 and haven't looked particularly well in any phase.

But this week, they face a struggling Charlottesville team that may be in an even worse spot than them right now and it's a great opportunity for the Streaks to right the ship.

Not only would a win be crucial in salvaging any playoff hopes for Harrisonburg, but it would also provide a big confidence boost for a team filled with youth throughout the roster.

So far, there hasn't been much to smile about for the young Streaks and that's challenging for veteran coach Chris Thurman to work with.

A win tonight, however, could change that and the trajectory of the HHS season.


5. The Broadway running game's success (or lack thereof).

It's unusual to see Broadway struggle in the run game, but that's the case in 2019.

The Gobblers came into the season wanting to have a balanced offense under first-year coach Danny Grogg, but the run game has yet to perform well through two games.

Sitting at 0-2, the passing of sophomore Cole Hoover has actually been impressive.

Sure, he has had some growing pains. But overall, he's been efficient for the BHS offense.

It's the run game that needs to get going if the Gobblers want to turn this thing around.

Whether its Christian Morgan, David Thew or even Hoover on some read-option plays, someone needs to get it started on the ground if Broadway has any chance at a win.

Contact Cody Elliott at 574-6284 or celliott@dnronline.com | Follow Cody on Twitter: @Cody_DNRSports

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