SHS

Thomas Holsapple sides steps a diving Matthew Tyner

Five Things

1. Trailblazers Showing No Signs Of Slowing Down

It would have been completely understandable for Spotswood to start slow.

The Trailblazers hadn't played in over two weeks, had only played two games the entire month of October and were facing a winless Broadway team in an 11 a.m. kickoff.

Well, that simply wasn't the case as Spotswood scored six first-quarter touchdowns and dominated defensively, showing all the reasons they're sitting at 9-0 this season.

That type of focus and ability to execute on a week-to-week basis is exactly why the Trailblazers should be considered a serious contender to win Region 3C this year.

"It was good to play," Trailblazers running back Ethan Barnhart said. "We definitely needed to play and just get back on the field for a game. We got some kinks out. We had to do a little bit of work, but we got there. We got the result that we wanted."

As long as Spotswood maintains that type of focus and doesn't get caught looking ahead, which it hasn't so far, the Trailblazers may find themselves playing in December.


2. HHS Needs Its Running Game To Get On Track

During Harrisonburg's 3-0 start in Valley District play, the run game was lethal.

But during a 34-29 loss to Rockbridge County on Saturday, it all disappeared.

The Blue Streaks were limited to just 48 yards on the ground with senior Kwentin Smiley being held to just 19 yards on 10 carries - a stark contrast from previous production.

Harrisonburg will have its hands full again this week against unbeaten Spotswood, but if it has any chance of a win this week or in the playoffs, the run game must improve.

"They just whipped us," HHS coach ChrisThurman said. "We came out flat in the first half, didn't play very well. We tried to run the ball and couldn't. All the credit to them."

How the Streaks answer their challenges in the run game this week will go a long way toward determining whether or not this team can turn things around and make some serious noise once it reaches the postseason next week in the Region 5D playoffs.


3. Knights, Wildcats Could Meet In Back-To-Back Weeks

Turner Ashby certainly took care of business against Waynesboro, winning 75-6.

But now the big challenge comes for the Knights, who will travel to Rockbridge County this week and could potentially be making the exact same trip one week from now.

Right now, the Wildcats and TA sit in the No. 4 and No. 5 spot in Region 3C.

Unless Rockbridge somehow moves up a spot, it looks likely that these teams will remain in the current spots, meaning a rematch will happen in the regional quarterfinals.

"This is our second chance," Knights quarterback C.J. Haskins said. "We've lost our last two big district games. This is our chance to prove that we still belong."

Whether TA belongs or not will be determined, but it appears likely it'll be the Wildcats that ultimately determine the answer to that question.


4. East Rockingham Is Now A Sneaky Pick In Region 2B Playoffs

Don't look now, but here comes Donnie Coleman and East Rockingham.

The Eagles started the year slow with players adjusting to new roles and expectations.

But suddenly, East Rock has won four of its last five after a 53-23 rout of one-loss Luray and the Eagles suddenly look like a sneaky pick to go far in the postseason this year.

Led by senior running back/linebacker Trenton Morris, East Rock has gained confidence and that's something Coleman said goes a long way with high school athletes.

"We're starting to get some confidence and we're starting to have some young men grow up," Coleman said. "They've got that field time and they're starting to understand the game. Confidence is an amazing thing. It's really weird how it works. You take a teenager and give him some success - it's pretty cool right now."

As long as the Eagles continue to gain confidence, they'll be a tough out for anyone this postseason and with the experience they have, they could make another deep run.


5. Opportunity Ahead For Winless Gobblers To End Season Strong

Walking off the Zane Showker Field inside James Madison's Bridgeforth Stadium on Saturday, Broadway first-year coach Danny Grogg couldn't help but shake his head.

A 62-13 loss to Spotswood was certainly humbling, but the Gobblers entered that game as heavy underdogs and it would have taken a collapse from the Trailblazers to win.

The good news for Grogg and Broadway, however, is this week brings hope.

This week, the Gobblers will travel to take on winless Waynesboro and while the Little Giants probably have their own hope of winning their first game, it was evident after their 75-6 loss to Turner Ashby later Saturday evening that they're a step below.

"We just have to continue to get better," Grogg said. "We're going to try and go 1-0 next week. I'm praying everything works out for Waynesboro and they get to play next week."

Broadway should get a win this week as long as it takes care of business and if it does, that's something the Gobblers desperately needed and can build off of for the future.


Three Tops

Trenton Morris, East Rockingham running back

It's safe to say that Saturday was one of the best games of Trenton Morris' career.

The East Rockingham senior scored four rushing touchdowns, caught a receiving score and returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown en route to six total scores.

The six total touchdowns were a career-high for Morris and an ERHS program record.

Ethan Barnhart, Spotswood running back

The area's top running back continued to do what he does against Broadway.

Barnhart rushed for 257 yards on just 13 carries and had five rushing touchdowns in Spotswood's 62-13 rout of the winless Gobblers in a Valley District rivalry game.

Barnhart, who has 1,798 rushing yards, is closing in on the SHS single-season record.

Grant Swinehart, Turner Ashby running back

It was a video-game-like performance for Grant Swinehart in Week 10.

In Turner Ashby's 75-6 dismantling of Waynesboro, the senior running back scored on his first five touches and got back on track after a pair of disappointing performances.

Swinehart finished with six carries for 214 yards and a season-high five scores.

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