This Friday, two teams will continue in the second round of the high school football playoffs. East Rutherford will be on the road, while Thomas Jefferson is at home.
#8 Bishop McGuinness (8-4) at #1 Thomas Jefferson (11-0)
The Gryphons come in healthy and have rested for nearly three weeks since earning a first round bye in the 1A playoffs. In case you didn't know, Nomi McMullens has 1500 yards passing and almost another 1400 yards rushing for a total of 47 combined touchdowns. Cody Maxwell has 11 rushing touchdowns and continues to progress every game. Ethan Jackson and Chance Sutton lead the Gryphon defense. Sutton has played real well as of late.
For Bishop...Mac Mcalhany is the signal caller with 16 thrown touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He likes to work the middle of the field and throw long. The Villains also have three receivers that have 20 receptions or more this season. Thomas Jefferson must stop running back Daniel Cancro, who has 15 touchdowns and 1200-plus yards in that department.
Defensively is where the Villains take pride at. They have only allowed more than 22 points twice all season and they lost both. Bishop only has a 26-man roster, but they are good for a 1A club. Gut feeling says Thomas Jefferson 38-21
East Rutherford 17, Maiden 10
As for East Rutherford, they were hit with 16 penalties and had two touchdowns called back. Despite all that, the Cavalier defense played well. Tied at 10 with under a minute to go, Calvin Camp was trying to deflect a sure interception. While he did just that, he continued to tip the ball around until he miraculously caught it at the Maiden two. Demetrius Mauney, who went over 100 yards rushing, plunged into the endzone on the next play. Camp came away with his second interception of the night moments later and that was the ball game.
Despite a really tough night, East Rutherford Football Coach Clint Bland made his biggest statement when he pointed over at the scoreboard after the game.
"It was not pretty tonight and I felt like we had to overcome adversity a number of times," Bland said. "At the end of the night, all that matters is what that scoreboard reads and we are moving on...that's what counts."
#7 East Rutherford (10-2) at #2 Reidsville (12-0)
There will be athletes all over the field in this one as Reidsville has quarterback Kyle Pinnix (1500 yards passing) leading the charge while, Travian Canada (1000 yards rushing) leads the rushing attack. The Rams are balanced on offense, but they are just as good if not better defensively. They have 4 players who have more than 10 tackles for loss this season.
For some reason, I like this game going a little bit like last week in the 2A playoffs. The cold air is here and both teams have a ton of speed. These two teams met in 2015 with Reidsville winning 16-7. This Rams have won 43 of the last 44 games they have entered, I like Reidsville 28-14.
Joey Logano was the underdog coming into Sunday's race at Homestead, but he left the Champion in the Cup season finale.
Winning at Martinsville was a big deal considering that it gave his team three weeks to plan for Homestead. It worked out as he battled Martin Truex Jr. for the lead in the final laps until Logano pulled away.
Logano isn't one the fan favorites, but winning the championship should at least quiet the doubters.
Finally, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson didn't win a race this season. Who would have thought these two would go winless in 2018? I do believe Denny and Jimmie will both contend for race wins next year and maybe for a championship. As of this year, Joe Gibbs, Penske and Stewart-Haas were the strongest organizations. Young guns such as Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson are starting to make more noise. It will be interesting and maybe even scary to know how the sport will look in five years.