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Northwest Region Football Preview: Week 4

Thursday’s Prince William Extra includes a preview of tonight's Osbourn Park at Hylton matchup. Both teams, I believe, will be at or near the top of the Cardinal District standings when everything shakes out, and I also feel that both aren’t true representations of what they showed last Friday.

Hylton (1-1) clobbered Matoaca, 54-18, in its first game, with fantasy football-type numbers all around. Jabari Neeley had 20 tackles, 123 rushing yards and two scores. Andre Coleman had 100 rushing yards, 111 receiving yards and three total touchdowns. The Bulldogs ran back two punts.

The next week, though, Hylton couldn’t score a touchdown at Stonewall Jackson and lost, 7-3.

Eighth-year Coach Lou Sorrentino brought up an interesting point to me over the weekend, which I wrote about in the Extra. In the past, Sorrentino has noticed a whole bunch of opening-night stinkers. Jitters, nervousness, under the lights … you know the drill. Week 2, however, generally was a different story.

“We were just the opposite on that,” Sorrentino said of this year’s second-week dud.

Osbourn Park (1-1) will look to rebound from a 14-0 loss at No. 14 Battlefield last week, which featured three picks from Bobcat senior JoiQuan James and came a week after the Yellow Jackets thumped Stafford, 38-7.

Speaking of Battlefield, the Bobcats play at Gar-Field Thursday night in a game that I think means a whole lot more to the home team than to the visiting one. While Battlefield assuredly won’t be taking anyone lightly, Gar-Field, I believe, really needs this game.

Think about it: Gar-Field can be 3-1 with a momentum-building win over Battlefield or 2-2 and saddled with a two-game losing streak. Which direction Gar-Field’s season turns will likely depend on tailback Bryce Miller, who has been battling an ankle injury but has still gutted it out to the tune of 398 yards and three scores.

“Some of his runs would be touchdowns if his legs were 100 percent,” Gar-Field Coach Tom Gryder said. “He’s not breaking away, and it’s hard for him to follow through with all of his runs at this point.”

Another game to watch features North Stafford and Potomac (Va.). These teams represent two of the Northwest Region’s biggest surprises this season. Potomac (0-3) has yet to win and North Stafford (2-0) has yet to lose. Despite a 1-9 campaign in 2008 where the Wolverines didn’t win a Commonwealth District game, 20 starters returned to this year’s team, including running back Torrey Hart, who had 161 yards and two touchdowns during a 20-16 win over Gar-Field last week.

Keep an eye on Loudoun Valley at Brooke Point. Three weeks ago, I might have laughed at this one. But the Vikings have all of a sudden jumped out to a 2-1 start, with wins over Dominion and Forest Park. Brooke Point, meanwhile, is trying to move to 3-0 after upsetting Osbourn in its opening game and holding off Freedom-Woodbridge last week, 20-7.

Freedom-Woodbridge at Osbourn will be an interesting one too, although Eagles Coach Steve Schultze would probably prefer that it wasn’t. His starting quarterback, senior Thomas Keith, missed the majority of last week’s 35-31 win over Mountain View (2-1) with a sore knee.

Keith suffers from Osgood-Schlatter disease and the pain had just become too much to bear, prompting him to get an X-Ray on Tuesday, which ultimately came back showing no serious damage. Schultze expects Keith to play this week but is somewhat unsure of how much or for how long.

“It’s been tender,” Schultze said of the injury. “He’s just been mentally tough with it.”

In Keith’s absence, 6-foot-1 senior Chaz Bates played great, completing nine of his 17 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown, while running back Vidal Greene picked up the extra slack by scoring four times and totaling 101 yards.

Given a week to check out some tape on Bates, will Freedom-Woodbridge force him to make some quick adjustments? Or will Keith be back on the field and ready to go? Guess we’ll see on Thursday.

Here’s a full list of this week’s games. Make sure to check back Monday morning for my recap of this weekend’s Northwest Region action. And, if you have ‘em, send any suggestions for the weekly entry to mackeyj@washpost.com.

Week 4 Games

Thursday, Sept. 17
Osbourn Park at Hylton, 7:30
North Stafford at Potomac (Va.), 7
Battlefield at Gar-Field, 7
Heritage at Colonial Forge, 7
Forest Park at Stonewall Jackson, 7
Loudoun Valley at Brooke Point, 7
Freedom-Woodbridge at Osbourn, 7

Friday, Sept. 18
Woodbridge at Stafford, 7:30
Riverbend at Chancellor, 7:30

By Jason Mackey  |  September 16, 2009; 3:54 PM ET
Categories:  Battlefield , Brooke Point , Colonial Forge , Forest Park , Freedom-Woodbridge , Gar-Field , Heritage , Hylton , Loudoun Valley High School , Massaponax , Mountain View , North Stafford , Osbourn , Osbourn Park , Potomac (Va.) , Riverbend , Stafford , Stonewall Jackson , Woodbridge  
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