Knights take top spot after outscoring first two opponents 86-0
Welcome to the first edition of the 2019 Progress-Index High School Football Power Rankings, which will become a regular feature throughout the remainder of the high school football season. The goal of these rankings is simple: place the area teams in order based on how well they are playing right now.
Disagree with where you see your team? Happy with how the rankings turned out this week? Let sports editor Jeff Milby know how you feel with an email (email@example.com) and your thoughts could be used in this space in the future:
1. Thomas Dale (2-0)
Last Week: 28-0 win at L.C. Bird
This Week: at Hermitage (1-1)
Thomas Dale looks like a serious contender for the state championship at the Class 6 level, and are certainly the class of the P-I coverage area thus far in 2019. The Knights are coming off of back-to-back blowout wins, most recently in a hotly anticipated rivalry game against L.C. Bird in the Battle of Chester. In week one, the Knights’ offense shined in a 58-0 win over Cosby, while in week two the defense did most of the talking. The Knights held Bird scoreless, and picked up the slack for the offense through a slow first half, before big plays from Chris Tyree, DeAngelo Gray and Josiah Williams finished off the Skyhawks in the second period.
Dale will take on a Hermitage program that has taken a step-back, finishing 1-9 on 2018 following double-digit win totals in nine of the preceding 11 seasons. Under their second coach in two years, the Panthers are coming off of a 20-14 overtime loss to Henrico, and will likely need maximum effort to keep up with Dale.
2. Hopewell (1-0)
Last Week: Bye
This Week: vs. I.C. Norcom (1-0)
The Blue Devils have had a week to rest up (and avoid hurricane postponement) following their season opening 40-7 romp at Tabb. Hopewell boasts an explosive backfield, led by junior athlete TreVeyon Henderson, who recently picked up his 19th scholarship offer from SEC power LSU, according to his twitter account, along with classmate Robert Briggs. Kaveion Cox led a stellar performance by the Blue Devil defense in week one as well, in shutting out Tabb until garbage time. The week off was surely beneficial, as it allowed head coach Ricky Irby to clean up the penalties (nine for 60 yards) and turnovers (three, plus two offensive fumbles that Hopewell recovered) that drew his ire.
The game against Norcom will be the home opener for the Blue Devils, and that’s not the only reason they should be up for the game - Norcom eliminated Hopewell from the postseason a year ago. With revenge on the line, and the opportunity to lay down a marker against Tri-City rival Petersburg, who fell to Norcom 42-22 last week, expect Hopewell to come out on fire in what will be a tough game. A win would cement Hopewell’s status near the top of these rankings.
3. Prince George (2-0)
Last Week: 34-12 win vs. J.R. Tucker
This Week: at Churchland (2-0)
The Royals have raised eyebrows around the region after wins over Douglas Freeman and J.R. Tucker in the opening two weeks, and are in position for a few more victories if they continue to display that form. A visit to Portsmouth this Friday to play Churchland will take the Royals away from home for the first time, and their reaction to playing on the road will be significant. It is a winnable contest, with Churchland coming in following five-consecutive losing seasons. The Truckers have been dominant in 2019 so far, but their two wins by a combined score of 94-3 are a bit misleading - both of their opponents finished 0-9 in 2018. If they play up to the standard they’ve set so far this year, the Royals stand a good chance to be 3-0 for the first time since 2014.
4. Dinwiddie (1-1)
Last Week: 47-30 loss at Massaponax
This Week: vs. North Stafford (2-0)
A power program in the area, Dinwiddie has gotten off to a less than stellar defensive start to 2019. Through two games, the Generals are allowing 44.5 points per game, and have allowed more than 40 for three games straight if you go back to last season’s playoff loss. Aside from their last three, Dinwiddie hasn’t allowed 40 or more points in a game since 2012, and not in back-to-back games since 2005.
Take those numbers with a grain of salt, though. Dinwiddie’s opponents this year - GW-Danville and Massaponax - are both quality teams that were always going to give the Generals a tough game. The issue is that the schedule doesn’t get easier with North Stafford coming in, a program coming off of a 10-win season.
5. Matoaca (1-0)
Last Week: 9-6 (OT) win at Powhatan
This Week: at Varina (1-1)
The Warriors won their season opener in an overtime thriller over Powhatan, with the defense earning the plaudits from head coach Jay Parker following a gritty win on the road. The opponents this week, tough, will be a different animal. Varina boasts talented play-makers all over the field, and is one of the strongest team’s in the state, going toe-to-toe with defending state champion Manchester in an overtime loss in week one. While a win on the road over the Blue Devils is a tall task, Matoaca is improved this season.
6. Petersburg (1-1)
Last Week: 42-22 loss at I.C. Norcom
This Week: vs. Booker T. Washington (1-1)
The Crimson Wave certainly have the offensive weapons to rise in these rankings in the coming weeks, but questions about their defense and interior remain after a loss to I.C. Norcom. Make no mistake, the offense was not the issue in the loss. Quarterback Meziah Scott ran for 108 yards and a touchdown, and threw for 72 more, including a 41-yard strike to Teon Harris for a score. Upton Bailey ran for 24 yards and a score, and Brandon Harvell made two catches out of the backfield to go along with eight rushing attempts. The issue, though, was that before the offense got going, the Crimson Wave found themselves down 17, and never recovered from the hole. Booker T. Washington should provide a bounce-back opportunity, coming off of a 45-12 loss to a young John Champe program in just their eighth season.
7. Colonial Heights (0-2)
Last Week: 37-6 loss at New Kent
This Week: at Park View (0-0)
The Colonials have struggled on both sides of the ball in the first two games of the Kyle Krupp era, being outscored 75-12 in the opening two weeks. Park View should be a more competitive game, but the Colonials will have to battle with the mental and emotional side of the game following such lopsided losses.