Predictions

WHEN: 7 p.m. on Friday

WHERE: Alleghany High School in Covington

LAST YEAR: The Wildcats cruised to a 42-0 victory in Lexington for their lone shutout of the season against the rebuilding Mountaineers. RC’s offense ignited early, taking a 28-0 lead in the first quarter and extending it to 35-0 at halftime before adding a final touchdown in the third quarter. Ty Ruley, who transferred to Parry McCluer last week, threw four TD passes, Jailik Lynch scored on a 64-yard interception return, and 2019 graduate Chase Crook ran for a TD. The Wildcats amassed 355 yards of offense, while their defense held the Mountaineers to 208 yards.

THE SCOOP: RC and Alleghany were Blue Ridge District rivals three years ago, before the Wildcats moved to the Valley District and the Mountaineers moved to the Three Rivers District. They remain longtime rivals eager to face off again.

After suffering a 47-33 loss in their season opener at Covington, the Mountaineers trounced Bath County 54-14 last Friday to end a 14-game losing streak. In the win, Travis Fridley rushed for two TDs, Brian Broughman ran for a TD and threw for a TD, and Matt Howell ran for 101 yards and six carries.

The Mountaineers went winless last year, but they have shown improvement, and Broughman’s senior leadership should help Alleghany be more competitive. The Wildcats are coming off a strong performance in a 28-26 loss to a talented William Fleming team.

THE NEWS-GAZETTE’S PICK: We expect the Mountaineers to provide more of a challenge for the Wildcats this year, as they’ve had better results early on. If the Wildcats’ defense can step up and if their offensive line can keep providing gaps for quarterback Miller Jay and his running backs and receivers, we look for RC to take a 36-21 win.

Parry McCluer (0-2) at James River

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WHEN: 7 p.m. on Friday

WHERE: James River High School in Buchanan

LAST YEAR: James River defeated PM 28-14 in Buena Vista. The story of the game was ball control, and the Knights dominated time of possession. The Blues got off to a sluggish start, but bounced back to make the game tight before James River launched another lengthy touchdown drive that ate up well over seven minutes and killed any chance of a comeback.

THE SCOOP: PM has had extreme difficulty finding any offensive production thus far in their two games against Rock-bridge County and Buffalo Gap. Between the games, the Blues have been outscored 110-0. However, help is on the way since the Virginia High School League ruled last Friday that former RC quarterback Ty Ruley, who transferred to PM last week, is eligible to play for the Blues. Ruley is an explosive offensive player who can add a lot to this offense. In RC’s 62-0 win on Aug. 30, Ruley ran for 110 yards and three touchdowns. James River looked dismal in their first game of the season, a 48-7 thrashing against Stuarts Draft., but the Knights bounced back nicely and picked up a 20-8 win at Madison County.

THE NEWS-GAZETTE’S PICK: To have a chance in the Knights’ home opener, Ruley must put on a show in his first game for the Blues. Additionally, the PM offensive line must step up in a big way. Last week, Colton Painter was under duress for most of the game and saw limited protection. Regardless of who starts at quarterback, the line must establish themselves early and create holes for PM running attack. If Ruley plays well, the Blues may find some success on offense and get their first score of the season. In the end, the Knights’ offense will be too much for the Blues to handle though, and JR will win by a comfortable margin of 42-14.

The News-Gazette

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