We’ve picked one game to watch each week

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The high school football schedule was released last week. The first games of the season will take place on August 26, eight weeks from this Friday.

Here are 11 games not to be missed. We have chosen one game for each week of the regular season.

August 26 – Riverheads at Waynesboro: The game will mark the start of a new era in Riverheads football. For the first time since 1995, someone not named Robert Casto will be head coach of the Gladiators. Casto retired after last season after leading Riverheads to nine state championships since 2000. The team’s former defensive coordinator Ray Norcross is the new head coach.

September 2 – Staunton to Covington: Michael Bell was promoted to head coach at Staunton in May. After Storm had an open week on the first Friday night of the high school season, Bell will practice its first varsity game the following week in Covington.

September 9 – Lord Botetourt at Riverheads: Not to mention the first two opponents of the Riverheads, but if the Gladiators beat Waynesboro and Parry McCluer, which they will be heavily favored, their third game of the season will be for a state record. Riverheads won 50 games in a row heading into this season, three wins shy of breaking the all-time Virginia record of 52 held by Phoebus High School in Hampton.

September 16 – Greenbrier East (WV) in the Stuarts Draft: Last year, Stuarts Draft faced Riverheads twice as both teams struggled to find opponents. This year, they will only play once. The draft replaced one of the Riverheads’ games with West Virginia’s Greenbrier East, which is coming off an eight-game winning season. It will mark the first meeting between the two schools.

September 24—Tazewell to Riverheads. Riverheads had few issues with Tazewell last year, but this is your rare chance to see a high school football game on Saturday afternoons when the two play at 1 p.m. It also allows Riverheads fans to watch another game in the area on Friday.

September 30 – Riverheads at Westmoreland. The Gladiators will make the nearly 3 hour trip on a Friday night to the Northern Neck after a short week. This will only be the second meeting between these two schools (Westmoreland was previously Washington & Lee) and it replaces the out-of-district game against Stuarts Draft last year.

October 7 – Buffalo Gap to Riverheads. Now that Buffalo Gap is in Class 1, it will have to find a way to beat Riverheads if it ever hopes to reach the States. Riverheads have outscored Gap 233-39 in the last five meetings. Beating Riverheads may not happen this season, but the Bisons need to show they can compete against the best team in the state.

Oct. 14 – Buffalo Gap in Stuarts Draft: Draft has been the second-best team in the region behind Riverheads in recent years, reaching the Class 2 state championship in two of the past three seasons. Can they continue despite losing many talents from last year’s team? Or can Buffalo Gap make a big statement in the Shenandoah District?

October 21 – Spotswood to Waynesboro: The Little Giants began a playoff push last year with a big win over Spotswood that was the first of a three-game winning streak. This game was on the road. This year, Spotswood is making the trip to Waynesboro.

October 28 – Wilson Memorial at Buffalo Gap: This could turn out to be a big game as both teams have playoff aspirations after reaching the playoffs a year ago. Gap won last year which helped them secure a second seed in the region. Wilson had to beat Staunton a week later to qualify for the playoffs as the eighth seed.

Nov. 4 – Riverheads at Stuarts Draft: It became one of the best rivalries in the region. Over the past two seasons, Stuarts Draft has given Riverheads three of its four closest games, including a 3-point overtime loss in the spring of 2021.

Stuarts Draft and Buffalo Gap played an exciting game last year with a 28-14 Draft victory.

After:You spoke, we listened: we went door to door in Staunton

After:Athletes from Riverheads, Fort Defiance, Buffalo Gap and Wilson Memorial earn all-state honors

Team times (kick-off is at 7 p.m. unless otherwise stated):

BUFFALO GAP

  • 8/26 James River (Buchanan)
  • 9/2 in Luray
  • 9/9 open
  • 9/16 at East Rockingham
  • 9/23 Bath County
  • 9/30 Waynesboro
  • 10/7 at Riverheads
  • 10/14 in Stuarts Draft
  • 10/21 in Staunton
  • 10/28 Wilson Memorial
  • 11/4 Strong Challenge

STRONG DEFIANCE

  • 8/26 to Turner Ashby
  • 9/2 Liberty (Bedford)
  • 9/9 Waynesboro
  • 9/16 Broadway
  • 9/23 at Rockbridge County
  • 9/30 Open
  • 10/7 at the Wilson Memorial
  • 14/10 Staunton
  • 10/21 Riverheads
  • 10/28 in Stuarts Draft
  • 11/4 at Buffalo Gap

RIVER HEADS

  • 8/26 in Waynesboro
  • 9/2 Parry McCluer
  • 9/9 Lord Botetourt
  • 9/16 open
  • 9/24 Tazewell (1pm)
  • 9/30 in Westmoreland
  • 10/7 Buffalo Gap
  • 10/14 Wilson Memorial
  • 10/21 at Fort Defiance
  • 10/28 in Staunton
  • 11/4 Stuarts Draft

STAUNTON

  • 8/26 Open
  • 9/2 in Covington
  • 9/9 page county
  • 9/16 Rockbridge County
  • 9/23 in Waynesboro
  • 9/30 in Harrisonburg
  • 10/7 Draft Stuarts
  • 10/14 at Fort Defiance
  • 10/21 Buffalo Gap
  • 10/28 Riverheads
  • 11/4 at the Wilson Memorial

STUARTS PROJECT

  • 08/26 to William Monroe
  • 9/2 Waynesboro
  • 9/9 open
  • 9/16 East Greenbrier (WV)
  • 9/23 at James River (Buchanan)
  • 9/30 in Luray
  • 10/7 in Staunton
  • 10/14 Buffalo gap
  • 10/21 Wilson Memorial
  • 10/28 Strong Challenge
  • 11/4 at Riverheads

WAYNESBORO

  • 8/26 Riverheads
  • 9/2 in Stuarts Draft
  • 9/9 in Fort Defiance
  • Wilson September 16 Memorial
  • 9/23 Staunton
  • 9/30 at Buffalo Gap
  • 10/7 open
  • 10/14 Rockbridge County
  • 10/21 Spotwood
  • 10/28 Turner Ashby
  • 11/4 on Broadway

WILSON MEMORIAL

  • 8/26 Open
  • 9/2 in Monticello
  • 9/9 Rockbridge County
  • 9/16 in Waynesboro
  • 9/23 Spotwood
  • 9/30 Albemarle West
  • 10/7 Strong Challenge
  • 10/14 at Riverheads
  • 10/21 in draft from Stuarts
  • 10/28 at Buffalo Gap
  • 11/4 Staunton

Patrick Hite is the education reporter for The News Leader. Story ideas and tips are always welcome. Contact Patrick (he/him/her) at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Patrick_Hite. Ssubscribe to newsleader.com.

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