On the heels of a 64-22 defeat of Chatham in last week's Region 2C quarterfinal round matchup, the Appomattox County Raiders varsity football team is preparing to host Glenvar on Friday night at Bragg Stadium for a semifinal clash. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
Appomattox enters the contest with a 9-2 record. Glenvar comes to town at 7-4. The Raiders earned the top-seeded spot in the region. Glenvar, the fourth seed, is coming off a 42-7 win last week against Floyd County.
The winner moves on to battle either Radford (9-2) or Gretna (8-3) for the Region 2C throne.
The Highlanders are 7-1 after getting off to an 0-3 start to the season. Likewise, Appomattox has turned an inauspicious beginning (1-2) into an eight-game winning streak.
Glenvar features offensive weapons that will give the Appomattox defense a challenge. Running back Bradey Loder gained 123 yards rushing against Floyd County, while wide receiver Jeb Secrist hauled in four touchdown receptions from quarterback Aiden Wolk.
Following the win over Chatham, Appomattox head coach Doug Smith told Times Virginian reporter Jeffery Westbrook that his team's defense needs to step up in the semifinal game.
“Defensively, we lost some containment,” Smith said of the performance against Chatham. “It’s definitely a concern. They gassed us up the middle a few times. Some of our guys were not playing the gaps the way they should.”
“(Glenvar) had a guy last year, number 21 (Colby Street), who was hard to bring down," Smith continued. "They are a really well-coached team. I have a lot of respect for them and their staff. They know us well; last year when we played, it went down to the wire.”
Appomattox and Glenvar met in the 2018 regional semifinal, with the Raiders earning a slight 24-21 victory. The teams also clashed in the 2017 regional playoffs, again won by Appomattox 26-14.
The Raiders bring their own arsenal of weapons to the game, including dual-threat quarterback Tre Lawing, grinding running back Cristian Ferguson and athletic wide receiver Tyler Gilliam, who has improved steadily throughout the course of the season.
Simply put, with the variety of scoring options available on both sides, the game could very well be decided by whichever defense puts on the best performance.
For a full game recap, see the Nov. 27 edition of the Times Virginian.