The two teams who have combined to win the last three VHSL Class 2 football championships will finally meet each other this Friday when Glenvar hosts Appomattox in the Class 2, Region C championship game at Highlander Stadium.
Glenvar, the 2015 state champ, gets to host two time defending state champion Appomattox by having the highest VHSL point rating in Region C during the just completed season. Both teams come in at 11-1 after going 2-0 in the first two weeks of the playoffs. Appomattox beat Martinsville in their playoff opener, 49-23, then drilled Giles last week, 45-14. The Raiders led 42-0 after three quarters.
On the surface, that looks like bad news for Glenvar. Giles is the only team to beat the Highlanders this year and Appomattox dominated the Spartans last week. But, in sports, you can’t always go by “this team beat that team so this one should win.”
“We played our worst game of the season against Giles and they played their best game against us,” said Glenvar coach Kevin Clifford. “I was a little surprised by how easily Appomattox beat Giles, but I wasn’t shocked.”
The only loss for Appomattox this season was a 30-14 loss to Heritage, coached by Salem High grad Brad Bradley, on September 8th. In fact, that’s the only loss Appomattox has suffered in the past three seasons after posting back-to-back undefeated campaigns. Heritage is playing for the Class 3, Region C championship this week against Brookville.
The only common opponent for Glenvar and Appomattox, other than Giles, is Dan River. The Highlanders shut out Dan River two weeks ago in the opening round of the playoffs, 38-0. Appomattox beat them 34-21 on September 22nd.
There’s no doubt this will be a challenge for the Highlanders. Clifford will admit as much.
“They’re a very good team,” he said. “They’re very athletic and their quarterback is exceptional. They’re good, that’s why they’ve won two state championships in a row.”
While Appomattox has been a powerhouse over the past three years, the Highlanders haven’t been chopped liver. Their record over the past three seasons is 32-5 and the year before that they were state champs. That’s a pretty good run of success.
Plus, Glenvar will be playing at home and the Highlanders have been very good at Highlander Stadium. They’ve won 27 of their last 28 home games and they’re also riding a 12 quarter unscored upon streak. The Highlanders ended the regular season with a 28-0 win at Radford and they’re yet to be scored upon in the playoffs, shutting out Dan River two weeks ago and Floyd County, 24-0, last Friday.
“Our kids really went after it,” said Clifford of last week’s win over Floyd at Highlander Stadium. “We played with a lot of intensity. To beat Appomattox we’re going to have to limit our mistakes, and we did that last Friday.”
After a scoreless first quarter the Highlanders took the lead on a two yard run by Jack Leonard early in the second period. Kaid Fuhrman’s 23 yard field goal made it 10-0 at the half.
Leonard scored in each quarter in the second half to account for the final score. He had a six yard run and a two yard run to cap off drives where he carried the ball almost exclusively. For the game he had 48 carries for 240 yards, and the 48 carries is thought to be a school record.
Landry Gerbers completed three of seven passes for 70 yards, hitting Colby Street, Josh Clifford and Noah Lovelace once each.
On defense Maxx Philpott dominated the line of scrimmage with nine tackles, including four for losses and a sack. He’s been the keystone of a Glenvar defense that has been exceptional this season. Hunter Stanley, Brandon Saunders, Bradey Loder and Street had four tackles each and Street had an interception.
Glenvar comes into the Appomattox game relatively healthy. Game time is 7 pm Friday and the winner will play the winner of a game between Graham and Union High this week. If Glenvar and Union win then Union will be home, but if Glenvar and Graham win then the Highlanders will get a home game on December 2.