HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Since struggling in their respective openers, Varina and Deep Run have gotten their legs back under them. The Blue Devils haven’t allowed a point in eight quarters, while the Wildcats are looking for their 14th straight regular season victory as the two teams clash in our On the Sidelines Game of the Week.
Varina fell to Hermitage, 9-0, to open the season, but bounced back with wins over Henrico (35-0) and J.R. Tucker (41-0). As for Deep Run, after nipping Tucker, 7-0, in its opener, the Cats found their offense in a 40-13 victory over Douglas Freeman last Friday.
“We hadn’t played in 18 months,” said Deep Run senior offensive lineman Sam Blankenship. “We got back, we knew what it was like to hit again, we went back with an intensity we didn’t have the first game.”
“From there we knew what we had to do, some of the changes we had to make, move some kids around to put them in the best position for the team, so I think we have done that,” Varina head coach Marcus Lewis said about adjustments made following the Blue Devils’ opening defeat.
Friday will serve as a strong test for both teams- a measuring stick of sorts as to where both programs are at this point in the campaign. With only four playoff spots in Region 5B this season, any loss can be damaging to a squad’s postseason changes. Deep Run currently ranks third in the region’s VHSL power rankings, while Varina starts the week at eighth.
“I knew Deep Run was going to be good this year coming in,” Lewis noted. “I believe they have a lot of seniors”
“We’re looking at Varina as our toughest opponent yet,” added Deep Run head coach Chad Hornik. “It’s well-deserved.”
Quarterbacks who led their teams to strong regular seasons and respectable playoff showings are back for their senior years in the Wildcats’ Bo Kite and Bobby Dunn of Varina, The offenses run different styles and both defenses have been brick walls, making for an intriguing match-up on Friday night.
“[Dunn] runs around quite a bit and he’s a fast threat and he’s got a good arm,” Hornik said. “I think all over the board, though, they’ve just got lots of team speed.”
“They’re a great team,” remarked Varina senior running back and linebacker Jailin Walker. “They’re a triple option team, so we’ve just go to do our keys and play football.”
As for the Wildcats, it’s the latest game in their season-long journey to honor a fallen teammate. They hope to play ten games to honor number 10- Gabe Henderson. This year, that would get them to state championship weekend.
“Gabe Henderson was number 10 on our team, so we do everything for 10- ten sprints, ten push-ups, all-in for 10,” Blankenship said.
“We don’t have any other options,” added Hornik. “We’re playing this whole season for number 10. This whole year is going to be in honor of Gabe, so our vision is ten games and to go 10-0, you’ve got to go 3-0.”
The two teams kick off on Friday at 7:00 PM on Varina’s home field.
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