It’s playoff time! Four of the five New River Rundown teams qualified for the playoffs, but at least one of those will be eliminated after round one.
#1 Pulaski County Cougars (8-2) Last Week: #1
The Cougars came very close to pulling off the upset over the vaunted Salem Spartans last Friday night. They were five yards away from taking the number one seed in Region 4D and home field advantage in the playoffs.
Despite the loss to Salem, the Cougars are still a feared contender. Their insatiable defense is a unit no opponent wants to see again in the playoffs, including the Spartans.
Pulaski County finished number three in the region and will host Blacksburg this week. The Cougars defense shut down the Bruins in their first matchup, winning 12-3.
If Pulaski County can find more production in the passing game to balance out their offense, the Cougars can win against any team they face.
#2 Radford Bobcats (8-2) Last Week: #2
Radford has never lost to Carroll County, and the streak continued this week with a 24-0 Bobcats victory.
Last Friday’s game was a nice warmup for the playoffs, and number two seed Radford earned a first round home game against seventh-seeded Patrick County.
Strong on both sides of the ball with a dynamic offense and solid defense, the Bobcats are primed for a deep run in the postseason.
#3 Christiansburg Blue Demons (5-5) Last Week: #4
Last year, if you would have told me Christiansburg would beat Blacksburg in 2019, I would have asked which illegal narcotic was affecting your judgment.
And that’s exactly what happened when the Blue Demons won 21-14 over the Bruins. Christiansburg running back Maston “Big Nasty” Stanley was especially nasty last Friday and had 200+ yards on the ground.
Blue Demons coach Alex Wilkens has been impressive in turning this Christiansburg program around. From his first year there and the team going winless to this year’s squad going 5-5 and having momentum heading into the playoffs, Wilkens has players really believing in him and his system.
Christiansburg heads to Roanoke this week to take on Hidden Valley in the first round. While the Blue Demons lost 37-24 in the first contest with the Titans, I wouldn’t place a wager against hot-handed Christiansburg this time.
The Blue Demons have proved time and time again this season they have the heart to compete with any team.
#4 Blacksburg Bruins (6-4) Last Week: #3
Blacksburg was plagued by big mistakes and defensive breakdowns in their 21-14 loss to Christiansburg this past week.
Heading into the playoffs, this game may have been the wake-up call the Bruins needed to play at a higher level. Channeling the anger and bitter taste from the loss to Christiansburg will help.
The Bruins won’t have much time to catch their breath before heading to Dublin to face a heavyweight Pulaski County team. If Blacksburg can tighten up on defense and rediscover their powerful offense, they have a chance at an upset this week.
#5 Giles Spartans (3-7) Last Week: #5
The Giles Spartans started the 2019 season with a record of 0-5. The outlook was bleak and the Spartans players could have easily folded and finished the year winless.
Instead, Giles roared back and went 3-2 in the second half of the season and finished 3-7. While the Spartans didn’t qualify for the playoffs, Giles players can still be proud of the way they finished strongly this year.