Friday was supposed to include another night of high school football in Central Virginia, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Virginia High School League to push back games until February and reduce the regular season to six games.
Local football players and fans got a look at what that season will look like this week when the Jefferson District unveiled its tentative 2020-21 season schedules.
Under the VHSL’s proposed plan, which is set to be voted on next week, teams will have seven weeks to play six regular season games. Jefferson District athletic directors agreed to play district-only schedules.
The regular season will begin on Monday, Feb. 22 with a trio of games and will be followed by Week 2 games on Saturday, Feb. 27.
Following the first two games, the remaining regular season games will go back to their typical Friday night time slot.
Louisa County will begin its quest for a fourth straight Jefferson District championship with its home opener against Charlottesville in “The Jungle.” The Lions, who have won 20 straight district games, were hit hard by graduation, but Coach Will Patrick’s team is hungry, led by quarterback Landon Wilson and running back Kalup Shelton. The Black Knights are looking to bounce back from a winless 2019 campaign with a very young team. CHS was the last team to hand the Lions a district loss.
The Matt Hicks era begins at Monticello as the Mustangs travel to Crozet to take on rival Western Albemarle. In last season’s matchup, MHS quarterback Malachi Fields, a Virginia commit, scored on fourth and goal from the 2-yard line in overtime to secure the win. Western Albemarle returns running back Austin Shifflett, who just missed out on his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season last fall. Coach Ed Redmond’s team was young up front last season and a year of experience should help as the Warriors bring in a new quarterback.
Albemarle will start the 2020-21 campaign at home against Orange County. After a tough start to the 2019 season, Coach Brandon Isaiah’s team finished the season strong. Quarterback Jacob King and running back Ebenezer McCarthy were pressed into duty early but both finished the season strong and should be primed for big production this year. Orange County just missed out on the playoffs last season and must fill the void left by star running back Jaylen Alexander. Paul Porier and Douglas Newsome are key playmakers for Coach Jesse Lohr to build around.
Fluvanna County won’t play the first week, but will start its season on Saturday, Feb. 27 at Charlottesville and play six straight games without a bye week. The Flucos are coming off back-to-back regional playoff appearances and Coach Mike Morris has high expectations for another big year. Quarterback Kobe Edmonds returns to the fold and has established himself as a playmaker on both sides of the football.
The regular season concludes on April 2.
Here’s a list of the tentative spring football schedules for each Jefferson District team.
Albemarle: Feb. 22 vs. Orange County; Feb. 27 at Monticello; March 12 vs. Charlottesville; March 19 vs. Western Albemarle; March 26 at Fluvanna County; April 2 at Louisa County.
Charlottesville: Feb. 22 at Louisa County; Feb. 27 vs. Fluvanna County; March 5 at Orange County; March 12 vs. Albemarle; March 19 vs. Monticello; March 26 vs. Western Albemarle.
Fluvanna County: Feb. 27 at Charlottesville; March 5 at Western Albemarle; March 12 vs. Orange County; March 19 vs. Fluvanna County; March 26 vs. Albemarle; April 2 at Monticello.
Louisa County: Feb. 22 vs. Charlottesville; Feb. 27 at Orange County; March 5 vs. Monticello; March 12 at Western Albemarle; March 19 at Fluvanna County; April 2 vs. Albemarle
Monticello: Feb.22 at Western Albemarle; Feb. 27 vs. Monticello; March 5 at Louisa County; March 19 at Charlottesville; March 26 vs. Orange County; April 2 vs. Fluvanna County.
Orange County: Feb. 22 at Albemarle; Feb. 27 vs. Louisa County; March 5 vs. Charlottesville; March 12 at Fluvanna County; March 26 at Monticello; April 2 vs. Western Albemarle