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Football coaching comings and goings get jump-start

Kevin Mays • Oct 30, 2018 at 9:25 PM

High school football season has not ended yet in Southwest Virginia, but the coaching carousel has already started.

Two coaches, Gate City’s Chris Akers and Northwood’s Chris Duble, resigned their positions earlier this week.

Akers coached football at Gate City for three seasons, amassing a 7-24 record. The Blue Devils finished 1-9 the past two seasons.

Though it’s likely Gate City’s search for a new head football coach has already started, the rumor mill has definitely been in motion for some time.

No Gate City officials have made any comment regarding the search for Akers’ replacement. However, several close to the program have hinted that Blue Devils defensive coordinator Darren Reed is the likely choice.

Reed, who previously worked as an assistant coach at Gate City, resigned as Abingdon’s head coach just weeks before the start of the season this year to accept an assistant’s position at Gate City.

Reed said he left Abingdon to be closer to home because of illness in his family.

Prior to coaching at Abingdon, Reed also was head coach at Wise Central.

At Northwood, Duble resigned for personal reasons. In a letter published on his Twitter page, Duble said he was battling anxiety and depression and had to let football go for a while until his health improved.

Assistant coach Greg Prater is serving as interim coach for the Panthers (1-8), who close their season Friday at Patrick Henry.

INTO THE RECORD BOOKS

It’s all official. It was bound to happen, barring injury or some other unforeseen incident.

Eastside junior Evan Bellamy holds the record for the most tackles in a single season at the school.

Bellamy had 14 tackles last week against Holston, giving him 128 for the season. That broke the single-season record of 125 set by Elijah Vaughn in 2015.

Bellamy also holds school records for solo tackles in a single season (54) and tackles for loss in a single season (19), and he should add to those numbers Friday when the Spartans travel to Castlewood.

KEY GAMES

Thomas Walker at J.I. Burton — J.I. Burton (7-2, 4-0) looks to win its eighth straight game and wrap up the Cumberland District championship in the process.

Thomas Walker (7-2, 3-1), however, is looking for a share of the Cumberland title. And a win over Burton would give the Pioneers a home game next week when the Region 1D playoffs begin.

Lee High at Abingdon — Abingdon has already clinched a home playoff game. Now the Falcons (7-2, 5-0) are looking to wrap up the Mountain 7 District title with a victory over the Generals.

Ridgeview at Honaker — Ridgeview will likely not win a share of the Mountain 7 title, barring a highly unanticipated win by Lee over Abingdon. But Ridgeview can gain the No. 1 spot and home-field advantage through the Region 2D playoffs by beating Honaker.

Grundy at Wise Central — This game does not look like much on paper, but a win by Central and a couple of other losses could put the Warriors into the Region 2D playoffs.

Eastside at Castlewood — The winner of this game could break into the Region 1D playoffs. Rye Cove, Twin Valley or Hurley could also grab the No. 8 spot in the postseason field depending on how other games play out.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Trenton Adkins, Ridgeview

Adkins enjoyed a big weekend across the state line. The sophomore rushed for 245 yards and three touchdowns in last Friday’s 47-14 win over Pike County Central, Ky.

TOP SIX PICKS

Although the teams remained the same, there was more shuffling among the region’s top six following last week’s Southwest Virginia high school football games.

Here’s a look at the region’s top teams with their ranking, ranking from last week, record heading into this week’s game and how they fared last week.

1. Chilhowie (1) (9-0) beat No. 6 Patrick Henry 46-23

2. Abingdon (4) (7-2) beat No. 3 Union 35-17

3. Ridgeview (2) (8-1) beat Pike County Central, Ky. 47-14

4. Graham (5) (8-1) beat Fort Chiswell 41-10

5. Union (3) (8-1) lost to No. 4 Abingdon 35-17

6. Patrick Henry (6) (8-1) lost to No. 1 Chilhowie 46-23

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