After several years playing the Arby’s Classic, Gate City is heading off to a warmer climate. The Blue Devils will play two Florida schools, Charlotte and Port Charlotte on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28, in a round-robin event at Lemon Bay High School in Englewood, Fla.
Central will fill the void of a Southwest Virginia school in the Arby’s.
With the return of senior Isaiah McAmis to the squad, the Warriors are expected to be a front-runner in the Mountain 7 District and Region 2D. McAmis missed last season after suffering a knee injury playing football last fall.
GRAND TIME AT THE PRIOR
The largest boys hoops holiday tournament in far Southwest Virginia returns this year with the Grand Home Furnishings Holiday Classic at Virginia-Wise’s Prior Center.
The 12-team tournament covers four days at the best basketball facility in the region. The Holiday Classic tips off with four games on Dec. 26: Richlands vs. Rye Cove, Lee High vs. Grundy, Ridgeview vs. Northwood and J.I. Burton vs. Chilhowie.
On Dec. 27, the quarterfinal round has Virginia High playing the Lee/Grundy winner, Honaker meeting the Richlands/Rye Cove winner, defending tournament champion Eastside taking on the Ridgeview/Northwood winner and Union facing the Burton/Chilhowie winner.
The tourney semifinals and consolation bracket games are scheduled for Dec. 28. After an off day, the tournament concludes Dec. 30 with the championship game, the third-place contest and other consolation games.
FOOTBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
5-star — Mason Polier, RB/LB, Union
The senior team leader stepped up big time in last week’s game with Ridgeview — on both sides of the football. Polier led the defensive unit in a key 32-26 Mountain 7 District win over Ridgeview and racked up 237 yards and three touchdowns rushing
4-star — Evan Bellamy, LB, Eastside
The senior had a record-breaking game on the Spartans’ homecoming night. Bellamy recorded 24 tackles — a single-game program record — in his team’s 53-16 Cumberland District win over Rye Cove.
3-star — Grayson Whited, WR, Eastside
The senior all-purpose player scored a touchdown in about every way imaginable. He finished with 251 all-purpose yards and five TDs — two receiving, one rushing, one on a punt return and another on a 74-yard interception return — in the victory over Rye Cove.
2-star — Najee Steele, RB, J.I. Burton
Steele, a senior, recorded 184 yards and three touchdowns rushing on just nine carries in the Raiders' 54-7 throttling of Honaker.
1-star — Carson Jenkins, RB, Gate City
The sophomore was a key player in the Blue Devils’ 55-0 homecoming win over Marion. Jenkins scored on a 74-yard punt return and hauled in a touchdown pass from quarterback Luke Reed.
Union at Wise Central — Coming off a big win, Union must now focus its attention to upset-minded Wise Central. The Bears (6-1, 3-0) put themselves into the driver’s seat of the Mountain 7 District and control their own destiny. Central (4-2, 1-2) has a lot at stake as well. After making the playoffs, the Warriors are looking to make some noise in the postseason this time A win over Union would go a long way in securing a spot
Lee High at Gate City — Gate City is another team looking to get into the playoff field. After back-to-back 1-9 seasons, the Blue Devils improved to 2-5 by beating Marion last week. Gate City has three straight Mountain 7 games coming up, key for the postseason picture. It starts Friday at Legion Field against Lee (0-6, 0-2), which still trying to give first-year head coach Alec Haston his first win.
FOOTBALL TOP 10
Union took over the top spot, former No. 1 Ridgeview fell to No. 3 after its loss to the Bears and Richlands rejoined the poll. Here’s a look at the top 10 after Week 7 with record, how they fared and previous ranking.
1. Union (6-1) def. Ridgeview 32-26 — 2
2. Graham (4-2) def.Lebanon 41-16 — 3
3. Ridgeview (5-1) lost to Union 32-26 — 1
4. Patrick Henry (6-0) def. Holston 42-13 — 4
5. Chilhowie (5-1) did not play — 5
6. Richlands (3-3) def. Tazewell 41-0 — NR
7. Abingdon (4-3) def. Virginia High 49-13 — 7
8. Wise Central (4-2) def. John Battle 56-34 — 8
9. J.I. Burton (4-2) def. Honaker 54-7 — 9
10. Thomas Walker (5-1) def. Hancock County 54-24 — 10