Lawson

Liberty’s Justin Lawson, shown here catching the ball against Brentsville in 2017, will be a key ingredient for the Eagles on both sides of the ball this season.

It’s the first Friday night of the 2019 high school football season. While Eastern View, Culpeper, Orange and Fauquier all kicked off their campaigns last night, Liberty and Rappahannock County will take the field for their respective season openers tonight.

HOT TICKETS

(7 p.m. kickoff, unless noted)

BRENTSVILLE at LIBERTY

Last meeting: Liberty won 29-8 in last season’s opener in Nokesville. The Eagles are 16-1 all-time against the Tigers, with their only loss in the series coming in 2016.

Last season: Liberty finished 5-5; Brentsville was 6-6, losing to Culpeper in the Region 3B semifinals.

Tonight’s game: Liberty, the No. 2 team in the Culpeper Star-Exponent’s preseason rankings, looks to open its season on a positive note against visiting Brentsville. The Eagles have a plethora of returning standouts on both offense and defense, with 13 starters back from last year’s squad. Game-breaking seniors Justin Lawson (WR/DB) and Tre’Von White (WR/DB) will lead the receiving corps. Lawson was an all-Region 4C selection as a utility player a season ago. Junior A.J. Johnson (RB/DB) and senior Fred Harris (RB/LB) both return as well. Harris was the team’s leading rusher and tackler last year, earning all-region honors at linebacker. Seniors Josh James (6-2, 270) and Jon Kuhler (6-2, 265) and junior all-region defensive tackle Jordan Woodson (6-3, 255) are all returnees on both the offensive and defensive lines. Brentsville graduated a handful of players who helped lead the Tigers to the playoffs last fall, but they return speedy senior Kevin Peterson, an all-Region 3B defensive back and return man who also plays wide receiver, and junior Brady Hoad (RB/DB).

WEST POINT at RAPPAHANNOCK COUNTY

Last meeting: West Point won last season’s game at home, 29-0. The Pointers have taken both meetings with the Panthers since the series began in 2017.

Last season: West Point finished 8-4, losing to Northumberland in the Region 1A semifinals; Rappahannock County was 2-8.

Tonight’s game: Rappahannock County hopes that increased participation and better luck with injuries will propel it to a better campaign that its two-win effort a year ago. Junior Taven Murrah takes over at quarterback for the Panthers, and he has a dynamic running back to hand the ball off to in sophomore Isaiah Talley. Murrah won’t throw the ball often in Rappahannock’s run-focused veer attack, but when he does, juniors Matt Sisk and Jaesean Yates and senior Richard Lillard are capable targets. The Panthers are led in the trenches by senior Edgar Gonzalez, a three-year starter. West Point has won eight games in each of the past two seasons, falling to Region 1A rival Northumberland in the playoffs both times.

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