The release of the Virginia High School League’s master football schedule means that the season is just around the corner. That happened on Tuesday, and it revealed several intriguing matchups involving area teams that fans can look forward to this fall.

On August 30, Eastern View and Culpeper will renew their cross-county rivalry at the Blue Devils’ Broman Field, and both squads will look at least a little bit different than they did a year ago.

Eastern View graduated some key contributors from its 13-1 team that won the Region 4B championship and advanced to the Class 4 state semifinals last fall, including all-state performers Matt Lowry and Tre Holmes at quarterback and running back, respectively. The Cyclones do return standouts Blake Leake and Alex Spangler both in the receiving corps and the secondary, as well as two-way linemen Jason Southern and Elijah Hoskin. They will also be buoyed by several standouts from their junior varsity squad, which won the Battlefield District crown.

Culpeper is coming off of a Region 3B title and its first trip to the state playoffs since 2001. The Blue Devils lost standouts Javae Colclough, D’Aron Colbert, Jalen Veeney and Capone Hoffman to graduation from their diverse offensive attack, as well as defensive stalwarts George Moseley and Nazier McDonald. Head coach Ken Wakefield also departed for Patrick Henry-Ashland, and has been replaced by Prince Edward County’s James Ford. Ford will have quarterback Eric Wilson and receiver Armani Hoffman to build around, however.

September 13 presents two big showdowns, as Eastern View visits Orange and Culpeper travels to Spotsylvania.

Orange will be competing as a member of Region 4B for at least the next two seasons after dropping down from Class 5 due to enrollment numbers, so this game will be an interesting barometer to gauge where the Hornets are at in comparison to the Eastern View program that is currently the standard bearer in the region. Orange is led by returning senior running back Jaylen Alexander, who rushed for 1,230 yards and scored nine touchdowns on just 193 carries last season. Alexander has received attention from multiple Division I schools, including a scholarship offer from Army West Point in late May.

Culpeper, which is stepping up to Class 4 this year, defeated Spotsylvania twice in 2019—the last of which was for the Region 3B crown. The Knights return a handful of talented players, led by 1,000-yard rusher Ty-shaun Colbert and fellow junior backfield mate DeAnthony Pendleton. They’ve also added freshman Mega Barnwell, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound lineman who’s already started receiving D-I offers.

Culpeper opens its Northwestern District schedule with a September 27 tilt at Liberty-Bealeton. Other key dates for the Blue Devils will be home games with Handley (Oct. 4) Fauquier (Oct. 18) and Kettle Run (Nov. 1) and a visit to Sherando, last year’s Region 4C runner-up (Oct. 25).

Eastern View will welcome in Battlefield District rival Courtland for a huge showdown on October 11. The Cyclones have won 36 consecutive regular season games, dating back to a 42-21 setback at Sherando on September 18, 2015. They have not lost to a Battlefield team since a 48-20 decision at Courtland in a playoff game on November 20, 2015--a span of 16 games.

Eastern View also faces a potential key late-season district matchup when it hits the road to play at Spotsylvania on November 1.

Outside of Culpeper County, the season starts with an August 29 game between Orange and homestanding King George. This kicks off a slate of several high-profile nondistrict opponents for the Hornets, who will visit Class 5 state semifinalist North Stafford on September 6, host the aforementioned game against Eastern View on September 13 and welcome in Courtland the following week.

Once Jefferson District play starts, Orange’s biggest date is an October 4 contest at longtime rival Louisa, which was the Region 4B runner-up in 2018 and the Class 4 state runner-up the year before.

Fauquier County rivals Fauquier and Liberty-Bealeton will not meet until the final week of the regular season--November 8 at Fauquier. Fauquier hosts its other county rival, Kettle Run, on October 11, and the Falcons will visit Handley on September 27 and Sherando on November 1 in a pair of key Northwestern District games.

Liberty hosts Courtland in nondistrict action on September 6. In Northwestern District play, the Eagles travel to Kettle Run on October 4 and travel to Sherando the following week. Prior to the finale at Fauquier, they will play host to Handley on November 1.

Madison County doesn’t kick-off its campaign until September 6, when the Mountaineers host James River-Buchanan. Their home schedule also features dates with George Mason (Sept. 13), Clarke County (Oct. 4), Strasburg (Oct. 18) and Rappahannock County (Nov. 1). The road slate starts with a trip to William Monroe (Sept. 20), Luray (Sept. 27), Stonewall Jackson-Quicksburg (Oct. 11), Page County (Oct. 25) and East Rockingham (Nov. 8).

The Culpeper Star-Exponent will have an in-depth high school football season preview section appearing in late August, featuring interviews with players and coaches, schedules and season outlooks.

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