More than just neighborhood bragging rights will be at stake for four local high-school football teams in the Sun Gazette’s coverage areas this weekend, when three traditional regular-season-ending big rivalry games are played.
District championships along with playoff berths and seedings also will be among things on the line for the Langley Saxons, Washington-Liberty Generals, Yorktown Patriots and Bishop O’Connell Knights.
In an all-Arlington contest that could determine a lot, Washington-Liberty (5-4, 4-1) hosts Yorktown (6-3, 3-2) Saturday, Nov. 5 at 3:30 p.m. The winner will be the unofficial Arlington County football champion, a bragging right Yorktown has held since 2017. The Generals last earned that honor in 2016 with a season-ending 14-10 victory over Yorktown.
More significant: If Washington-Liberty wins this year, the Generals either will be the outright Liberty District champions or finish in a tie for first with Langley, Herndon or both. The three teams enter this weekend’s action tied for first with 4-1 records.
The only way Yorktown can repeat as Liberty champs would be in a four-way tie for first by defeating W-L and having Langley and Herndon falling to upsets in their final contests.
“It’s a big game this week,” W-L coach Josh Shapiro said. “It probably will be a relatively close game.”
Said Yorktown coach Bruce Hanson: “They are playing well. It won’t be easy.”
As far as earning a 6D North Region playoff berth, Yorktown already has clinched a spot in the eight-team field, but W-L probably needs a victory to extend its season.
After a 1-3 start, the Generals have won four of five games, Each has won two in a row.
Langley will be a heavy favorite to defeat its biggest rival when the Saxons visit the McLean Highlanders (1-8, 1-4) on Friday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. in the annual end-of-season clash between the local teams.
A Langley win will assure the team of an outright or co-Liberty District championship and possibly a home first-round region playoff game. Langley has not won a district title since tying for first in the 2004 season.
The Highlanders can’t make the playoffs, but can take momentum into next fall with a win over Langley.
“It’s a rivalry game with a lot at stake. So we won’t be sleeping on that game in any way,” Langley coach David Murray said.
O’Connell (4-5, 1-2) ends the regular season against one of its two biggest Northern Virginia rivals when the Knights host the Paul VI Catholic Panthers (7-2, 2-1), Saturday, Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. in a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Metro Division game.
With a win, O’Connell will own year-long bragging rights over the Panthers.
“Paul VI is having a good season and will be a handful,” O’Connell coach Ken Lucas said.
No matter the outcome, O’Connell will participate in the four-team Metro Division playoffs, in a season for the Knights that has been plagued by injuries to multiple players. One of those lost was starting quarterback Ben Cogar. He suffered a season-ending leg injury during the first half of O’Connell’s opening game.