By HARRISON HAMLET
(STUART, Va.) – It’s official, Patrick County’s football team is playoff-bound.
On Sunday night, the Virginia High School League (VHSL) playoff pairings were announced, and the Cougars earned the seventh seed in Class 2 Region D.
They will travel to second-seeded Radford (8-2) to open postseason play.
After Patrick County (5-5) earned a huge win against Halifax County on November 1, for both playoff-seeding and momentum, the Cougars had their bye week during the final week of the regular season.
According to VHSL-reference, the 5-5 regular-season record is the Cougars’ best since 2009 and the trip to the playoffs is Patrick County’s first since 2008.
After the win over the Comets, Patrick County head coach David Morrison said that his players’ ability to approach the season one week at a time earned them the playoff spot.
“The kids did it. They executed what we asked them to do and they believed in each other,” Morrison said. “We’ve been telling these guys all year to take it one game at a time. Our focus has been less playoffs and more one game at a time. Once we got our guys buying into that the results come; the results of getting to 5-5 and getting into the playoffs come from that.”
Morrison said that the bye was well-timed as it allowed his team to get healthy and focus on themselves for a week ahead of the playoff push. Despite the time for players suffering from minor injuries to heal, leading rusher Dae’Shawn Penn will not be available for the remainder of the season after breaking his ankle on October 25.
The thing that Morrison made most clear last week was that the Cougars are not concerned about who or where they play, they just want the chance to prove themselves in the postseason.
“We don’t care who we play, we’ll go anywhere. We’re just happy to have this opportunity,” Morrison said. “All you want in this life is a chance to show who you are. With the schedule we play, we’ll go wherever we have to go to have that opportunity in the playoffs.”
Patrick County’s wins this season came over Carroll County, North Stokes (N.C.), Martinsville, Tunstall and Halifax County, with a 13-12 loss to Floyd County early in the season being the only one-possession game of the season for the Cougars.
Radford’s notable wins include a 24-0 shutout of Carroll County to close the season, a 76-6 win over Alleghany, a 42-13 win over James River, and a 42-0 win over Giles. In three one-possession games this season, Radford suffered a 14-12 loss to Floyd County, beat Glenvar 13-7, and beat Gretna 21-20.
The winner of the Radford-Patrick County matchup will face the winner of the Gretna (7-3)-Dan River (6-4) matchup. Based on seeding, if Patrick County wins in Round One, they would go on the road again in Round Two regardless of opponent.
Details including time, date and location of the Patrick County-Radford game were not available at the time of publication and will be published on www.vhsl.org later this week.
Patrick County’s football team (shown above taking the field before their Homecoming game on September 27) will travel to Radford this week to open the VHSL Class 2 playoffs. It is the Cougars’ first trip to the playoffs since 2008. (Enterprise Photo by Harrison Hamlet)