Welcome back to the sixth installment of our preseason poll series. If you haven’t seen the previous entries, you can check them out here: Mountain 7, Black Diamond, River Ridge, Cumberland, and Mountain Empire.
Today we hit the Southwest District,
Richlands won or shared the district crown for over a decade, but Abingdon a few years back was able to clip the Blues. And last year, Graham reemerged at the top of the mountain after a stellar season.
But who will win this season?
Our experts weighed in.
1. Graham (7)
2. Richlands (1)
3. Virginia High
So there you have it. We believe Graham is on the right track to repeat as SWD champions.
Behind Purdue commit Cam Allen under center, the G-Men have athletes galore on the outside and in the backfield. Through two preseason contests, there have been some questions raised about the line play in Bluefield. If that can get shored up, we like the G-Men chances this season for a long postseason run.
The principal challenger: Richlands.
Coming off a dismal 4-7 season, their first losing season in over 15 years, the Blues are eager to prove themselves.
A switch has been made in the backfield. Last year’s starting quarterback Trey Brown has slid over to RB and now senior Race Moir steps into the starting role.
Richlands has a deep corps of wide receivers. But the Blue Tornado will need to figure out line play and a running game this season to return to the top of the mountain.
That Thursday night game between Richlands and Graham in October will be appointment football.
The race for third was a close race. Virginia High is coming off a stellar campaign, and the faithful in Bristol are eager prove that last year was no fluke.
But there’s a team in kelly green that is ready to challenge them to a SWD duel.
Tazewell was a very young team last season, but the talent was there.
This year, that young team is still young, but with a year’s worth of starting experience under their belts.
Virginia High visits Tazewell to open the season this Thursday at Bulldog Stadium in what should be a dogfight. No pun intended.
Marion had a season to remember last year, but according to accounts from Smyth County, it could be a longer season this year for the Scarlett Hurricane.
Lebanon brought up the rear in our poll.
Numbers are low across the area for most teams, and that rings true for a Pioneer team that has less than 25 players.
Up next on Monday: The Hogoheegee District.
The collective account for the staff of CoalfieldSports.com