Coming off a tough loss to county rival James River, the Lord Botetourt Cavaliers will have their work cut out for them this week as they play Salem High at Salem Stadium in the Spartans’ season opener.

Salem will have a big crowd at the spacious stadium and the Spartans will be ready to play after sitting out last Friday with a bye while everyone else in their district, the River Ridge, played. Salem is coming off an 11-1 season and the Spartans expect to be good once again.

River's Jonathan Falls pulls down a pass in Friday's game with Lord Botetourt. Photo by Ed McCoy
River's Jonathan Falls pulls down a pass in Friday's game with Lord Botetourt. Photo by Ed McCoy

Returning for the Spartans is quarterback Adam McGarrell, the first time since 2004 Salem has had the same QB for two years in a row. Most of the rest of the offense is rebuilt with high-jumping twins Reggie and Stephen Barnette at the University of Richmond and Salem’s top three ball carriers from a year ago graduated. McGarrell does not have a receiver or back who has caught a pass in a varsity game, and the line has newcomers at four of five positions.

Salem’s strength should be the defense, led by returning all-state candidate Seth Fisher. He’s a linebacker who gets to the ball quickly and is a sure tackler. Salem has solid linebackers, a good line and speed on the corners.

LB has only beaten Salem or Andrew Lewis, the former high school in Salem, once ever. That was in 2001 when Jared White kicked a long field at the end of the game for a 10-7 win. Salem then beat LB in the playoffs that year, 41-0.

Playing at Salem is a tough way to try to rebound from a disappointing loss.

Botetourt County, Virginia

The Knights will try to make it two in a row as they travel to Glenvar to play the Highlanders. This will be Glenvar’s first game of the season, and the Highlanders haven’t hit someone else since scrimmaging Gretna two weeks ago.

This game is for the Main Street Newspapers Rocking Chair. James River administrators initiated this “prize” after Glenvar pulled from the Pioneer District to join the Three Rivers. It was expected that with the rocking chair on the line it would add extra meaning to this game.

Well, this game is pretty important as it is. Both teams are in Division 2 of Group A so they could end up fighting for playoff position at the end of the season. At the worst, it will be a good game for points for the team that wins.

Glenvar is expecting to have a good season. The Highlanders are huge this year, averaging about 250 pounds per man across the front, including a couple in the 280 range who can move pretty good for their size. With the beef up front, the Highlanders will “come right at you” more than they have in the past.

Glenvar will start Jacob Mabry at quarterback, which is somewhat of a surprise since three-year starter Cam Holshouser returns. However, Mabry beat out Holshouser in summer practice as GHS coach Kevin Clifford likes his ability to run and create plays.

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