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Galax hosts Holston, Grayson gets Graham

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

Two rules of playoff football are (1) never look past your next opponent, and (2) it’s impossible to obey rule No. 1.
According to the official VHSL pairings released Sunday evening, No. 1 Galax will host No. 16 Holston on Friday night in the opening round of the Division 1 Western Section playoffs, while No. 2 Grayson County will host a rematch with No. 15 Graham in the Division 2 first round Friday.
Several pairings were decided by tiebreakers, including the No. 1 spot in D2 West. Grayson County (9-1) and Riverheads (10-0) finished tied with identical 23.80 VHSL ratings, but the Gladiators took the top spot by virtue of the tiebreaking procedure.
Should the top seeds advance, Grayson County is looking at a second-round meeting with defending state champion Gate City in a very strong Division 2 bracket.
Also involved in a tiebreaker were Radford and Castlewood in Division 1, significant for the fact that Castlewood finished behind Radford in the tiebreaker and will enter the postseason as the No. 8 seed, preventing a second-round rematch between Galax and the Bobcats.
The Galax-Holston winner will take on the winner between Castlewood and Rye Cove.
Potential travel distances were the main concern when the new playoff format was announced in the summer, and games involving travel of more than 3 ½ hours will be played on Saturdays. Of the 16 first round games in the two divisions, five are set for Saturday. Several rematches are on tap, including Graham at Grayson and Glenvar at Giles in Division 2, as well as Rye Cove at Castlewood, Hurley at Honaker, and Chilhowie at Rural Retreat in Division 1.
The Saturday games include Union (Powell Valley/Appalachia) at Stuarts Draft, Dan River at Gate City and Grundy at Appomattox in Division 2, and Thomas Walker at Radford in Division 1.
Carroll County’s loss to Marion two weeks ago cost the Cavaliers a spot in the Region IV Division 4 playoffs. Pulaski County will play on despite a 1-9 record, finishing with a 16.70 VHSL rating. Carroll was 3-7 on the year but was kept out by its 16.10 rating.
In Region IV Division 3, none of the first-round games include a team with a winning record. No. 3 Martinsville (5-5) is the only team without a losing record in a field that includes Tunstall (4-6), Marion (4-6) and Abingdon (3-7).

Division 1 Western Section pairings
16 Holston (3-7) at 1 Galax (10-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
15 Twin Springs (4-6) at 2 George Wythe (10-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
14 Eastside (3-7) at 3 Clintwood (8-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
13 Hurley (5-4) at 4 Honaker (8-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
12 Haysi (5-5) at 5 J.I. Burton (8-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
11 Chilhowie (5-5) at 6 Rural Retreat (8-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
10 Thomas Walker (6-4) at 7 Radford (7-3), Saturday, 2 p.m.
9 Rye Cove (7-3) at 8 Castlewood (7-3), Friday, 7 p.m.

Division 2 Western Section pairings
16 Virginia High (5-5) at 1 Riverheads (10-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
15 Graham (5-5) at 2 Grayson County (9-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
14 Grundy (6-4) at 3 Appomattox (9-1), Saturday, 2 p.m.
13 Glenvar (6-4) at 4 Giles (9-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
12 John Battle (6-4) at 5 Gretna (8-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
11 Central-Wise (6-4) at 6 Wilson Memorial (8-2), Saturday, 2 p.m.
10 Dan River (7-3) at 7 Gate City (6-4), Saturday, 2 p.m.
9 Union (5-5) at 8 Stuarts Draft (7-3), Saturday, 2 p.m.