Franklin County’s first spring football game in program history has been moved up a day.
The Eagles, who have not played a game in more than a year, are hosting Blue Ridge District rival Northside Thursday instead of Friday, Director of Athletics Crystal Worley said in an email Tuesday morning.
Kickoff at C.I. (Cy) Dillon Stadium-Fred M. Brown Memorial Field is 7 p.m.
A junior varsity game between the two teams, which had been scheduled for Northside, was canceled earlier this week.
The contest is a non-district game. The Eagles and the Vikings are scheduled to play their league match-up later this season at Vikings Stadium-Jim Hickam Field.
The Eagles, who are coming off a 6-5 finish in their last traditional fall campaign of 2019, have not played since losing to Landstown in the quarterfinals of the Class 6 Region A playoffs that season.
Only four teams, as opposed to eight, advance to the regionals this year. Because the Eagles play only one opponent above Class 3 (league foe William Fleming is Class 5), playoff qualification will be much more difficult this season.
Because the Roanoke County School Board recently decided to change course and let its schools play games outside the county and allow for opponents outside the county to travel to venues of its schools, Franklin County’s slate now includes the two games against Northside and a visit to Vinton to play William Byrd.
Also, Northside and Byrd are back on FCHS’s volleyball schedules; however, football and volleyball schedules at Benjamin Franklin Middle School do not include any Roanoke County middle schools even though the recent change also applies to middle school competition in sports that are being contested this spring.
When it was first announced that Roanoke County would not let its schools venture outside the county or permit teams to travel into the county for games, FCHS revised its football scheduled adding three non-district games: at Pulaski County, at Blacksburg and home versus Salem.
J.R Edwards begins his sixth year in charge of the Eagles. He is 21-33 and has guided the program to three consecutive post-season appearances—they are 1-3 in postseason games with their lone win coming at the expense of Clover Hill, 14-0 at home in November 2018.
Northside and FCHS played during the regular-season in 2019 for the first time since 1987 when both squads were rivals in the old Roanoke Valley District and the Vikings shut out the Eagles, 21-0.
FCHS lost to Northside and Lord Botetourt, 22-21, at home and finished 3-2 in its debut campaign in the Blue Ridge District.
Besides Landstown, the Eagles also lost to Salem (away, 27-21) and E.C. Glass (home, 34-7) in 2019.
FCHS defeated Liberty-Bedford (away), Magna Vista (away), Hidden Valley (home), Staunton River (away), William Fleming (away) and William Byrd (home).