Local football teams put everything on the line in VHSL championships

ROANOKE, Va. – It’s the culmination of another high school football season. On “State Finals Saturday,” four of our local teams are headed out to leave it all on the field, looking to take home the gold.

Galax is no stranger to the VHSL Class 1 elite, but this year’s path was different after losing three of their first four games and entering the playoffs as a five seed.

The Maroon Tide has treated everybody’s field as their own and now, only Essex remains.

”Yeah I think some of them took it some of the younger guys last year took it for advantage that we’re just gonna be there every year just expected to be there and you know these guys had to understand that used to some of the older guys being the guys who make plays, and they kind of just did their job but didn’t make the plays and these guys have really stepped up and made plays when we needed plays made,” said Shane Allen, Galax’s Head Football Coach.

In Radford, it’s been 51 years since a state championship has resided at the home of the Bobcats.

But Saturday against perennial power Riverheads, there’s a chance for another storied chapter in the 2023 undefeated run.

[2023 Southwest, Central Virginia high school football schedules, scores, highlights]

“It’s just special right? Because they have put in so much work and it’s not just this season but it’s year-round,” said Michael Crist, Radford’s Head Football Coach.

For the second time in three years, the LCA Bulldogs have a chance to prove they are the top dog in Class 3 football. Much like 2021, they enter the state final undefeated and they want to leave the field with state gold.

“You know our kids have been very business-like all year they show up and do what we coach them to do play hard every single week and you know from the Salem game at the beginning of the year to the William Bird game last game of the year we’ve played with the same intensity and same purpose,” said Frank Rocco, Liberty Christian’s Head Football Coach.

And tied for the second most state championships in VHSL history is Salem.

The Spartans will look for 11 when they face a dangerous Phoebus team in the Class 4 final led by a head coach who knows all about Salem state titles.

“These are special moments and I want our players particularly to enjoy those moments and it’s for them and it’s for our community,” said Don Holter, Salem’s Head Football Coach.


We’ll have Saturday score updates and more coverage on 1st and 10, led by John Appicello.


About the Authors:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.

John serves as the Sports Director at WSLS 10. From Virginia Tech, to NASCAR and everything in between, WSLS 10 Sports covers the names making big plays in the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB.