Previews and predictions for Friday's high school football games

Six Peninsula District and two Bay Rivers District football games are on tap Friday.

PENINSULA DISTRICT

BETHEL (6-5 in 2015) AT INDIAN RIVER (11-3)

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Indian River High in Chesapeake.

THE BUZZ: The Bruins faced the Braves twice last year: a 14-8 loss in the first week of the season, and then a 47-7 loss in the first round of the Group 5A South playoffs. Expect this year's result to fall somewhere in the middle, but keep an eye on the battle between Bethel safety Jeremiah Owusu and Indian River wide receiver Devon Hunter, which could turn the tide for either team.

THE PICK: Indian River 28-10.

HERITAGE (5-7) AT LAKE TAYLOR (14-1)

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Lake Taylor High in Norfolk.

THE BUZZ: The Titans made a run to the Group 4A state championship game last year, which they lost to the Salem Spartans in double overtime. Lake Taylor should again prove a state title contender and a measuring stick for the Hurricanes. If Heritage can establish its running game to complement the connection between quarterback Jeremiah Boyd and wide receiver Amonyae Watson, the Hurricanes can expect a better result than last year’s 54-0 loss to the Titans.

THE PICK: Lake Taylor 35-14.

KECOUGHTAN (5-7) AT GLOUCESTER (3-7)

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Gloucester High.

THE BUZZ: The Dukes return a bevy of seniors, while the Warriors lost most of their key contributors from 2015, so this year offers a much different matchup between these two teams than last season's 47-21 Kecoughtan win. Gloucester quarterback Isaiah Spencer could open up the field for the Dukes, but he will have to watch out for Kecoughtan cornerback Keith Grandy.

THE PICK: Gloucester 27-21.

MENCHVILLE (1-9) AT NANSEMOND RIVER (7-4)

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Nansemond River High in Suffolk.

THE BUZZ: The Warriors defeated the Monarchs 53-7 to start the 2015 season. While Nansemond River brings a less seasoned offensive line and rushing game this time around, Menchville players will have to convince their opponents and themselves that they are a stronger bunch.

THE PICK: Nansemond River 35-7.

GRANBY (5-5) VS. WARWICK (2-8)

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Todd Stadium.

THE BUZZ: The Raiders will rely on quarterback Tzion Lucas to set the tone against the youthful Comets. Lucas spent some time under center last season, but this year the responsibility falls squarely on his shoulders. How the senior responds to the mantle of leadership could determine the result against Granby.

THE PICK: Warwick 20-13.

WOODSIDE (7-4) AT GLENOAK (7-4)

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: GlenOak High in Canton, Ohio.

THE BUZZ: While a 490-mile trip may slow down the Wolverines' offense, quarterback Tyhier Tyler and running back Tamir Walker seem primed to improve on their strong junior campaigns starting against the Golden Eagles.

THE PICK: Woodside 28-14.

– Kate Yanchulis

BAY RIVERS DISTRICT

SOUTHAMPTON (2-8) VS. POQUOSON (10-3)

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Poquoson Middle School.

THE BUZZ: Poquoson has won the past nine meetings dating back to the 2007 season. The Islanders forged most of last year’s 42-0 win over the Indians through the air, and with Division I recruit Tyran Hunt, a 6-foot-7, 280-pound defensive end coveted by Virginia Tech, leading the Southampton line again, Poquoson could have trouble running. Nevertheless, the Islanders return too much on both sides of the ball for the Indians. They are being coached again by legendary Littleton Parker, who tended only to duties as athletic director the past seven years.

THE PICK: Poquoson 21-7.

SMITHFIELD (6-5) AT KING'S FORK (6-6)

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: King's Fork High in Suffolk.

THE BUZZ: Separated on Route 10 by 15-minute drive, the rivals met twice last year, with King’s Fork pulling out exciting victories, 24-17 in the season opener and 42-36 in the 4A East Region playoffs. Deshaun Wethington, who ran for more than 5,000 yards in his career for King’s Fork, is gone, while Smithfield welcomes back game-breakers like RB William Robinson (1,272 yards rushing, 12 TDs in 2015) and Chris Pierce. RB Caleb Brodie (532 yards, six TDs rushing for 6A Bayside last year) adds to the Packers’ arsenal.

THE PICK: Smithfield 35-20.

– Marty O'Brien

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