As we all know from the various discussion topics, both Riverheads and Stuarts Draft are still alive in the playoffs, which is causing a lot of buzz in Augusta County. So all eyes will be on those two fields this Saturday to see if one and hopefully both can capture a state semi-final win and set up a doubleheader on Championship Saturday. Although the Gladiators have been the more consistent visitor to Salem (having made five trips in the past 10 years), other county schools have enjoyed the experience as well. But this will be the first time a doubleheader will be possible, although in all fairness you could say we had it in 2017, when both RHS and R E Lee were there. It depends on how you look at "city school" vs "county school." So to review, here is the full line-up (from memory) of Augusta County schools and their trips to Salem down through the years. Forgive me (and by all means correct when needed) if I have a year wrong or maybe a name. 2007 or maybe 2008...........This is the first memory I have of Salem being the venue for the state title games. That was Buffalo Gap's banner year, as they won the title over Clintwood behind a great running back named Pickle Nuckols. I think the final score was something in the range of 28-19 and I believe the Bison went undefeated that season. 2010...........This was the third of Riverheads' six state titles. Prior to that the Gladiators had won the gold at Liberty (2000) and JMU (2006.) They certainly gave the fans (and the media) their money's worth this third time with an epic 63-49 win over previously-unbeaten Eastern Montgomery. That game set a number of state scoring records and was a classic case of the Big Red's power running game pitted against an amazing passing attack from EM. As I recall, they had a D-1 quarterback but I don't recall the name. 2014......This was Wilson's turn to go for the gold and the Hornets, behind quarterback Mack Cullen, came oh-so-close to winning their own title. I believe the game went into overtime and Glenvar, located a whole five miles away from the stadium, sneaked out the win on either a made PAT or a missed one by Wilson. I did not attend that one which is why I don't have an exact memory of the ending. 21-20 or 22-21 maybe? 2015...........Riverheads made a return trip to Salem and for the one and only time did not bring home the title. The Gladiators entered that game 13-0 and had they won, it would have given them only their second-ever perfect season, 2000 being the first and so far only one. In a classic defensive struggle that no one expected, Galax scored in the first quarter with a touchdown by a stud of a running back and the score remained 7-0 until the final play of the game. Galax had another stud on defense who was in the RHS backfield all day long. The Gladiators finally went to the passing game, not their comfort zone at the time, and scored on literally the last play of the game to make it 7-6. And I do mean the LAST PLAY, as in the clock showing all zeroes when Taz Miller caught a TD pass from about 5 or 6 yards out. The Big Red rolled the dice and went for the win, but a two-point pass was overthrown and Galax held on for a deserved 7-6 win, considering how incredibly well-prepared their defense was that day. 2016..........This was the first of Riverheads' current string of three straight titles. Sussex Central came into the game unbeaten, whereas the Gladiators had suffered an overtime loss to Stuarts Draft in the regular season finale. Sussex scored on the opening drive of the game, but it was ALL Riverheads after that as the Gladiators rolled to a 49-6 win. 2017..........This was the year of the aforementioned "technical" county doubleheader. In the noon opener, RHS easily dispatched Chilhowie 42-0. I made the mistake that day of leaving to head home, thinking I could watch the second game on my NFHS subscription. But something went haywire online, which ticked me off royally, and I missed one of Salem's all time great games as Appomattox and Lee staged a classic. I don't remember the final (an Appo win somewhere in the 37-34 range) but it had all sorts of highlight reel plays and momentum swings. Appo was in the midst of a three or fourpeat at the time and Lee had a do-it-all quarterback (Williams maybe?) who last we heard, tried to walk on at UVa. 2018.......Title number six and third in a row for the Big Red as they again handled Chilhowie, winning this time 35-7. You would think I would remember this detail, but I "think" one of those Chilhowie teams was unbeaten going into the game, whereas RHS had lost twice in the regular season in 2017 (to Lee and Central Woodstock) and once in 2018, a rare shutout loss to East Rockingham. 2019...............Riverheads??????????.............Stuarts Draft?????????????? Neither?????????? Both??????????? We will find out soon enough!