Riverheads football can make history in Saturday’s state title game

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 11:38 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The Riverheads High School football team can make history Saturday afternoon.

The Gladiators are preparing to host Galax in the VHSL Class 1 State Championship game. With a win, Riverheads would claim its fifth straight state championship and set a new VHSL record for most consecutive state titles. According to VHSL records, four programs (Hampton, Phoebus, Riverheads, Highland Springs) are currently tied atop the all-time list with four straight state championships. Riverheads is the only team whose streak is currently active.

The Gladiators are 9-0 overall during the 2021 spring season. Riverheads is led by senior running back Zac Smiley, who is the program’s all-time leading rusher. Head coach Robert Casto attributes his team’s success to strong team chemistry.

“Probably the biggest thing for this football team is they all like one another,” said Casto. “The camaraderie is unbelievable. They all play for each other and we have very few egos if any egos on our team and if one guys scores, we all score and that’s just how it all works and that is why we have been successful...because the kids believe in the team concept.”

Riverheads’ opponent in Saturday’s state championship game is a familiar one. The Gladiators defeated Galax, 31-24, to win the 2019 state title. The teams also met in the 2016 state semifinals with Riverheads winning 63-21. Galax defeated Riverheads, 7-6, to claim the state title in 2015.

“We’ve seen each other and we’ve kind of become sort of a rivalry kind of thing just because we see them at a very important time during the year where it’s either the state semi’s or the finals,” said Casto. “They are a really good football team. It’s going to be a good team. Our kids will certainly have to bring their A-game to be able to compete.”

Saturday’s VHSL Class 1 State Championship game is scheduled to kickoff at 1 p.m. at Riverheads High School. Up to 1,000 fans can attend the game.

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