Early briefing: Covenant takes on VES tonight

We’ll have the full weekly briefing up later today, but here’s the breakdown on Covenant and VES’s battle now scheduled to take place on the turf at Monticello.

Virginia Episcopal (4-1) vs. Covenant (3-3), 7 p.m. Thursday at Monticello High

The basics: Covenant is in the midst of a two-game slide and needs to snap out of it quickly if they want a chance to make the playoffs in a loaded Division III. A win against VES would vault the Eagles right back into the playoff picture after losses to Blue Ridge and Norfolk Academy. But the offense, which struggled to get going early and couldn’t rally against the Bulldogs last week, has to be more productive. That’ll start with the run game which struggled against an attacking Blue Ridge defense a couple of weeks ago.

Key matchup: Covenant’s front seven takes on Ronnie Stringfield. VES’s star running back is tough to bring down and a big reason that the Bishops are 4-1. The Eagles will have to buckle up and get in attack mode on defense after getting gashed two weeks ago on the ground by Blue Ridge.

Who to watch: Covenant’s Spencer Godine. The Eagles desperately need someone to stretch the defense on the boundary and get a defender or two out of the box so the run game can get back to its productivity from a few weeks ago. Godine showed some ability to do just that against Norfolk Academy. The Eagles would be wise to get him involved early.

The line: Virginia Episcopal by 3. Bishops seemed primed to push the Eagles’ losing streak to three, but playing under the lights at Monticello might play to Covenant’s favor. A couple of their key players, Drew and Jay Gaffney, have been there before.