By Wes McKinney
Cabell Midland (3-0) at Huntington (3-0)
Last year a blocked extra point was what separated the two rivals as Cabell Midland won 14-13.
This year, both Huntington and Cabell Midland have started the season 3-0 with little resistance in those contests. The Highlanders have outscored their opponents by 27 points per game, while the Knights have ousted their foes by a mind-boggling 49 points per game.
For Cabell Midland, senior Kasey Thomas has spearheaded the rushing attack, amassing 464 yards and scoring nine touchdowns. But running backs Teran Barnitz, Donte Hendricks and Alex Childers all rushed for at least 75 yards against Parkersburg last week, while piling up 519 rushing yards as a team.
“Kasey has done well all year,” Cabell Midland head coach Luke Salmons said. “They all played well, but they all could get better. They really took great care of the ball against Parkersburg.”
However, Salmons was quick to point out that Huntington knows exactly what Cabell Midland will try to do offensively.
“My kids like playing against Huntington and I’m sure their kids are fired up to play us,” Salmons said. “It’s going to be fun. Huntington has good backs and they run a good system. We know each so well that no one will be able to sneak up on anyone. It’s going to be a four quarter game.”
Despite the high intensity of the rivalry, Huntington head coach Billy Seals is stressing to his players to keep some of that in check.
“I talked to our kids this week about how emotion only takes you so far in a game,” he said. “Eventually, it comes down to whoever executes better. We definitely try to keep our emotions in check. We understand that it’s only a football game and we have to execute in order to win.”
Though it may only be the middle of September, the team that escapes with a win will be 4-0 and will have the inside track to a higher playoff seed.
“We would love to be 4-0 because we know whoever wins Friday night is going to get a tremendous amount of bonus points,“ Seals said. “Last year when they beat us 14-13, our game was a 20 point in the ratings.”
Spring Valley (1-2) at Ripley (0-3)
For the second consecutive year, Spring Valley finds itself at 1-2 after three games.
After being up 22-15 last week at halftime, the Timberwovles were outscored by South Charleston 28-8 the rest of the way, losing 43-30.
In both losses against Huntington and South Charleston, there has been an alarming trend for Spring Valley.
“The one big thing is defensively we can’t get off the field,” Spring Valley head coach Brad Dingess said. “Both teams converted third and fourth downs against us. If you can’t make people punt, it’s going to be a long night for you. We have really struggled with that.”
After playing their home opener last week, Spring Valley will return to the road to play a Ripley team needing a boost of their own.
“Playing four of our first five on the road in the MSAC is always tough,” Dingess said. “It’s a big concern. We were 1-2 last year at this time too. We are not in panic mode, but this week is almost a must-win for us.”
Point Pleasant (2-0) at Logan (3-0)
Coming off its bye week, Point Pleasant will take to the road for the first time in 2013.
The Big Blacks have easily disposed of Lincoln County and Ripley. In fact, some of Point Pleasant’s key players have almost had two full weeks to rest up. With the score being 56-0 at halftime against Ripley, head coach David Darst decided to start substituting early.
“My starters played less than a half of football against Ripley,” he said. “We were really trying to avoid injuries.”
With the open date on the slate, Point Pleasant took the opportunity to scout Logan last week against Lincoln County.
“Logan does a lot of good things,” Darst said. “I’m not sure they have seen a passing attack that we are capable of doing. We are looking at those options.
“It’s going to be an interesting matchup,” he continued. “They are 3-0 and have a lot of confidence right now. Logan has grass and we’re pretty decent on turf.”
Ravenswood (2-0) at Wayne (2-0)
If it were up to Wayne head coach Tom Harmon, the Pioneers wouldn’t schedule a bye week at all.
“Off-weeks are a good time to deal with injuries, but if you’re healthy you want to play,” Harmon said. “I’m not a fan of it and if it were up to me I would play 11 games. We try to use it as a time to get more fundamentally sound.”
And the Pioneers also used their open date to scout Ravenswood, a team Wayne defeated 84-42 a season ago.
“We know last year was one of those games that got out of hand really quick with some fumble returns and interception returns,” Harmon said. “Some odd things happen and the score wasn’t indicative of how the two teams played.”
After scouting Ravenswood, Harmon notes they are a much more experienced team than last year.
“I was very impressed with their skill people,” Harmon said. “They have guys that can score. They are a good, little high school football team. We have to guard against making mistakes. If you make mistakes against their backs, they will turn them into touchdowns.
“It’s an older, more mature Ravenswood team,” Harmon continued. “We knew last year they were young in a lot of spots and they are still young in some spots. There’s a big difference in a 16-year-old kid and a 17-year-old kid both mentally and physically.”
Herbert Hoover (1-2) at Tolsia (0-3)
Hannan (1-2) at Sherman (1-2)
South Point, Ohio at Lincoln County (0-3)