By Wes McKinney
#5 Point Pleasant (4-0) at Brooke (1-4)
When Point Pleasant makes the 180 miles trek to the northern panhandle this week, they will have revenge on their minds. Last year when Brooke made the journey to Point Pleasant, they left the Big Blacks stunned, as they erased a 28-7 halftime deficit to win 35-34.
“The kids should be excited because I know they have nice facilities at Brooke,” Point Pleasant head coach David Darst said. “We have to get the job done. This is one of our big road trips. We know what kind of team Brooke is.”
The Big Blacks find themselves at 4-0 for the second consecutive season after a 21-7 victory at Winfield last week. Darst, though, says Brooke is better than its 1-4 record indicates.
“They hung around with Steubenville for most of the game and they played Wheeling Park extremely tough,” Darst said. “They play a really strong schedule. They have some nice looking kids. We will have to play another really strong football game defensively.”
After Friday night, the Big Blacks will have just one road game remaining, but the journey to Wellsburg will be the longest for the Point Pleasant this year.
“Hopefully, we will give ourselves an opportunity,” Darst said. “I know our defense has been giving us opportunities to win all year. Hopefully, it’s one of those road games where you come home with a win.”
#2 Capital (4-0) at #1 Huntington (5-0)
Two weeks ago Huntington avenged one of its two regular season losses from last season by beating county rival Cabell Midland, now the Highlanders will try to do the same to Capital, who humiliated Huntington 48-18 last year.
When the state’s two top ranked teams in AAA get together at Bob Sang Stadium Friday night, the raucous crowd will make a difference.
“This year we have had tremendous support,” Huntington head coach Billy Seals said. “It has been as good as it ever has been in my five years here. Obviously, it makes life a little bit easier when you have your rowdy fans.”
As for the players on the field, it is the speed of the Cougars that concerns Seals.
“They definitely make you cover the entire field,” Seals said. “That’s what makes them so dangerous. They are very similar to Oregon because they make people cover the entire field.
“They got fabulous athletes on both sides of the ball. Obviously, Tyrhee Pratt is one of the better quarterbacks in the entire state,” he continued. “They have Kashuan Haley and James Richmond in the backfield. They are big and physical along the offensive line. In my opinion, they will be the best football team we have played up to this point.”
But as Friday night looms, the Highlanders are content with their first five games of the season.
“We were hoping to be in the position we are right now,” Seals said. “We would have been alright with 4-1 at this point. This game is most important because number one it’s the next game and secondly it’s Capital, who is returning 21 of 22 starters and handed us our butt last year.”
Woodrow Wilson (2-2) at #8 Cabell Midland (4-1)
It was apparent that Cabell Midland didn’t have a hangover from the loss against Huntington two weeks ago, as they dismantled Hurricane 63-14 last week while racking up 700 yards of total offense.
“We gave up a couple of scores early in game,” Cabell Midland head coach Luke Salmons said. “After that, we made a couple of adjustments and didn’t give up anything. Our defense answered the bell. Anytime you play a team like Hurricane and score that much and only give up that much, it’s a nice win.”
The Knights will now turn their attention towards a Beckley team that humiliated Riverside 50-10 last week.
“They have good skill players and they run a lot of different things on offense,” Salmons said. “They will line up in different fronts on defense.”
Winfield (2-2) at Spring Valley (3-2)
Spring Valley spent most of the month of September on the road as they opened the season with four of their first five games on the road, so naturally Friday night is homecoming for the Timberwolves.
Head coach Brad Dingess is relieved to have this stretch of games in the rear view mirror now.
“It was brutal,” he said. “To have a winning record through fives games and have four of our last five at home is a pretty good spot. I would like to have the South Charleston game back. We scored enough points to win that game, but we didn’t play real well defensively.”
Make no mistake though, the Timberwolves will have a challenging home slate to finish the season.
“Winfield is very capable of beating us since they already beat a good Beckley team,” Dingess said. “They throw the ball all over the place.”
The Generals could present a problem for Spring Valley with their passing attack.
“One of our weaknesses is defending the passes because our defense doesn’t see a whole lot of it in practice,” Dingess said. “It’s going to be a test for us.”
#3 Wayne (4-0) at #11 Mingo Central (3-1)
Last week, Wayne jumped out to a 38-0 halftime lead against Sissonville and never looked back as they defeated the Indians 58-19.
Fullback Mason Hodge for 154 yards and four touchdowns on just 11 carries. Quarterback Grant Ferguson piled up 148 rushing yards of his own.
The Pioneers will be making their second trip of the year when they got to Mingo County. Last year, Wayne defeated the Miners 53-14.
Wayne will look to continue it’s stellar defensive play as they have only allowed 32 points in four games.
Corning Miller, Ohio at Hannan (1-3)