By Wes McKinney
No. 2 George Washington (6-0) at No. 10 Cabell Midland (5-2)
It may seem a bit odd, but these two MSAC powerhouses have not met on the gridiron since 2004.
George Washington remained unbeaten last week with a 60-54 shootout win over Hurricane, while Cabell Midland fell to Capital 35-26 at Laidley Field in Charleston.
All five touchdowns the Knights gave up were scored on 30 yard runs or more, including 70 and 64 yard scampers by Capital running back Kashaun Haley.
“We made mistakes on both sides of the ball,” Cabell Midland head coach Luke Salmons said. “We have to play fundamental football and try to make as little mistakes as possible. I know we’re not perfect, but at the same time we got to find a way to win.”
Now, Cabell Midland will have to deal with powerful George Washington running back Draven Riffe, who sits second in Class AAA in rushing yards with 1,378.
“He can get his feet moving, so we have to tackle well,” Salmons said. “They are undefeated, but we get them at home. I know our kids are hungry to win.”
No. 1 Huntington (6-0) at Parkersburg (2-4)
Huntington got a much deserved week off after its battle with Capital two weeks ago. The Highlanders knocked Capital from the ranks of the undefeated, 24-10.
Through their first six games of the season, the Highlanders have beaten three of the state’s top 13 teams in Capital, Cabell Midland and Spring Valley. No other team in Class AAA has beaten three instate teams ranked that high.
“It was a good opportunity to get some kids rested up from the Capital game,” Huntington coach Billy Seals said. “It was a good week for us to work on some things we need to improve on and a good week for us to get healthy.”
What could make Huntington the most dangerous is they haven’t played their best, according to Seals.
“We are 6-0, but I don’t think we have played our best football yet,” he said. “Offensively, the best game we played was probably Spring Valley. Defensively, the best we played was Capital. If we can put those two games together, then that’s probably our best game of the year. At the same time, we have to put these first six games behind us and focus on Parkersburg.”
Huntington will face a Big Reds squad that has lost their last two by a combined three points, 21-19 against South Charleston and 27-26 to Woodrow Wilson.
“They could very easily be 4-2,” Seals said. “They are a big, physical football team. Stadium Field is a tough place to play with a great atmosphere.”
No. 10 AA Ravenswood (4-2) at No. 3 Point Pleasant (6-0)
Point Pleasant is coming off a decisive victory against previously unbeaten Oak Hill, 49-15.
The Big Blacks held first team all-state running back Jalen Jones to 63 yards rushing. But it was the offense that impressed Point Pleasant head coach David Darst.
“I would say for the first time all year I saw the offense come together,” he said. “Our passing game was there when we needed it. All of our running backs were involved. Chase Walton had a unbelievable night for us. He did it all — running and catching the ball.”
Point Pleasant will entertain a pesky Ravenswood team that has two in a row heading into the matchup with the Big Blacks on Homecoming.
“They have a shot at the playoffs themselves and this is one of there big goals of the season — to play us at home and try to knock us off,” Darst said. “It’s one of those games we aren’t looking past I can guarantee that.”
No. 1 Wayne (6-0) at Herbert Hoover (2-4)
Wayne continued to dominate teams with a 55-10 blowout win at home against Scott last week.
“We had more rhythm in our base offense than we have had all year,” Wayne head coach Tom Harmon said. “We have some options offensively because of quarterback Grant Ferguson and we have kids that can catch the ball.”
Ferguson threw the ball 13 times last week, which was the second highest total of the season.
At the same time, Harmon knows they must continue to run the ball as the season heads for the home stretch.
“We know that things can get tough when the weather gets cold and kids get injured,” he said.
The Pioneers travel to Herbert Hoover, a team that has lost four of its last five.
Besides having a huge offensive output of 543 total yards of offense including 433 on the ground, Wayne played well in the intangibles department.
“I thought last week we did a nice job of not hurting ourselves with penalties and turnovers,” Harmon said. “That’s going to have to carry over.”
No. 13 Spring Valley (5-2) at Nitro (1-5)
Spring Valley appears to be gaining some momentum as the schedule heads into mid-October.
The Timberwolves have won four straight game while only giving up 12.7 points per game. They gave up a season-low three points against Riverside last week in a 35-3 victory.
“We are growing up and finding our groove a little bit,” Spring Valley head coach Brand Dingess said. “We are playing some good football.”
During the four game winning streak, it has been a blue-collar approach by Dingess’ club.
“We have had that tough guy mentality,” he said. “We have had some guys that have had to carry the ball more than we expected and they have really stepped up. We are doing a better job of tackling. It’s games that we should have won. We have fought through some adversity and won some games.”
Spring Valley will take to the road for the final time in 2013 with a matchup against Nitro.
“Running back Brayden Underwood is still one of the best players in the MSAC,” Dingess said. “He can take it to the house at any point in the game. They spread it and throw it around most of the time. Anytime you put the ball in the air, you can score quickly.”
Focusing on the Wildcats may be tough for Spring Valley as close the season with two keys MSAC games against Cabell Midland and Hurricane.
“Before we get to them, we have to go out and take care of business against Nitro,” Dingess said.
Tolsia (2-4) at Scott (3-4)
No. 12 AA Nicholas County (5-2) at Lincoln County (0-6)
Hannan (1-5) at Gilmer County (4-3)