The wheat is being separated from the chaff in high school football this week. Some teams will jockey for playoff position. Some teams are still working to secure a spot in the post season, and other teams are simply playing out the string and embracing the role of potential spoiler. This week’s Kanawha Valley schedule features teams in all three spots.
GEORGE WASHINGTON AT CABELL MIDLAND
This contest will be the marquee matchup in the Mountain State Athletic Confernece this week. The Patriots survived a scare last Friday night in a 60-54 track meet win over Hurricane. Coach Steve Edwards said it was a huge boost to his team to stave off adversity when it counted. He added he thought the high score was more a result of Hurricane’s tenacity than any mistakes his team made.
The win preserved GW’s spotless record. They’ll travel to Ona to face a wounded tiger. The Knight’s lost a tough contest on the road to Capital, their second loss of the season and will be hungry for redemption. The clash will feature two very aggressive and physical teams with explosive potential out of the backfield. The two match up well defensively as well and promises to be a bruising contest.
BECKLEY AT CAPITAL
Last week’s victory over Cabell Midland vaulted the Cougars forward. The game was a true gem for Coach John Carpenter’s defense, which stifled the Midland offense at every turn, particularly down the stretch with the game in the balance. Midland had been averaging more than 450 yards a game and Capital allowed only 201 in the victory.
Even more gratifying was the performance in the absence of leading tackler Jonathan Pittman who was sidelined with an ankle injury and without talented running back James Richmond. Woodrow Wilson enters the game at 3-3 and needs to pile some winds down the stretch if they hope to grab a playoff spot.
WINFIELD AT SOUTH CHARLESTON
South Charleston Coach Donnie Mays continues to warn his team against under estimating anybody in the MSAC. He continues to remind his team of their 2012 loss to what was considered an inferior Ripley team 7-6. The Black Eagles avenged that painful loss last Friday night, but the sting of the 2012 defeat continues to play a key motivating role.
Mays said his team is focusing on the basics of good tackling, ball security, and finishing drives and the results are working. He added “explosive plays” (20-yards or more) are the most potent part of South Charleston’s game. The Black Eagles have a knack for using the big play to generate points quickly and at the same time demoralize an opponent.
Winfield comes into the contest with a much improved team. Coach Craig Snyder said his team could easily be 5-1 with a couple of key breaks in earlier games. Snyder, too, recognized South Charleston’s quick strike capability and stressed the key for his team this week will be guarding against the big play and controlling the ball as much as possible.
ST. ALBANS AT HURRICANE
Hurricane Coach Jeremy Taylor said he left Steve Edwards Sr. Field last Friday night with an unusual feeling.
“I was down, but I was also up at the same time,” Taylor said of his team’s heartbreaking loss to George Washington. “I was pleased with our offense, but also pleased with how our defense played in the second half.”
In the end, however, it was one more loss for the Redskins — their third. Right now, Hurricane more than anything needs wins if they plan to make an appearance in the playoff picture again. The stretch run features St. Albans, arch-rival Winfield, then Capital and Spring Valley both on the road. Taylor considered all four games “winnable” and hopeS his team’s confidence has rebounded with its showing at GW a week ago.
St. Albans is suffering with a 1-5 record and doesn’t expect postseason action. However, the Red Dragons have a strong front line and a spirited defense which now uses the potential role as spoiler. Because of MSAC scheduling it’s been several years since these two teams have met.
Other Kanawha Valley Games:
Spring Valley at Nitro
Nicholas County at Lincoln County
Riverside at Princeton
Wayne at Hoover
Clay County at Sissonville
Buffalo and Poca have open dates.