By Wes McKinney
No. 10 Cabell Midland (6-2) at No. 12 Spring Valley (6-2)
Both teams enter this matchup with momentum on their side.
Cabell Midland got a much-needed win at home over previously unbeaten George Washington – that came after losing to Capital the week before.
Spring Valley, meanwhile, has won five in a row, including a 48-21 pouncing of Nitro last week.
“When you win five games in a row, it definitely gives you some confidence,” Spring Valley head coach Brad Dingess said. “Our kids still have a bad taste in their mouth from losing in the playoffs to them last year.”
Last year, the Knights ended the Timberwolves’ season in the quarterfinals of the Class AAA playoffs, 28-26.
The winner of this game will keep hopes alive to host a playoff game.
“Both of us want to play at home in the first round and either one of us want we have to win this game,” Dingess said. “It makes it a big game for both of us.”
While the Knights did beat George Washington last week, they didn’t make things easy on themselves. Cabell Midland built a 35-14 halftime lead before holding off a frantic comeback from the Patriots, holding on to win 49-40.
The Knights had three players rush for over 100 yards. Dontae Hendricks led the way with 127 yards, while Teran Barnitz and Kasey Thomas chipped in with 109 and 103 yards each.
“We went into the George Washington game thinking our backs were against the wall more than usual,” Cabell Midland head coach Luke Salmons said. “We have to fight for everything now. We have to finish strong and continue to get better.”
Both teams run a similar style of offense centered around power running.
“Both teams are in the same position,” Salmons said. “They will probably tell their kids a lot of the same stuff we will tell ours. It comes down to the little things at this point.”
No. 1 Wayne (7-0) at Poca (1-6)
Through six games, Wayne had outscored their opponents 147-17 in the first half.
And it was more of the same last week when the Pioneers traveled to Herbert Hoover, jumping out to a 41-6 halftime lead.
Quarterback Grant Ferguson racked up over 200 yards of offense in the first half and accounted for four touchdowns – all before the intermission.
“Anytime you go on the road with a job in mind and take care of business early you are pleased,” Wayne head coach Tom Harmon said
Wayne will be looking for its 31st consecutive win when it travels to Poca on Friday night. The Dots, meanwhile, will be looking to end a four game losing streak.
“Moving forward we need to remember the basics that win games – taking care of the ball, blocking and tackling,” Harmon said. “Doing those things will get us through the tough games to come.”
St. Albans (1-6) at No. 1 Huntington (7-0)
Huntington kept things rolling in a big way last week on the road at Parkersburg.
The Highlanders reeled off four touchdown runs of at least 70 yards, including a 94 yard rush from Nick Tubbs in the 55-14 win over the Big Reds.
Huntington head coach Billy Seals, though, was unimpressed with his team’s first half performance.
“I’m going to be honest with you, the first half against Parkersburg is probably the worst first half we played this year,” Seals said. “We looked lethargic.
“Part of the problem was we had to knock some rust off from the bye week and we had some guys that had to miss practice time because of injuries,” he continued. “We challenged the kids at halftime and they came out and scored on four straight possessions in the third quarter.”
The Highlanders will welcome in a St. Albans team this week that is 1-6 on the year.
“They throw it around a lot and run their offense mostly out of the pistol,” Seals said. “We may get in some formations that will make it difficult for them defensively. We want to get our guys out in open space.”
No. 2 Point Pleasant (7-0) at Shady Spring (1-6)
Last week, Point Pleasant opened up a 24-7 lead over visiting Ravenswood and cruised to a 31-21 win to remain undefeated.
“My hat goes off to them because they came in wanting to win with so many points on the line,” Point Pleasant head coach David Darst said. “Our kids responded well.”
Friday night against Shady Spring will be the third and final road game of the season for the Big Blacks.
“We have a system of how we handle road trips,” Darst said. “Our kids know the routine. We box food up for them and try to keep it at low key as we can. It seems to work really well.”
Shady Spring will try to be a stumbling block for Point Pleasant in its quest for an undefeated regular season.
“Shady Spring is a team that just two years ago was 12-0 and playing Wayne (in Class AA) for a chance to play for the state championship,” Darst said. “They are well coached. They have some big kids on their football team.”
Shady Spring, though, comes in averaging just 8.4 points per game.
“They are a fundamental team that just hasn’t been putting up the points,” he said. “I’m worried we might be the team that they explode on. Shady Spring was averaging 50 or 60 points a game two years with the same offense.”
Chapmanville (4-4) at Tolsia (3-4)
Ripley (1-6) at Lincoln County (0-7)
Midland Trail (3-4) at Hannan (1-6)