By Michael Minnich
Mineral Daily News Tribune
No. 7 Cabell Midland (9-2) at No. 2 Martinsburg (10-1), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Martinsburg got off to a slow start, but turned on the jets to defeat No. 15 Spring Valley, 36-0, in the first round last Saturday.
Malique Watkins ran for 204 yards and passed for 84 more to lead the way.
Watkins’ 1-yard TD run late in the first half was the difference at the break, then he threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Tory Lee, then, after a 50-yard TD run by Deamonte Lindsey, Watkins went 94 yards on the final play of the third quarter.
An 8-yard TD run by Lindsay, who finished with 110 stripes on the ground provided insurance.
Watkins is fifth in Class AAA in rushing with 1,608 yards and has found the end zone 18 times on the ground; through the air, he’s completed 49 of 86 tosses for 680 yards, 11 touchdowns, and six interceptions.
Lindsey has rushed for 938 yards and 11 touchdowns. Eric Brown has 806 yards on the ground and 10 touchdowns.
Cabell Midland, having defeated Washington, 35-6, at home, now has to return the long trip to the Eastern Panhandle for a rematch of the 2012 Class AAA championship game.
The Knights rushed for 404 yards, with Donte Hendricks’ 96-yard run to stretch a 7-6 lead the home run.
Two fourth down plays were key: Washington failed to convert at the Cabell Midland 41 on fourth-and-6, then the Knights turned a fourth-and-3 play near midfield on the subsequent drive into a 52-yard Coy Petitt touchdown.
Kasey Thomas is CM’s leading rusher, totaling 1,235 yards and 17 touchdowns on 164 carries.
Teran Barnitz is also over 1,000 yards, sitting at 1,010 with 13 touchdowns, while Hendricks boosted his totals to 99 carries, 968 yards, and 12 scores.
Pettit has passed for 701 yards and eight touchdowns.
Martinsburg won last year’s title game, their third in a row, by a 38-14 score thanks to 186 yards from Trey Boyd and 101 from Cookie Clinton.
No. 14 Magnolia (7-4) at No. 6 Moorefield (10-1), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
The Jackets, home in the playoffs for the first time in nine years, took care of Meadow Bridge last week, 22-16.
MHS held Jake Parker, the leading rusher in the state, a full 100 yards beneath his average, and received rushing touchdowns from Colton Bramsen and Wil Schoonover, who also recovered a fumble.
Dakota Vetter finished with 126 yards passing, including a TD, and ran for 85 more.
Schoonover, a sophomore, has 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground for the year, while Vetter has passed for 1,174 yards and 16 touchdowns against only two picks.
Matt Dolan (21 catches, 562 yards, nine touchdowns) has been Vetter’s main target.
A battle-tested Magnolia squad, always a factor in the playoffs in Class AA and now Class A, ran all over No. 3 Valley Fayette in the first round, 42-16.
Drew Keller ran the ball on 36 of the Blue Eagles’ 55 offensive plays, finishing with 239 yards and three touchdowns.
Keller has 213 carries for 1,395 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season; Jake Brill, called on to throw just once in the first round, has completed 68 of 110 passes for 1,022 yards, 11 touchdowns, and just one interception.
Eric Smith has 33 catches for 582 yards and seven scores.