By Philip See for WVMetroNews.com
Sissonville (3-0) at Mingo Central (3-0)
Sissonville continued its strong start to the season with a 39-16 victory over Scott to move to 3-0. Quarterback Will Hackney was again impressive, as he has already thrown for nearly 1,000 yards on the season. Sissonville was stout on the defensive side of the ball as well, holding Skyhawk running back Carson McComas to less than 50 rushing yards after he had surpassed the 200-yard mark in each of Scott’s first two games.
While Sissonville has comfortably handled its business thus far, the path becomes significantly more difficult in week 4. The Indians will take the long trip to Mingo County to face defending AA State Champion and Cardinal Conference Champion Mingo Central.
Led by reigning Kennedy Award and MetroNews Player of the Year winner Jeremy Dillon, the Miners look to be the favorites in the Cardinal again this season. After escaping with a 36-34 win on a final-play touchdown at Point Pleasant in the opener, Central has been dominant in its first two conference contests with wins over Wayne and Logan.
“They’re a tough opponent,” Sissonville head coach Marc Wilson said of the Miners. “We’re looking forward to it. Our guys really like to rise to the challenge and like to opportunity to go out and compete.”
Last season, Central handed the Indians their only loss of the regular season with a 55-2 win at Sissonville. Along with Winfield, these teams again look to be two of the top three teams in the Cardinal through the first three weeks.
The winner of this game will take a major step toward claiming the Cardinal Conference crown in 2017. Coach Wilson is looking forward to see how his team compares to the defending champions.
“It’s going to be a good opportunity for us to see how we stack up with the best of the best.”
Capital (2-1) at Cabell Midland (2-1)
In recent years, the annual contest between Capital and Cabell Midland has become one of the MASC’s premier matchups. With two of the state’s best programs, the game often factors into the conference championship and playoff rankings. This year should be no different.
Capital beat Midland by a touchdown in 2014 on its way to an undefeated season and a state championship.
Midland returned the favor with a seven-point victory of its own in the 2015 regular season on its way to claiming the top playoff seed, but the Cougars answered back with a 35-13 victory in the semifinals that year before finishing as state runner-up.
Capital then knocked off the Knights twice last season, once in the regular season and once in the opening round of the playoffs, both by a margin of about three scores.
Both squads have had similar starts to this season. Each team lost its opener to a good out-of-state team and followed it up with a pair of comfortable conference wins. Capital knocked off Riverside and Parkersburg while the Knights downed South Charleston and Hurricane.
As is usually the case, Midland has a big and powerful squad again this season. If Capital is to capture its fourth consecutive victory over the Knights, it will likely do so by playing getting the ball to its offensive playmakers in space.
“We’re as good as we’ve ever been at wide receiver,” Cougar coach Jon Carpenter said. “We’ve got four or five of those guys that can run. That’s our strength…getting the ball in space. We’ve got to make big plays.
South Charleston (1-2) at Riverside (2-1)
Just four weeks into the season, it is still too early to label a game as a “must win” for any team. While that is still true for this contest, a victory would be very important for either team’s playoff hopes.
South Charleston is a regular is the AAA playoff field, and the Black Eagles have a squad good enough to return this year. The early schedule has been tough, however, and after squeaking past George Washington in the opener, they dropped consecutive contests to Cabell Midland and Johnson Central, Ky.
The schedule lightens very little for South Charleston after this game, though, with MSAC powers Spring Valley, Huntington, and Capital still on the slate. The Black Eagles will need to win some tough games to make it into the playoffs, and that could start this week.
Riverside faces a similar situation, though approaching it from a different direction. The Warriors are trying to get back into the playoffs for the first time in a decade, and that campaign is off to a strong start with wins over Woodrow Wilson and Ripley and a loss to Capital sandwiched in-between. Riverside’s remaining schedule is slightly easier, but many tough games remain.
A win over the Black Eagles would be a major milestone for Riverside. South Charleston has won nine consecutive contests in the series, and the margin of victory has been less than 20 points only once in that span.
George Washington (1-2) at Spring Valley (1-1)
Ripley (2-1) at St. Albans (1-2)
Hurricane (2-1) at Woodrow Wilson (1-2)
Point Pleasant (2-1) at Herbert Hoover (1-2)
Chapmanville (1-2) at Nitro (1-2)
Logan (1-2) at Poca (1-2)
Wayne (1-1) at Winfield (2-1)
Greenbrier West (0-3) at Buffalo (0-3)