By Wes McKinney for

Class AAA No. 1 Huntington (6-0) at Class AAA No. 7 Hurricane (4-2)

Huntington entered its bye week with a 49-7 win over Ripley to move to 6-0 on the season.

“I thought we handled that situation very well,” Huntington head coach Billy Seals said.

“We’re a mature football team. We prepared that week, went out and executed fairly well. We were happy to get that win and get into what we refer to as the fundamental week.”

The Highlanders had an extra week to prepare for one of the more dynamic offenses the MSAC.

The explosive Redskins’ offense is led by quarterback Nathan Roy, running back Christian Hill and wide receivers Curon Cordon and Dakota Williams.

“We feel like offensively they are very, very good,” Seals said. “Hurricane’s running back is one of the best in the MSAC. The two receivers are as good as anybody we will see. Defensively, they have some guys that can play at linebacker in (Payton) Lunsford and Steve Shine. It’s a very sound football team.”

It will be the third straight home game for Hurricane.

“I think our kids thrive on those atmospheres,” Seals said of Hurricane’s home field advantage.

“They get excited to play in big time football games. I was at Hurricane for the Capital game and it was a big time atmosphere. Our kids enjoy these moments—playing in those hostile environments.”

Chuck Roberts, (left), John Hagley Photography (right)

Both Huntington and Cabell Midland have important Week 8 matchups on Friday night.


Class AAA No. 9 Parkersburg (4-2) at Class AAA No. 15 Cabell Midland (3-3)

Cabell Midland was controlled by Belfry last week as the Pirates scored 21 unanswered points after the game was tied at 14-14.

Ivan Vaughn still had 100 yards rushing, despite the setback for the Knights.

“Belfry was in control of the game and had a lot of rhythm,” Cabell Midland head coach Luke Salmons said.

“We only had the all a couple of times in the second half. Each team only had 200 yards of offense. It was a slow, slow game. It was a different type of game.”

After facing Belfry’s methodical triple-option offense, Cabell Midland will see a different sort of attack in the wide-open offense of Parkersburg.

“Parkersburg is playing harder than they have in the past,” Salmons said.

“Anytime you get a new coach, there’s a change in philosophy and a change in mindset of kids. Parkersburg is playing tough defense. They are physical and running a system on both sides of the ball—that’s why you’re seeing different results.”

Junior Tyler Moler leads Parkersburg in the backfield, while Brenton Strange is one of the top receivers in the state as a junior.

“He’s a good player,” Salmons said. “He’s been good in the past and he’s good again. He definitely pops out on film. He’s a talented kid and quarterback Kam Mace does a great job of getting him the ball. I’m sure they’ll try to line him up in different spots and create some mismatches.”


Class AA No. 9 Wayne (5-1) at Chapmanville (4-2)

Two of the hottest teams in Class AA will clash when Wayne and Chapmanville meet.

Chapmanville has won three straight games while getting healthy. On the other side, Wayne has ripped off four consecutive wins.

“We put our most complete game together against a quality opponent,” Wayne head coach Tom Harmon said about his team’s 43-7 win over Herbert Hoover. “We were able to take away some things that they wanted to do. Offensively, we had a really good shooting. We hit on a lot of the things we tried and executed our offense pretty well.”

The Pioneers limited Herbert Hoover to one yard or less in 11 of 25 rushes last week.

Chapmanville coach Rob Dial has been impressed with this team’s ability to overcome some difficult circumstances early in the season.

“After the first six games, we are pleased to be 4-2,” Dial said. “Especially with some of the injuries and the adversity we’ve been faced with. Our players are a resilient group of young men for sticking with it.”

Of course, Chapmanville started the season without its starting quarterback Adam Vance, and it forced Dial and his staff to redesign the offense that featured Dylan Smith running the ball instead of catching it from Vance.

“What we learned real quickly is how good we could be up front with the injury to Adam,” Dial said. “We’ve begun to morph into more of a power football team where we are taking Dylan Smith and moving him into the top of the I-formation. We’re trying to shorten the game more and protect the quarterback more by running the ball.”

Just how hard has it become to scheme for the Tigers?

“Partly due to injuries, they were forced to find other ways to move the football—and they sure did,” Harmon said.

“Through the process, I’m sure they didn’t forget what else they can do. When they get both things going—the run and the pass—they become very dangerous.”

Friday’s game is critical for both teams as Chapmanville tries to make a push for the playoffs, something that eluded the Tigers last season after stumbling down the stretch.

“The number one thing that stands out to me about Wayne is the amount of effort they play with,” Dial said.

“They never take a play off. Offensively, Wayne is like a machine. They know exactly what they are doing each play. Defensively, they do a great job of preventing the big play. They make you work for every yard. For us to have a chance to beat Wayne, we have to come out and match its intensity. We have to stick to our gameplan and protect the ball.”


Meigs, Ohio at Class AA No. 10 Point Pleasant (5-2)

Point Pleasant ran into an extremely athletic Bluefield team that handled the Big Blacks, 42-13.

“Bluefield did a good job of running their offense, and we didn’t do a good job of stopping them,” Point Pleasant head coach David Darst said.

“They also did a good job of containing our offense. The better team won the ball game. Our kids played extremely hard. I thought our kids played as hard as they possibly could. We just got out-athleted.”

In the tough loss, Point Pleasant did have some bright spots including Justin Brumfield.

“I thought Justin Brumfield had a really good night and ran the ball well,” Darst said. “We had a chance to play a bunch of young linemen on offense.”

After logging a lot of miles, the Big Blacks will finish the year with three straight home games, and the homestand will start with a tough test against Meigs.

“They are a bunch of athletic kids,” Darst said of the Marauders, who are coached by former pro Mike Bartum.

“They have a real nice scheme. They run a lot of stack, 4-3 and 4-4.  They play a lot of man coverage. They had a lot of injuries earlier in the year. At one point, they were down two quarterbacks. They are starting to gel as a team.”


Ripley (2-5) at Class No. 5 Spring Valley (4-2)

Spring Valley bounced back from a loss against Hurricane with a statement 49-14 win at Riverside.

“We won the battle up front,” Spring Valley head coach Brad Dingess said. “We went out and played mistake free. It was probably the best all-around game we’ve played this year.”

Dingess and his staff simplified the game plan for the Timberwolves who, like most teams this time of year, are fighting the injury bug.

“We have a lot of injuries right now, so we just made everything as simple as we could,” Dingess said. “We really went back and tried not to be too fancy with anything. We went back to our basic stuff against Riverside.”

When Spring Valley lines up across from Ripley, it might be a case of the Timberwolves looking in the mirror and seeing themselves.

“When I watch Ripley on film, they remind me a lot of us just how they’re built and their makeup,” Dingess said.

“Coach Smolder has a bunch of tough kids. They do things right and he also had them in the right position to make plays. They’ve been in every ballgame they’ve played. They are better than their record indicates.”


Class AA No. 2 Mingo Central (6-0) at Scott (2-5)

While Jeremy Dillon has stolen the headlines at Mingo Central over the last year and a half, running back Dawson Elia continued his strong season by rushing for 236 yards and hauling in 104 yards through the air. Elia also accounted for three touchdowns in a 52-0 win over Nitro.

“He’s a perfect back for what we want to do,” Mingo Central head coach Joey Fields said of Elia. “He’s a physical downhill runner, but he can get outside and catch passes out of the backfield. He also plays every special team and defense for us.”

Fields is looking for a better outing from his team against Scott. Even though the Miners won last year 48-20, it was a battle early on.

“It was tied 14-14 last season,” Fields said referring to tough game last year. “In talking to our guys, they said Scott was the toughest team we played all year in 14 games. I’m going to preach to our guys about having a better start against Scott this year.”

The Miners haven’t been on the road since week three of the season when it went to Logan and won 65-8.

“I’m anxious to see how we respond to playing an away game because it feels like we haven’t played one in forever, Field said. “We have to come out and play well.”


Class A No. 10 Sherman (5-1) at Class A No. 2 South Harrison (6-0)

Sherman has quietly jumped into the top 10 of the Class A playoff ratings.

First-year head coach Michael Showalter has continued the momentum for the Tide for their playoff season in 2016.

Over the three games, the Sherman defense has stuffed opponents. Prior to the bye week, the Tide held Greenbrier West to eight points in a 42-8 victory.

In six games this season, Sherman has allowed just 32 points.

Now, Sherman will face the high-powered South Harrison offense that has scored at least 48 points in its last four wins.

“When you watch them on film, what really stands out to me is their offensive line play,” Showalter said. “They do a great job of getting off the football. They’re not only a really talented bunch, they’re well coached. We have to come ready to play. We’re going to lean heavily on our defensive line to cause some havoc.”


Class A No. 7 Tug Valley (5-1) at Class A No. 13 Mount View (4-3)

Since losing by eight points to Van in week three of the season, Tug Valley has rolled off three straight wins with its most convincing win of the season last week against Buffalo.

Tug Valley shutout Buffalo, 34-0, two weeks ago to vault itself into the home playoff game discussion.

Friday’s road game against Mount View will be the toughest test for the Panthers since their loss against Van.


Class A No. 4 Madonna (6-0) at Van (3-4)

Van’s playoff hopes took a significant blow last week with a road loss 43-22 against Richwood.

The Bulldogs were 3-1 before losing three games in a row, and have given up at least 40 points in two of the three defeats.

Van will be forced to win out to even be in consideration for the Class A playoffs. The Bulldogs this week get one of the pleasant surprises in the small-schools’ division in Madonna before playing Paden City next week.


Other Games

Tolsia (2-5) at Tyler Consolidated (3-3)

Clay County (4-2) at Lincoln County (3-3)

Man (1-5) at Class AA No. 1 Bluefield (7-0)

Paden City (1-5) at Hannan (2-4)

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