Fall football weather has finally arrived in West Virginia and we have only two weeks of the regular season remaining! Last weekend, the temperatures remained in the upper 70’s and even though it didn’t feel like week number nine, the schedule showed some teams were getting ready to take that final shower in their football dressing rooms!
As we embark on week number ten of the season, let’s look at some numbers that have nothing to do with the weather, but everything to do with how hot (or cold) a team might be! Overall, there will be a total of 14 teams playing their final regular season game this weekend. And, when you break that 14 down, there will be 4 teams in Class AAA, 6 teams in Class AA and 4 teams in Class A that will be playing their final game of the 2017 regular season this weekend. And, to take that number a little farther, of those 14 teams, only 8 of them are “guaranteed” to be playing in round one of the playoffs which begin in two weeks.
We do have something taking place this season that doesn’t come around very often and I have been asked about it several times. In Class AA, the Panthers of Lincoln County from Hamlin, WV knew when the season began back in August, regardless of how many contests were won or lost in their 10 game regular season, they were not going to be in the Class AA playoff field of 16! And, the reason why they did not have enough games scheduled within their class or higher. On page 5 of the 2017 WVSSAC Football Playoff Manual, it clearly states “a high school team must play six (6) teams in their class or higher to be considered in the high school football playoff ratings”! For Lincoln County, they had only three Class AA teams scheduled……Shady Spring, Roane County and Clay County. The other seven teams on the Panthers schedule were Tolsia, Van, Man, Valley (Fayette), Buffalo, Tug Valley and Fairview, Kentucky! Before the most recent classifications, which came out with the start of the 2016 – 2017 school year, Lincoln County was classified as a Class AAA team and they played in the Mountain State Athletic Conference as a small Class AAA school. The struggles in football for the Panthers are well documented and sometimes it takes a while for a program to rebound. Now while Lincoln County is the largest Class AA school in the state with 871 students, I personally have no problem with their football scheduling for this year. You have to walk before you can run and I only hope the very best for the Panthers in the future!
Now, looking ahead to week number 10, we have 55 games scheduled with some outstanding match-ups in each class! In Class AAA, Martinsburg (9-0) is at Musselman (7-1)…..Cabell Midland (5-3) will take on Spring Valley (6-2) and the MoHawk Bowl will be played in Morgantown with the University Hawks (9-0) entertaining the Mohigans (4-5) with the visiting team needing a must win! In Class AA, James Monroe (8-1) will travel to Bluefield to battle the (9-0) Beavers…..Mingo Central (8-0) will be at Chapmanville (5-3), Lincoln (6-2) will take on Philip Barbour (6-2), Nicholas County (6-2) will travel to Athens to battle Pikeview (7-2), Westside (5-3) will try and knock off Point Pleasant (7-2) and North Marion (5-3) will visit Robert C. Byrd (5-3). In Class A, it’s another BIG game for the undefeated Hawks of South Harrison (8-0) as they travel to Baker, WV to battle East Hardy (8-0). Also in the small schools division, Midland Trail (8-1) will try and rebound from their first loss of the season last week to Nicholas County as the Patriots take on another Class AA team in the (5-3) Red Devils of Oak Hill…….St. Marys will also try and rebound from their first loss of the season (43-15 to South Harrison) when they travel to Ravenswood to battle the (5-3) Red Devils and Summers County (5-3) will visit (5-3) Richwood!
Again, fourteen teams will end their regular season schedule this weekend and if your team is one of them, make sure you are in the stands to cheer them on! There’s nothing like high school football under those Friday night lights!
And, after the games, be sure to join our High School GAMENIGHT crew for all the scores, stories and highlights! We’re live on many great radio stations around the state and also live with the video and audio at wvmetronews.com! Talk to you this Friday night at 9:30!