The 1st round of the 2017 High School Football Playoffs is in the books and the road to Wheeling has become less congested, but certainly the “potholes” that must be avoided have become even larger!
Last weekend, the number of the teams in the playoff tournament stood at 16 in each class for a total of 48 vying for a season ending trip to the Island in December. This weekend, that number has been reduced in half with just 24 teams alive, with 8 in each class. And, the competition is even tougher! As we break down each class, let’s first start with the won-loss numbers!
Last week in Class AAA, the 16 teams had a combined won-loss record of 360 wins and 118 losses, or a won/loss percentage of 75%. In Class AAA, it was 109-51 (68%)….in Class AA, it was 128-32 (80%) and in Class A, it was 123-35 (79%). This week, the numbers look this way…..of the 24 teams remaining, they have a combined won-loss record of 222-41, a won/loss percentage of 84%. Those numbers break down by class this way: In Class AAA, 71-17 (81%)…..in Class AA, 78-10 (89%) and in Class A, 73-14 (84%)! So, overall the winning percentage went up 9% (75% to 84%) and also rose in Class AAA (68% to 81%) in Class AA (80% to 89%) and in Class A, the winning percentage went up from 79% to 84%. Certainly none of this is surprising because you would expect the “better” teams to win and advance. It will be interesting to see if that same formula holds true for week number two!
Of the twelve games scheduled for this week, seven will be played on Friday night at 7:30, four will be played on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 and one game this week will be played under the lights on Saturday night with a kickoff scheduled for 7:30.
Conference play continues to be the story in Class AAA as 5 of the 8 remaining teams all play in the Mountain State Athletic Conference, including all four teams in the upper bracket with #1 seed Huntington. Also worthy of note, of the four games scheduled for this weekend in Class AAA, half of them will be a rematch of teams from the regular season. On Saturday afternoon at 1:30, #4 Spring Valley (9-2) will host #12 Cabell Midland (6-5) in a rematch of a game played on Friday night, October 27th at Spring Valley where the Timber Wolves blasted the Knights 56-28. The other rematch in Class AAA will kick off at 7:30 this Saturday night when #1 Huntington (11-0) hosts #9 Hurricane (7-4). It was back on Friday night, October 13th when the Highlanders traveled to Hurricane and beat the Redskins by 20, 34-14. The other two Class AAA games will match two teams that are unfamiliar with each other as #2 Martinsburg (11-0) hosts #10 John Marshall (8-3) and #3 University (11-0) welcomes #6 Capital (8-3). Both games will kick off this Friday night at 7:30pm. Last Friday night, John Marshall picked up their first playoff win since 1996 when they defeated #7 Parkersburg 42-35!
In Class AA, we have only one rematch from the regular season as #2 Bluefield (11-0) will host #7 Point Pleasant (9-2) this Saturday afternoon at 1:30. It was back on October 6th when the Big Blacks made the same trip to Mitchell Stadium in Bluefield and had to travel back to Mason County with their 2nd loss of the season as Bluefield beat Point Pleasant by 29, 42-17. As noted, Point Pleasant’s season record is (9-2) with the loss to Bluefield and an opening season loss to Class AA #1 Mingo Central 36-34 on a game ending “Hail Mary” pass! Speaking of #1 Mingo Central (11-0) and reigning Class AA State Champs, the young men from Delbarton, WV provided a record setting performance for their fans last weekend when they dominated Robert C. Byrd 76-40. This Friday night, the Miners will welcome #8 Liberty (Harrison) (9-2) for a 7:30pm kickoff. Last Friday night, the Mountaineers defeated #9 Nicholas County 27-7. Also on Friday night in Class AA, #11 Winfield (8-3) will make the trip to Bridgeport to battle the 3rd ranked (10-1) Indians. The Generals upset #6 James Monroe last Friday night 29-0 at Lindside. For Bridgeport, they won their 7th game in a row by downing #14 Weir 35-12. The other Class AA game scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 1:30 will find #5 Wayne (10-1) at #4 Fairmont Senior (10-1). Both teams have lost just one game and both losses came from currently undefeated teams. For Wayne, they lost in week #2 of the season by 19 on the road at Class AA #1 Mingo Central and for Fairmont Senior, their only blemish on the record came in week #5 when they lost by just 2 points on the road at Class AAA #3 University!
In Class A, the lone remaining undefeated team stayed that way last weekend as #1 East Hardy was impressive in a hard fought 4 point victory over #16 Williamstown. Everyone agreed Williamstown was not a typical #16 seed and the Yellow Jackets proved it! However, give a lot of respect to the Cougars for doing what had to be done in order to get the victory and move on into round #2. This weekend, the Cougars will welcome another tough foe as the Sherman Tide from Seth makes the long trip to Baker, WV in the only game this weekend in Class A that will be played on Saturday. Sherman is the #9 seed in this year’s tournament and comes into the game with a (9-2) record after upsetting #8 Madonna last Friday night 37-14. The game will kick at 1:30. The other three games in Class A this weekend will all be played Friday night as #2 South Harrison (10-1) will welcome #10 seed Wheeling Central (7-4). Last Friday night the Hawks did what the Hawks have done all season long and that is put a lot of points on the scoreboard as Brad Jetts’ ball-club ousted #15 Richwood 58-19! For Wheeling Central, it was a 14 point win, on the road, over just once beaten Cameron as Head Coach Mike Young proved his #10 seeded Maroon Knights were the real deal! For #3 Midland Trail (10-1) it will be another very familiar foe as the Patriots welcome #11 Summers County (7-4) to Hico, WV. Last weekend, the Patriots knocked off #14 Fayetteville 35-7 in a game that featured two opponents located just eight miles apart. This Friday night it is a little further drive for the Bobcats as they travel the 47 miles from Hinton to Hico. The two closely located teams did not meet during the regular season. The other game on Friday night in Class A will feature the Class A reigning State Champion and #5 ranked St. Marys Blue Devils (9-1) as they travel the 180 miles to just outside Williamson, WV where they will battle the #4 ranked Panthers of Tug Valley (10-1). Last Saturday afternoon, Head Coach Jodi Mote’s ballclub rolled past #12 Doddridge County 44-14 as they begin their playoff journey back to Wheeling Island Stadium. For the Panthers, they struggled against a determined #13 seed in Pocahontas County before edging the Warriors 30-29! This weekend, Panther’s Head Coach Tony Clusky knows the competition will be just as good if not better!
So, it is week #2….the quarter-final round and we have a total of twelve games this weekend with seven being played on Friday night…..four on Saturday afternoon and one game Saturday night! That gives the GAMENIGHT crew a lot to talk about, so be sure and join us this Friday evening from 9:30 to Midnight on the MetroNews Radio Network and at wvmetronews.com!