It’s the week of Thanksgiving and certainly a time to give thanks for the many good things we have! And, this week means we are also down to the final four in all three classes in the high school football playoffs! I have heard it said many times by high school football coaches across the state, “we want to still be practicing football on Thanksgiving Day!” And for twelve teams, that wish has become reality!
In Class AAA, seeds 1, 2, 4 and 6 are still alive…..in Class AA, the bracket has played out perfectly with seeds 1, 2, 3 and 4 still practicing and there has been a real shake up in Class A, with seeds 1, 5, 10 and 11 still alive.
In Class AAA, #1 Huntington (12-0) survived a real scare from #9 Hurricane winning a hard fought 28-27 decision in the quarter-final round! The game was played in horrendous weather as heavy rain and even stronger winds pummeled the players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans most of the evening. In the end, the Hurricane Redskins scored late to climb within one of the Highlanders and decided to go for the win with a two point conversion which failed because of a great defensive stand by Huntington. The Hurricane season ends at (7-5) while Huntington continues to play another day! Their opponent in the semi-final round will be another old foe as #4 Spring Valley will invade Bob Sang Stadium this Friday night. The Timber Wolves also survived a hard fought game last Saturday afternoon as #12 Cabell Midland (6-6) gave the home team all they wanted. The final score was a shut out win for Spring Valley as the Timber Wolves improved to (10-2) with the 15-0 win. Huntington and Spring Valley met up in week number two of the regular season with Huntington winning by a final score of 14-0! Nothing suggests this weekend’s game won’t be any closer! The semi-final game between #1 Huntington (12-0) and #4 Spring Valley (10-2) will kick off this Friday night at 7:30! In the other Class AAA semi-final, #2 Martinsburg (12-0) once again flexed their muscle last Friday night as they shutout #10 John Marshall 54-0. So far in the playoffs, Martinsburg has outscored their first two opponents 115-0! Their opponent this week will be the #6 seed as the Capital Cougars were impressive in knocking off #3 University (11-1) last Friday night by a final of 48-24! The Cougars (9-3) will travel to Martinsburg this Saturday afternoon for a 1:30 kick off against the Bulldogs!
In Class AA, the playoff bracket has played out to perfection as the top four seeds will match up this weekend. The #1 seeded Miners of Mingo Central once again put up an offensive explosion as they dismantled the Mountaineers of Liberty Harrison (9-3) 53-22. The Miners are averaging scoring 65 points per game so far in the playoffs. This weekend, the opponent will be tried and tested as #4 Fairmont Senior will travel to Delbarton to take on the Class AA reigning state champs! The Polar Bears (11-1) have lost to only Class AAA University and that was by just two points (29-27) in week number five. This will be a rematch of last year’s Class AA title game that was won by Mingo Central by a final of 32-7. The semi-final rematch will kick off at 1:30 this Saturday afternoon in Delbarton! In the other Class AA semi-final #2 Bluefield will host #3 Bridgeport at Mitchell Stadium in what should be an instant classic. The Indians will bring an (11-1) record south and with them comes an offense known for keeping the ball on the ground! The Beavers are a perfect (12-0) and have been known to score in many different ways as speedster Latrell “Mookie” Collier as led Bluefield in every possible category this season. Both teams have a lot to offer and that is why this is one game that is almost a must see this weekend. Bluefield (12-0) and Bridgeport (11-1) will kickoff this Friday night at 7:30 at Mitchell Stadium in Bluefield!
In Class A, the lone remaining top four seed just happens to be the #1 seed as East Hardy (12-0) has prevailed over all opponents so far this season. In semi-final play, the Cougars will get a very familiar opponent as the #5 seeded St. Marys Blue Devils will travel to Baker for another big game. If you remember, these same two great ball clubs met at Wheeling Island Stadium last December 3rd for the Class A title and St. Marys prevailed 23-8! The two teams have not met this season so this is an opportunity for the Blue Devils to win again, or for the Cougars to keep their perfect season in tact and get back to the Island for the 3rd straight year! The game kicks off this Friday night at 7:30 in Baker, WV. In the other semi-final game it is #11 taking on #10! And, that is what is so great about high school football!! The 11th seeded Bobcats of Summers County knocked off #3 Midland Trail (10-2) 6-0 last Friday night in Summersville to earn this trip to the semi-finals! And, what do they get for that hard earned victory? A match-up with what just might be the hottest team left in the playoffs! The Maroon Knights of Wheeling Central (8-4) have battled all season just to get to the playoffs and even started the regular season at (0-2)! However, their season was filled with very tough opponents and Head Coach Mike Young thinks his kids are tournament tested and ready to battle their way back to the Island. This should be a hard hitting affair and it kicks off on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit this Saturday afternoon at 1:30!
So, there you have it………twelve teams…..six games….three Friday night…..three Saturday afternoon! Pick out a couple and take the family to watch some of the finest in high school sports compete for an opportunity to move on to the championships which will be held in Wheeling, December 1st & 2nd! And, don’t forget…..this is the final GAMENIGHT program of the 2017 season season so join Dave, Garrett and me for all the scores, interviews and highlights this Friday night beginning at 9:30 across the state on many great radio stations and @wvmetronews.com!!