— By Wes McKinney

GAMES TO WATCH

CLASS AAA

No. 5 Huntington (6-1) at No. 12 Cabell Midland (4-4)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m. 

Last Week: Huntington caught the turnover bug at the wrong time as it committed five turnovers in a 30-22 loss against Capital. 

“You’re not going to beat anyone when you have five turnovers especially against an exceptional team like Capital,” Huntington coach Billy Seals said. 

For the Highlanders, it was their first regular season loss since 2016 after going undefeated during the 2017 regular season. 

“This group is 18-2 in their last 20 games,” Seals said. “Last year losing in the semifinals, they didn’t have to come back from adversity the next week. We’ll see how they react from getting beat in the regular season, see if we have the right mindset.”

As for Cabell Midland, it pitched its second shutout in the last four games with a 28-0 blanking of Woodrow Wilson at home. The Knights’ defensive work has been predicated on their offense’s ability to stay on the field in recent weeks. 

“When we were running the spread offensively, we weren’t staying on the field,” Cabell Midland head coach Luke Salmons said. “Since we’re back to running the ball and being physical, we’re doing a better job as a whole team. Even when we weren’t moving the ball, we were still getting stops on defense.”

Why It’s Important: Cabell Midland and Huntington will battle for The Shield. The Highlanders were able to snap a three-game losing streak against Cabell Midland with a 27-14 win last year at Bob Sang Stadium. When you throw Spring Valley in the mix as rivals with these two teams, you have high-level football being played in Cabell and Wayne counties. 

“I would take these three teams in the Tri-State and give anyone any three teams they wanted in the state, and I would take the Tri-State area — the talent is as good as it’s ever been,” Seals said. “(Spring Valley head coach) Brad Dingess and Luke Salmons have done a good job with their programs.”

Players to Watch for Huntington: While Cabell Midland has slowed teams in recent weeks, Salmons knows the challenge of stopping the Huntington offense this week. 

“We realize that they are big up front and athletic to go along with it,” Salmons said. “We have to take care of the ball. It’s a pretty simple plan, but we have to execute everything.” 

Seals is interested to see how his offensive line bounces back after the Capital game. “Our guys knew what they were going to get into to when they came in for film on Monday,” Seals said. “It wasn’t our best performance. We have to be better up front. There’s no excuse for the way we blocked on Friday night.”

Players to Watch for Cabell Midland: Since the Knights returned to running the ball from the wing-T, there’s a multitude of guys to slow down. 

“Ivan Vaughn is the key for them on offense, but they have Griffin Adkins,” Seals said. “Jakob Caudill is playing better. Carlito Carter has carried it same. Isaiah Vaughn has carried the ball. They have several guys that can hurt you. We have to do a good job of winning first downs.” 

Class AA

Sissonvile (4-3) at No. 15 Wayne (5-2)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m. 

Last Week: Wayne ran its win streak to five with a 20-14 triumph over Chapmanville in a matchup of then 4-2 teams. The win vaulted the Pioneers into the top 16 in Class AA. 

“We were fortunate enough to get the win and stay alive to get in (the playoffs,)” Wayne head coach Tom Harmon said. “We just have to keep repeating it every week.” 

The Pioneers were able to wear down Chapmanville as it used eight different ball carriers and 44 second-half offensive plays to get past the Tigers. 

“We were taking what Chapmanville gave us each play,” Harmon said. “We played the way we needed to, to win.”

Why It’s Important: The schedule doesn’t do any favors for Harmon and company as they will face a Sissonville squad who is trying to scratch its way back into the Class AA playoff picture.   After Sissonville, the Pioneers still have Logan in Week #10 and they close the regular season with a trip to Poca in Week #11!

Players to Watch for Sissonville: Quarterback Will Hackney got the Indians off to a 4-1 start. 

“In today’s game you have to be able to switch gears from week to week and prepare for what’s in front of you,” Harmon said in reference to going from defending a run-heavy Chapmanville team to the passing attack Sissonville presents. 

Players to Watch for Wayne: Despite averaging just over 200 yards on the ground per game, Wayne has yet to have a rusher go over 100 yards in any game this season. Mikey Bartram leads the stable of Pioneer backs with 477 yards on the season. 

Man (4-3) at No. 6 Point Pleasant (6-0) 

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m. 

Last Week: Point Pleasant came out of its consecutive bye weeks with a 55-13 road win against Meigs, Ohio to stay undefeated at 6-0. 

“Meigs played us pretty hard in the first quarter, but we were able to get things going and knock the rust off for lack of a better word,” Point Pleasant coach David Darst said. 

Meanwhile, Man recovered for its long road trip to Keyser by winning its fourth game in the last five with a narrow 24-21 win at Wyoming East to keep its playoff hopes alive. 

Why It’s Important: Point Pleasant faces some tough test in the final weeks of the season with games against Man, Spring Valley and James Monroe. The road isn’t easy for the Hillbillies either as they play Point Pleasant, Tug Valley and Chapmanville. For Darst, he likes where his team is sitting after two weeks off. 

“For me, getting better means we have plenty of depth on offense,” he said. “Our skill guys are getting deep by the week. We’ve been blessed that our offensive line has stayed healthy. Defensively, we’ve been able to rotate about 15 guys into the game.”

Players to Watch for Man: It’s no secret what long-time Man head coach Harvey Arms wants to accomplish on offense — a smash mouth running game with the big offensive line. 

“Man is going to bring a power running back,” Darst said. “They’ll mix in some little quick passes. Harvey Arms has been around for a long time. That man knows how to coach football.”

Players to Watch for Point Pleasant: After a stellar effort against Meigs, Darst will look for big things out of Brady Adkins. 

“Brady Adkins ended up with 300 yards of total offense — both receiving and rushing,” he said. 

No. 12 Mingo Central (5-2) at Herbert Hoover (1-6)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m. 

Last Week: The Miners’ offense continued to hum along last week. After scoring 65 points against Nitro in week seven, Mingo Central posted 58 points in a 58-6 win over Scott in week eight. The six points allowed by MCHS were a season low. 

Why It’s Important: The contest against Herbert Hoover concludes a portion of the Miners’ schedule where they played three consecutive teams with one win at the time of the game. Mingo Central finishes the season with critical games against Chapmanville and Winfield that will decide the playoff fate of the Miners in three weeks’ time. 

Players to Watch for Mingo Central: Quarterback Daylin Goad is ranked in the top five in West Virginia in passing yards while wide receivers Devin and Drew Hatfield are among the top 10 in the state in receiving yards after last week’s win over Scott. 

Players to Watch for Herbert Hoover: Quarterback Rhett White has been one of the bright spots in what otherwise has been a tough year for the Huskies. 

Logan (3-4) at Chapmanville (4-3)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m. 

Last Week: Chapmanville was stymied against Wayne in a narrow 20-14 loss to the Pioneers that dented the playoff hopes of the Tigers. 

CRHS was held to just eight plays from scrimmage in the second half in the loss. After a 1-4 start to the season, Logan comes into this rivalry game riding a two-game winning streak. The Wildcats took care of Scott 30-27 prior to its bye week. 

Why It’s Important: Not only are all three Logan County teams trying to keep their playoff hopes alive — Man enters the week at 4-3 — but bragging rights within the county are still up for grabs. Logan defeated Man 20-14 in Week 1, and with a win over the Tigers could finish 2-0 record against its biggest rivals. Chapmanville finishes the season against Man in Week 11. Neither of these teams are out of the playoff picture, but a loss would be crippling for both. 

Players to Watch for Logan: Chucky Felder does a little bit of everything for Logan and is a big reason the Wildcats enter this week’s contest winners of their last two. 

Players to Watch for Chapmanville: After being slowed by Wayne in the second half last week, quarterback Chase Berry will try get the Tigers’ offense back on track versus Logan.

Class A 

No. 10 Sherman (6-1) at Greenbrier West (2-6)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m. 

Last Week: Sherman kept rolliong along with its second shutout of the season in a 62-0 win over South Harrison last week. The Tide also recorded a season high in points with the 62-point outburst. 

Why It’s Important: The Tide continues to try to push their way into the top eight of Class A as the schedule has eased up in recent weeks for Sherman. A season ago, the Tide breezed by Greenbrier West 42-8. When the teams met two years ago in Charmco, Sherman came away with a hard-fought 22-21 win over the Cavaliers. 

Players to Watch for Sherman: Quarterback JT Hensley powered the Tide offense in the victory over South Harrision as he rushed for over 200 yards and found the end zone four times. 

No. 11 Van (6-1) at Richwood (2-5)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m. 

Last Week: Van went on the road and got the marquee win it needed to boost its resume for the Class A playoffs with a victory over Madonna, 26-12. Last year, it was consecutive losses to Madonna and Richwood that ended any hopes of the postseason for the Bulldogs. 

Why It’s Important: With the crucial road win in the northern panhandle, Van controls its own destiny towards the postseason as it goes to Richwood this week, plays Valley Fayette next week before the season finale versus Sherman. 

Players to Watch for Van: The Bulldogs’ defense hasn’t given up more than 14 points in the last four weeks. 

Other games: Hurley, Va. (3-5) at Tug Valley (3-4); Poca (7-0) at Scott (1-6); Lincoln County (5-2) at Fairview, Ky. (0-7); Buffalo (1-6) at Hannan (0-6)

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