— By Fred Persinger II
No. 7 Keyser (9-2) at No. 2 Bluefield (10-1)
When: Saturday at 4 p.m.
Last Week: Bluefield defeated Oak Hill 56-7. Keyser got past Wayne 28-8.
Why it’s important: A spot in the final four in Class AA is up for grabs between perennial playoff programs. These two schools met in the playoffs in 2004 and Bluefield won that game on its way to a state championship.
Who to watch for Bluefield: A lot of talk has been about the Bluefield offense and the running game but the defense has been outstanding all season long and last week was no difference as the defense held Oak Hill to 75 yards of total offense
No. 12 Weir (9-2) at No. 4 Nicholas County (11-0)
When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Last Week: Nicholas County defeated Petersburg 41-10. Weir knocked off No. 5 Poca 41-14.
Why it’s important: Nicholas County will be playing its first-ever home playoff game in the second round and the Grizzlies are hoping to remain unbeaten with a semifinal spot up for grabs.
Who to watch for Nicholas County: Jacob O’Dell rushed for 259 yards last week in the win over Petersburg and quarterback Jared Sagraves is an offensive leader.
No. 7 Sherman (10-1) at No. 2 Midland Trail (11-0)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Greenbrier East High School
Last Week: Midland Trail was strong defensively as it beat Tucker County 14-2. Sherman defeated Parkersburg Catholic 44-8.
Why it’s important: The Tide haven’t lost since Week 1 and the Patriots haven’t lost at all. This could be a low scoring game even though it has been moved to the artificial surface at Spartan Stadium. Limiting turnovers will be a key factor in this game.
Who to watch: Sherman features one of the bigger lines in the area and that group is responsible for providing its strong backfield with running room.
For Midland Trail, quarterback Austin Isaacs left the game last week with a high ankle sprain and will likely be out. It only adds to the importance on the Patriots’ front, which must create lanes to run against a stingy Tide defense.
No. 6 Williamstown (9-2 )at No. 3 Mount View (10-1)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Princeton High School
Last Week: Mount View defeated Ritchie County 34-14. Williamstown topped Summers County 27-12.
Why it’s important: For Mount View, this is about trying to keep its dream season going. After a lot of losing seasons, Mount View will be playing for a spot in the semifinals against a premier Class A program in Williamstown whose only losses this season are to No. 1 Wheeling Central and unbeaten and No. 4 Doddridge County.
Who to watch: This game comes down to the athletes and explosiveness of the Mount View offense against a very good defense for Williamstown, which gave up over 30 points only once this season — against Wheeling Central.
Williamstown has given up less than 20 points in eight games this season, but the Golden Knights speed can create matchup problems.