HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — For the over 40 upperclassmen players on Spring Valley’s football team, playing into December is all they have ever known.

The Timberwolves will be making their third straight appearance in the Super Six football championships this weekend in Wheeling, playing against Martinsburg in the Class AAA title game on Saturday at noon.

Spring Valley (13-0) has fallen to Martinsburg in back-to-back championship games and through the heartbreak of those losses, parents say the team has formed an unbreakable bond that has led them back to Wheeling Island Stadium.

“The bond and the brotherhood is just unreal with these kids,” Cindy Nester, mother of senior standout Doug Nester, said. “This group right here is just a special group that Doug has played with through youth football.

“They are special, they know how to win. They play with so much heart. These boys get up at 5 o’clock in the morning to train during the season because they want this.”

Last season, Martinsburg defeated Spring Valley 44-16 in the Class AAA state championship. In 2016, the Bulldogs handled the Timberwolves 49-7.

“Without a doubt, they are using the last two seasons as motivation,” Chris Porter, father of junior starter Zane Porter, said. “This team is a very hungry, driven, a full of grit kind of team. They will be there to play and they will want to win. They will do everything in their heart to win this game.

“They have put in a lot of work and they continue to put in a lot of work. It is really a team of working-class players. We have some great players but it is really the team unity that makes it powerful and makes this team be what it is.”

Brad Dingess’ squad boasts one of the state’s largest rosters with 104 players, including 25 seniors. Nester is among a group of kids on the Spring Valley team that will be going to play football at the college level. Starting since his freshman year, Nester committed to Ohio State in August 2017.

Photo by Marcus Constantino

Spring Valley head coach Brad Dingess

Nester’s mother says he and the team have grown because of the state championship losses.

“He’s been blessed to have been able to go three times,” she said. “How many kids are able to go even once? He has grown. I think they were shell-shocked the first time they went there. They had never experienced this before.

“It’s the kids that have always played together that make this special. They won championships together in middle school, bowl games in youth leagues. They want their senior seasons to end on a great note with a championship.”

The #2 Timberwolves dispatched #15 Spring Mills in the first round 77-7, #7 Huntington in the second round, 36-0, and #3 Capital 56-14 in en route to Wheeling. Spring Valley has never won a state championship.

Martinsburg is also 13-0 and the top seed. The Bulldogs have won a state record 41 games in a row with playoff wins over #4 Musselman 42-14, #9 Parkersburg 49-20 and #16 Hurricane 35-0.

“I think the coaches have done a fabulous job of creating that unity with these boys and molding them to be the players they are,” Porter said.

“The coaches, the players, and this program have become really special. We have 104 players on this team and that has created a great tradition at Spring Valley High School and a great group of young men that want to play football with everything they got.”

MetroNews will carry all of the Super Six games on the MetroNews Radio Network and on the MetroNews Channel on this site.

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