MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A look at some of the statewide storylines heading into Week 7 of the high school football season.
Nitro makes trek up Miner Mountain
With last week’s 57-22 win at Logan, the Nitro Wildcats (3-3) have already matched their 2018 win total. The Wildcats are in a large pack of .500 teams in Class AA and they are 25th in this week’s SSAC ratings. Nitro will visit Mingo Central (3-2) Friday. The Wildcats are 0-4 all-time against the Miners.
Second-year head coach Zach Davis knows his team will be tested. “It is obviously going to be a challenge,” Davis said. “They’re a very good football team. They have a lot of speed on offense. They are really physical on defense and they are doing a good job stopping the run.”
Riverside continues MSAC gauntlet
For the second week in a row, Riverside will be tested by one of the state’s elite programs. The Warriors welcome three-time defending state runner-up Spring Valley (5-1) to Quincy Friday night. After winning just a single game last year, second-year head coach Alex Daugherty has led Riverside to a 3-2 start. They fell at top-ranked Cabell Midland 45-8 last Friday.
“We want to beat the teams that are the top dogs… the Spring Valley’s, the Cabell Midland’s, the Capital’s,” Daugherty said. “I can look at our program and think we are on the right path when we start competing with the top tier teams that have been there for four to five years.”
Spring Mills gets chance to end Martinsburg’s streak
As Spring Mills looks to return to the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, the Cardinals get an opportunity to end the nation’s second-longest winning streak Friday. Chad Williams’ club will visit Martinsburg. The Bulldogs have won 48 consecutive games, dating back to the 2016 season opener.
“I have nothing but respect for Dave (Walker) and his staff,” Williams said. “They do a lot of things right over there and obviously it shows on the field. The list of in-state teams (Capital, South Charleston) that have beaten them in the past decade is very small.”
Greenbrier East seeks postseason return
Just like last season, Greenbrier East has hit the midway point of their schedule with a 3-2 record. The Spartans qualified for the 2018 playoffs with a 6-4 record.
“Every coach after five games would like to have a better record,” said head coach Ray Lee. “But we are pretty satisfied with how our guys are playing and responding. We had two tough losses but we try to focus not just on winning. Winning takes care of itself when you put other things in place.” The Spartans meet Oak Hill Friday.
Shady Spring gears up for test at Wyoming East
Shady Spring (5-1) has allowed just 44 points in six games. Only Keyser (7) and Fairmont Senior (41) have yielded fewer points in Class AA. The Tiger defense will be challenged Friday when they travel to New Richmond to meet undefeated Wyoming East (5-0).
“We’ve got good guys at key positions,” head coach Vince Culicerto said of his defense. “The numbers are great and the have exceeded what I thought they could do. They are tough kids.”
South Harrison emerging in the Class A picture
After winning just one game in 2018, South Harrison (3-2) has posted a pair of quality victories over four-win teams Parkersburg Catholic and Moorefield. The Hawks opened the year with losses to Doddridge County (5-0) and Liberty Harrison (5-1), but have since won three in a row.
“We went into the Parkersburg Catholic and Moorefield games knowing we needed those to right the ship,” said second-year head coach Chris Underwood. “The coaching staff has done an excellent job with the kids and gotten them ready to play.” South Harrison is 14th in this week’s SSAC ratings and they host Ritchie County (4-1) Friday.
St. Marys climbing back after tough season in 2018
Just two years removed from a spot in the Super Six, St. Marys (3-2) appears to be back on track. The Blue Devils went 3-7 last fall but they have already equalled that win total this season.
“They keep fighting,” said veteran head coach Jodi Mote. “We have had great practices. Team bonding is a continued goal for us.” The Blue Devils visit Wirt County Friday.