— By Fred Persinger II

Woodrow Wilson (1-4) at South Charleston (1-4)

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Last Week: Both teams had a bye week as they try to get in position to win games over the second half of the season.

Why is this game important: Even though each team has only one win, with only 29 teams in Class AAA, both still have a chance to get into the playoffs. The loser of this game, however, is likey all but out of the playoff picture, while the winner could build momentum toward a strong second half of the season.

Who to watch for Beckley:  The offense has struggled to score points. Beckley is averaging only 13 points per game and will need to increase its offensive production to turn the season around. The SC defense has had its fair share of struggles in recent weeks, but the Eagles will need better execution.

Who to watch for South Charleston:  Zeiqui Lawton, a junior, is a high-level recruit and a force on both sides of the ball. The defensive end/running back received some national attention with offers from schools like Cincinnati and Louisville and is listed as a 4-star recruit and within the top 100 in the ESPN ranking of top 300 juniors.

CLASS AA

No. 12 Shady Spring (5-1) at No. 5 Wyoming East (5-0)

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Last Week: Shady Spring got another strong defensive showing to defeat Pocahontas County, 24-10.  Wyoming East stayed unbeaten by beating River View, 48-21.

Why is this game important: This is the final chance this season for the Tigers to get a lot of points for their push toward a top 8 seed in the Class AA postseason. After this game, Shady Spring will play three teams that have a combined record of 5-12 and offer only four bonus points.

For Wyoming East, this is the start of a tough two-week stretch as the Warriors will be on the road next week against Man.

Who to watch for Shady Spring: The Tigers’ defense has been stingy all season and recorded three shutouts. The most points the Tigers have allowed in any game is 19 in a Week 2 loss to Nicholas County, but they’ll have to try and slow a team scoring nearly 40 points per game.

Who to watch for Wyoming East: The Warriors have scored more than 40 points in three games. Quarterback Seth Ross can hurt defenses with his arm, while Caleb Bower powers the rushing attack. Bower finished with 245 rushing yards and five touchdowns in last week’s win. 

CLASS AA VS. CLASS A

Liberty Raleigh (3-2) at No. 3 Midland Trail (5-1)

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Last Week: Liberty Raleigh lost a low-scoring game to Summers County, 10-8.  Midland Trail won a high-scoring affair over Westside, 48-36.

Why is this game important: For Liberty Raleigh, the Raiders are trying to get back on the winning side. After starting 3-0 and being No. 8 in Class AA, Liberty Raleigh has lost two straight and dropped out of the top 16. A win here would be a big help toward a playoff spot. 

For Midland Trail, the Patriots have a chance to defeat a Class AA team for the second straight week, which would mean a lot of points to help solidify a good seed in the postseason.

Who to Watch for Liberty Raleigh: Defensive Back Braden Howell has eight interceptions this season.

Who to watch for Midland Trail: Running back Robert Ruffner rushed for 281 yards and four TDs in the win last week over Westside.

Other games: Princeton (1-4) at Class AAA No. 1 Cabell Midland (6-0); Oak Hill (2-4) at Class AAA No. 11 Greenbrier East (3-2); PikeView (0-6) at Class AA No. 8 Bluefield (4-1); Class AA No. 14 Nicholas County (4-2) at Braxton County (0-6); James Monroe (3-2) at Westside (0-6); Pocahontas County (2-4) at Class A No. 7 Greenbrier West (4-1); Montcalm (0-5) at Hannan (1-4); Webster County (3-3) at Meadow Bridge (2-3); Van (2-3) at Mount View (2-3); Independence (4-2) at Summers County (2-4)

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