— By Shawn Rine


No. 11 Capital (5-5) at No. 6 Wheeling Park (8-2) 

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last Week: Capital dropped a heartbreaking, 20-16 decision to MSAC rival George Washington that caused it to slip to the No. 11 seed. Wheeling Park went to Moundsville and pulled away from its own rival, John Marshall, by a 48-28 score.

Why it’s important: Getting the obvious out of the way immediately, the winner advances to the Class AAA quarterfinals. Digging a bit deeper, this is the fourth time in the last six postseasons that these teams have met. Capital (2014)  and Wheeling Park (2015) are the only schools not named Martinsburg to win titles this decade. The Patriots beat the Cougars, 23-15, in the 2015 championship.

Who to watch for Capital: Sophomore quarterback Evan Lander leads a potent attack after completing 117 of 202 for 1,488 yards and 19 scores against 11 INTs. Marshall recruit Kerion Martin is the leading receiver with 25 catches, 519 yards and eight scores. Chance Knox has accumulated more than 500 yards running and receiving.

Who to watch for Wheeling Park: The Patriots have also shown an ability to put up points in bunches, led by Kennedy Award candidate and QB Alex Dunlevy, a senior. He has been good on 149 of 216 for 2,481 yards and 27 touchdowns against two INTs. Rapheal Bradley (581 yards, five TDs) leads the running game, while Carson Namack (37-746-5) and Stevie Mitchell (34-565-11) are the top two in a deep receivers group.


No. 11 Wyoming East (8-2) at No. 6 Oak Glen (10-0) 

When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Last Week: Wyoming East capped its turnaround from a 2-8 record in 2018, by handling Liberty Raleigh, 40-27. Oak Glen had already wrapped its regular season, so it was a chance to get some bumps and bruises healed up during a bye week.

Why it’s important: It was a season of first for the Golden Bears. It marked the school’s first unbeaten regular season and this will be the initial home playoff game. In addition, Oak Glen captured its first OVAC football championship since 1965. The Warriors are maybe a year ahead of schedule and want to make some noise at the dance.

Who to watch for Wyoming East: This one is a no-brainer. Nobody has been able to find a way to slow junior standout running back Caleb Boswer. During the regular season, Bowser chewed up 1,944 yards and scored 27 touchdowns on the ground, for an offense that averaged nearly 40 points per-game.

Who to watch for Oak Glen: The Golden Bears offense averages more than 430 yards and 43 points per-contest. Leading that charge is junior QB Nick Chaney, who has thrown for just short of 1,700 yards to go with 20 touchdowns. Hunter Patterson has 1,614 yards running and receiving, and has scored 23 times. Paxton Shuman is the owner of 794 yards and 13 scores rushing.


No. 10 Wheeling Central (6-4) at No. 7 Tolsia (7-3) 

When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Last Week: Wheeling Central finished the regular season with a 52-6 rout of rival Magnolia. Tolsia, on the other hand, slammed Hannan, 42-6, to earn the seventh seed in the tournament.

Why it’s important: This is a chance for the Rebels to put a substantial feather in their cap. The two-time defending state champion Maroon Knights are wounded and will be playing on a grass surface, which they have struggled on at times during the last few seasons. Wheeling Central has been in this spot — banged up, lower seed — and went on to win the title. The Knights have a chip on their shoulder after some counted them out following the loss of all-state QB Curtis McGhee III to a knee injury.

Who to watch for Wheeling Central: The Maroon Knights have gone back to the spin series with senior Jacob Rine now in charge at QB. He’s thrown for roughly 300 yards the last two weeks. Jordan Waterhouse is the leading rusher with 813 yards and nine scores on 98 carries. Jalen Creighton paces the receiving game while two-time defending Huff Award winner Adam Murray has been more involved of late both running and catching the football.

No. 11 Cameron (7-3) at No. 6 St. Marys (8-2)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last Week: Cameron sat back and watched everything unfold in front of it as it enjoyed a bye week. St. Marys found itself in a battle with Tyler Consolidated before pulling out a 43-34 victory.

Why it’s important: The Dragons had plenty to replace, including their head coach. But Tim Brown kept the train moving as the school earned its fourth consecutive postseason appearance. The Blue Devils aren’t that far removed from a state title, but have rebounded nicely following a tough 2018 season.

Who to watch for Cameron: The Dragons rely heavily on their three seniors. QB Jessop Broughton has completed 111 of 179 for 1,575 yards, 26 TDs and six INTs. Noah Neely leads the ground game with 830 yards and eight touchdowns, while Garrett Scott is the main target with 44 catches, 475 yards and eight scores.

Who to watch for St. Marys: Quarterback Brennan Boron will test the Cameron secondary. He was good on 72 of 143 for 1,333 yards and 10 touchdowns.

No. 16 Madonna (6-3-1) at No. 1 Doddridge County (10-0) 

When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Last Week: Doddridge hammered fellow playoff qualifier Tygarts Valley, 46-7, on the road. Despite not playing last week, Madonna squeezed into the 16th and final playoff position.

Why it’s important: The Bulldogs also went undefeated last season before falling to Wheeling Central in the state semifinals. Madonna, under the direction of Coach Darrin Hicks, is making its first postseason appearance since 2017 when it was upset in the first round at home by Sherman.

Who to watch for Madonna: The Blue Dons feature a potent passing attack, led by quarterback Santino Arlia. He has completed 179 of 328 for 2,022 yards and 22 TDs. He has been picked off 13 times. Brennan Secrist paces the receiving game with 61 catches, 787 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Who to watch for Doddridge County: Hunter America burst onto the scene last year and ran way — literally and figuratively — with the Curt Warner Award, signifying the state’s top prep running back. His numbers and usage are down, but his impact is not. America has churned out 1,689 yards and 20 touchdowns on 214 carries.