Who’s In? Who’s Out? Who Knows?

The 2010 high school football playoffs begin on Friday night, November 12th and as we enter into week number ten of the regular season the playoff picture is far from being set. 

Now, I know you can look at this week’s rankings for each of the three classes and easily determine the teams that will not extend their season past the regular season finale that will be played the weekend of November 5 and 6.  But, right now to name the top 16 in each class that will be in the playoff field is just not possible, and anyone that says they know for sure is simply just guessing. 

Here’s one prime example–in Class AAA, the Knights of Cabell Midland are currently 3-5 and are positioned at No. 19 with a ranking of 5.38.  One would think the season is all but over for Chip McMillian’s ballclub and the Knights are just playing out the schedule.  However, the Knights’ remaining two games are at No. 3 South Charleston this weekend and at home with No. 6 Hurricane Friday night, November 5th.  What happens if Cabell Midland upsets the Black Eagles and the Redskins?  With South Charleston ranked No. 3 at 7-1 and Hurricane sitting at No. 6 with that same record, there is certainly a lot, and I mean a lot, of bonus points available.  Now I’m sure many of you do not believe Cabell Midland will defeat South Charleston or Hurricane, but I promise you Coach McMillian thinks his kids can win and I guarantee you Coach John Messinger of South Charleston and Coach Willis May of Hurricane will not allow their teams to look past what is traditionally a very good football program at Cabell Midland.  So, to be exact in naming the sixteen playoff teams with two weeks of play left in the regular season is just not possible.

Now, the things we do know for sure is all three of last year’s state champs are still very much alive in the playoff hunt for this season and a lot of folks think they all three have a legitimate chance of repeating. 

In Class AAA, the Black Eagles of South Charleston have certainly rebounded from that September 3rd loss to George Washington.  I just happened to run into South Charleston’s Head Coach John Messinger last Saturday after the WVU football game and he told me he is real pleased with the way his kids are playing at this point of the season.  When asked where he thought his Black Eagles would be positioned when the playoffs begin, he felt if they win out (at home against Cabell Midland and at home against Riverside on the 5th) then he thought 3rd or 4th would be the likely spot.  And, he said at that point you just play the team you’re matched up against and see what happens.  I got the feeling, though, he wouldn’t mind a rematch with the Patriots and that’s certainly something that looks like it might happen.

In Class AA, the Ravenswood Red Devils, the Magnolia Blue Eagles and the Cavaliers of Greenbrier West have been at the top of the rankings all season long.  All three teams are currently undefeated and are certainly favored to finish the regular season that way. 

However, it’s that No. 4 team that is certainly causing a lot of chatter around the state.  That No. 4 team this week just happens to be the Bluefield Beavers and as the reigning Class AA state champs, head coach Fred Simon’s ballclub is certainly going to figure heavily into the playoff field.  The Beavers only loss of the season came on the road back on September 16th when they traveled to Charlotte, NC and lost to the Buccaneers of Charlotte Country Day by 27 points.  By the way, Charlotte Country Day is currently 7-2 on the season and in those two losses, one came in overtime and then last week they dropped an 18-17 decision to another private school in North Carolina.   I have a feeling that not one of the teams that make the Class AA playoff field will be excited about playing the Beavers.

In Class A, the Blue Dons of Madonna captured last year’s state title by knocking off the Man Hillbillies by a final score of 27-20.  Now with all the losses to graduation last year, a lot of folks did not think the Blue Dons would be a real player in this year’s trip to Wheeling Island.  However, Head Coach Bob Kramer has proven his Blue Dons are still a force to be reckoned with.  Currently sitting at No. 10 with a record of 7-1 (they lost 20-7 to Bridgeport, Oh back on October 2 and the Big Red is still undefeated at 9-0), Madonna will find out quite a bit about their ballclub this weekend as they travel to McMechen, WV to take on the undefeated Bishops of Bishop Donahue. 

Head Coach John Durdines and his Bishops have been rolling by every opponent so far this year outscoring the opposition 444-47.  The have shut out 4 of their first 8 opponents and their closest game of the season to this point was a 44-14 win over Beallsville, Ohio in week number three. 

There are several other Class A ballclub’s that will definitely be in the mix this year for that championship including the currently undefeated White Falcons of Wahama and the unbeaten Wildcats of Meadow Bridge.  And, if you get a chance, just look down that list of top teams this week in Class A. Which one of you thinks for a minute that Wheeling Central is out of the title hunt? This has also been a great year for Buffalo, Wirt County, East Hardy and Williamstown. 

And, speaking of the Meadow Bridge Wildcats, that is a great story indeed.  Head Coach Larry McClintic’s team is very small in numbers (there’s less than 120 kids in the entire school) but they just keep winning and that undefeated season so far includes wins over very good teams like Fayetteville, Pendleton County and Mount Hope.  If there was ever a “hoosier” like team to root for, the Wildcats would qualify.

Just a reminder, WENDYS HIGH SCHOOL GAMENIGHT will be heard in its regular time slot this Friday night from 9:30 to midnight in spite of the fact WVU is playing football at UCONN.  You know how I feel about college football on a Friday night, and while there will be a lot of radio stations committed to carry the Mountaineers game, I just feel with 57 high school games being played this Friday night, the show MUST go on. 

Hopefully, the radio station in your home town will be loyal to your local high school football broadcast and they will carry WENDYS HIGH SCHOOL GAMENIGHT, but, if not you will still be able to catch the entire gamenight broadcast on the web at wvmetronews.com.  Talk with you Friday night!


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