Hard to believe but we are into week number four of the high school football season and based on what has happened during the first three weeks, a lot of teams around the state are finding the time to get it going is now if they plan on playing the second week of November.
Last week, there were several key wins by teams that continue to flash the sign that 2011 just might be their year. In Class AAA, big wins came from the Hurricane Redskins who knocked off previously unbeaten Beckley Woodrow Wilson…..Martinsburg who went on the road last Saturday afternoon to defeat a very good Handley, Virginia team by a score of 61-14. And, by the way we have mentioned many times this season the strength of the Bulldog defense and that unit proved worthy again last week. Dave Walker’s first string defense has yet to give up a single point this season. A few other impressive wins that came last week in the big schools division included the Morgantown Mohigans going on the road to knock off Parkersburg South….the Huntington Highlanders bouncing back from a heart breaking loss to Spring Valley the week before and getting a big win on the road at Winfield….and, the Brooke Bruins, last year’s runners-up in the AAA title game, getting off the deck of an 0-2 start to upset previously undefeated University. In Class AA, perennial playoff participant Bluefield went on the road to Class AAA Greenbrier East and got a much needed win to improve to 2-1….Chapmanville stayed undefeated by knocking off rival Scott by four points and the Shady Spring Tigers stayed unbeaten in an impressive performance as they defeated previously unbeaten Summers County by twenty points.
With the first set of rankings published earlier this week by the WVSSAC, it’s easy to see which teams have to start playing better if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. After week number three, 0-3 is not where you want to be. And, we have several teams around the state still looking for that elusive first victory. In Class AAA, 10 teams have yet to win…..in Class AA, that number is also 10 and in Class A, we still have 8 teams in search of their first win. On the other end of the spectrum, there are about the same number of teams with no blemish on their scorecard. In fact, in Class AAA, we have 9 undefeated teams….in Class AA, we have 8 and in Class A there are 9 teams who have yet to lose. Now as mentioned, this is the first set of rankings from the WVSSAC and it is certainly way too early for any team to relax or panic. With most teams still having 70% of their schedule left to be played, there is plenty of time to either keep it going, or get it started. And, with that thought in mind we have several key games on tap for week number four.
In Class AAA, the game that should draw a lot of interest will take place in Putnam County where #3 welcomes #4 as the Hurricane Redskins will play host to the George Washington Patriots. So far this season, both teams have played three and won three. Both teams have exhibited great defensive efforts as the Redskins have outscored their opponents 116 to 36 and George Washington is on the plus side 121 to 21. Another big game will find Morgantown, ranked #10, travelling to the Eastern Panhandle to battle #1 Martinsburg. The Mohigans must find a way to crack that defense of the defending state champs if they are to return home with a record above the .500 mark. Another big game in the big schools division has undefeated and #4 Parkersburg travelling to Sang Field in Huntington to battle the 12th ranked Highlanders. Over the last 14 meetings between these two fine schools, the Big Reds own a dominate 13-1 edge. The only win for Huntington came in 2004 when the Big Reds went on to a 10-3 record under then head coach Bernie Buttrey. And, also in Class AAA this week, can the Bridgeport Indians go on the road and defeat the Flying Eagles of Robert C. Byrd? If you remember last year, the only blemish on the regular season record for Coach Josh Nicewarner was that 35-24 loss at home to RCB. Both teams enter Friday night’s game with perfect 3-0 marks. In Class AA, #8 Ritchie County will try and stay undefeated when they travel to Braxton County to take on the 12th ranked Eagles. Braxton County is currently 2-1 and needs to keep winning if they want to avoid their fate from last year. In 2010, the Eagles finished the regular season with an impressive mark of 7-3 but were left out of the playoff field of 16 when they missed the mark by two-tenths of a point and finished at number 17. Also this week in Class AA, the Lincoln Cougars will try to keep it going when they welcome the Petersburg Vikings to Shinnston. Lincoln is presently undefeated at 3-0 and ranked #5 in Class AA. In Class A in week number four of the season, it’s a big showdown in Fayette County for bragging rights as the 3-0 5th ranked Pirates of Fayetteville travel to Meadow Bridge to take on the 2-0 10th ranked Wildcats. Both teams made the playoff field last year as the Pirates were the #12 seed and the Wildcats went in as the #2 seed. In this game last season, Meadow Bridge won at Fayetteville in a 46-41 shootout. Another rival game this week takes place in Moorefield as the 6th ranked Yellow Jackets will welcome the 14th ranked Mountain Lions of Tucker County. Last year, Tucker County defeated Moorefield 44-23 in week number four as they finished 7-3 and was the #8 seed in the playoff field. Moorefield finished at 5-5 and did not make the playoffs last season.
So, looking back week number three offered some exciting games and looking ahead, week number four should also provide some great matchups. Make sure you get out and support your favorite high school team and then after the game, tune in to AARP HIGH SCHOOL GAMENIGHT……we will have all of the scores of all the games played on Friday night. Talk with you then!