The Kanahwa Valley saved the best drama for the final week of the season as ranked teams, playoff bound, face off to find out who’ll play where when the post season begins.
No. 3 GEORGE WASHINGTON (9-0) VS. No. 5 PARKERSBURG (7-2)
The Big Reds travelled to Charleston to exorcise a demon of last year last week when they ended the playoff hopes of the South Charleston Black Eagles. This week, the Big Reds return to nearly full strength after a host of injuries to welcome red hot GW to Stadium Field.
Unlike most of this year’s opponents, GW has managed to stay healthy through a rugged schedule and has a host of weapons often overshadowed by the dominance of running back Ryan Switzer. It should be a great game to end the regular season in a great venue.
No. 10 CABELL-MIDLAND (6-3) VS. No. 6 HURRICANE (7-2)
Redskins’ Coach Willis May says his team has quickly forgotten last week’s loss to Logan on a muddy night last week and focused on the task at hand. It’s a key matchup for both of these teams. The winner will likely earn a home playoff game to start the post season.
Hurricane fullback Nick Rice was injured on a late hit last week against Logan, but is expected to play tonight. It will also be an emotional night as Hurricane says goodbye to its seniors. May says that has been the focus in practice this week, to give the seniors a lift as they end their regular season at home.
Knight’s Coach Luke Salmons believes the key to the game is: who’s the more physical team. Each features a similar style of tough, hardnosed, and aggressive play. May agrees the team which is most physical will come out of this game the winner.
Ironically, in the seven meetings between the two rival schools, the home team has never won in this matchup.
No. 9 HUNTINGTON (6-3) VS. No. 16 CAPITAL (5-4)
The formula for this game is pretty simple for the Capital Cougars, win and you’re in; lose and turn in your gear. The Cougars after starting the season off as one of the premier teams have been decimated by injuries. Coach John Carpenter has great faith in his young replacements, but says because of their youth they’re enduring a baptism by fire. It means the future is bright for Capital–but they’d like to see the future become now with a win at Laidly Field to close out the regular season against Huntington.
The Highlanders have much to play for as well. A win earns them a home playoff game in the first round next weekend.
No. 2 (A) WAHAMA (9-0) VS No. 9 (A) BUFFALO (7-2)
Buffalo Coach Mike Sawyer says his team is yet to put together a full game. Two weeks ago, the team played what Sawyer said was probably its worst game and lost in overtime to Fayetteville. Last week, the team’s performance was hampered by the severe weather conditions which forced them into a running contest with Man. Although they prevailed over the Hillbillies, Sawyer noted the need to get more accomplished to have a chance of beating the streaking White Falcons who may be playing their best football of the season. Its senior night at Buffalo and emotions will be running high with a lot at stake for both teams’ post season aspirations.
RIVERSIDE (5-5) VS. NITRO (0-10)
Due to extremely muddy conditions at Underwood Field, this game was moved from Friday night to Thursday and from Nitro to Laidley Field. Riverside defeated Nitro 45-6. Leading rusher Leon Mitchell did not play in the Thursday night game because of a shoulder injury, but Doug Wright stepped in for him and rushed for 138 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Warriors end the regular season at 5-5. With the win, Riverside remains mathematically still in the mix for the post season–but a lot of things need to happen Friday night for them to get into the playoffs.
Nitro finished a disappointing season without a victory and now goes into the 2012 season with a 15-game losing streak.
Other games tonight:
Scott at No. 4 Logan
Winfield at No. 15 Spring Valley
James Monroe at Greenbrier East
Lincoln Co. at Sherman
Sissonville at No. 14 (AA) Braxton County
Mingo Central at Herbert Hoover
Poca at Tolsia
South Charleston and St. Albans finished their seasons last Friday night.