By Wes McKinney
Hurricane (5-4) at No. 13 Spring Valley (6-3)
The mantra for Spring Valley as it prepare for its regular season finale — “we win, we’re in.”
Even a defeat still may get the Timberwolves into the postseason.
“If we lose, more than likely we’re still in, but we have to count on other people,” Spring Valley head coach Brad Dingess said. “I would rather us just go out and take care of business. At 7-3, you’re a higher seed too. We would give ourselves a better chance to win a game at 7-3 than at 6-4.”
Coming off a 21-14 loss to Cabell Midland and a bye week, Spring Valley will face a Hurricane team desperate of a win itself.
“We were able to heal up a little bit and work on some fundamental things,” Dingess said. “We had been playing pretty good for the last six weeks in a row even though we got beat against Cabell Midland. Our defense was starting to play well and we had started to throw the ball pretty well. I thought we were starting to get into a rhythm, so I hope the bye week doesn’t affect us too bad.”
Prior to the loss, Spring Valley had won five in a row.
And Dingess knows his club has its hands full with Hurricane all-state quarterback Austin Hensley and his top playmaker Zach Pate.
“Hensley throws the ball all over the place,” Dingess said. “Zach Pate is one of the best utility guys in the state. They will line him up anywhere–in the backfield, in the slot and out wide.”
No. 2 Wayne (9-0) at No. 1 Bluefield (8-1)
Wayne didn’t get caught looking ahead to Bluefield last week as the Pioneers raced out to a 38-6 halftime lead over Chapmanville in their regular season home finale.
Mason Hodge and Cody Stiltner ran for 146 and 125 yards and four touchdowns combined. Quarterback Grant Ferguson also threw for 233 yards as Wayne rolled up 654 yards of offense.
“Sometimes we can come out and muddle around and not take care of business,” Wayne head coach Tom Harmon. “We came out and established the tempo of the game early.
This sets up the game of the year in Class AA.
Wayne has taken the last two contests between these two powerhouse rivals by a combined score of 99-17.
“It’s going to be a good environment to play in,” Harmon said. “Anytime you play in front of a good crowd and an angry opponent, it’s good preparation for games in the postseason. Both teams will compete, but I’m sure one team will make a mistake or two and someone will lose. We are going to try to limit the mistakes.”
During the 2010 season, the week 11 regular season matchup was a tune-up for an eventual meeting in the second round of the playoffs. Don’t count out 2013 to be a repeat of 2010.
No. 1 Huntington (9-0) at Winfield (4-5)
The Highlanders remained undefeated after last week – barely. Huntington found itself trailing at halftime for the first time all year.
“South Charleston is a team that presents a bunch of matchup issues,” Huntington coach Billy Seals said. “We had three turnovers in the first half. I have to give our kids a lot of credit because we came out and played real well in the second half.”
Quarterback Clark Wilson scored a touchdown for the Highlanders late in the fourth quarter to put Huntington ahead 21-17, a lead that would not relinquish the rest of the game.
“I’m very, very proud of our kids in the way they fought back in the second half,” Seals said.
Now, Huntington turns its attention towards an undefeated season.
“We are telling our kids right now ‘to chase perfection,’” Seals said. “Coach Holbrook, one of our assistant coaches, has been coaching for 50 years and has never been on a 10-0 football team.”
More importantly, a win Friday night for the Highlanders would lock up the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
A win would also mean Seals has taken the Highlanders from an 0-10 season to a 10-0 season in just five seasons.
“From me to all the other assistant coaches and to the players it just validates that we what do is the right thing,” he said. “We have gotten the ship turned around the last three years and our kids have bought into the program. We will be ecstatic to be 10-0 in the regular season, but our goal this year was to win a state championship.”
No. 14 Lewis County (7-2) at No. 4 Point Pleasant (9-0) – Saturday afternoon
Point Pleasant throttled a winless Class AA Oak Glen team 50-0 last week.
In the win, running back Cody Mitchell eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark on the season and the defense was more than stellar giving up only 50 yards of total offense.
Point Pleasant can potentially clinch a top four seed in the Class AAA playoffs with a win against a Lewis County team desperate for a win to keep their postseason chances alive.
When the two meet Saturday afternoon, the playoff picture will be in clear focus, so both team will know what they need to do to have their postseason dreams come true.
“Lewis County runs the wing-T offense, so they are very similar to what we are, “Point Pleasant head coach David Darst said. “We played each other last year in a real close game last year. Coach Eddie Vincent and those guys do a real good job. Eddie does a great job defensively of how they will attack people. I think this will one of our biggest tests of the year to play these guys.”
Defeating Lewis County would be especially monumental for the Big Blacks as it would be only the fourth undefeated season in school history, joining the 1969, 1979 and 2011 teams.
“That has to be a motivating factor,” Darst said. “If we want to do something in the playoffs, we have to put ourselves in the best situation possible.”
And an unbeaten season would also come on the heels of being two years removed from Class AA for the Big Blacks. “I think it speaks volumes of how hard of coaches work and how hard our players work in the offseason to put out a solid football program.”
Brooke (3-6) at No. 8 Cabell Midland (7-2)
The Knights have gotten two marquee victories to set themselves up with a comfortable playoff seed heading into the final week of the regular season.
Before its bye week, Cabell Midland beat George Washington in a 49-40 shootout then defeated MSAC rival 21-14 in a more conventional game.
A win on Senior night in Ona would guarantee the Knights a second straight home game — a first round playoff game.
In that matchup with the Timberwolves, Donte Hendricks fueled the Cabell Midland rushing attack with 88 yards and the game’s first touchdown.
“We’ve played three really tough games in a row against Capital, George Washington and Spring Valley and three physical games,” Cabell Midland head coach Luke Salmons said. “It was nice to get two of three.”
Salmons is making sure his team isn’t looking ahead to the first round of the playoffs.
“It’s Senior night,” he said. “These kids have been with us the whole time. It’s a good group of kids that has worked extremely hard. We have to take care of business because Brooke is very capable of beating us.”
Scott (3-6) AA at No. 15 Logan (6-3)
Logan controls its own destiny when they face Scott on Friday night. A win would guarantee the Wildcats a playoff berth for the third time in four years.
A loss would not completely crush the dreams of making the 16-team postseason field, but they would need plenty of help.
Last week, Logan ran all over Nitro in a win. Leading the charge for the Wildcats was running back Brynden Street who ran for 187 yards and three touchdowns in the convincing 40-14 win.
Not only would a win put the Wildcats into the playoffs, but they have their first winning streak since the middle of September and would carry momentum into the postseason.
As for Scott, they will be looking to snap its losing streak against Logan. The Skyhawks have lost their last three games. Two of those losses came against Class AA playoff contenders Wayne and Robert C. Byrd.
No. 4 Man (8-1) at Van (3-6)
A victory for Man would assure at least one home playoff game and potentially a second, but a loss would put them on the cusp on traveling for its first round game.
One thing is certain, the Hillbillies are battle-tested. They have taken down Class AA county rival Chapmanville as well as other Class opponents Westside and River View. Man also didn’t back down from a superior Logan team earlier in the season, their only loss on the year.
Since then, the Hillbillies have ripped off eight straight wins with four of those being by at least 30 points.
Van is hoping to play spoiler and push the Hillbillies back into the middle of the pack of the Class A playoff seeds. The Bulldogs would like to enter the offseason with a win instead of a four game losing streak as well.
Mount View (1-8) at No. 9 Mingo Central (7-2)
With a win in their regular season finale, the Miners would not only lock up their second consecutive playoff trip, but most likely secure their first ever home playoff game.
The Miners are clicking at the right time in the season as they have reeled off four straight wins including last week’s 36-28 nail bitter over Herbert Hoover.
In the win, Mingo Central was led by Deonte Joplin and Colton Thomas, who both went over 100 yards rushing. After scoring the game’s first 28 points, the Miners watched their lead evaportate to just a 28-21 margin before slamming down with a touchdown late in the third quarter to push the lead back out to double digits.
Poca (1-8) at Tolsia (4-5)
Tug Valley (3-6) at Clay County (3-6)
Hundred (0-9) at Hannan (1-8)