By Wes McKinney
No. 16 Lewis County (7-3) at No. 1 Huntington (10-0) – Saturday afternoon 1:30 p.m.
Huntington achieved perfection for the regular season on Friday night with a nail-biting, 14-6 win over Winfield.
“They had nothing to lose and their kids came out and played hard,” Huntington coach Billy Seals said. “The conditions were not what we’re good in. To be honest, the (field conditions) negated what we’re good at — the speed game.”
The Highlanders will begin their quest towards Wheeling Island on Saturday afternoon when they matchup against Lewis County, which snagged the final playoff spot by .05 points over Princeton.
“Our kids have had a business-like approach,” Seals said. “They weren’t excited about being 10-0. I’m hoping that they see the bigger picture and are focusing on the first round of the playoffs and hopefully making a run.”
Huntington will be looking to win at least one playoff game for the third year in a row.
“The kids understand that if we don’t play well, then we’re going to go home,” he said. “All 16 teams of these teams are in the playoffs for a reason.”
While Seals and his coaching staff don’t have much familiarity with the Minutemen, they were able to scout them Saturday at Point Pleasant.
“The remind me a little of Spring Valley, although they don’t have the monster tackles like they do,” Seals said. “From a scheme standpoint and having a big, physical offensive line and they have a big, physical running game, the closest (comparable team we’ve played) is Spring Valley.”
A win over Lewis County would bring either George Washington or Oak Hill to Bob Sang Stadium in the quarterfinals.
No. 16 Philip Barbour (6-4) at No. 1 Wayne (10-0) – Friday night 7:30 p.m.
Wayne took care of business last week in the final week of the regular season, fending off a talented Bluefield team, 29-27.
It was just the second time all season that Wayne had been held under 40 points.
“It was a tough ball game last week that we were fortunate to win,” Wayne coach Tom Harmon said.
Last year, the Pioneers entered the postseason as the No. 1 seed in Class AA as well. They went on to defeat Clay County 63-24 en route to their second straight Class AA title.
“We’ve had 10 games of prep to sharpen our performance before the playoffs start,” Harmon said. “Our guys have put themselves in a good position.”
Philip Barbour, meanwhile, will be making its first playoff appearance since 2008.
“I’m sure they are excited,” he said. “They will play to their max level. Playoff games are high wire.”
A Wayne win would mean a rematch with either Mingo Central or Sissonville in the quarterfinals.
No. 13 Logan (7-3) at No. 4 Point Pleasant (10-0) – Friday night 7:30 p.m.
This will be a rematch of a September 20th game that Point Pleasant won, 37-21.
The Big Blacks are fresh off their 31-21 regular season finale victory over Lewis County. The win secured the fourth unbeaten regular season in school history.
“I was very happy with the way our kids came out and played,” Point Pleasant head coach David Darst said. “It’s tough to go undefeated.”
Meanwhile, the Wildcats clinched a playoff spot with their 42-13 win over Scott.
Point Pleasant will be looking to open the first round of the playoffs with a win after losing in the opening round last year to Morgantown, 49-28.
At the same time, Logan will also be looking for an extended stay in the playoffs. In their 2011 postseason appearance, the Wildcats lost in the first round to Parkersburg South 51-8. 2010 saw Logan fall to top seed George Washington, 42-8.
In studying the Wildcats, Darst can see improvements from the Wildcats from their matchup earlier in the year.
“Quarterback Ryan Miller seems like he is starting to throw the football a lot better,” he said. “They get in the spread and throw the ball around, but they can also get in the I-formation and play power football. We played a sloppy game against them on both sides of the ball last time. I’m sure they will come in and feel like this is a game they could win.”
No. 12 Bishop Donahue (7-3) at No. 5 Man (9-1) – Saturday afternoon 1:30 p.m.
It has been four years since Man found itself in the field of 16 in Class A.
The Hillbillies, certainly, would like to duplicate the success they had in the 2009 playoffs when they made a run all the way to the state championship game before bowing out to Madonna, 27-7.
Man will force the Bishops to make the 250 mile journey to Logan County where the Hillbillies will host their first playoff game since that 2009 season when they hosted Parkersburg Catholic, Fayetteville and Richwood.
The fifth-seeded Hillbillies this year haven’t lost since opening night when they fell to Class AAA Logan by 20. Last week, Man ran over Van, 61-6.
If Man comes away with a win on Saturday, the Hillibillies would face the winner of Wheeling Central and Williamstown in the quarterfinals.
No. 10 Washington (7-3) at No. 7 Cabell Midland (7-3) – Saturday afternoon 1:30 p.m.
The senior class at Cabell Midland has made several achievements this season.
Last week, the Knights picked up a win against Brooke, 48-12, which was the 29thwin for the senior class.
“They have done a lot of good things since they have been here,” Cabell Midland head coach Luke Salmons said. “That’s our first class that we have had all four years.”
In the rout of Brooke, running back Kasey Thomas racked up 157 yards and two touchdowns.
Now, Cabell Midland will focus in on Washington, which will be making its first playoff appearance in school history.
“They’re athletic, aggressive and they play hard,” Salmons said. “They’re a good team.”
Even though Cabell Midland is seeded lower this year than last year’s top ranking, Salmons is confident the Knights have potential to make another run.
“There’s eight or nine teams that can beat anybody,” he said. “Everybody is capable of winning the title. There’s not really any dominance. Of course, Martinsburg is the best team until somebody beats them.”
Should Cabell Midland win on Saturday, the Knights would draw the winner of Spring Valley-Martinsburg.
No. 15 Spring Valley (6-4) at No. 2 Martinsburg (9-1) – Saturday afternoon 1:30 p.m.
The Timberwolves find themselves in their current position in part to allowing a late touchdown to Hurricane.
Spring Valley led much of the game before the Redskins scored a touchdown with three minutes left to go to seal a 20-17 win over the Timberwolves.
Coach Brad Dingess will now prepare his kids for a trip to the eastern panhandle.
“Anytime you have to go 350 miles on the road and face the three-time defending champions, it’s a little bit concerning,” he said.
Still, Spring Valley has been battle-tested on the year, playing out of the MSAC
“South Charleston comes close to mimicking what Martinsburg does offensively as far as spreading it out,” Dingess said. “South Charleston throws it a little more. Defensively, the swarm to the ball about like Cabell Midland does.”
And it’s Martinsburg quarterback Malique Watkins that concerns Dingess the most.
“We have our hands full,” Dingess said. “We can’t duplicate that speed in practice. Hopefully, we don’t get behind too far too early. We’re a little beat up. Our backs are against the wall. We’re going to try to up there and shock the world. Maybe we will play well enough to come out with a win.”
The winner will face either Washington or Cabell Midland in the quarterfinals.