And then, there were twelve! Last weekend the quarterfinals in the high school football playoffs delivered very few “surprises”! In the twelve games that were played, ten of the higher seeded teams won, leaving only an “upset” in Class AA….#12 Weir defeated #4 Nicholas County 63-43 and in Class A – #6 Williamstown winning over #3 Mount View 23-12!
And, so it is, we move onto the semi-finals in each class where in Class AAA the top four seeds advance…..in Class AA, seeds 1, 2, 3 and 12 move on and in Class A, seeds 1, 2, 4 and 6 advance to practice over Thanksgiving!
As I mentioned in the title to this weeks offering, there really is a first time for everything! In 2011, the WVSSAC voted to add a “4th” game time to semi-final weekend. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday break, there is no school in WV on the Friday following Thanksgiving, so the WVSSAC agreed that if any of the “visiting teams” wanted to choose Friday afternoon at 1:30 as a game time, they could do so. However, that special semi-final time slot had never been used…..until this season….and not one, not two, but three teams decided to do so! Now, I don’t know if the weather played a factor in choosing the early time slot, or if the fact the WVU Mountaineers are playing their final home game of the season against Oklahoma at 8pm on Friday night went into the planning thoughts, but whatever the reason, we will have three (3) semi-final games played this Friday afternoon.
Looking at the schedule, both Class AAA games will be played in the early Friday time slot, and both games are a rematch from the regular season! Making the short 15 mile trip from Inwood to Martinsburg, the Musselman Applemen will try to avoid a repeat of what happened in a game played on October 27th when the Bulldogs ran all over the Applemen by a final score of 70-0!! Since that defeat, Musselman has outscored their last three opponents 182-28 and they hope to keep the offense on track this Friday afternoon. The only problem is they are playing Martinsburg! This season, the Bulldogs have won 12 games and have outscored those 12 opponents 659 to 106 (55-9)! In the other Class AAA semi-final on Friday afternoon, the Capital Cougars will take their (11-1) record on the road and travel 53 miles to Huntington to take on the undefeated Spring Valley Timber Wolves. The only Cougar loss of the season came back on September 28th at the University of Charleston Stadium when Spring Valley defeated Capital 21-13. That game was on the artificial surface of Laidley Field and this Friday, it’s the natural grass that awaits the fleet footed Cougars. However, the field conditions should not be a problem as the weather in the Huntington area is supposed to stay dry until Saturday and the daytime temps are scheduled in the upper 40s to mid 50s!
In Class AA, the first semi-final game on Friday night at 7:30 will find #3 Bridgeport at #2 Bluefield and this should once again be an instant classic. The Indians will travel the 186 miles to Mitchell Stadium in Bluefield and both the Indians and the Beavers are sporting 11-1 records. Through the first two games of the playoffs, Bluefield has outscored the #15 and the #7 seeds 91-7….Bridgeport has outscored the #14 and the #6 seeds 91-20! Everything you look at in this game suggests it should be close. In the other Class AA semi-final, we do have a rematch from the regular season as #12 Weir (10-2) will travel the 96 miles to Fairmont to take on the undefeated (12-0) Polar Bears of Fairmont Senior! It was at East-West Stadium back on October 5th, when Fairmont Senior knocked off the Red Riders 43-13 and Weir’s Head Coach Tony Filberto knows his team will have to clean up some mistakes if they plan on upsetting the top ranked Polar Bears! The game is scheduled to kick-off at 1:30 Saturday afternoon, the only semi-final game not being played on Friday!
In Class A, both semi-final games will be played Friday night and neither game will involve a rematch from the regular season. The top ranked Maroon Knights of Wheeling Central Catholic are trying to get back to Wheeling Island Stadium as they welcome the undefeated Bulldogs of Doddridge County. The game Friday night at 7:30 will be played at Wheeling Jesuit, the home field of the Maroon Knights. Wheeling Central will bring an (11-1) record into the contest having outscored their first two playoff opponents 101-49. Their opponent this Friday night has been soaring through the 2018 season and will bring a perfect (12-0) record into the game. Head Coach Bobby Burnside’s Bulldogs have outscored their first two playoff opponents 67-14 and that includes last week’s 27-0 shutout win over previously unbeaten Cameron. In the second semi-final in Class A this Friday night, #6 Williamstown will take on undefeated and 2nd ranked Midland Trail. All season long, the undefeated Patriots have done nothing but win and they fully expect to keep moving toward Wheeling this Friday night. Their opponent is a tried and tested veteran of the playoffs and the Williamstown Yellow Jackets have rebounded from their regular season ending loss to undefeated Doddridge County to upset #11 Summers County and #3 Mount View in the playoffs to keep alive their hopes of playing for another state title. The Midland Trail Patriots from Hico, WV are trying to get to Wheeling for the first time and they are only one game away!
Semi-final weekend is always fun and this year should be no different! Just a reminder, the season ending show for GAMENIGHT will be heard this Saturday night from 6p to 8p across the MetroNews Radio Network and I invite you to join Dave Jecklin and me as we wrap up 17 years of the program. On the show Saturday night, we will have all the scores and stories from the semi-final round, plus we will take a complete look ahead at this year’s Super Six scheduled for Friday and Saturday, November 30th and December 1st!
Talk with you Saturday night at 6:00!