It always happens……there is always an “upset” or two in the first round of the high school football playoffs! However, in 2021 there were six! Six games in which the “favorite” came up on the short end when the final score was posted on the scoreboard! Running down those upsets, we had one in Class AAA when #9 George Washington went on the road to Fairlea and upset #8 Greenbrier East 21-7. In Class AA there were four upsets and they began right at the top when #16 Fairmont Senior upset #1 and previously unbeaten Herbert Hoover 30-28! The final two points came late in the game on a safety when Fairmont Senior linebacker Germaine Lewis tackled Hoover’s quarterback Dane Hatfield in the end zone! Another upset in Class AA occurred in Mason County when #14 seed Bluefield used their speed in a very talented backfield to run past #3 seed Point Pleasant by a final of 44-20. Also in Class AA, #13 Frankfort upset #4 Lincoln 21-17 and #10 Roane County made the trip to Summersville and upset #7 Nicholas County 18-15. In Class A, we had another upset at the top as the 16th seeded Titans of Gilmer County traveled the 118 miles north to Cameron and upset the #1 seeded and previously unbeaten Dragons by a final of 19-14.
So, 24 games played and 6 upsets were recorded! However, did anyone really think Fairmont Senior was a legit #16 seed? And how many of us saw the #14 seed attached to Bluefield and honestly thought that was correct? And the same can be said of #16 Gilmer County…..#13 Frankfort and #10 Roane County. Now granted, a #9 over a #8 is on paper an upset, but we can all agree those two seedings can go either way because the two teams are usually so close when it comes to lining up on the field. This all seems to be a case where once again Covid played a part in the football playoff system in WV! Games were forfeited….games were not played…..and a lot of teams played two games in one week. So with all of that happening, I guess we should expect anything! But I honestly can’t remember the last time we had two #16’s upset two #1’s in the same round!!
So, what can we expect this weekend in the quarterfinal round? I doubt in the twelve games scheduled we will see six upsets, but I do think we will see some outstanding games. There will be 7 games played Friday night at 7:30……4 games played on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 and 1 game is scheduled for Saturday night at 7:30.
All of the matchups promise to be great and there are some outstanding games in each class! In Class AAA, we have two games that are a rematch from the regular season beginning with #1 Huntington hosting #9 George Washington. During the regular season, the Highlanders traveled to George Washington on September 17th and left town with a 30-14 victory. In a huge rematch from the regular season, #2 Martinsburg will host #7 Spring Valley and the Bulldogs will certainly hope to change the outcome of an October 29th encounter with the TimberWolves when Spring Valley defeated Martinsburg 35-30. That game, played at Spring Valley, marked the second straight win for the TimberWolves over the Bulldogs. The other two games in the quarterfinal round of Class AAA should also prove to be exciting. In a game that will be played in Morgantown, the undefeated and #4 seeded Hawks of University will welcome the #5 seeded Knights of Cabell Midland. The two teams have met on on only two other occasions and in both those contests, University came out the winner. In November of 1994, University defeated Cabell Midland 14-0 and in November of 2002, the Hawks prevailed again in another close game as they won 20-14 over the Knights. All three of the above games will be played Friday night at 7:30. In the only Saturday afternoon game in Class AAA this weekend, #3 Bridgeport (11-0) will host #6 Jefferson (10-1). These two teams have met only one other time and that was on November 1, 1991 and Bridgeport won that encounter 21-14. That game will kick at 1:30pm.
In Class AA, we have three games scheduled for this Friday night at 7:30 and the highest seeded team left in the Class AA field is #2 Independence and the Patriots will welcome the #10 seeded Raiders of Roane County to Coal City! The two teams did not meet in the regular season, however they have met two previous times on the gridiron with each team winning one game. On November 4th, 2016, Roane County defeated Independence 21-8 and then on November 3rd, 2017, the Patriots returned the favor and defeated the Raiders 24-20. Also in Class AA this Friday night the #6 seeded Huskies of North Marion will host the #14 seeded Beavers of Bluefield. Again, these two teams did not meet in the regular season however they have lined up against one another on four different occasions. On August 30th, 1985 North Marion defeated Bluefield 31-6……on November 3rd, 1989, Bluefield defeated North Marion 31-22…….on November 2nd, 1990, North Marion defeated Bluefield 26-7 and in their most recent encounter, on November 20th, 2020, Bluefield won over North Marion 33-10. The game this Friday night really shapes up to be on of the best in round two of the playoffs. There is one more game in Class AA this Friday night and that game will feature a rematch from the regular season as #16 Fairmont Senior will travel the 25 miles to Robert C. Byrd High School where they will take on the #8 seeded Flying Eagles. The two teams met in Fairmont on October 15th and the Polar Bears came away with a hard fought 21-20 win! The fourth game in Class AA this weekend will kickoff at 1:30 this Saturday Afternoon as #13 seed Frankfort will travel the 140 miles to Poca to battle the #5 seeded Dots! The two teams have met only one other time and that was in the semi-finals played November 26, 1994 and the Poca Dots defeated the Frankfort Falcons 28-0.
In Class A, we will have one game played this Friday night as #3 seed East Hardy will welcome #6 seed Williamstown to Baker, WV. The two teams did not meet in the regular season however they have met three different times and the Cougars of East Hardy have won two of those three games. On November 22, 2014, Williamstown prevailed 42-22……on November 18, 2016, East Hardy won 20-14 and the last time they played was November 10, 2017 and East Hardy won 14-10. This should really be a great game to watch. There will be three Class A games played this Saturday. At 1:30 Saturday afternoon, #8 seed Wheeling Central will host #16 seed Gilmer County. This will mark the first time these two teams have met on the football field. The other Saturday Afternoon game will find #4 Ritchie County hosting #5 Mt. View. The two teams have met only one other time in football and that game took place in the first round of the playoffs in 2018 and the Golden Knights prevailed in that game 34-14. The lone Saturday night game in the quarterfinals will be played in Class A as #2 Doddridge County will host #7 James Monroe at Cline-Stansberry Stadium in West Union. This will mark the first time these two teams have met in football.
So, 24 teams and 12 games and please don’t be fooled by the seedings. As we found out in week number one of the playoffs, the number beside each team is just that…..a number! And, that is why they play the game!
Be sure and join Dave Jecklin and me for week #13 of GAMENIGHT!! The show is heard on over 40 great radio stations statewide and the live video and audio will be streamed at www.wvmetronews.com! Also, this Sunday night at 7p, it’s week number two of THE ROAD TO THE SUPER SIX we will discuss what happened in the quarterfinal round, plus look ahead to semi-final weekend!
Talk with you this weekend!