This is absolutely the best time of the year for high school football. Teams are now punching their tickets for the playoffs. Others are having to battle for just a slim chance of making it. Weeks, months, years of work are beginning to accumulate. You can’t wait until sectionals and regionals- the time is now. Countless months of work for three more nights. The pressure cooker is turning up. The lights will shine. Some answered the call in week eight, some did not.
Here’s our recollection of Friday night:
Main Event Blowout Award – goes to the Battle of the Bridge. After bragging about five straight main event last minute nail biters, C&Co. had another blowout. This game was over at halftime and the Midland Trail Patriots flexed their muscles (literally) and smashed the Pirates. We still believe in the Pirates and respect the program and they do have one of the best coaches in Southern WV, but they just could not match up with the Patriots. The showdown between two of the Coalfields’ premier runners . Thomas Ferris showed up having 244 yards rushing and 3 TDs. Jordan Dempsey never got going and the Pirates had little answers on the night. Trail looked like a complete team with solid line play and multiple capable skill players. Watch out.
Battle Tested Game of the Week – goes to the Huntington Highlanders and Hurricane Redskins. Now, a message to the followers was sent by Jadon Hayes who had 323 yards (school record) and 3 TD. Huntington managed this game from the start. Hayes has only solidified his running for the top player in WV against another top tier opponent. Hurricane did not get plopped, but this was just another battle lost. Both Huntington and Hurricane have played intense schedules which will reward them come postseason. It will only be decided when the day comes who the real contenders are.
Not Ready For Primtime Award – Hedgesville gets this. Sometimes the WVSSAC ratings don’t tell the story. The Metro News Power Ratings do a good job as well as the Coalfields and Company Ratings in telling a more accurate evaluation of team strength, but the one that counts is the WVSSAC. In that case, Martinsburg sent a clear message. The Bulldogs let the Eagles know there is room for only one big dog on the Panhandle porch with a beat down. Compiling 456 through two quarters, QB Tyson Bagent scoring six times, and a dangerous group of reserves- the Bulldogs tallied a state season high of 83. Yeah, we gulped too. However, Hedgesville still has a solid season under way and can easily make it back-to-back playoff appearances. Put this in file 13 and get back to work!
Did Not See This Coming – goes to the Sissonville and Winfield game. We knew this was going to be a Hackney vs Huff matchup- Huff came out on top. The Generals rolled in a 46-14 game many thought that Sissonville would get. Many contributed in this win with passing, running, and defensive scores. Some other unexpected games were South Harrison thumping Sherman- we thought it might be closer. Freddy Canary (who had 230 and five scores against Sherman) has not been even remotely slowed and will pit them in a 1 – 2 matchup this coming week against St. Marys. All other ranked Single A’s: East Hardy, Madonna, Cameron, and Doddridge rolled as well.
Famous Route 52 Game of the Week – goes to the Mount View and Tug Valley game. Tug Valley could possibly have punched their ticket for the A playoff with the wealth of points the Knights brought to the house. Mount View was playing for their playoff life and trying to get back to the playoffs (a place once known as home). However, a loss to the Panthers could leave them outside looking in once again. Tug Valley traveled back down Route 52 with a 41-8 victory over the Knights at their own house. Little talked about Jonathan Blankenship who had one heck of a game with 5 TD and 201 yards rushing while Noah Locus had 103 rushing yards and one TD. Tug Valley has several impressive wins and could be a sleeper come postseason.
Bounce Back Game of the Week – goes to Nicholas County and Westside. Both teams were coming off a lackluster performance and had to have a win to keep them in the playoff picture point wise. Nicholas County has had a stingy defense the last two years and few teams have been able to score on the Grizz defense of late. Westside has been under the radar most of the year but is always a very physical bunch to deal with. So this was going to be good old slobberknocker in the making. However, Coach Morris had a different game plan for the bunch from Nicholas County and came out throwing riding the arm of Jared Sagraves as he lit the Renegades defense with 12-20 and 201 yards passing. It went down to the absolute wire with the Grizzlies scoring twice late to make it 28-14. Check out our Hot Seat Report coming out this week to see how this affects playoff positioning!
Close Calls – Wayne and Chapmanville came out to be the game we thought it would be. The return of Adam Vance to compliment the proven star Dylan Smith against the new era of Wayne Pioneer ball. It was a tough contest from the first to the fourth. The game was 14-6 for most, behind two Bartram and Milum TDs in favor of Wayne. Dylan Smith, who had scored the first Chapmanville TD, scored once again late but another two-point conversion failed. Wayne held on for the 14-12 win and puts the Tigers in an uncomfortable spot heading into the final three weeks. Lincoln, Bridgeport, and Webster County all three had games that were a little close for comfort but were victorious.
Changes Everything Award – goes to Riverside and Morgantown. Morgantown has had the schedule from Hades and many thought this would be the game that the Mohigans would get a little break. Not so fast my friends, the Warriors shocked the state with the upset of the weekend. Riverside QB Mark Scitees had a premier game torching the Mohigans for three scores and topping it off with a trick play in overtime to help the Mohigans have a Friday the 13th moment. This changes a lot as Riverside holds on for a playoff win and Morgantown will have its hands full getting to six wins.
Where’s the Defense? – Parkersburg had been stout this year but even the harshest can be ran silly by Cabell Midland. In this top ten matchup, the Knigthts totaled 705 yards of offense in a 63-35 win. Ivan Vaughn (298 and 5) and Isaiah Duncan (287 and 3) both went over 200 for multiple touchdowns and Jovaun Light finished with 95. Parkersburg’s QB Kam Mace answered steadily with 305 himself, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Brenton Strange caught 12 of those passes for 146 and a score. This puts them both at 4-3 and solid chances of a good postseason. However, the D needs some work.
It’s Gonna Come Down to the End – St. Albans, after a questionable start, is sitting at a very interesting 4-4. This is because they took it to South Charleston and controlled the majority of the game. Another team that falls in some interesting scenarios is Shady Spring. Sitting at 3-4 with three winnable games upcoming. In Single A, Richwood has rode Jeremiah Johnston to a 4-3 record and a close win over Greenbrier West. Williamstown, Wheeling Central, and Summers County are sitting at .500 or below, however, have big wins with lots of quality points. It is going to come down to the very end for these teams.
Big Dawgs Gon Eat – Unbeaten University dominated a .500 Buch-Up team 42-3. Amir Richardson stood out at receiver with eight snags for 112 and two scores. Clay Bailey had a heck of a game too. Spring Valley rolled over Ripley with big running from QB Derek Johnson and RB Owen Porter. Ripley is out. Musselman is rolling once again behind big numbers by Jacob Northcraft over Hampshire as they prepare for Martinsburg. James Monroe dominated AAA Princeton and Keyser was the big one who fell to out-of-state Allegany despite big plays from QB Brady ours.
The Unlikely’s Don’t Fault – John Marshall has not buckled quite yet. All-purpose star Dereck Hess was vital to there three score difference win against Brooke to make them 6-2. Risen teams like North Marion and Pikeview ride high powered offenses to defeat two bottomfeeder Double A’s. It was Hunter Mitchelson’s turn to have a fantastic ground game this week. Finally, Braxton County, after starting 1-2, is now sitting 5-2 with control of their fate. In an important battle with Grafton, Heath Cottrill and Tayton Stout continued their chemistry to combine for multiple scores. Liberty (Harrison), the most unexpected undefeated, moved to 7-0 with a 49-0 kill of East Fairmont. Lantz and Westfall compiled 300+ total and mostly every score.
Noteworthy Performances – In a blowout win, Kennedy Award candidate Kerry Martin Jr. of Capital compiled over 275 yards of offense and four touchdowns in less than four quarters. In an out of state blowout, Point Pleasant QB Cason Payne finished with 362 and five touchdowns. Jeremy Dillon of Mingo Central also finished with 300+ yards and five scores. Kobie Carpenter fits in this category too with near 400 total yards and five scores. Madonna’s RB Donovan Kirby continued with an absurd statline of 51 carries 370 yards and six touchdowns. Weir looks to hold on to a shot with the rising of new QB Sebastian Spencer who went for 200+ and three scores. It’s all shaping up.