#16 Robert C. Byrd (58.3) at #1 Mingo Central (70.7)
Robert C. Byrd might forever shake their heads at their final loss to Philip Barbour. Now, they must travel to Miner Mountain- statistically the most unforgiving stadium in West Virginia. Their quick striking offense struggled against the Colts so it’s performance against the #1 Miners is in question. With a young QB and skillset, they will rely on Tre Junkins for his big play ability. The problem is, Mingo Central has four if not more explosive players. Jeremy Dillon is coming off an eight touchdown performance. In closer games, Dawson Elia has been a great tag team partner. Since Week One, they have not scored less than 52. Good. Luck.
#15 Braxton County (52.2) at #2 Bluefield (73.6)
Braxton County started slow, built speed, then dropped their last contest to a struggling Sissonville. When trying to upset the highest rated AA team, you might need more. Heath Cottrill has been efficient and Tayton Stout is a slept on receiver in the state. Seth Arnold is a hard nosed back. The Beavers are just relentless. We’ve only seen Mookie Collier play a full game once and that was against otherwise undefeated Graham (VA). If they somehow contained Collier, they would deal with strong-legged Truck Davis. The Beaver secondary is young but very talented; the Eagles best shot will lie there, but it’s not a good one.
#14 Weir (64.2) at #3 Bridgeport (68.4)
Weir’s year has also peaked and valley’d. Their only big quality win came against AAA John Marshall. They had a shot at #13 Keyser but #4 Fairmont Senior manhandled them early and often. Cycling through QBs, Tyler Komorowski’s still strong suit lies on the defensive line. Sebastian Spencer has increased his role on both sides and will be the most electric player for the Red Riders. Bridgport is a great place for electricity to die out. The Indians only loss came close to #4 Fairmont Senior. Jake Bowen continues to surmount himself as one of the best players in the state. Weir will need to keep it close early, or it could get out of hand fast.
#13 Keyser (60.8) at #4 Fairmont Senior (72.0)
Keyser has already made a trip down to the Fairmont-Clarksburg area, and it didn’t end well. Fairmont Senior finished up yet another historically great year for the school. They have multiple players in our Top 75. Connor Neal has been excellent in his first year starting with his favorite target being Antonio Parsons. The two stars, however, are RB Bryson Gilbert who has turned head after head with his best games coming against the toughest teams. Highly recruited Dante Stills will need double or triple teamed for the Golden Tornado offense to get going. Relying solely on QB Brady Ours to make plays won’t get it done. Someone else will need to step up, or they too will be in deep.
#12 Sissonville (52.0) at #5 Wayne (65.3)
Wayne has rolled in 2017. The Pioneers think they are back. Putting aside a loss to Mingo Central and bubble game for Chapmanville, their only other game that was close? 30-27 over Sissonville. The Indians adjusted to the textbook Wayne behind the arm of Will Hackney. He’s a gunslinger, and it caught the Pioneers off guard. Wayne plays a much more efficient smashmouth game behind a smart QB who can run and a big boned back. A very similar blueprint to their early 2010’s state championship teams. The ratings are very spaced out but the Indians recent win against Braxton County might show they have something in store.
#11 Winfield (70.7) at #6 James Monroe (64.7)
The best first round matchup hands down. It is the only game where the lower seed has a 5+ better rating. The Generals only losses came to AAA Hurricane, #5 Wayne, and #1 Mingo Central. Their offense has improved week-to-week with them dropping 50 on the #1 team in AA. QB Andrew Huff is the dual threat star here. The Mavericks take a different approach with a three headed skillset behind Connor Moore, Grant Mohler, and Monroe Mohler. This trio has beaten several quality teams and loss close to #7 Point Pleasant. Their showing against #2 Bluefield might be a red flag for their abilities defending high frequency offenses. The drive lengh might be what they need to take down the Generals.
#10 Philip Barbour (50.0) at #7 Point Pleasant (67.8)
Win your season finale and your prize? Travel to a stadium where the team has lost once in years and that was on a hail mary to the #1 team. It’s a tough draw for Philip Barbour after a turnaround year coming off 0-10. Their last week win against Robert C. Byrd was the most impressive. Chase Collier is a tough runner and Hunter Mason is a tough tackler. However, we don’t think it will be near enough for the Black Knights. Point Pleasant’s only losses were to #1 and #2. Cason Payne is the career record holder for multiple school marks. It’s been a good year Colts.
#9 Nicholas County (60.3) at #8 Liberty-Harrison (55.7)
So many questions surround both squads. In statement games, the Grizzlies are actually the ones who answered the call. They’ve defeated Pikeview and A Midland Trail. Their losses came by the hands of #6 James Monroe and #15 Braxton County. The Mountaineers have also only loss two games but in a much more brutal fashion. #16 Robert C. Byrd torched them and A South Harrison demolished them last week. The two-headed backfield of Broderick Lantz and Dalton Westfall have seemed slowed since their undefeated start. Nicholas County plays stout D, and the pep will be needed for Liberty to get by them.