#9 Hurricane (64.8) at #1 Huntington (79.7)
Several weeks ago in Hurricane, Jadon Hayes ran rampant. The usually stout defense of the Redskins was sliced and the high flying offense was ceased. Hurricane has shown signs of being a contender this season and are 50/50 in big games. Huntington hasn’t been stellar the last few weeks, making a lot of mental errors. The Redskins will need to capitalize on every chance they get. The length of this game will decided in the first.
#10 John Marshall (64.4) at #2 Martinsburg (84.1)
We’ll never count a team out. John Marshall proved a lot of critics wrong going to Parkersburg and controlling the game. They proved to have multiple players capable of moving the ball… but this Martinsburg team is playing at an unmatched level. The defense is clicking just as much as the offense with an all-state player in every group. Being in Martinsburg, we see no chance.
#6 Capital (74.8) at #3 University (73.1)
Now we’re cooking with gasoline! The North and the Valley go head on. After many MSAC fans critiqued University’s quality, here you go. University came alive last week after starting slow while Capital played one of their best games of 2017. Star players will litter the field, and it should be a sight to see. Capital’s entire game will rely on Kerry Martin Jr. and his ability to make plays.
#12 Cabell Midland (74.6) at #4 Spring Valley (77.3)
Cabell Midland had a great ground game in every matchup… except in their 56-28 loss to the Timberwolves several weeks ago. Spring Valley hasn’t had a close game in nearly a month, and they’re playing their best football. The Scarlet Knights can appreciate the short trip after a slugfest in the Eastern Panhandle. The defense will need to bring their big boy pants this week if they want the outcome to be different. Remember, beating the same team twice is easier said than done.
#8 Liberty-H (55.7) at #1 Mingo Central (70.7)
What’s the best perk of being #1? The path. While the other top four seeds play Point Pleasant, Wayne, and Winfield, Mingo will take on Liberty. Liberty has had a fantastic season thanks to a dual threat ground game, but they’ve been shut down on multiple occasions. Put them up on Miner Mountain against Jeremy Dillon who has averaged over 400 yards and six touchdowns in his last three games… well, better bring your A game.
#7 Point Pleasant (67.8) at #2 Bluefield (73.6)
We’re loving the playoff rematchs. Many might remember the Beavers blowing out the Black Knights midseason, however, one must understand that a lot went right for Bluefield that game. We predict a much closer score this time with it being an honest toss-up. Cason Payne and his Point Pleasant offense is on fire as well Mookie Collier and Bluefield. This is a perfect crash course where every single possession will matter.
#11 Winfield (70.7) at #3 Bridgeport (68.4)
The most intriguing game to be played Friday. The high powered General offense facing off against the one-loss Indians. Though Bridgeport still carries that sense of intimidation, Winfield might be the scarier team here. Andrew Huff has played electric especially in big games while the Indians rely solely on Jake Bowen to make it happen on all three sides of the ball. However, it is a home game, and the Indians have an incredible amount of experience. Anything can happen.
#5 Wayne (65.3) at #4 Fairmont Senior (72.0)
In yet another case of the the Valley vs the Central, a good matchup should be in store. Wayne’s typical running game with the occasional yet efficient passing will fair against a loaded Polar Bear squad. Fairmont Senior has been here and done this. We expect a good game, but we also expect the Polar Bear offense to do their thing. We aren’t sure anyone on the Pioneers can slow down Bryson Gilbert and if they do, there’s still more to come.
#9 Sherman (58.9) at #1 East Hardy (63.5)
The Sherman Tide rolled round one while #1 East Hardy won late against Williamstown. Sherman will need to be ready for yet another incredibly long drive. Ben Salmon has proven his worth as a three down back, but every phase of the game will need to be won to take down the perennial state-runner ups. One could argue that last week’s win was their best as it required character and facing adversity. Sherman might hang around for a little, but this is still East Hardy’s to lose.
#10 Wheeling Central (57.7) at #2 South Harrison (65.8)
Wheeling Central is dangerous. If common opponents are any indication, the Maroon Knights handled East Hardy much better. However, that was prior to Freddy Canary breaking playoff rushing records. With his partner in crime gone, Canary has put the Hawks on his back. Wheeling Central needs not to try and stop him, just to slow him down. Central will need their textbook efficient playstyle with capitalization and no mental errors to upset South Harrison; it is very much a possibility.
#11 Summers County (47.8) at #3 Midland Trail (60.7)
The top two Single A’s in the Coalfield Region remain and get to go head-to-head for the 2017 Coalfield Crown. Midland Trail is the definite favorite here. Sporting a consistent and deep team, the Patriots are completely ready for anything Summers County has to offer. Tucker Lilly is a dynamic young QB and will give Trail problems occasionally, but we expect Midland Trail to grind their way early and often to a trip to the semifinals.
#5 St. Marys (60.0) at #4 Tug Valley (53.0)
Tug Valley is flying in hot off an emotional Round One victory. Though they expected a bigger win, it showed character. St. Marys, on the other hand, battled and defeated a spectacular Doddridge defense. Though The Blue Devils will travel, they have been granted the favorite. The defending champs still have the 2016 State Championship MVP, and we don’t expect a road trip to Tug Valley to alter their road for a repeat.