FEATURED IMAGE CREDITS: POINT PLEASANT REGISTER
#16 Lewis County at #1 Fairmont Senior
There weren’t a lot of surprises in this contest as #1 Fairmont Senior cruised past Lewis County, just as they did in the regular season. Lewis County tried to rely on their run game, but the solid Polar Bear defense once again eliminated that threat. Fairmont Senior, however, had no problem running the football as they had 290 rushing yards on just 22 carries as an offense. The big offensive line of the Polar Bears is to thank for this. Though they were taking some pressure off of Conner Neal with a lucrative run game, he still managed to go 9 of 12 for 158 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Neal picked up the school record for single-season passing yards in the first quarter and is now cemented in Polar Bear history forever. The Polar Bears will face their toughest opponent of the season thus far next week as they host the Point Pleasant Big Blacks.
#15 Oak Hill at #2 Bluefield
The Bluefield Beavers also made short work of a previously defeated opponent as they dominated the Oak Hill Red Devils in their first-round contest. The Beaver defense came up huge, holding Oak Hill to 75 total yards and stifling the duo of Khori Bass and Abe Farrow. It was a group offensive effort for Bluefield with JJ Davis racking up 94 yards, Arnold Martin getting three touchdowns, and Chandler Cooper throwing for just under 50 yards. The Beavers put up an insane 35 points in the first quarter alone and had shortened quarters and running clock to finish a 56-7. Bluefield will host Keyser this weekend at Mitchell Stadium.
#14 Frankfort at #3 Bridgeport
The Bridgeport Indians, a team known for their hard-nosed running attack, took to the skies last week as they defeated Frankfort with a potent passing attack. The Frankfort defense diverted all their attention to slowing running-back Jake Bowen and left themselves especially vulnerable to the passing game. Bridgeport QB Devin Vandergrift went 5 for 5 118 yards and two touchdowns while Bowen rushed for 257 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Though 14-13 early, Bridgeport wore down the Falcons to an eventual 49-13. The Indians will face Robert C. Byrd in the second round in a rematch of their regular season contest.
#13 Petersburg at #4 Nicholas County
On an ugly, cold, rainy night in Summersville, the Nicholas County Grizzlies marched their way to victory over the Petersburg Vikings. The Nicholas secondary had been somewhat of a question mark this season, but they had a phenomenal showing last week as they were able to ground the Viking’s lethal passing attack. Though Jacob Hartman had some stellar passes and drives, redzone fumbles, dropped passes, and playing behind the sticks from penalties killed many drivers. Jacob O’Dell led the charge on offense racking up 259 yards and three touchdowns for the Grizzlies. Their defensive line kept the Vikings at bay the entire night with a 41-10 victory. Nicholas County will host Weir, who knocked off #5 Poca substantially last week.
#12 Weir at #5 Poca
The Red Riders of Weir pulled off an impressive upset in the first round as they dominated the #12 seed Poca 41-14. Weir’s Sebastian Spencer came up huge in the contest running for 172 yards, passing for 91, and catching 5 passes for 119 yards. Spencer racked up four touchdowns, while Tyler Komorowksi added two more touchdowns and 161 yards in the air. The two-way system seemed to work and the weather limited Jay Cook passing. Weir was the only lower-seed AA to win as they cruised to a 41-21 win. Weir advances and will travel to Summersville next week to battle with Nicholas County.
#11 Shady Spring at #6 Robert C. Byrd
A strong defensive performance carried the Eagles of Robert C. Byrd to a win over Shady Spring. RCB managed to put up 35 points, but it was the stellar defensive play of Andrew Sponaugle that broke the Tigers’ spirits. Sponaugle intercepted Shady’s Drew Clark three times in just the first half, shutting down the Tiger’s air attack. Ghovan Davidson was RCB’s main offensive weapon rushing for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Jeremiah King added 155 yards and three additional scores. The Tigers did stay within reach but the opposition’s ground game wore them down by the second half as RCB would win 35-12. The Eagles will go across town in what is to be an incredible rematch with Bridgeport.
#10 Wayne at #7 Keyser
The score doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story about the Wayne and Keyser matchup. The Golden Tornadoes ultimately came away with the 28-8 win, but the Pioneers of Wayne squandered multiple opportunities. Of the five times Wayne got into the red zone, they only scored on one of those possessions. Keyser quarterback Ryan Shoemaker led the charge for the Golden Tornado’s rushing for 116 yards and scoring two touchdowns with two two-point conversions. Simply put, both ground games churned all night but it was the Golden Tornado who made the most of their opportunities. Keyser will head down south to battle the Beavers in Bluefield next week in the quarter finals.
#9 Mingo Central at #8 Point Pleasant
In a rematch of an opening night game that came down to the wire, the result differed from the original dramatically. Point Pleasant edged the miners by one score on the first game of the season on Miner Mountain. However, when the Miners travelled to Point Pleasant, things weren’t as close. Things were neck and neck at the half due to Daylin Goad keeping up offensively with Cason Payne- being within in a score at the break. However, the second half was owned by the Big Blacks and Payne’s long runs which allowed him to end up with six scores. The defense stiffened and the Miners went home in the opening round for the first time in years. With the 65-36 victory, Point Pleasant advances to the quarterfinals where they will travel to Fairmont to face off with the #1 seed Polar Bears.