FEATURED PHOTO CREDITS: MORGAN SHERWOOD (THE JOURNAL – MARTINSBURG)
#16 Hurricane at #1 Martinsburg
The final doesn’t show the type of fight that the Hurricane Redskins put up against the Bulldogs. The Hurricane defense gave Martinsburg all that they could handle, and even at that, Martinsburg still would pull away late in the game. The Redskins would stop the Bulldogs inside the five three times on the day. A feat that would keep the game manageable and respectable. Grant Harman, Elijah Banks, and Matt Vanduzer would account for the first three scores which had them at 21-0 at the half. Big plays by Jarod Bowie and Naieem Kearney pushed the lead to 35-0 where it would stay. The Bulldogs will now host another MSAC foe in Parkersburg next week.
#15 Spring Mills at #2 Spring Valley
The reward for winning in week 11 to get into the state playoffs was to earn a drive to opposite part of the state to play one of the hottest teams. The state was in shock for a millisecond as Keon Padmore-Johnson instantly answered the Timberwolves opening touchdown was a bomb TD pass to tie it at 7. However, Spring Valley would score 70 consecutive points to prove the fluke. Will Adkins got the nod at QB and tossed three scores. Kennedy Award candidate Graeson Malashevich score five times (two rush, two receiving, one punt). The 77-7 final score explains this game quite well. Spring Valley will host Huntington whom they beat two weeks ago.
#14 Morgantown at #3 Capital
Outclassed and outmatched. Two words that have been rarely used against a Mohigan program. However, that was the case. The Kerry Martin Jr. led Cougars raced out to a 28-0 first half lead and never looked back. The Cougar defense held the Mohigans to just over 150 yards of offense while Martin tallied nearly 300 by himself. Though the game was purely Capital, they did lose Huff Award candidate Breece Hoff in an ejection so he will sit out their quarterfinal matchup with Hedgesville. They still won 42-0.
#13 John Marshall at #4 Musselman
The sloppiness of the field did not seem to be the sloppy part of the game. The Applemen racked up 18 penalties for a grand total of 175 yards. Didn’t seem to affect them much, however, as they were in full control of this game. Musselman hit over 570 total yards of offense and could not be stopped all day. Eight of their touchdowns came by way of Tre Beard III- either set up by or to Blake Hartman. The Monarchs run game was stumped by a very physical Applemen frontline. Musselman won 60-14. They will host another one-loss opponent, Ripley, next week.
#12 Greenbrier East at #5 Ripley
The Ghosts of MSAC pasts arrived in Ripley Friday night. Where the 6-4 Spartans met up with the 9-1 Vikings. This game was a little closer than the score says. The Spartans battled and had good momentum in the first half, capitizing on a few of the Vikings mistakes and losing a last second first half touchdown due to an illegal forward fumble in the endzone. The Vikings found their footing after losing their main back for the season. Jeremey Harper had three scores on the ground Cyrus Casto added two in the air as they cruised in the second half for a 43-15 victory. They travel to Musselman next week.
#11 Hedgesville at #6 Parkersburg South
An instant classic to say the least. Hedgesville found themselves in an early hole due to a successful run game by Nick Yoho, but they crawled back to take the lead late. Hedgesville first gained momentum with long bursts from N’iyjere Smith. Being down 21-0 at the half, they used that momentum to not just climb back into but take a 28-21 lead. However, Brayden Mooney put together a hellacious drive to once again regain the lead in dramatic fashion with only seconds remaining. A successful two-point conversion gave them a 29-28 advantage. Cue Smith, again. He would take the final kickoff back for a score to devastate the Patriots and upset them on their own turf in the most unlikely fashion. Now, Hedgesville hopes to carry that energy into a hostile Laidley Field against Capital.
#10 Cabell Midland at #7 Huntington
A hard-nosed rematch lived up to the hype. As Cabell Midland did midseason, Huntington came out with a more run-heavy approach to avenge their loss. Led by typical defensive star, Brocton Blair, they got up 7-0 early. Both defenses held strong and it wasn’t until Highlander Diallo Mitchell broke out another big run to go up 14-0. The Scarlet Knights had Huntington on its heel much of the night but only one Griffin Adkins run took advantage of their many trips into Highlander territory. The mistakes cost Cabell Midland the game and gives Huntington a rematch with Spring Valley whom beat them two weeks ago.
#9 Parkersburg at #8 Wheeling Park
The rematch from the hook-and-ladder shootout classic in the regular season went differently but still just as exciting. They traded blows piece by piece all game. Shane Miller and Raphael Bradey/Kenya Robinson exchanged the first four scores on the ground to have it at 14-14. It would stay this way as both defenses played much better than the original contest. Parkersburg scored early in the fourth on Jake Johnson pass to Brenton Strange, who had 206 of Johnson’s 235 yards. Alex Dunlevy quickly responded with his own touchdown drive. It was Kionte Peacock, though, he would immediately return the kickoff for a 28-21 Big Red lead. The Patriots had one last shot in Big Red territory but were stuffed on a 4th and inches. The Big Reds now get to travel to Martinsburg and try and break their 39-game winstreak.