#1 Martinsburg vs #2 Spring Valley
Round three. A storied rivalry that will talked about for years. Year one: Martinsburg demolishes them. Year two: Spring Valley leads at the half. Year three: Martinsburg replaces a mass of seniors to return to the title game while Spring Valley has obliterated top notch opponents at legendary levels. This will be the Timberwolves’ best chance. Nester, Grantham, Malashevich, Harman, Chafin, Bowie, Adkins, Marshall, Howard, Barrett, Williamson, Brinegar, Milum, Kearney, Dingess, Walker. Let’s get it.
Spring Valley’s Game Plan: Spring Valley’s line outmatches Martinsburg’s easily. They will be able to win the line of scrimmage mostly but these Bulldogs will adjust and cope. Will Adkins will need to be on his passing game to test the loaded Martinsburg secondary. Defensively, Martinsburg’s skill is similar to Capital’s. Tons of receivers, tons of running backs, and a Kennedy-candidate quarterback. Make the plays when they’re available. Don’t give Harman, Bowie, and Coach Walker extra chances- they will make the most of them.
Martinsburg’s Game Plan: Martinsburg is excellent in all three facets. Talented but even better coached. They can see a big advantage in special teams play. Limit Malashevich and make your own big plays. Offensively, nickel and diming to Bowie and company could off balance the Timberwolves. Harman has the experience and capability to tear them up there. Defensively, stop the run and make Adkins beat you. This secondary is the definition of deep. Make them play your game.
#1 Fairmont Senior vs #2 Bluefield
Another rematch. Both of these teams lost staple seniors from their appearance last season. However, both have easily been the best teams in AA this year. Bluefield’s run game and athletic defense has only fell once to an out-of-state powerhouse. Fairmont Senior has only gotten hotter through the playoffs with demolitions of Point Pleasant and Weir. College talent litters the field coached by a second year head coach versus one of the longest current coaching terms in the state.
Bluefield’s Gameplan: Fairmont Senior is a very precise team. They have not had a game this year where they have lost the turnover battle. This talented defense has the power to blitz Sean Martin off the edge while a core of linebackers keeps Connor Neal from scrambling. The secondary will need to be disciplined- point blank period. Offensively, a consistent ground game should prove worthy to move the ball with the occasional smart pass by Chandler Cooper.
Fairmont Senior’s Gameplan: Bluefield runs the ball, and they run it well with the three-headed monster of Arnold Martin, JJ Davis, and Juice Edwards. A defensive line led by Zach Frazier will battle Bluefield’s touted front. The secondary headed by the Posey’s and without Caleb Walker will need to watch the Isaiah Johnson deep shot while being ready to come up on the run. Offensively, do what you do. Let Neal win the Kennedy and go for 300+ again. Don’t veer too much from their underrated run game and disallow Bluefield to send the house on Neal.
#1 Wheeling Central vs #6 Williamstown
Here we have it, the final two teams in Single A. Ironically, the opening game of the season will also be closer. Both have went through a lot since then. Williamstown soared after their opening loss and only fell in a mud bowl to Doddridge County. Wheeling Central went untested until Curtis McGhee III went down but upon his return they have marched in the playoffs. Both are coming off their best performances of the season. This shall be one heck of a rematch.
Williamstown’s Gameplan: This offense runs through Curtis McGhee III. They have incorporated shovel passes heavily into the offense to get Anthony Robbins and Braden Price in space. Efficient tackling and a non-big play attitude on defense will limit damage and increase chance for a Central mistake. Offensively, Carter Haynes will need to hit passes again. Donathan Taylor, as Hunter America found out, will not straight run at the Maroon Knights. Nickel and dime drives but also avoid multiple short drives with no time off the clock.
Wheeling Central’s Gameplan: As with every team they have played in the playoffs, they are better man for man. Spread them out and slice them up. Get your skill in the open field and if they sell out to stop that, let McGhee tuck it and go. Defensively, if Taylor cannot get going in the run, Haynes has a track record of being turnover prone. Let Luke Duplaga, Adam Murray, and Vinny Mangino shut down the run. Then, force early takeaways and put this one away early.