FEATURED PHOTO: TYSON MURRAY (WVMETRONEWS)
This list is about as subjective as they come. There is no direct criteria for what dictates one game better than another. For argument sake, we are including matchups that were both West Virginia teams. Several things we tried to take a look at were quality of the teams, rivalry, context (playoffs, title game, etc.), competitiveness in-game, craziness (walk-off touchdowns, huge comebacks, etc.), and ramifications. Though not even close to exhaustive or perfect, here is our list:
2016 – Bluefield 26 Fairmont Senior 23 (State Championship) ~ The Truck Edwards run that started the unique postseason rivalry to come
2015 – George Washington 35 Spring Valley 28 (OT) ~ Timberwolves lose in bizarre fumble fashion
2018 – Keyser 41 Weir 40 ~ Golden Tornado complete 26-point comeback to upset high-ranked Weir
2013 – Martinsburg 9 Huntington 7 (State Championship) ~ Bulldogs win by a safety to complete the first-ever four-peat in AAA
2013 – Bridgeport 14 Wayne 13 (State Championship) ~ Indians upset two-time defending champs and begin their own dynasty
2015 – Wheeling Park 23 Capital 15 (State Championship) ~ Patriots upset defending champs for their first title in school history
10. Capital 55 Cabell Midland 49 (2017)
It was early in the season and both Capital and Cabell Midland were vying to be considered the best in the MSAC. Going into the game, both had suffered losses to out-of-state powerhouses and needed this game badly. The past few matchups had been absolute classics and this one followed suit. With contrasting styles, both filled up the scoreboard exceeding 40 points each with little time left. Capital had the ball down by a score with the entire field to go but practically no time. Thanks to a penalty that allowed an untimed down, eventual Kerry Martin Jr. hit Anthony Pittman over top of the defense for a walk-off 65 yard touchdown.
9. 6 Summers County 0 Midland Trail (2017)
It was the 2017 quarterfinals and two teams with contrasting backgrounds would butt heads. Midland Trail was on fire with only one loss to AA Nicholas County while the Bobcats had to run the table to squeak into the playoffs at 6-4. As a double-digit seed, they upset Webster County round one and now met with the Patriots. It was an old fashioned stalemate. Stacked boxes, trick plays, smash mouth offenses. Summers County managed a score late but Midland Trail was making a heroic drive to win with little time left. Inside the three yard line about to win the game, Midland Trail was hit and fumbled to seal their upset defeat.
8. 42 Ravenswood 41 Bluefield (2014)
For the third time in five years, Ravenswood and Bluefield would meet in the playoffs. This time around, Bluefield was a vicious 9-1 while Ravenswood had to win late to get into the postseason. In shocking fashion, the Red Devils jumped out to a 35-7 lead at halftime. However, it was quickly dissolved by the powerful Beavers. By the end of the fourth quarter, Bluefield had came all the way back with 34 unanswered points. However, Ravenswood would cap a last minute drive to spoil the comeback 42-41. Ravenswood QB Rhys Jelich and Bluefield RB DJ Stewart would combine for over 800 yards of offense.
7. 13 Wheeling Central 12 Tolsia (2019)
Few attending the dreary day in Tolsia assumed they would witness such an opening round game for the playoffs. Wheeling Central, two-time defending champs, had faltered late in the season after losing their star quarterback Curtis McGhee III. Tolsia had a good enough to season to host the Maroon Knights. For most of the games, the Rebels led. The lead would flip late until Tolsia put the nail in the coffin with a last minute touchdown. However, destiny called and with practically no time left, Wheeling Central would connect on a hail mary to stay alive. They would use the momentum to complete three straight upsets for their third straight state championship.
6. 57 Parkersburg 51 Wheeling Park (2018)
After a rough start to the season, Parkersburg was doing their best to turn things around to make the playoffs. They would run midway during the year into an undefeated Wheeling Park. The early favor would go for the Big Reds as they hopped up to a four-touchdown lead by the second quarter. The two teams scored at will with the Patriots having the edge and taking a 51-50 to put Parkersburg’s back against the wall. In miraculous fashion, the Big Reds completed a hook-and-ladder for an insane touchdown to win. Quarterbacks Jake Johnson and Alex Dunlevy combined for over 700 yards passing and ten touchdowns.
5. 36 Mingo Central 34 Point Pleasant (2017)
Two winning streaks would meet going into the 2017 season opener. Top-ranked Mingo Central, defending champions, would travel to fellow top-ranked Point Pleasant who held a home game winstreak that spanned over four seasons. It was a classic match with both teams going back and forth the entire night. It seemed that the Big Blacks had sealed the victory late but the Miners still had some time. They got to the other side of the field and with six seconds left, reigning Kennedy Award winner Jeremey Dillon bought as much time possible and threw it into the back of the endzone to find a diving Dawson Elia for an insane walk-off win.
4. 43 Wahama 42 Madonna OT (2012)
Two promising teams came to meet in the 2012 Class A state title game. Wahama was trying to redeem themselves from a could-have-been 2011 while Madonna felt confident being led by one of the best Class A players of the decade in Ross Comis. It was shootout from the get and the lead changed six times throughout the night. The Blue Dons were in trouble late but pulled some circus plays out to force the game into overtime. There, Comis scored his fifth touchdown of the night to go ahead 42-35. The White Falcons would reply with a score and with one of the riskiest calls of the decade- went for two… and would get it to win their first title in school history.
3. 33 Williamstown St. Marys 2OT (2014)
In the 2014 Class A state title game, the Yellowjackets and Blue Devils would meet for the second time. The first time St. Marys gave Williamstown their only Class A loss of the year. It was an anticipated matchup that seemed lopsided early with the Blue Devils jumping out 20-0. Despite this, Williamstown battled back and was able to force overtime. It appeared their journey would end here too with St. Marys only needing an extra to win but it was incredibly blocked. The game would peak in the third overtime in which the Blue Devils would go for the win via two point conversion but were stuffed to grant Williamstown champs.
2. 22 Fairmont Senior 21 Bridgeport 2OT (2016)
It had been over three years since Bridgeport had lost a game. It had also been nine years since Fairmont Senior had defeated the Indians despite many close calls. The two met in storybook fashion in the Class AA semifinals. As always, it was a fight from start to finish that resulted in overtime. It seemed like the Polar Bears were doomed with a 2nd and 31 before they connected on a huge play to eventually push it second overtime. There, they would go down one score but would pull within one point with a touchdown of their own. They elected to go for two with everything on the line. In dramatic fashion, quarterback Jake Abbott got the ball so ever narrowly across the goal line to secure the victory. It was a passing of the torch in some ways as the Indians have yet to beat Fairmont Senior since.
1. 30 South Charleston 26 Hurricane (2010)
November 19th: a date that would live in infamy within West Virginia prep football history. Two-time defending champion South Charleston was pit to face title hopeful Hurricane in the quarterfinals. Both teams entered the playoffs at 9-1. It was a spectacular game all four quarters. Down late, the Black Eagles appeared to be defeated as Hurricane attempted to run the clock out until a crazy fumble resulting in a SC-touchdown miraculous put the Black Eagles back on top. South Charleston would seal the game with an interception the next drive which led to a massive brawl. Over two dozen players were written down to be ejected with eight receiving sentences. The legal ramifications would carry over despite South Charleston defeating Brooke a week later to play in the title game. It was ultimately ruled the Black Eagles played ineligible players due to the brawl- ending their season. Brooke would go onto face Martinsburg, who in turn won their first of eight state championships in the next ten years.