Third & Long – Week Nine

My Personal Power Rankings

People love rankings, from football teams to the best chicken sandwiches. For C&C rankings, a mathematical approach is typically used: numbers, stats, wins, losses, strength of schedule, etc.

However, this week, I want to post my personal Top 10 Programs Rankings.

  1. Martinsburg – How can one go wrong with the defending champions? They have two losses to out of state teams that would wipe up the rest of the state. There may need to be an all-star game at Wheeling Island. The best of West Virginia vs Martinsburg.
  2. West Virginia University – Yes, the Mountaineers come on my list at number two. They had a great game against Baylor and showed that they are no slouch. Who knew Kansas was going to be this good?
  3. Wheeling Central – Love this program and the fans. They come in at #3 this week and might be the by-far favorites in Class A though one cannot really know with their lack of in-state comparison.
  4. Bluefield – Might as well embrace the alleged bias toward the Beavers because they are the best 2-5 team in the state. If any other AA team played their schedule, they would have three wins max. I believe they will make the playoffs.
  5. Montcalm – 7-0, blowing teams out, winning games they shouldn’t win. I’m so happy for this program. They have worked hard and impressed. They should make the playoffs and hopefully get a good matchup.
  6. Cameron – Another undefeated team that has been dominating opponents. Looking forward to the Dragons entering the Class A playoffs with momentum and gain redemption on their upset loss a year ago.
  7. Doddridge County – With four shutouts on the year, this impressive defense will take on a tough AA Roane County this week. Their rank has fluctuated but could they actually be in the Wheeling CC and Williamstown tier?
  8. Fairmont Senior – #2 in the AA rankings but still the reigning champs. As always, they play a tough schedule that prepares them for the postseason, and they always find a way to play their best in November (and December).
  9. Marshall Thundering Herd – Marshall stays in the power rankings this week for their victory over Notre Dame six weeks ago. They stay there because it’s something that WVU has never done.
  10. Hurricane – They come into the Top 10 now with a great win over Cabell Midland at The Castle. They showed their strength, speed, and overall talent. The Redskins are a very scary team going into the playoffs.

Playoff Ratings

This time of year everyone starts to figure out who is in and who is out. What side of the bracket is your team on and can they avoid seeing a powerhouse in an early round? It’s okay to look ahead. It’s fun. You can project and try to determine in your head where everyone is going to end up. There’s still a ton of football to be played. There are too many tough games for all the teams still fighting for the playoffs or positioning. Each year there is a unique upset or a team collapse down the stretch.

For myself, I don’t like to look until the last two weeks. By that point there is a solid portion of the field that is already in and places are mainly determined. Then it comes down to the last 10-16 seeds and all the bonus points they need to get in. A special thing with the SSAC system of playoffs is that a 1-8 vs 1-8 game can have massive implications on a team making or not making the playoffs. While it may not feel special for either one of those teams that are struggling, it does give every game a true meaning.


While reading online, there was a quote that stood out to me. One on the topic of Class A programs and how it has all changed in a short period of time. I believe the quote said that in 1990, 7 out of the 16 schools that made the playoffs that year no longer exist. Powerhouse programs such Matewan, Duval, Peterstown, etc. That’s incredible. Schools that you thought may never close down… are now gone and slowly being forgotten about.

I get it. Consolidation is supposed to help the kids and the county/state. From financial stability to a higher level of facilities and faculty. It’s aimed to improve education. I am curious though, when people study this topic in around 20-30 years, and they get the chance to ask if consolidation was actually worth it. Did it actually help the kids? Did they improve their education? Why couldn’t that money go into the already existing schools to update and refurbish what they already had? Did creating bigger classrooms give less opportunities for teachers to provide 1 on 1 learning?

Besides the educational standpoint, it has killed the sense of community. Most of these small town’s identities came from the school. They were proud to be a Pirate, a Wildcat, or whatever you may have identified with. When you take that away, they lose a little piece of who they are. The students don’t find a connection with the new school or new “area”. It’s not their home, it’s not their true friends, and it’s just not the same. They created this loss of identity that may have caused root issues on why that kid may never come back to their hometown. Then we wonder why the younger populations aren’t staying in the state.

It’s never going to end. Our population is decreasing, and the people that govern our state have been asking the same questions for over 100 years on how to bring in more industry. It won’t be long before you see another rush of schools falling into Class A. Another round of schools that were AAA powers many years before, now shrinking to the size of the smallest. It is a sad, weird feeling.

It would be nice for kids to grow up in a time where you had all these communities battle it out on the field or on the court. How fun would it have been to watch Baileysville, Mullens, and Pineville play? Why isn’t Ceredo-Kenova still around? Dupont, East Bank. I get it. Perhaps, I am completely wrong. Just something tells me it was a bit more fun back in the day.  

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