CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Cabell Midland's two-platoon system paid dividends Friday night, as the top-ranked Class AAA Knights (8-0) came from behind to down No. 8 Capital (4-3) 21-13 at University of Charleston Stadium.
Trailing 13-7 entering the fourth quarter, Midland - which uncommonly for a West Virginia high school team plays a different set of starters on offense and defense - got a 3-yard run from Steven Matthews to take the lead with 11:29 left. Senior David Gaydosz gave Midland some breathing room with 8:32 left, when the 1,000-yard rusher broke off a 77-yard run to give the Knights an eight-point lead.
"When you play one way you're never spent," said Gaydosz, who ran for 170 yards on 20 carries, pushing him over the 1,000-yard mark for the second consecutive season.
"That shows up in the fourth quarter. The other team a lot of the time is hanging their heads and they don't have the depth that we do. It showed tonight," he said.
Capital hung with the deeper, more experienced Knights through three quarters, and scored twice in the first quarter. Sophomore Kashaun Haley ripped off a 75-yard run to draw first blood with 5:05 left in the first. After Midland answered quickly with a 66-yard pass from Coy Pettit to Kasey Thomas, Capital junior James Richmond scored from 48 yards out.
"I knew this was how it was going to be," Midland second-year Coach Luke Salmons said. "Capital's good. They're real good. We knew that with their speed we were going to be in a fight. Thankfully we started making tackles there in the second half. That gave us a chance."
Capital had 167 of its 209 rushing yards in the first half and 179 of its 249 total yards before halftime.
"They came out and brought their A-game. They hit hard. They brought out some schemes that we weren't expecting," Gaydosz said of the Capital defense, which along with Huntington's he cited as the hardest-hitting defenses the Knights have faced in 2012.
"We made some adjustments in the second half, and we knew we were going to break it," Gaydosz said.
Meanwhile for Midland, accomplishing the win became a matter of getting out of its own way. The Knights fumbled the ball six times, losing three. Led by Gaydosz, the Knights ran for 187 yards in the second half alone.
"We kept driving but we kept fumbling," Gaydosz said. "We kept shooting ourselves in the foot."
But Capital could not do anything with its additional opportunities. Haley had a 32-yard touchdown run wiped off the scoreboard with 10 minutes left that would have given the Cougars a two-touchdown lead.
"We're too young to overcome that many costly penalties," Capital Coach Jon Carpenter said. "I'm proud they played hard and we had a chance to win. We probably feel like we should have."
Richmond finished the game with 115 yards rushing on 12 carries while Haley had 94 yards on nine carries.
Capital plays host to rival George Washington (6-1) next Friday, while Midland returns home to Ona to play host to Princeton (1-7).
CABELL MIDLAND 21, CAPITAL 13
First downs 19 11