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Prep football: Griffith wants Skyhawks to become top tier team in Class AA

MADISON, W.Va. -- Scott has sewn up a spot in the Class AA playoffs for the eighth time in the last 10 seasons.

How long the Skyhawks (7-2) expect to stick around once the postseason begins Nov. 9 remains to be seen. After a 23-0 home loss Friday to No. 4 Robert C. Byrd (9-1), Scott Coach Shane Griffith took a moment to assess his team's place in the Class AA pecking order.

"We know what we are, but we're trying to get better. I think we're a bubble team. Not a bubble team that is trying to get into the playoffs every year, but a bubble team in terms of trying to crack into that upper level of programs in double-A," Griffith said.

"The problem we have right now is that in our last two home games both have been against teams on that level, and we've not given our home fans very much to cheer about in those games," he said.

Byrd held Scott to 104 total yards (106 rushing), regularly beating Skyhawks running backs into running lanes while making use of its team speed on defense.

In its previous home game on Oct. 5, Scott dropped a 47-6 decision to top-ranked and defending state champion Wayne (9-0).

The Skyhawks' leading rusher on the season, junior Robert Bias, entered the game with 915 yards. He was held to five yards on nine carries. Tristan Crone and Cameron Loftus each ran for 52 yards against the Eagles.

"I think they're a faster team than what we expected them to be," Griffith said.

Numerous injuries have piled up for Scott in recent weeks, as well. On Friday, the team lost junior quarterback Cody Brown to a knee injury late in the first half. Griffith said the injury did not appear to be serious, and Brown was held out the remainder of the game for precautionary measures.

Scott finishes its regular season with a home game against Class AAA Logan (6-3) on Friday night. A year ago, Scott stunned the Wildcats in the final game of the regular season with a 38-7 win in Logan that handed the hosts just their second loss of the 2011 season.

"We know they'll be coming in fighting for their playoff lives," Griffith said. "We've got a lot of bonus points to offer them, so with all things considered we need to be ready."

*  *  *

JOHN MESSINGER predicted on Sept. 21 that a 6-4 record might not be enough for a Class AAA team to clinch a playoff berth, and it turns out the South Charleston coach might be correct.

The Black Eagles got 246 passing yards and three touchdowns from freshman quarterback Kentre Grier in a 42-21 win at Parkersburg on Friday, but SC might be on the outside looking in to the playoff field for a second consecutive season after it dropped a 7-6 decision at Ripley (4-5) a week earlier.

South Charleston wrapped up its regular season against the Big Reds, and is 6-4. However, the team can pick up a maximum of four bonus points this week toward the Secondary School Activities Commission playoff rating.

SC would receive a bonus point if Parkersburg beats George Washington (7-2) in Charleston this week. It would also gain points from Capital (6-3) beating Huntington (8-1) on the road and Lincoln County (0-9) beating Oak Hill (7-2) at home. The Black Eagles are guaranteed a bonus point from the result of the game between Nitro (2-7) and Riverside (1-8) in Quincy, as SC defeated both teams this season.

*  *  *

THE PRIMARY beneficiary of George Washington's more pass-friendly approach to offense last week was Jordan Clay.

The Patriots threw the football 19 times in their 49-20 win over Columbus St. Francis DeSales on Friday, with senior quarterback Trevor Bell completing 14 of 18 passes for 201 yards.

Clay caught 10 passes for 131 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win. Prior to the game, the senior had caught 15 passes for 216 yards and one score all season.

*  *  *

BYRD COACH Bruce Carey wrapped up his first regular season with the Eagles with the win at Scott. Afterward, he told his players not to be satisfied with a 9-1 record and a playoff spot.

He elaborated after the team meeting.

"I told them they can't be too happy and start celebrating yet," said Carey, who coached at Bridgeport from 1997-2009 and won a Class AA state championship with the Indians in 2000.

"The goal can't be to get into the playoffs. You hear a lot about teams who want to still be playing on Thanksgiving, and - funny enough - it's usually those same teams who are playing on Thanksgiving weekend every year.

"Byrd hasn't had a lot of success in the playoffs, and that's what we're trying to change."

Byrd, which dropped to Class AA this season, has an all-time postseason record of 3-10, and has never advanced past the quarterfinal round.

Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.taylor@dailymail.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ItsreallyDT. ;;


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