Prep football: Unbeatens claim top seeds for playoffs
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. -- Cabell Midland, Wayne and Tucker County claimed the top seeds for the West Virginia high school football playoffs Sunday, as the pairings for each of the state's three classes were announced at the Secondary School Activities Commission offices.
Each team completed a 10-0 regular season during the weekend, and will host first-round games at their home sites Friday and Saturday.
Midland, the Mountain State Athletic Conference champion, will take on Class AAA No. 16 seed Oak Hill (7-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Defending Class AA state champion Wayne will host Clay County (5-5) the same day and time.
Tucker County, whose campus is still buried under snow in Parsons, will host 16th-seeded Moorefield (5-4) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
"You go up on top of the hill where our school is, and there's still 3 feet of snow packed in up there," Mountain Lions Coach A.J. Rapp said. "If you go down to the bottom of the hill where the field is, there's hardly any snow."
SSAC Executive Director Gary Ray took a moment before each of the three playoff meetings Sunday to remind those in attendance that, while the highlight of the prep football season is ready to begin, there is still plenty of the state with more serious concerns.
"There's still a lot of people in this state without power," Ray said. "There's people that made the trip here today that don't have power back at home. We need to keep those people that are here, and those that are around the state still struggling, in our minds."
There are four Kanawha Valley teams that qualified for the postseason, including three in the Class AAA field. George Washington (8-2) claimed the No. 3 seed, and will meet No. 13 seed Hurricane (6-4) for the second time this season.
GW beat the Redskins 41-15 on Sept. 14 at Steve Edwards Sr. Field.
Capital (7-3) is seeded seventh, and will play No. 10 Musselman (7-3) at 7:30 Friday night.
The Applemen had requested a 1:30 p.m. Saturday game time against the Cougars, but University of Charleston Stadium is unavailable at that time. West Virginia State University plays at UC Saturday at 1 p.m. that day.
"It's an inconvenience for our fans more than it is for the team," veteran Musselman Coach Denny Price said. "I think we'll be all right so far as the team goes. But fans having the make the trip now have to be concerned with leaving work early and that kind of thing."
Musselman, located in Inwood, is a 5-hour, 6-minute drive to Charleston, via Google Maps.
In Class A, No. 14 seed Buffalo (7-3) will play No. 3 Wahama (10-0) for a second consecutive week. The White Falcons beat Buffalo 41-14 on Friday night in Mason.
However, Wahama's field is not approved by the SSAC to host playoff games.
The teams will play on the artificial surface at Point Pleasant High.
Other area teams that qualified for the postseason in Class AA include No. 7 seed Scott (7-3) and No. 12 seed Roane County (6-4). The Skyhawks, who have lost three consecutive home games, will play host to No. 10 seed Wyoming East (7-3) on Friday.
The Raiders will visit No. 5 seed Bluefield (8-2) the same night.
In Class A, Valley (8-2) earned the No. 9 seed and will play No. 8 Clay-Battelle (9-1) at University High School at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Hurricane first-year Coach Jeremy Taylor said that although GW has lost All-State linebacker/fullback Dustin Crouser to a knee injury since the teams' first meeting, the Patriots' makeup still poses a challenge for his young team.
George Washington earned a 33-6 victory over the Redskins in the 2011 state playoff quarterfinals in Coach Willis May's final season guiding Hurricane.
"We've struggled against power teams but had some success against finesse teams. The problem with GW is that they're a little of both," Taylor said. "Sure, Crouser not being there changes things a little, but there's a lot more to that team than Crouser.
"There's a lot more to that team than (2011 Kennedy Award winner Ryan) Switzer. If you load up on him, their quarterback (Trevor Bell) will beat you. It's going to be a challenge, but the kids will be ready for it."
Defending Class AAA state champion Martinsburg (9-1) earned the No. 2 seed, and will take on No. 15 Beckley (6-4) in the first round for the second consecutive year.
Class A defending champ Wheeling Central (7-3) is the No. 10 seed in that bracket, and will travel to No. 7 seed East Hardy (9-1) on Saturday afternoon for a rematch of last season's state semifinals.