CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For two teams that enter the week ranked No. 2 and No. 10 in the Secondary School Activities Commission Class AAA playoff ratings, George Washington (6-0) and Cabell Midland (5-2) probably did their fair share of soul searching in the past seven days.
Last week, George Washington gave up 368 rushing yards - and 578 total yards - to a Hurricane team that came into their game averaging just 167 yards on the ground and 400 total.
The Patriots pulled out a 60-54 win by making a stop inside their own 15 yard-line in the final minute, but Coach Steve Edwards Jr. noted that his defense is not at full strength, and that substitutions had to be made in the second half in order to pull out that win.
Midland, meanwhile, entered its game at Capital averaging close to 425 rushing yards per game. The Cougars held them to 201 to win 35-26.
Tonight, GW visits Midland for a key showdown that could determine whether Midland is able to host a first-round playoff game. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
While GW has relied heavily on senior running back Draven Riffe for much of its offensive firepower - he is second in Class AAA with 1,379 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns - Midland typically splits its carries between four running backs with overwhelming consequences for its opponents. Senior Kasey Thomas leads the Knights with 848 yards and 13 touchdowns, senior fullback Teran Barnitz has 599 yards and seven TDs, senior Donte Hendricks has run for 518 yards and five TDs, while wingback Alex Childers has added 381 yards and four scores.
In other games:
Woodrow Wilson (3-3) at Capital (5-1) - Coming off a three-week stretch in which the Cougars faced South Charleston, top-ranked Huntington and Cabell Midland, guarding against a letdown could be top priority for Coach Jon Carpenter's team tonight. The team could receive a shot in the arm from the expected return of running back James Richmond, who missed last week's win over Midland following the death of his father. In his absence, junior Kashuan Haley took firm hold of the role of offensive leader, and has 733 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.
Woodrow is led by Chase Hancock, who has 338 rushing yards and 358 yards receiving.