CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A hard-hitting, grind-it-out type game awaits Sissonville and Mingo Central in Sissonville's first-ever true home playoff game.
Coaches from both squads anticipate plenty of excitement surrounding the game and lots of action in the trenches as eighth-seeded Sissonville (9-1) hosts No. 9 Mingo Central (8-2) at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
"I think it's going to be a physical game," Indians Coach Eddie Smolder said. "Both of us like to run the football, so there's definitely going to be a lot of hard hitting going on and aggressive play, which is what football's supposed to be played like. Both of us are Cardinal Conference teams, so we've played good schedules and I think it's going to be a good football game."
During Sissonville's past home playoff contests, the Indians hosted at the University of Charleston's Laidley Field, but will now play at the program's regular home turf.
"It means a lot to our kids, our program and our community," Smolder said. "It's the first-ever home (playoff) football game at Sissonville High School. They've hosted two other games at Laidley Field in the 90s, but they've never been able to host one at Sissonville High School due to the facilities, but we've upgraded and Kanawha County Schools has put in new bleachers for us, new lights."
Sissonville's offense averaged more than 43 points per game during the regular season, led by senior quarterback Nathan Miller and senior fullback Dominic Walker.
In regular season play, Walker finished fourth among Class AA backs with 1,310 rushing yards on 159 carries and 20 touchdowns. Miller completed 58 of 108 passes for 976 yards and 12 touchdowns, with four interceptions.
"Nathan has stepped up a lot," Walker said of his teammate. "He's taken over. He runs the offense and he runs it good. He makes sure everyone's disciplined and we do what we do. He just leads us there."
Smolder said he agreed with Walker that Miller has provided a steady hand for the Indians offense.
"Nathan's had a great year," Smolder said. "He's managed the game. He's been flawless in our no huddle for 10 games."
Beyond Miller and Walker, Jared Wilkinson has also made large contributions this season with 681 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Houston Hill leads the team with 28 catches for 576 receiving yards and five scores.
"With this year's team, we have many people that we can go to," Walker said. "That's a good thing about the team we have this year. We have more than one person to count on."
Like Sissonville, Mingo Central boasts a talented quarterback in sophomore Steve Hammond.