PARKERSBURG, W.Va. - Capital football coach Jon Carpenter was in his first year as a Cougars assistant the last time the team faced University.
That game, a 2007 Class AAA playoff quarterfinal played at Pony Lewis Field at Morgantown High School, resulted in a 24-13 win for the Hawks.
There have been significant changes within both programs since then. Carpenter succeeded former coach Jack Woolwine in 2010 and University moved into its own on-campus facility, Mylan Pharmaceuticals Stadium, in 2008.
Carpenter said another notable change within his program could play a key role in the teams' next meeting, a playoff quarterfinal set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Laidley Field.
"Those years before I don't think we had much of a chance because we had a skill person or two, but we didn't have the people on the line of scrimmage to compete with them strength-wise," Carpenter said in recalling Capital's loss to the Hawks in 2007 as well as quarterfinal losses to Morgantown in 2008 and 2010.
"That's one of the first things I did when I got this job, was to drive up to Morgantown and see how they do things in the weight room," Carpenter said. "I think they're the best at it."
Even so, the Hawks (10-1) got their second win of the season against Morgantown on Saturday night, beating the Mohigans 9-3.
Carpenter said at the Secondary School Activities Commission offices Sunday that he was impressed with the intangibles displayed by University in the win.
"They're tough. They're really good at what they do, and they don't beat themselves," he said. "They've got some big kids, but they're just scrappy. Those are the ones that are tough to play against because they fight.
"Morgantown was so much bigger than they were, but they just fought," Carpenter said. "They're the kind of team you don't want to play against and let them hang around because they just keep fighting."
Capital (10-1) also won a rematch in the first round, beating Hurricane 38-10 at Laidley Field on Friday night. Junior running back Kashuan Haley ran for 268 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries in the win.
Senior defensive end James Walton had 10 total tackles for Capital while senior safety James Richmond added 81/2 stops as Capital held Hurricane (6-5) to 260 total yards, 138 fewer than the Redskins averaged per game this season.
GEORGE WASHINGTON senior running back Draven Riffe re-injured his ankle Friday night in the Patriots' (9-2) 21-14 overtime win over No. 9 seed Oak Hill (8-3). GW Coach Steve Edwards Jr. said Sunday that Riffe could be ready to go for Friday night's quarterfinal game at top-seeded Huntington (11-0).
"He's OK. He's sore. It's the same ankle, and it's black and blue," Edwards said. "At the same time, a lot of (teams) are banged up."
Riffe ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries before the injury. Huntington Coach Billy Seals said that as a result of GW's ability to run its offense effectively with either Riffe or senior Jacob Jackson at tailback, the Highlanders will have to prepare for both variations of the Patriots' attack. The Patriots employ more of a power running game with Riffe, whereas their offense is more of a spread with Jackson in the backfield.
"Riffe is a kid who, once he gets his shoulders north and south, he's difficult to tackle," said Seals, whose team scrimmaged GW in the Mountain State Athletic Conference Grid-O-Rama in August but did not play the Patriots in the regular season.
"The Jackson kid, to me, is a little more of a scat-back. He's a kid who likes to bounce it and get on the edge and things like that. When you've got the kind of kids that they've got up front - they're as good as anybody we've played up front - you're going to have to play well," Seals said.