CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston Coach John Messinger has been around football long enough to know that on occasion, a winless opponent can be more dangerous than an unbeaten one.
And that's Messinger's biggest worry when the Black Eagles (1-1) visit Spring Valley (0-2) tonight at Timberwolf Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
"The scary thing about Spring Valley right now is that they're 0-2," said Messinger, whose team will play its first road contest. "They were a preseason top 5 or 6 team, and I still think they're worthy of that.
"We know that Spring Valley is one of most physical teams that we ever have on our schedule. We had them off the schedule for a year or two and that didn't hurt my feelings one bit.
"Don't count them out. They're going to be around at playoff time. They're going to be so hungry, they scare me to death."
There will be some apprehension on the Spring Valley sideline as Coach Brad Dingess tries to figure out a way to slow an explosive South Charleston offense.
Spring Valley's offense has been sluggish in gaining only 232 total yards in a season-opening loss to Cabell Midland and just 193 in a shutout loss to Huntington last week.
Dingess knows that will have to change for the Timberwolves to compete.
The main weapon in the power running attack for Spring Valley is Elijah Wellman, a bruising 6-foot-2, 230-pound fullback/linebacker.
"We've got to play our game, which is three yards and a cloud of dust, grind it out football," Dingess said. "It's no secret what we do, but we've got to try to get something positive going early and kind of get into a groove with some positive yardage. We'll try to feed Elijah (Wellman) the ball, especially in short-yardage situations.
"I think our best defense is going to be our offense this week. We've been kind of working on that in practice."
Wellman, who committed to West Virginia University, has struggled early this season having gained just 92 yards on 25 carries this season.
But the Black Eagles' past troubles with powerful fullbacks is another source of concern for Messinger.
It's a troublesome past with recent consequences for SC having surrendered 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns to fullback Dustin Crouser in the Black Eagles' season-opening loss to George Washington.