SMITHERS, W.Va. -- Valley senior lineman Slayton Beard smiled when he recalled the scene at Laidley Field last November.
The Greyhounds had just won the school's first playoff game, beating Meadow Bridge 22-6.
"It's an experience when you see Coach (Benny) Hopkins smile after a game," Beard said. "It's not something you see every day."
Yes, these are good times at the Smithers-based school.
Valley is 4-0 and ranked No. 6 in the latest Secondary School Activities Commission playoff ratings.
To understand what Beard and his nine senior teammates have accomplished, a history lesson is in order.
The Greyhounds, dating to when Valley High School opened in 1977, have been to the playoffs eight times before last season (1980, '86, '99, 2000, '01, '02, '05, '09), but had not won a postseason game.
Poochie Washington, Bubby Criniti, Stevie Conliffe and Nate Wright are former All-State players from Valley, but never had been on a playoff-winning team.
But Beard, the son of long-time Valley assistant coach George Beard, and teammates like running back Cody Winter and quarterback Matt Whiteside, know the feeling.
"It feels great making history here at Valley," Whiteside said. "Just knowing we were the first. And yes, it was nice seeing Coach Hopkins smile. That's not something you see a lot. He is a real humble guy. It was nice to get him that first playoff win."
The win established the Greyhounds as a potential player in the race for Class A, just one year after a 1-9 season.
"This is where I grew up," Winter said. "Winning is important to us. We want to put Valley on the football map. We don't get a lot of respect around the state, but hopefully winning that playoff game is a step in the right direction."
Hopkins, who has been at Montgomery/Valley since 1972 and Valley's head coach since 1979, has no need for revisionist history. Even in the short term.
With a visit to Class A No. 2 Meadow Bridge looming tonight, that playoff win is a distant memory.
"I guess it was big, I keep hearing that," Hopkins said. "We're talking about playoffs here and I'm worried about Meadow Bridge. I guess it was good. It was the first one. I enjoyed it until that Sunday when we went back to Parkersburg (for the playoff pairings meeting).
"The only thing we can do is just try every week to get prepared to play, do the best we can and let the chips fall where they may."