CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Capital's playoff chances got an aftershock of a boost this week, when it was announced by the Secondary School Activities Commission that Elkins will forfeit its seven wins because the Tigers used an ineligible player through the course of the 2012 season.
The news came on the heels of the Cougars' 35-13 win last week against rival George Washington (6-2), and in theory moves Capital (5-3) up to No. 15 in the current SSAC Class AAA playoff ratings.
The Tigers are currently ranked eighth, but will likely see their wins turned to forfeit losses before the next set of rankings come out on Tuesday.
Still, there are two critical games remaining on the Capital schedule, including tonight's home tilt against No. 10 Beckley (6-3).
The Cougars finish the regular season next week at No. 3 Huntington (7-1).
"If we can keep the ball out of their quarterback's hands, I think we should be all right," Capital Coach Jon Carpenter said in reference to Flying Eagles senior Andrew Johnson. "They've got a lot of speed, like always, but if we keep from making mistakes I like our chances."
Johnson, at 6-foot-1 and 187 pounds, remains one of the state's more unheralded stars even after being named to the Class AAA All-State team as a punter in 2011.
He has run for 756 yards and 11 touchdowns while also completing 63 of 143 passes for 903 yards, 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Senior Ramon Edwards has 731 rushing yards and four touchdowns for Beckley.
Carpenter said a key for Capital is trusting its talent.
"There's not a lot of Xs and Os to it," he said with a laugh. "Honestly, we ran about four different plays against GW. That's all."
Carpenter is not in a hurry to fix what isn't broken. Sophomore Kashuan Haley leads the Cougars with 700 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, and has found his way to the end zone six other times by way of pass receptions, interception returns and kick returns.
Junior James Richmond has four more carries than Haley (77 to Haley's 73) and has 657 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
The third-year coach said he does not expect a letdown after his team beat its archrival for the first time in their last seven meetings.
"I haven't noticed anything different this week at practice. We've had good practices, so I think the kids are pretty well grounded in that respect," he said.
Capital is ranked seventh in the latest Daily Mail Class AAA poll. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at University of Charleston Stadium
In other area games (rankings reflect Daily Mail Poll positions):
St. Francis DeSales, Ohio (5-4) at Class AAA No. 6 George Washington (6-2) - The Patriots will play their first game without All-State linebacker Dustin Crouser in the lineup since 2009, when he broke into the starting lineup as a strong safety. The University of Charlotte recruit tore his ACL against Capital last week and is out for the season.
That leaves 2011 Kennedy Award winner Ryan Switzer as the sole established producer among the GW starting lineup. Switzer, who was held out of the end zone last week for the first time in a game since 2010, has rushed for 1,654 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2012.
The Stallions are a Class AA equivalent school from Columbus, Ohio, that GW added to its schedule to replace Lincoln County this season. DeSales has losses to Gahanna Lincoln (7-2), New Albany (7-2), Ryle, Ky. (3-6) and Columbus Bishop Watterson (6-3).