CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Valley and Clay-Battelle football teams don't have a lot in common, but there are some similarities shared by the two programs as they prepare to meet in the first round of the Class A playoffs.
The biggest commonality between the two is that both enter the postseason having suffered stinging defeats in their regular season finales.
No. 8 Clay Battelle (9-1) dropped its regular season finale in a 40-2 loss at Madonna last Friday, while No. 9 Valley (8-2) dropped a turnover-filled 28-20 decision at Summers County.
For both Clay-Battelle Coach Ryan Wilson and Valley Coach Benny Hopkins, the biggest challenge this week will be making sure their respective players forget about the past and concentrate on their first round matchup scheduled for University High in Morgantown at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
"It was a tough night for us, but I see 16 football teams here today and we're one of them," said Wilson, whose team finished 9-1 for the second consecutive season. "Everyone else is putting their stuff away and we're still playing. We've been in the playoffs in seven of the last nine years so that says a lot about our program.
"We've put last Friday night behind us. Everyone's record right now is 0-0, so we'll move on from there. We're not going to talk about Friday night ... it's history."
"Turnovers are the key for us," said Hopkins, whose team also matched last season's 8-2 finish. "We had six turnovers Friday night, with four of them inside the 20-yard line. You can't play like that and beat anybody. We've got to take care of the ball.
"We played pretty well against Summers County, but we turned the ball over. We outgained them, but you have to do everything well to win and we didn't.
"The thing I like about our kids is that they know they're going into a second season now. We've moved past last week. Now we just need to get ready for season two."
Preparing for the postseason will be made more difficult than normal given that neither coach knows much about his opponent.
"We play a team called Valley-Wetzel in our conference, but that's about it," Wilson jokingly said when asked about his knowledge of the Greyhounds. "This is a whole different Valley for us. I looked at their roster and their roster and I'm sure they have a good team. If not, they wouldn't be here."
Hopkins' knowledge of the Cee-Bees is equally limited.