"We weren't real sure where we were going to be this year, to be honest. I thought we were going to be OK. I liked our skill people, but I'm really happy with the away the line has come together."
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EAST HARDY scored arguably one of the biggest playoff wins of the 21st century in the first round when it eliminated No. 10 seed Wheeling Central, 60-34, in Baker.
The seventh-seeded Cougars (10-1) reached the playoff semifinals in 2011, only to be beaten by Central (7-4) in Wheeling by a 37-14 score. The Maroon Knights went on to win their second consecutive state championship and their eighth Class A crown since 2000.
"We have a really good group of kids right now, with several kids that have started since they were freshmen and (have) been around for this entire run we've had over the last few years," East Hardy Coach Chad Williams wrote in an email.
Cougars quarterback Shawn Skovron (6-0, 175) completed 18 of 26 passes for 360 yards and five touchdowns in the win, bringing his season totals to 2,526 yards and 31 touchdowns.
East Hardy has 23 players on its roster and is the eighth-smallest public school that fields a football team in West Virginia.
Wheeling Central entered the game with a 35-3 playoff record against public schools in since 2000. The Knights' only losses prior to 2012 were to Moorefield in 2001 and 2003, and to Williamstown in 2008.
All three of those clubs went on to win state championships.
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CENTRAL'S LOSS, combined with first-round losses by Williamstown and Moorefield, create a rare field for the quarterfinals.
It will be the first time since 1994 that none of those teams advanced into the quarterfinal round.