CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There is a sign at the Weston city limits that welcomes visitors to "Touchdown City" that has stood for more than a decade.
Until the arrival of Coach Eddie Vincent, however, that sign was more ironic in nature than it was inspirational. Lewis County won two games in their final three seasons under former coach Eddie Williams, and in Vincent's first season went 2-8.
Since 2007, however, the Minutemen are 33-20. Vincent's team is currently in the midst of its third playoff run in four years.
The Minutemen (9-2) make the school's first playoff quarterfinal appearance at 7:30 tonight when they visit George Washington (9-2) at Steve Edwards Sr. Field.
The third-seeded Patriots have been to the quarterfinals in each of the past six seasons. They finished as Class AAA runner-up in 2011.
Many, however, expected a meeting between George Washington and University in the second round; a game that would be a rematch of the 2008 Class AAA semifinals. After all, the Hawks had hammered Lewis in a mutual season opener.
Lewis had other ideas. Junior defensive end Mark Metzgar - who had 95 yards to lead the Minutemen offense - returned an interception 23 yards for a touchdown that broke a 10-10 tie in the third quarter.
On University's ensuing drive, senior defensive tackle Tim Rinehart recovered a fumble inside the Minutemen 10-yard line and returned it 91 yards for another score that proved to be the clincher.
University outgained the Minutemen 387 yards to 231.
GW Coach Steve Edwards Jr. said he doesn't expect the joy resulting from an unexpected victory to cause a hangover for the Minutemen.
In fact, the match-up is somewhat similar to a 2007 quarterfinal against East Fairmont, in which a top-seeded Patriots team fell to a team that had struggled to get past Hurricane in the first round.
"They beat a team that beat them 35-7 in the first game of the season when they played again in the first round of the playoffs," Edwards said of Lewis. "That shows where they've come from, what they believe in and how well they've been coached.
"I know we're excited about playing a team we haven't played, and a team from a different part of the state. That's part of the fun of making the playoffs."
George Washington enters the game on a three-game win streak, and with senior quarterback Trevor Bell having thrown for more yards (191) in a first-round win over Hurricane than he had in a single game all season.