CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Winfield hasn't beaten rival Hurricane since 2009, which is a prep sports lifetime ago.
After all, not a single student in either high school today was walking those halls when the upset occurred.
Neither team made the playoffs that year. The Generals finished 3-7 and Hurricane, at 5-5, missed out on the Class AAA playoffs for the last time before its current string of four consecutive appearances. The Redskins have reached the postseason in seven of the last eight years.
It is fitting, then, that the Putnam County rivals meet tonight in a game that might hasten the approach of the off-season for the loser.
Winfield (3-4) enters today's 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Redskins Stadium in Hurricane needing to win each of its remaining games to make the playoffs for the first time as a Class AAA school. The Generals moved up from Class AA in 2008, and their last postseason appearance in that class was in 2005. Winfield, which is led by senior all-purpose back Chris Turner and senior quarterback Toby Show, has games on the far side of tonight's contest against St. Albans and top-ranked Huntington.
Hurricane (4-3) has an even tougher row to hoe. The Redskins, who have yet to beat a team with a winning record this season, face tests at Capital and at Spring Valley in the final two weeks of the season. A win tonight is almost imperative to their playoff hopes.
Redskins senior running back Zach Pate has bounced back nicely from a knee injury suffered against Princeton four weeks ago. Pate leads the Kanawha Valley in scoring with 126 points and cracked the 1,000-yard mark for total yardage last week. He has rushed for 643 yards and 13 TDs and has 410 receiving yards with five scores.
Quarterback Austin Hensley has completed 103-of-161 passes for 1,613 yards, 18 TDs and six interceptions, ranking him third among statewide Class AAA passing yardage leaders. Show ranks fifth with 1,216 passing yards, and has completed 106-of-170 passes. He has thrown 12 touchdown passes and been intercepted six times.
In other area games tonight:
Capital (6-1) at Nitro (1-6) Capital's Kashuan Haley has emerged as the Cougars' top running back, and has rushed for 835 yards and 10 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Nitro's Nick Brown has stepped in and picked up the carries usually taken by Brayden Underwood, who has missed the last two games with an injury. Brown has 485 yards on 90 carries.