PARKERSBURG, W.Va. -- Ritchie County's Class AA playoffs quarterfinal date with Robert C. Byrd will serve as a do-over of sorts for the Rebel seniors, Coach Mike Dawson said Sunday.
"We could see this scenario happening, where RCB wins and they're (seeded) 13 and we're 12 we'd end up hosting," Dawson said. "We kind of sold that idea to the kids, because when we last played at home on senior night was against Tyler and that was kind of a downer for the kids."
Class A Tyler Consolidated (5-5) traveled to Ellenboro on Oct. 25 and handed the Rebels (8-3) a 20-14 loss. Led by senior quarterback Alex Lipscomb (6-foot, 175 pounds), Ritchie County has won three in a row since then, topping Class A quarterfinalist Williamstown (9-2) and Grafton (0-9-1) to end the regular season, and then going to No. 4 seed Summers County (9-2) last week and beating the Bobcats 24-14 in Hinton.
"I think they're really looking forward to playing their last game on their home field on an up note," Dawson said.
The win over Summers County was Ritchie's first playoff win since 1994. That year, the Rebels were eliminated by Sissonville in the semifinals.
In his third year as Ritchie's coach after more than two decades coaching preps in Tennessee, Dawson has a quarterback whose rise to prominence somewhat mirrors his own. Dawson was a quarterback at Magnolia in the 1970s, and finished as runner-up to South Charleston's Robert Alexander in Kennedy Award voting in 1976.
Trevor Shepler retained the starting quarterback's job when Dawson took over in 2011. However, he was injured on the eighth play of the Rebels' season opener against St. Marys, thrusting Lipscomb into the lineup as a sophomore.
"So I turned to Alex and said, 'Alex, you're going to have to play quarterback.' He doesn't want to play quarterback. He wouldn't play it now if he had a choice," Dawson said. "That's kind of near and dear to my heart, because I wouldn't have played it in high school if I'd had a choice."
It's worked out so far for Lipscomb, Dawson and the Rebels. They have been to the playoffs three consecutive years after a 10-year absence from the postseason.
Lipscomb has completed 89-of-191 passes for 1,858 yards, 20 touchdowns and three interceptions. He is also Ritchie's rushing leader, with 153 carries for 1,118 yards and 10 TDs.
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TWO-TIME defending state champion Wayne (11-0) is 4-2 all-time in playoff rematches of regular season games. The top-seeded Pioneers host No. 8 seed Sissonville (10-1) on Friday night after beating the Indians 58-19 on Sept. 27.
Wayne Coach Tom Harmon said that the Pioneers would not approach the quarterfinal any differently than they have any of their first 11 games.
"I know it sounds a little odd, but we really don't any game any differently," Harmon said. "I think you set your standards to be as highly prepared as you can be every time you go to do it, every time you put your pads on.
"I think if you do anything beyond that, or don't do something as much, you're sending the wrong signal to your kids," he said.
Wayne had an easy time with No. 16 seed Philip Barbour (6-5), beating the Colts 53-25.
Wayne junior All-State quarterback Grant Ferguson (6-2, 180) did not play in the first round. Harmon said Ferguson took some hits from Bluefield in the regular-season finale that the coach wanted healed before returning to action.