CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sissonville reached a milestone for its football program, hosting its first playoff game last week at Joe Sawyers Field.
The victory over Mingo Central gave Sissonville and third-year Coach Eddie Smolder a huge boost to their program and kept the Indians playing - just in time to face top-seeded Wayne.
"It was a great feeling and the best thing about it was to see the excitement of the kids," Smolder said. "It was a huge mark in history for the whole school and community."
Sissonville's time to bask in the accomplishment was brief, considering the reward for the No. 8 Indians (10-1) is a trip to face the Pioneers (11-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Pioneers defeated Sissonville 58-19 in the regular season.
Smolder understands the tall task at hand. Wayne has won the last two Class AA state titles and has played in the title game three times in the last four years.
"Obviously it is going to be a huge challenge," Smolder said. "Wayne has been the man in Class AA for a lot of years. They are the two-time defending state champions.
"In the playoffs you can't hide from anybody. Wayne is obviously the best team in AA right now. They are No. 1. If you want to be the man, you got to beat the man."
Despite the tall mountain to climb, Smolder said his team is up to the challenge.
"Our kids are excited to still be alive," Smolder said. "We are going to go down there and give it everything we have got. We are going to lay it all on the line and see where the chips fall.
"Our goal isn't just to go down there and play good. Our goal is to go down there and win."
Despite having tons of talent, Wayne Coach Tom Harmon has been equally impressed with the mental toughness of his Pioneers in not overlooking anyone on its way to 34 consecutive victories. Wayne hasn't lost since a 16-14 decision to then-Class AA Point Pleasant on Sept. 30, 2011.
The Pioneers' last loss at home was a 47-6 regular-season defeat to Bluefield on Nov. 5, 2010.
"In all honesty, there's not a lot of talk about it," said Harmon, of the winning streak. "A lot of things have to happen to win that many games in a row.
"We treat each week with 100-percent effort and focus. The things we can control are our focus and preparation, and we seem to do a good job with it. The memory can only be a week long."