CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There isn't a member of Capital High School's football team who had entered kindergarten the last time the Cougars reached the Class AAA playoff semifinals.
Capital last reached the semis in 1999, when they fell to Riverside 41-7 in the Warriors' inaugural season. The second-seeded Cougars (11-1) snapped that streak Saturday with a record-breaking 65-14 win over No. 6 seed University (10-2), giving Capital the right to travel to No. 2 seed Martinsburg (11-1) and face the three-time defending state champion Bulldogs at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Cougars' win over University was total. Capital dominated in the passing game, the running game, shoved the Hawks around on the line of scrimmage, smothered University's offense and were overwhelming on special teams.
After the game, University Coach John Kelley said that, "they adjusted real well after the first series and shut us down completely. I was befuddled. I had nothing."
The 51-point margin of victory was the largest in Class AAA playoff history for a quarterfinal, semifinal or championship game. Capital's 65 points were the third-most by a Class AAA team in playoff history.
Being in new playoff territory with a daunting task ahead of his team, Capital Coach Jon Carpenter said Sunday that he has faith in his players' ability to refocus on Martinsburg.
The Bulldogs have not lost to an in-state opponent since falling to South Charleston in the 2009 Class AAA quarterfinals, and have not lost a home game to an in-state team since Hurricane upset them in the first round of the 2005 playoffs.
"I don't worry about that," Carpenter said at the Secondary School Activities Commission offices. "They're excited because they're having success because of being focused.
"I think earlier in the year we weren't clicking on all cylinders because of a lack of focus. Now, they start to love on each other and enjoy being around each other. I think they want to keep that feeling that you saw (Saturday)."
Capital now is in position to break a drought longer than its semifinal absence streak. The school has not won a road playoff game since it beat top-seeded Musselman in the 1998 quarterfinals, 20-14.
Junior running back Kashuan Haley carried 20 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's win. He also returned a kickoff for 92 yards and a touchdown, and had 126 rushing yards in the first half.
Haley's emergence in the Capital offense two-thirds of the way through the season has seen him vault into Kennedy Award discussions. Entering the semifinals he has 1,565 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns, and has returned two kickoffs for scores.
Sophomore quarterback Tyrhee Pratt was 9-of-10 passing for 118 yards, and carried 10 times for 72 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
ROSS COMIS continued his late-season Kennedy Award campaign between the snowflakes at Jimmy Carey Stadium in Weirton on Saturday night, leading Class A No. 1 seed Madonna (12-0) to a 77-50 blowout of defending state champion and No. 8 seed Wahama (10-2).
Comis, the Blue Dons' 6-2, 215-pound senior quarterback, carried 26 times for 267 yards and five touchdowns. He threw the ball rarely, completing 4-of-8 attempts for 48 yards and a score, as Madonna led 34-16 at halftime and 56-22 at the end of three quarters.