CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Capital and University will enter their Saturday Class AAA quarterfinal game against each other at Laidley Field with plenty in common.
Both are defensive-minded teams. Aside from the late-season emergence of Capital junior running back Kashuan Haley (6-foot, 190 pounds) as a true offensive star, both teams lack a jump-off-the-page statistical phenomenon. Both are also riding waves of positive energy fueled by late-season wins over rival schools in their respective cities.
"This is an incredible bunch, to be able to pull that off," University Coach John Kelley said of the Hawks' 9-3 win over Morgantown last week at Mylan Pharmaceuticals Stadium in Morgantown.
"That was probably the most gut-wrenching game I've ever been in," Kelley said. "I thought I was going to have a stroke a couple times.
"(We had) missed scoring opportunities, low-scoring game, big play after big play, kids on both sides rising up and making great plays. It was a war. There's no question about it."
It was the second consecutive win over the Mohigans in as many games played by the Hawks. University won the teams' meeting in the regular-season finale, 14-3.
Capital enters the game having rolled Hurricane out of the playoff field with a 38-10 win, one week after stifling rival George Washington in a 14-6 win in South Hills.
University has the second-best scoring defense in Class AAA, giving up just 124 points.
Capital is No. 5 on that list, giving up a total of 166 points.
Both teams are also seeking to return to the semifinals after varying lengths of absence.
While University has reached the semis five times since 2000 - the last appearance being a 32-15 loss to Brooke in 2010 - Capital's last visit to the semifinals came in a 41-7 loss to Riverside in 1999.
To that end, both have made adjustments to their lineups late in the year.