Martinsburg, W.Va – It’s never a bad look when 3 of the remaining 8 teams hail from the same conference (and in fact, are within 12 miles of each other).
Not to mention all 3 ball clubs enter week #2 of the playoffs with realistic expectations of moving on. Let’s take a peek at all of the match ups to get you set up for a weekend full of high school football.
#8 Musselman v #1 Parkersburg South: Friday, November 18th, 7:30 pm, Parkersburg
The Applemen won in dramatic fashion in a rematch over Wheeling Park in round one. Trailing at the half, Musselman came back to win 28-23.
The sequel is so much sweeter!! @MuHSApplemen gets the win in round 1 28-23 over WP! Listen to the highlights below!#wvprepfb @MetroNewsPrep @CoachBThomas @FredPersinger @BaydenHartman @Sheltonlogan9 @brayden_miller3 @Ray_Adames1 @McWiley21 @brettphillips_3 pic.twitter.com/v5ZTVMCDwP
— Panhandle News Network: WEPM & WCST (@EPNewsNetwork) November 11, 2022
“There’s a lot of things that went into it.” Musselman head coach Brian Thomas said about the Wheeling Park game. “Obviously if you didn’t win it your season was done. And the other side of it was playing a team that beat us by 4 touchdowns. It was really just a roller coaster game.”
It now brings Musselman face to face with the top team in class AAA Parkersburg South, who slayed the EPAC’s Hedgesville Eagles 78-12.
“They’re the #1 team for a reason. They’re a really well coached team and do things that present some problems for sure. They have a lot of speed on offense.” Thomas said. “The quarterback is a dual threat kid which is their biggest weapon, you can defend something perfect and then when it breaks down he takes off. Defensively they present a lot of pressure, get after you, and present problems.”
Their QB, Robert Shockey, has rushed for over 1,200 yards and 13 scores, while throwing for 2,434 and an additional 29 scores.
The Patriots also boast wideout Cyrus Traugh who has amassed 900 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns.
“I think Parkersburg South is very similar to Wheeling Park in that they have a standout receiver.” Thomas said. “But then they also have another 2 guys that can hurt you as well.”
The Patriots average a massive 51.5 points per game, while allowing a modest 20.6. But expect Brian Thomas’ men to be equal to the task when they take the field on Friday night.
#10 Jefferson v #2 Huntington: Saturday, November 19th, 1:30 pm, Huntington
Jefferson was the lone AAA team to pull an upset in round 1, beating Spring Valley 34-14, leading from end to end.
“I think it was good for us to jump out because we know what kind of team they are.” Jefferson head coach Criag Hunter said. “I thought that if we could get a few stops, we saw some things in their defense that we could exploit, and get the ball out to our athletes in space, and then later on in the game being able to command the game with the run, we’d have a good chance of winning the game and thats what happened.”
It will be a grand total of 1,478 miles over 7 days for the Cougar bus as Jefferson will return to Huntington for their round 2 matchup against the Highlanders.
“Going to Huntington then turning back around and going back to Huntington doesn’t feel good.” Hunter said, “Two long rides, staying in the hotel room trying to make the kids feel at home it’s tough, hopefully we’ll be up to the challenge and pull another major upset.”
The Highlanders are 10-1 and have not lost since week 1 when they fell by a single point 29-28, to, you guessed it, Spring Valley.
The Huntington offense starts and stops with Dayton football commit quarterback Gavin Lochow.
“We’re going to have to stop the quarterback.” Hunter said. “He’s strong and deceptively fast, they’ve got a nice running back, we’re going to have our hands full getting the stops that we need.”
Jefferson opened their scoring last week with an 86 yard touchdown reception by Keyshaun Robinson who has had a somewhat muted season. If he is able to click along with the stable of horses Jefferson has at receiver, a double digit seed may very well reach the semi’s.
#3 Martinsburg v #6 Bridgeport: Saturday, November 19th, 7:00, Martinsburg
The reigning class AAA champs stumbled a little out of the gate leading Morgantown by just 7 at the half. However, in true Bulldog fashion, Martinsburg outscored the Mohigans 28-7 en route to a 42-14 victory.
“I thought we came out and played well in the second half,” Bulldog head coach Britt Sherman said “In the first half, we just had a lot of turnovers and self-inflicted mistakes. At half we did adjust and woke up a little bit. But Morgantown is a pretty good football team. That felt more like a second round game than a first round game.”
Now facing Martinburg in round 2, is an even more ground and pound team in Bridgeport who lost to the Bulldogs 21-0 in the state semifinals last year. This doesn’t sound like much, but it was the narrowest margin of victory Martinsburg had against an in-state opponent.
“We knew it was going to be two weeks, if we advanced, of run heavy teams, whether it be Bridgeport or Cabell Midland.” “Bridgeport, you have to step back and appreciate what they do, they’re a well oiled machine, it’s different. It’s something you really can’t prepare for with your scout team, to get that physical and get that low, it’s very hard to prepare for. They played us tough in the semi’s last year, tougher than any other team in West Virginia.”
While horrific weather will not be in the cards for this matchup as it was in round one, I fully expect Bridgeport to give the Bulldogs all that they can handle at least early on, though I don’t expect them to pull the upset.
What then becomes interesting is Martinsburg potentially having to travel for the semi finals (they haven’t played a road playoff game since 2015), or a potential rematch with Jefferson. All things considered, the class AAA playoffs will continue to be spicy from here on out.