By Luke Wiggs, Panhandle News Network Sports
Martinsburg-W.Va- This is it. The final week of the West Virginia High school football season, though for many teams their “playoffs” started weeks ago. The final WVSSAC playoff rankings have been revealed meaning now we can get the clearest picture of where teams will be in the playoffs until the actual matchups are revealed Friday night. We also know how many EPAC teams will make it. 4. Which four, however, is still yet to be determined. Let’s check in with the remaining Panhandle teams in playoff contention and who their potential first round matchups could be.
1) Martinsburg (7-2)
Week 11 opponent: Bishop Ireton
Playoff ranking: 4
Martinsburg is in a pretty good spot despite 2 uncharacteristic regular season losses. The Bulldogs have a very winnable matchup to close out the season, they also are poised to leap frog one of Huntington or Hurricane who play each other this week. It’s hard to see them finishing somewhere other than 3 meaning they would host in the first 2 rounds of the postseason but would be on the road for the semis and of course the Super 6. Currently, I have them projected to play Cabell Midland, which I also think is close to a lock, but University or Woodrow Wilson could also be possibilities.
2) Musselman (6-3)
Week 11 opponent: Parkersburg
Playoff Ranking: 9
Last week’s loss was a tough pill to swallow for the Applemen. As mentioned in last week’s article, had Musselman beaten Bridgeport, they could have finished as high as 3rd in the class. Now, I think an 8th place finish is where they are headed. Even with wins, I don’t see Morgantown or Wheeling Park being able to catch the Applemen if they win . The only team that can catch them is Princeton, though the Tigers face Parkersburg South this week. Some interesting things can still happen above Musselman. Musselman could potentially jump Bridgeport if they lose to AA Lincoln, putting the Applemen 7th. This would also be the case if George Washington were to lose to Woodrow Wilson. If Musselman were to lose this week to Parkersburg, they would fall to 12 and then, if both Morgantown and Woodrow pull off their upsets, they could fall to 14. The Applemen’s opponent is difficult to predict, especially if they lose. If they win, I would project a rematch between either Jefferson or Wheeling Park.
3) Jefferson (6-3)
Week 11 opponent: Washington
Playoff Ranking: tied for 10th with Wheeling Park and Morgantown
Jefferson got a much needed result beating Hedgesville last week. Currently I have them finishing 10th with a win over Washington, Wheeling Park Winning and Morgantown losing. If both Morgantown and Park win, Jefferson would fall to 11. If they both lose, Jefferson would move to 9. Jefferson has a small window still to host in the first round, but for this to happen, Morgantown, Wheeling Park, and Musselman would all need to lose. Currently, I have the Cougars projected to travel to Spring Mills in round one.
4) Hedgesville (4-5)
Week 11 opponent: Hampshire
Playoff Ranking: 16
It’s as simple as it gets for the Eagles, win and get in. Virtually nothing can change around Hedgesville. If they win they will be the 16 seed and most likely take on the winner of the Hurricane Huntington game. If they lose the season is over.
5) Spring Mills (4-5)
Week 11 opponent: University
Playoff Ranking: 18
Spring Mills have done everything they needed to do to stay in playoff contention. With wins over North Hagerstown and Albert Gallitin, the Cardinals still face a few more hurdles to get into the big dance. Their path is simple in understanding but difficult in execution, they need 2 things to happen. 1) They need to beat University. 2) They need Hedgesville to lose to Hampshire. And to be clear they need both, not one of the 2.