Five area teams still alive
PARKERSBURG-The third time proved to be the charm for Ritchie County head coach Mike Dawson and his Rebels as the No. 12 seeded team in Class AA captured its first postseason victory under its third-year head coach-over No. 5 Summers County, 24-14-and will now play host as the eight surviving teams in the WVSSAC’s three divisions advanced into the round-of-eight.
“I’m just very happy for our kids, our coaches and our community,” Dawson said prior to the beginning of Sunday’s coaches’ meeting at the WVSSAC office located on W.Va. 2. “I wasn’t sure that it would happen this quickly, but the kids have worked really hard after last year’s home loss to Nicholas County and they were determined to not have their season end this past weekend.”
Ritchie County (8-3) is one of five local teams to make it into the quarterfinals as No. 2 St. Marys (11-0), No. 4 Williamstown (9-2), No. 8 Wahama (10-1) and No. 14 Magnolia (7-4) are left alive in the Class A field.
“At this time of the year, the only thing is staying alive to play another week,” St. Marys head coach Jodi Mote said. “It doesn’t matter how pretty, or how ugly, the game is. It only matters if you win or lose.”
All four games in Class A will take place on Saturday, while three of the four games remaining in Class AA will take place on Friday. Class AAA was divided equally between the two days.
The biggest will take place at Weir High School where the two finalists for last year’s championship-Madonna and Wahama-will resume their rivalry at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The White Falcons captured the school’s first-ever title in the sport with a one-point, 43-42, overtime victory over the Blue Dons at Wheeling Island Stadium.
“I know they (the Blue Dons) have been talking about this matchup ever since the rankings were released,” interim head coach Dave Barr said. “They are a very good team and we will have to play our best game of the year to beat them.”
Williamstown, a 27-25 winner over No. 13 Wheeling Central, will play host to No. 12 Bishop Donahue-a 21-16 winner over No. 5 Man. The Yellowjackets’ Jake Tracewell threw for four touchdowns, including two which were hauled in by running back Dakota Watson as they improved to 9-2 on the season.
St. Marys, now 11-0, overcame its own miscues in staying unbeaten (11-0) on the year.
“Our defense really carried us in that game,” Mote said. “We are going to have to do a much better job of taking care of the football this week if we want to make it into the next round.”
The Blue Devils, which limited No. 15 East Hardy to six points and 193 total yards of offense, will take on a Greenbrier West squad that returns the top rusher in the Mountain State from a year ago, Malik Boatwright.
Rounding out the division will be a No. 14 ranked Magnolia team that improved to 7-4 following a 42-16 victory over a previously unbeaten Valley Fayette squad. Now, the Blue Eagles will travel to No. 6 Moorefield (10-1) with the hopes of advancing to the Class A semifinals for the second year in a row.
- Defending champion Wayne (11-0) headlines the list of eight remaining teams in Class AA. The Pioneers will face No. 8 Sissonville (10-1) in one of three games played Friday night.
No. 3 Bluefield (9-2), a 31-14 winner over No. 14 Ravenswood on Saturday night, will play host to No. 11 Nicholas County (9-2) and No. 13 Robert C. Byrd will make the 45 minute trip across W.V. 50 to Ellenboro to face Ritchie County at Chuck Schofield Memorial Stadium.
The only Saturday tilt involves No. 7 Fairmont Senior (9-2) heading down I-79 to Bridgeport to face the No. 2 ranked Indians (10-1) at Wayne Jamison Field.
- The Class AAA field includes No. 2 ranked and three-time champion Martinsburg (10-1) entertaining No. 7 Cabell Midland (9-2), coached by former-Ravenswood standout Luke Salmon, at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Playing at the same time at Laidley Field will be No. 3 Capital (10-1) playing host to No. 6 University (10-1). The Hawks are coming off of a physical, 9-3, victory over city rival Morgantown on Saturday.
The last two games in the division will both take place on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
No. 1 Huntington (11-0) entertains No. 8 George Washington (9-2) in a game featuring two of the Mountain State Athletic Conference’s top squads while No. 4 Point Pleasant (11-0) will attempt to keep its unbeaten streak alive when the Big Blacks play host to No. 5 Wheeling Park (10-1).
The four winners in each classification will again meet at the WVSSAC’s office at 10 a.m. on Sunday to announce the day, time and place of the six semifinal games.