CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Visions of playoff spots will be dancing in the heads of two Kanawha Valley teams today as a rare prep football doubleheader takes place at Laidley Field.
George Washington, seeking to enhance its status in the Class AAA postseason field, knocks heads with Parkersburg at 1 p.m. on the field turf of Laidley, then a AA showdown between Sissonville and Braxton County is set for 7:30.
Both games were originally scheduled for grass fields on the schools' respective home sites Friday but were uprooted by Superstorm Sandy, which blew through the state earlier in the week. GW was supposed to play at Steve Edwards Sr. Field on its South Hills campus, and Sissonville at Joe Sawyer Field next to the high school.
The Patriots (7-2), ranked fourth in AAA, will lock up home-field advantage for at least the first round with a win today over the Big Reds (4-5), who are out of playoff contention. Depending on the outcome of other games Friday, GW could stay in the top four with a victory and secure the possibility of two home playoff games.
GW tailback and Kennedy Award winner Ryan Switzer had one of his best games at Parkersburg last year, running for 328 yards and six touchdowns and returning a punt 51 yards for another score in a 56-12 victory at Stadium Field.
Sissonville (5-4), meanwhile, finds itself in a do-or-die situation against Braxton (5-4) as both teams vie for inclusion in the Class AA playoffs.
The Indians started the weekend ranked No. 16, which is the final spot in the postseason field, and need a victory to advance. The Eagles, holding down the No. 13 position, also probably need a win to get in, but they do hold the best rating of any five-win team in AA entering the final weekend.
The spotlight will shine on a pair of do-it-all backs in tonight's game - Sissonville running back Trent Stowers and Braxton quarterback Jacob Yanero.
Stowers has run for 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns despite missing one full game with an ankle injury, and has grabbed 16 passes for 381 yards and six more TDs.
Yanero, meanwhile, is a threat to run or throw. He leads the Eagles on the ground with 1,143 yards and 12 TDs and has completed 31 of 88 passes for 465 yards and five scores with seven interceptions.
Braxton won last year's matchup 54-22 during a season in which it advanced to the state playoff quarterfinals. In that game to end the regular season, Yanero carried 17 times for 158 yards and two TDs, and Stowers ran nine times for 76 yards and caught a pair of passes for 25 yards.