Essential reporting in volatile times.

Not a Subscriber yet? Click here to take advantage of All access digital limited time offer $13.95 per month EZ Pay.

Interested in Donating? Click #ISupportLocal for more information on supporting local journalism.

Ten years later, they finally get to play.

South Charleston picked up a whopper of a game to fill the vacant spot on its schedule, getting a home date against four-time defending Class AAA champion Martinsburg on Sept. 18 at SC High School. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

The meeting comes 10 years after the two programs just missed playing each other in what would have been a highly anticipated matchup at the Super Six state finals in Wheeling.

In 2010, South Charleston was forced to forfeit a playoff semifinal win against Brooke for using ineligible players. Five Black Eagles players were ejected following a fight at the end of their quarterfinal victory against Hurricane and four of them received a court order allowing them to play in the semifinals.

That court order was later rescinded and the SSAC ruled SC’s semifinal victory as a forfeit win for Brooke. Martinsburg blanked Brooke 30-0 in the 2010 finals, beginning a dynasty that Class AAA had never seen in West Virginia; the Bulldogs have captured eight of the last 10 state titles.

South Charleston was on a run of its own at that point. If the forfeit had not stuck and SC met Martinsburg in the 2010 finals, the Black Eagles would have taken a 39-2 record over its last three seasons into that contest.

As it stands, neither head coach from 2010 is around for the reprise of their rivalry. South Charleston’s John Messinger, who stepped down following the 2012 season, died last year. Martinsburg’s Dave Walker, the winningest coach in West Virginia prep football history, left last winter to take over as coach at Concord University.

Donnie Mays succeeded Messinger in 2013 and remains at SC, while Britt Sherman, a long-time Martinsburg assistant coach, has taken over for the Bulldogs.

The two teams have met three times previously, all coming in the playoff quarterfinals, with the home team prevailing in each game.

Martinsburg won 13-2 in 2006, SC took a 28-21 victory in 2008 and followed with a 38-28 win in 2009. The latter two games were played at University of Charleston Stadium.

Every team around the state has been forced to juggle its schedule due to the coronavirus, as the SSAC canceled all Week 1 games in West Virginia when Gov. Jim Justice kept schools closed until Sept. 8.

Martinsburg had additional scheduling problems, as it lost three games against Virginia teams and one against Eastern, D.C., which was supposed to be the Sept. 18 game on its original schedule. Virginia and D.C. schools are not fielding football teams this fall due to COVID-19 concerns.

The Bulldogs already had a game in the greater Kanawha Valley area this season, owing to an Oct. 31 game at Cabell Midland.

“Need games, will travel,’’ Sherman said.

SC’s original open date was Sept. 18, so the Black Eagles are now back to 10 games on their schedule. In West Virginia, the regular season lasts 11 weeks and every school has at least one open date on its schedule.

Contact Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or Follow him on Twitter @RickRyanWV.