The last three seasons have been certainly been decent for Sissonville’s football program.
The Indians twice qualified for the Class AA playoffs and last season finished 17th in the ratings, one spot out of the final berth. In other words, not bad at all.
But for this year’s senior class, it’s not enough. Sissonville coach Marc Wilson said just getting into the playoffs, though a noble cause, isn’t what his players want.
“The numbers are, right now, that we haven’t won a playoff game [since 2013],’’ Wilson said. “When our seniors sat down at the beginning of the season and made their goals, the first goal they set for themselves was to win a playoff game. Obviously, that means you have to make [the playoffs]. But just getting there won’t be enough.’’
Another bugaboo for the Indians in recent seasons has been their performance coming off the bye week. Two years ago, they lost to Winfield 46-14 in that particular game and last year, fell again to the Generals 28-14 following their off week. This year, Sissonville (2-0) visits Winfield on Oct. 18 the week after its bye.
“That’s their second goal,’’ Wilson said. “They don’t want to lose coming out of their bye week. We’ve done that back to back seasons, and it’s cost us.
“Two years ago, we made the playoffs and played Wayne. But we faced an excellent team like Wayne early [and fell 54-28] because we had lost to Winfield, and that put us on the road. Last year, if we beat Winfield coming out of our bye, there’s no question we’d be in the playoffs at that point. So our guys are pretty hungry because of those losses.’’
Running in neutralGeorge Washington (0-2) still hopes to get its ground game going at some point this season.
Through two games, the Patriots as a team have gained only 92 yards on 38 carries with no touchdowns. In last week’s loss at Paul Blazer in Ashland, Kentucky, GW managed just 5 yards on 12 carries. Of the team’s four touchdowns this season, three have come on pass receptions and the other on a punt return.
Coach Steve Edwards Jr. still has faith that his youthful offensive line — which utilizes four sophomores — can help produce some numbers in the run game.
“It’s going to come if our line can block up front a little bit,’’ Edwards said. “We’ll keep working on it, and hopefully we’ll get better at it. That’s all we can do.’’
SC’s walking woundedInjuries have hampered South Charleston’s offense this season, though you might not know it from the 391 yards the Black Eagles put up in a 38-14 loss at Capital last week (300 of it passing by freshman quarterback Trey Dunn).
The ground game has seen the top two options at running back, Zeiqui Lawton (knee) and Caiden Davis (ankle), limited or sidelined through two games and the team’s top returning receiver, Romeo Dunham, relegated to defense only because of a broken thumb suffered during the second scrimmage, requiring a bulky cast.
“That’s hurting us right now,’’ said SC coach Donnie Mays. “Donavin Davis is a receiver, but we had to put him in there at running back last week. When you get down deep into your running backs, it hinders what you’re trying to do with your running game. When we’ve got everybody healthy, our running game is pretty good.’’
Other key injuries include those to big-play receivers Samajhi Simon (shoulder) and Qwailei Turner (leg).
“The list keeps going,’’ Mays said. “But for us to respond the way we did last week against Capital — we played really well at the beginning of the game. I thought we played hard and did a good job, but turnovers killed us.’’
Just another game?No one envies Hurricane’s schedule to start the season. Following a date with Putnam County rival Winfield, the Redskins meet Spring Valley, Capital and Cabell Midland all in a row. Those teams are a combined 5-1 this season and the Timberwolves have played in the last three Class AAA championship games.
This week, though, it’s the Cougars (1-1), who have made it to the Class AAA playoff semifinals six straight times and whose lone loss this year is to Kentucky power Johnson Central. So don’t expect Redskins coach Jeremy Taylor to say “it’s just another game’’ when his team lines up against another state contender.
“All the coaches who say that are liars,’’ Taylor said. “We quit trying to lie to our kids a long time ago. They’re not stupid. They know these games are big.
“But win or lose in this conference, every game is big. You’ve only got 10 and they all matter. You’ve only got so many chances, so you’ve got to make the most of all of them.’’