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Luke Salmons 81

Despite playing just one game in the last seven weeks, and none in the playoffs, Cabell Midland and coach Luke Salmons have advanced to the Class AAA semifinals.

HUNTINGTON — Cabell Midland has not taken an in-game snap during the Class AAA postseason.

Despite that, the Knights are moving on to the Class AAA semifinals after Saturday’s COVID-19 map did not allow Berkeley County schools to participate, meaning Spring Mills could not play Saturday’s scheduled quarterfinal contest against Midland.

“They were going to be at the field by 12:30 p.m., but we sent them a text once we found out there wasn’t a game,” Cabell Midland coach Luke Salmons said. “We’ll just try to tee it up again next week. It’s just how it is. It’s what we’re dealing with.”

Because Spring Mills was in gold status at the beginning of the week, the Cardinals would have been able to play had Berkeley County gone from red to orange on Saturday’s daily map. It did not, however, which forced the 4 p.m. Saturday game to be postponed.

The forfeit became official when the new weeklymap was released at 5 p.m., which also had Berkeley County in red status.

Spring Mills’ fate was the same suffered by four-time defending Class AAA champion Martinsburg, which saw its season and title streak end at the hands of a confusing system of numbers.

With Martinsburg’s forfeit, Bridgeport advances to meet Cabell Midland in a game that has to be scheduled for Sunday due to Cabell County’s orange status on the map.

Saturday’s developments meant that only one Class AAA quarterfinal game took place — South Charleston’s 57-18 win over Princeton on Friday night.

The Black Eagles now wait to see if Musselman — another Berkeley County School — can get its status from red to gold by next week’s map for a Sunday showdown. If not, South Charleston will advance to the Class AAA championship game.

Musselman’s advancement to the Class AAA semifinals came at the expense of Spring Valley, which was unable to improve its status from orange this week.

Despite other Berkeley County teams falling victim to no-contest decisions, Musselman advanced despite moving to red status on Saturday’s new map.

That came as a result of a stipulation in the system in which a team that was eligible at week’s start advancing on if its status deteriorates while awaiting another team attempted to elevate its status for eligibility.

“Musselman advances because they were able to play this week, but Spring Valley wasn’t,” West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission Executive Director Bernie Dolan said. “With the new map, they will have to wait until Sunday, but they’ll get the extra day like everyone else got. As we’ve done so far, they get until next Sunday.”

It was an unhappy day for Spring Valley coach Brad Dingess, who saw his team’s season end.

“There’s been more teams who have lost to a map than have lost on the field in the Class AAA playoffs,” Dingess said. “It would’ve been a fun playoffs to watch. We had a really good team, as did several teams.”

There have been 12 Class AAA postseason games scheduled to date, but only four have been played.

Dingess said that trying to explain this outcome to student-athletes is a difficult process.

“This stuff is hard for adults to understand on a daily basis, so I can’t imagine trying to make sense of it as a teenager,” Dingess said. “All I know is that we’ve done everything right. We started lifting on June 20 and we’ve not had one positive on our team. Yet, our season is over.”

Salmons, whose team is now in a similar scenario due to the map, said it has been a whirlwind since the beginning of the year.

“It’s been awful for everyone and our kids have dealt with it well, to give them credit, as I’m sure everyone’s have,” Salmons said. “It just sucks. Going into the postseason, we felt like we wouldn’t have to deal with it as much and it’d be set who we’d play, but it’s not any different. It has the same feel to it as the regular season.”

As it stands, unless numbers improve drastically before next Saturday, one or both of those games will fall victim to the map.

Both South Charleston (Kanawha County) and Bridgeport (Harrison County) are in gold status, which put them in position to play in the Class AAA championship, should numbers not improve for Cabell Midland and/or Musselman.

Issues were not just contained to Class AAA on Saturday.

The situation in Class A also got dicey when Saturday’s map was released due to what equates to a bye in next week’s semifinal.

While Ritchie County and Greenbrier West were battling it out in the Class A quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon, the new map came out with Hardy County in the red, meaning that both East Hardy and Tolsia — a Wayne County school that was in orange at the start of the week — did not become eligible to play Sunday.

“It got knocked out,” Dolan said. “Both of those were in a bad color. They both ended up bad, so nobody moves on.”

That means Ritchie County, which defeated Greenbrier West 38-29 Saturday afternoon, gets a bye in the Class A semifinal and will play in the Class A championship game.

While one side of the Class A bracket is set, the quarterfinals loom for another set of games on Sunday as Tygarts Valley travels to Pendleton County and Midland Trail heads to St. Marys.

The winners will meet in the Class A semifinals, map permitting.

In Class AA, Oak Glen advanced on Saturday after defeating Herbert Hoover, forging a matchup between the Bears and Sunday’s winner of Robert C. Byrd and Elkins.

However, Oak Glen (Hancock County) is in orange, which means it also will not be able to play until next Saturday’s new weekly map arrives.

On the other side of the Class AA bracket, Bluefield and Fairmont Senior (yellow) are both eligible to play their semifinal.

Dates and times for the semifinal games will be announced on Sunday.