After screaming through the first four games of its season, the Poca football team found itself in a close one.
The Dots’ average margin of victory before last Friday’s clash at Mingo Central was 43.8 points, so the nail-biter with the Miners put Poca in a different world. Yet, with a 21-14 victory, Dots coach Seth Ramsey saw his team can thrive in that world, too.
“It’s definitely good,” Ramsey said. “From a coaching perspective, it’s great, because you come out of there with a win, you see your kids battle and face adversity and come out on top, but also you have a lot of good coaching points you can harp on the following week and a lot of teachable moments.”
The Class AA No. 4 Dots (5-0) have another challenge waiting for them Friday when they host Sissonville at 7 p.m. The Indians (4-1) are in a three-way tie for No. 10 in Class AA with Lewis County and Winfield, and will be itching to break free from that logjam.
Ramsey said his team is expecting another tough one.
“I think they really take on the personality of their head coach [Marc Wilson],” Ramsey said. “They’re a tough, aggressive, hard-nosed group. They have a lot of different people who can run the football.
“They do a great job schematically to formation defenses into certain looks. And on defense, they’re always going to have a good game plan.”
Ramsey believes the Dots will have to put themselves in good position on first and second downs in order to succeed against the Indians, but he has a running back capable of doing that in junior Ethan Payne. After his 167-yard, two-touchdown night against the Miners, Payne now has 1,268 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns after just five games.
Against Sissonville last year, Payne finished with 181 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries as the Dots cruised to a 40-20 win.
The Indians have some stout ball-carriers of their own in Dylan Griffith (535 yards, six TDs) and Jackson Foster (401 yards, three TDs).
Hurricane (2-3) at George Washington (2-3): The Redskins and Patriots are hanging in with the SSAC playoff ratings, GW at No. 14 and Hurricane tied with University at No. 15. Both teams are in dire need of a win to keep postseason hopes alive.
Last week, Hurricane opened up the game in the second and third quarters to breeze to a 41-8 win at Woodrow Wilson. Austin Womack threw for 347 yards and five touchdowns for the Redskins. The Patriots weren’t so fortunate, falling victim to 368 rushing yards from last year’s Class AAA state runner-up, Spring Valley, in a 41-6 loss.
Riverside (3-1) at Cabell Midland (5-0): The Knights haven’t had it easy — none of their last three wins have come by more than seven points — but they’re still undefeated and ranked No. 1 in Class AAA. Cabell Midland got a Jackson Fetty touchdown with 17 seconds left in the game to get past Capital 26-21 last week.
The Warriors find themselves in the middle of a playoff hunt, ranked No. 8 in Class AAA, and on deck as the next team to try and put a blemish on the Knights’ record. Senior running back Caden Easterling likely will be a major component in those plans. Last Friday against St. Albans, he ran for 302 yards on 17 carries and caught two passes for another 110 yards.
Chapmanville (2-3) at Herbert Hoover (2-3): This game is a must-win for both teams if they want to climb back into postseason contention. Right now, both are tied for 29th in Class AA. Last week, the Huskies, after scoring the game’s opening touchdown, watched Sissonville score 43 unanswered points in a 43-7 Hoover loss.
Chapmanville is on a roll after falling in its first three games of the season. The Tigers edged Scott 14-13 last Friday for their second straight victory.
Logan (0-5) at Nitro (2-3): Nitro won a wild 64-56 game at Wayne last Friday, thanks mainly to senior Cameron Foster’s 190 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Logan has to find itself on defense if it wants to keep Nitro from trying to repeat that performance. Logan has allowed at least 52 points in four of its five games, including last week’s 70-34 loss to Winfield.
St. Albans (0-5) at Ripley (2-3): The Red Dragons’ Rodney Toler finished with 144 yards last week in the loss at Riverside, but St. Albans had several missed opportunities inside the Warriors’ 30-yard line. Cameron Ramsey and Kadin Hall combined for 276 rushing yards and three touchdowns as the Vikings ripped through Brooke last week 33-6.