Poca’s potent offense gets one of its biggest challenges to date when it hosts Oak Glen in a Class AA quarterfinal game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at O.O. White Stadium. Both teams enter with 11-0 records.
The No. 3 seed Dots sport the second-highest scoring average among Class AA teams in West Virginia at 49.8 points per game, slightly behind Keyser (50.3). But they run into one of the stingiest defenses in the division in the No. 6 seed Golden Bears, who permit just under 11 points per game.
Poca coach Seth Ramsey is concerned with Oak Glen’s multiple defensive looks, which figure to crack down on Dots junior running back Ethan Payne, who leads the state with 51 overall touchdowns, 48 of them rushing scores. Payne has run for 2,663 yards and averages nearly 15 yards per carry.
Ramsey is counting on junior quarterback Jay Cook to get his team into the right alignments on offense.
“He’s put in a lot of time on film this week, just like he always does,’’ Ramsey said of Cook. “We’re trying to get some tendencies and to figure out what to expect. They do such a good job of mixing it up. But we’re putting in the extra time on film.’’
Cook’s passing has made the Dots’ offense even more dynamic this season, as he’s thrown for 1,487 yards and 19 TDs.
“I’m able to make checks at the line,’’ Cook said, “and see what I think is going to work best when we get up to the play. Just trust my instincts and make the right decision.’’
The Golden Bears also feature a balanced offense behind the running of Hunter Patterson (1,132 yards, 16 TDs) and Paxton Shuman (861 yards, 13 TDs) and the passing of Nick Chaney (1,895 yards, 19 TDs).
Oak Glen posted just its third-ever playoff win last week, erasing Wyoming East 55-13. It marked the first postseason win for the Golden Bears since 2011.
Poca also ended a long postseason drought a week ago by beating North Marion 42-27 — the Dots’ first playoff victory since 2006. They seek their first semifinal spot since 2003, which was the final season of their three straight state titles (2001-03).
No. 10 Mingo Central (9-2) at No. 2 Bridgeport (10-1): A team that relies heavily on throwing the ball against a team that gets the majority of its offense on the ground.
The Miners lean on the connection of quarterback Daylin Goad (3,187 yards, 30 touchdowns) to record-setting receiver Drew Hatfield (119 catches, 1,854 yards, 20 TDs), who owns the state’s regular-season marks for receptions and yards.
The Indians, meanwhile, get 87 percent of their yardage from a balanced rushing attack, led by Brian Henderson (662 yards, nine TDs), Carson Winkie (633 yards, 12 TDs) and Trey Pancake (596 yards, seven TDs).
Bridgeport has won 18 of its last 19 home playoff games, losing only to Fairmont Senior 22-21 in double overtime in the 2016 semifinal round.