The triple-option offense employed by Cabell Midland isn’t something opposing teams run into very often, making George Washington’s preparation all the more difficult for when the teams lock up at 7 p.m. Friday in Ona.
The Knights and their powerful ground game, which averages about 400 yards, present a big challenge for the Patriots’ defense, which has held its six opponents to a total of 11 touchdowns this season.
“It’s always difficult to get ready for them,” said GW coach Steve Edwards Jr. “They play so hard, and what they do ... not everybody does that. It’s more of a spread kind of thing you don’t see on a regular basis. So it’s difficult to get a look at them because the look they give you is not the look you’re looking for. It’s tough to prepare for.”
Jackson Fetty, Midland’s top running back, leads the Mountain State Athletic Conference in rushing with 991 yards and eight touchdowns. The Knights (6-1, seventh in Class AAA playoff ratings) have racked up 44 or more points four times this season, being held down in last week’s 14-0 win at Capital when the game was called late in the second quarter by persistent lightning.
GW (4-2) enters the game ninth in the AAA playoff race, and Edwards said his players know the importance of Friday’s showdown.
“Our kids are smart enough to understand that we need to play well and play hard,” Edwards said. “They realize what we’re trying to do is position ourselves and get a nice spot, the best we can. We’re looking to do the best we can against Midland, really, and maybe give them a good game and maybe be close at the end — hang around and squeak one out if you can.”
Spring Valley (4-2) at Capital (1-5): The Cougars won their first five meetings with the Timberwolves, but are 0-7 against Spring Valley since 2016. Capital is averaging nearly 20 points per game behind versatile running back Shawn James (717 scrimmage yards, 10 TDs) and QB JacQai Long (1,066 yards, seven TDs). Ty Bartrum has eight touchdown catches for the Wolves.
Capital plans to unveil banners for its four Class AAA state championship and three state runner-up teams starting at 6:40 p.m. Friday. The banners will be placed at the top of the home side stands beside the Johnny Barker press box. Capital won state titles in 1989, 1991, 1995 and 2014 and finished as runner-up in 1993, 1996 and 2015.
South Charleston (5-1) at Riverside (1-5): The Warriors have lost 12 of their last 13 against the Black Eagles, who come into this game eighth in the Class AAA playoff ratings. Riverside’s defense has allowed 17 touchdown passes this season, and South Charleston quarterback Trey Dunn has thrown for 16 touchdowns in six games.
St. Albans (2-5) at Huntington (7-0): These MSAC rivals haven’t met since 2015, and the Highlanders hold an 8-4 edge in the all-time series. Huntington has allowed just seven touchdowns all year, and all that stands between the Highlanders and a 10-0 regular season are St. Albans, South Charleston (Oct. 22) and Riverside (Nov. 5).
Sissonville (1-5) at Winfield (3-3): The Indians have lost five in a row, beset by a slew of injuries and COVID tracing absences. The losing streak is their longest since dropping 15 in a row between 2010-11. The Generals enter the game 19th in the Class AA playoff ratings, needing to improve at least three spots to obtain a berth.
Buffalo (1-4) at Tolsia (0-5): One team or the other will snap a losing streak, as the Bison have dropped four in a row since winning their opener, scoring just 15 total points in those four games. The last time these teams met, Buffalo pulled out a 13-6 victory in 2019 as Dalton Jones caught a 35-yard touchdown pass in the first half.
Greenbrier East (4-2) at Ripley (1-6): The last time these two played, the Spartans earned a 34-28 double-overtime victory in 2019. In that game, Monquelle Davis threw an 85-yard TD pass for East to help force OT. The Vikings are trying to break a five-game losing streak, while the Spartans are 12th in the Class AAA playoff ratings.