Following an interesting opening weekend in the state prep football playoffs, few things remain certain. There is, however, one unassailable truth:
For the seventh straight season, the Mountain State Athletic Conference will send a team to the Super Six state finals in Class AAA. That’s because one entire half of the bracket in the quarterfinals is comprised of MSAC teams.
In all, five MSAC teams advanced to the playoff quarterfinals during the first week of the postseason — Huntington, Spring Valley, Capital, Hurricane and Cabell Midland.
The first three of those teams won on their home fields over the weekend, but Hurricane and Cabell Midland had to travel the long road to the Eastern Panhandle to pull out victories — the Redskins against Hedgesville 52-21 and the Knights against No. 5 seed Musselman 28-18.
Thus, the upper half of the bracket is all MSAC, with Hurricane visiting Huntington in the quarterfinals, and Midland headed to Spring Valley. Hurricane’s game at Huntington will come at the unusual time of 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Meanwhile, in the lower half of the bracket, Capital travels to University for a 7:30 p.m. game Friday, while John Marshall treks to No. 1 Martinsburg, the defending champion.
The last time they played a Class AAA championship game without an MSAC team was 2010, when Martinsburg blanked Brooke 30-0. That was the season in which South Charleston beat Brooke in the playoff semifinals, but had to forfeit the win for use of ineligible players who had been ejected during a fight in the quarterfinals.
Hurricane coach Jeremy Taylor indicated that the decision to play his team’s quarterfinal game on Saturday night against an opponent about 25 miles away had to do with his team’s health.
“It gives us an extra day to prepare,’’ Taylor said. “We’re kind of beat up a little bit.’’
Taylor said receiver-defensive back Curon Cordon and quarterback Nathan Roy came out of their team’s first-round game nursing injuries. Running back Christian Hill has also battled a sore shoulder in recent weeks.
“I think they’ll all be fine,’’ Taylor said, “but it gives them an extra day to recover. I care about my team first of all, so we’re doing it for our own reasons.’’
Top-seeded Huntington (11-0) beat Hurricane 34-14 during the regular season, getting 324 rushing yards and three touchdowns from tailback Jadon Hayes. Hayes went over the 2,000-yard mark for the season in Saturday’s first-round win against South Charleston.
“Hurricane’s a tough team,’’ said Highlanders coach Billy Seals. “They’ve got great skill guys on the outside, a good quarterback and as good a running back as there is in the conference.’’
In the other MSAC bracket quarterfinal, Spring Valley will try to duplicate its regular-season victory against Midland. That came by a 56-28 count on Oct. 27 in a game also played on the grass field at Spring Valley.
In that game, the Timberwolves ran for 415 yards.