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WV High School Football Week 5 Preview: Tough Tests Await Playoff Contenders

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(photo via pleasantscountyschools.com)

Week 5 of the West Virginia high school football season could have a bit of a playoff feel to it.

Contenders will face still competition in all three classifications this week, and the opportunity is there for some teams to insert themselves into that conversation.

In Class AA, Bluefield is No. 1 in this week’s Class AA playoff ratings and puts its unbeaten record on the line at home in Mitchell Stadium against No. 13 Point Pleasant. Class AA No. 2 Oak Glen is on the road at Wheeling Island Stadium to take on Class AAA No. 7 Wheeling Park.

Class AAA No. 1 Spring Valley does not have a game this week, but No. 2 Cabell Midland will make its first ever appearance at O. O. White Stadium to take on Class AA No. 8 Poca and reigning Kennedy Award winner Ethan Payne — a standout senior running back committed to Marshall. The Dots are one of three Putnam County teams that got a game in during Week 1 before the state’s color-coded COVID school reentry map held them out of competition for the last month. Midland, meanwhile, has not played since a Week 2 win at home against Huntington was followed by one of the Knights’ players testing positive for COVID and forcing the program to press pause for several weeks. Cabell Midland was impressive in wins against Parkersburg South and the rival Highlanders to open the season, but like Poca have had several weeks off since playing a game that counts.

Still, with all of those marquee games on this week’s schedule there are two game of the week contenders among the state’s smaller schools in Class A.

Co-No. 1 St. Marys is 4-0 and looking like a threat to be among the state’s elite Class A teams again in 2020, but the Blue Devils travel to No. 11 Williamstown (2-1) — which evidence over the last several decades has proven to be no easy task for most teams. Unbeaten Doddridge County, tied with St. Marys at No. 1 in this week’s playoff ratings, goes on the road to take on 3-0 Wirt County, which sits at No. 5 in Class A this week.

Let’s take a look around the state at some of the other big Week 5 West Virginia high school football games:

  • Class AA No. 3 Frankfort (4-0) at Class AAA No. 15 Jefferson (1-2): Frankfort knocked off then-Class AAA No. 1 Spring Mills at home last week for one of the biggest wins in program history and faces another test against a Class AAA opponent from the Eastern Panhandle this week — except this time it’s on the road.
  • Class AAA No. 6 Musselman (3-1) at Morgantown (0-0): Welcome to the 2020 season, Morgantown Mohigans. The Applemen venture back into the north-central part of the state this week to take on a Morgantown team that has not been allowed to play games until this week. It will be the first game for Mohigans’ coach Sean Biser, who came to MHS this offseason after a long, successful run as the head coach at Class AA Keyser.
  • Class AAA No. 11 Parkersburg (3-1) at Class AAA No. 3 Hurricane (1-0): Parkersburg has bounced back from an opening-week walloping at Spring Valley with three consecutive wins and catches Hurricane coming off Putnam County’s month-long hiatus from games. Hurricane won in Week 1 at Huntington, but should find out more about where it stands as a legit playoff threat after Friday’s visit by Parkersburg.
  • Class AA No. 4 Lewis County (3-1) at Class AA No. 8 Robert C. Byrd (3-1): RCB’s lone loss came last week to county rival and state power Bridgeport, but the Eagles are still one of the state’s toughest teams to defend with offensive weapons Xavier Lopez at quarterback and Jeremiah King at running back. The Minutemen will find out if they are playoff contenders or pretenders this week in Clarksburg.
  • Class AA No. 5 Liberty Raleigh (4-0) at Class AA No. 12 Independence (3-1): Indy’s loss last week at Petersburg took some of the shine off this one, but these two rivals from the southern part of the state are both in position to start lining up a favorable playoff seed with a win this week. Independence running back Atticus Goodson has been among the state’s best during the first month of the season, the Patriots will likely go as he goes.
  • Fairmont Senior (1-2) at Winfield (0-0): A rematch from last season’s Class AA state playoffs, the Polar Bears need a win to snap a rare losing streak. Winfield, meanwhile, has not played a game that counts since that loss last season at East-West Stadium. The Generals were the one Putnam County team that did not get a game in before the map-mandated break, so Friday’s contest will be their first of the season.

 

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Tom has spent the last decade as a sports journalist based in West Virginia, most recently as the WVU beat writer for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and with previous stops at the Charleston Daily Mail, the (Fairmont) Times West Virginian and the Daily Independent in Ashland, Kentucky. He was born and raised in Cross Lanes, West Virginia -- where he currently resides -- and is a 2010 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Marshall University.

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