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WV High School Football Week 8 Preview: Tests Await All Three New No. 1s

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South Charleston sophomore quarterback Trey Dunn and the Class AAA No. 1 Black Eagles visit Huntington this week. (photo: Tom Bragg)

This week’s batch of West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission playoff rating featured new No. 1 teams in all three of the Mountain State’s classifications — two of which hit the road to put that rating on the line while the other plays host in a battle of small-school Top 10 teams.

  • Class AAA No. 1 South Charleston (3-0) at Huntington (2-4): The Black Eagles venture outside Kanawha County for the first time this season to take on a Huntington team playing its best football of the season. South Charleston has been a buzz saw on offense and defense in its three wins against county rivals Capital, George Washington and St. Albans while the Highlanders have won consecutive games against lowly Woodrow Wilson and Class AA Winfield. SC sophomore quarterback Trey Dunn has been good so far in 2020 but has been somewhat sloppy with the football at times.
  • Class AA No. 1 Sissonville (3-0) at Class AAA No. 11 Greenbrier East (5-2): Sissonville has played up and won already this season with 33-15 win at home against Class AAA Riverside but should see a considerable step up in competition this week after consecutive wins the Warriors and Nitro — teams with a combined 0-6 record so far this season. Greenbrier East bounced back from a loss to Oak Hill two weeks ago with a 49-46 shootout win last week against rival Woodrow Wilson in which three players topped 100 rushing yards for the Spartans. It will be strength on strength when East’s offense goes up against a Sissonville defense that has allowed less then 250 yards of total offense in all three of its wins.
  • Class A No. 10 Buffalo (4-1) at Class A No. 1 Midland Trail (3-0): Buffalo makes the trip to Trail coming off its first loss of the season — a lopsided night at home last week against Putnam County neighbor and Class AA power Poca — and will be looking to bounce back with a chance to knock off the new No. 1 team in the state. Midland Trail has one of its best teams in program history this season, and the Patriots — two years removed from a Class A state semifinal appearance — appear poised for another deep postseason run with quarterback Chris Vines and running back Robert Ruffner leading the way.

Other games around the state to keep an eye on:

  • Class AAA No. 8 Spring Valley (3-1) at Class AAA No. 2 Bridgeport (4-0): Two of the state’s powerhouse high school football programs get together for a rare meeting in Harrison County. This one has Game of the Year potential. Bridgeport is coming off a long COVID map-related layoff while Spring Valley bounced back from an upset loss two weeks ago at Fairmont Senior with a 41-0 blowout win at home last week against previously unbeaten Oak Hill. Bridgeport is very Bridgeport-y again this season in that the Indians have a handful of players capable of hurting you with their legs — albeit in the very un-Bridgeport-y single wing formation.
  • Class AAA No. 10 John Marshall (5-2) at Class AAA No. 13 Parkersburg (4-2): Lots at stake in regard to Class AAA state playoff seeding on the line in this one Friday at Parkersburg’s Stadium Field. At some point, if JM wants to host a playoff game, it will have to beat a good team. All five of the Monarchs wins have come against teams with losing records, while their only two games against teams with current winning records resulted in losses. Parkersburg, meanwhile, has been on an up-and-down run this season that is currently way up following an upset win against then-Class AA No. 1 Bluefield last week. PHS quarterback Bryson Singer has quietly put together a pretty good season to this point.
  • Class AAA George Washington (1-1) at Class AAA Woodrow Wilson (1-5): GW has not been especially impressive in its two outings so far and did not play last week after its scheduled game with Cabell Midland was called off. If the Patriots want to be in the conversation for the Class AAA playoffs they desperately need a win, and Woodrow has been a good team to play when you need a win in 2020. The Flying Eagles, however, have shown some fight of late including a narrow 49-46 loss last week to state-ranked rival Greenbrier East.
  • Class AA No. 6 North Marion (5-1) at Class AA No. 2 Frankfort (6-1): Tough tasks awaits the Huskies as Frankfort has been a fortress at home this season. North Marion has been on a roll since suffering its only loss of the season early against rival Fairmont Senior, while the Falcons bounced back from a loss at Class AAA Washington two weeks ago with a solid win last time out against a good Class A team in Petersburg. Frankfort did a good job of slowing down Spring Mills standout Keon Padmore-Johnson when the Cardinals visited Mineral County early this season and will face another of the state’s top individual talents in North Marion’s Tariq Miller this week.

The best of the rest:

  • Class AAA No. 12 Oak Hill (2-1) at Class AA No. 4 Bluefield (4-1)
  • Class A No. 7 Petersburg (4-2) at Class AA No. 7 Keyser (5-2)
  • Class AAA Hurricane (2-2) at Class AA Winfield (0-3)
  • Class A No. 12 Pendleton County (3-2) at Class A No. 15 Gilmer County (4-2)
  • Class A Wheeling Central (4-3) at Class A Madonna (5-2) — Saturday
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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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