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Kanawha Valley Report: Week 1

Quisean Gray and Capital play at Johnson Central (Ky.) in Friday’s season opener.

 

It’s almost time for the games to begin and there’s plenty of good ones in Kanawha Valley in Week 1. A closer look at some of the top games involving teams from that area.

GAMES TO WATCH

South Charleston (0-0) at No. 10 George Washington (0-0)

When: Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Last year: South Charleston finished 4-7, losing in the opening round of the Class AAA playoffs. George Washington finished 5-6 and also lost in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs.

Why it’s important: The two Mountain State Athletic Conference rivals are separated by six miles, and this matchup features a pair of perennial playoff teams looking to start their season on a strong note.

Who to watch for South Charleston: Linebacker Drew Joseph and defensive lineman Zeiqui Lawton are playmakers, while tailback Jayden Johnson should see plenty of touches.

Who to watch for George Washington: Quarterback Grant Wells and running back Dakota Cosby provide the Patriots with a pair of players that cause issues for an opposing defense.

 

No. 2 Capital (0-0) at Johnson Central (Ky.) (0-0)

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Last year: Capital finished 9-4, losing in the Class AAA semifinals. Johnson Central had a 12-3 record and lost in Kentucky’s Class 4A title game.

Why it’s important: The Golden Eagles haven’t lost a season opener since 2010, and have beaten the Cougars each of the last two seasons. They’ll pose a tough test to a Capital team facing the first of many quality opponents this year.

Who to watch for Capital: Quarterback Kerry Martin and tailback Quisean Grey will play prominent roles, while Kalai Clark and Breece Hoff anchor the defense.

Who to watch for Johnson Central: Quarterback Ryley Preece and tailback Joe Jackson will try to wear down the Cougars.

 

No. 8 Hurricane (0-0) at No. 10 Winfield (0-0)

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Last year: Hurricane finished 7-5, losing in the quarterfinals of the Class AAA playoffs. Winfield finished 8-4, losing in the quarterfinals of the Class AA playoffs.

Why it’s important: Both teams start the year ranked in the top 10 of their respective classes with an opportunity to pick up a quality victory.

Who to watch for Hurricane: Running back Christian Hill is the driving force of the offense, while linebacker J.T. Cooper swarms on the opposite side of the ball. Kicker Tim McCutchen is one of the better special teams weapons in the state.

Who to watch for Winfield: Offensive lineman Jacob Huff will be out to create running room for John Covert.

 

Other games: Buffalo (0-0) at Greenbrier West (0-0); St. Albans (0-0) at Cabell Midland (0-0); Woodrow Wilson (0-0) at Riverside (0-0); Nitro (0-0) at Poca (0-0); Scott (0-0) at Herbert Hoover (0-0); Sissonville (0-0) at Chapmanville (0-0)