As we enter week #9 of the high school football season this week, one thing is for certain……the playoff field is going to look unlike anything we have seen since the number of playoff teams was increased to sixteen back in 1991!
One major change in the playoff field, because of the coronavirus, is the number of games a team must play in order to be eligible to compete! That number has always been 8….this year, the number of games a team must play to be eligible is 4! And, some teams have struggled mightily to attain that number!
When the rankings were released this past Tuesday afternoon by the WVSSAC, in Class AAA the #1 team was South Charleston with a record of 4-0! The #2 team was Cabell Midland with a similar record of 4-0! Those two teams will certainly be in the field of 16, as well as teams 3 thru 9 which are in order….Martinsburg, Musselman, Wheeling Park, Spring Valley, Bridgeport, Spring Mills and Parkersburg. But, look at the team sitting in the 10th slot! Normally if your team is ranked #10 as we enter the last two weeks of the season, chances are they will be in the playoff field. This year the team that is ranked #10 is George Washington and while Head Coach Steve Edwards, Jr. has another fine team is current won loss record is 2-1….and they do not play this week! They are scheduled to play Capital next week, however that game is not really set in stone as the Cougars have been battling coronavirus issues of their own and their current record is 1-2! If you look at the rest of the Class AAA teams, everyone below George Washington at #10 has played enough games to be eligible for the playoffs. In fact, you have to go all the way down to #23 to find a team without the required number of four games played and that #23 team is ironically, Capital!
The scenario is not quite as dire in Class AA as the top 23 teams in that division have all played at least four games as we head into week #9, which by the way, because of having week #1 eliminated due to the coronavirus, is the next to the last week of the regular season!
In Class A, we do have two teams currently ranked in the top 16 that have not played enough games to be eligible! The Tug Valley Panthers are ranked #3 but have played only three games and they are a perfect 3-0! Checking in at #14 is Clay-Battelle and the Cee-Bees are currently 2-1! Everyone else all the way down to James Monroe at #26 have played four or more games. The Mavericks have struggled to play only two games this season because Monroe County was the wrong color on the Covid Map for a major part of 2020! Going back to the top 16 in Class A, #3 Tug Valley has not played since week #6 and they do not play this week. They have one game remaining and that will be next Friday night when they travel to Wirt County! For #14 Clay-Battelle, they have two games remaining on their regular season schedule….this Friday night the Cee-Bees will travel to Montcalm and then next week will welcome the Hundred Hornets to Blacksville!
It has indeed been a very trying season for all teams across the mountain state and our fingers are crossed that the best is yet to come. Just a reminder, don’t forget to join Dave Jecklin and me this Friday night from 9:30 to Midnight for High School GAMENIGHT! We will have all the scores of all the games, plus we will talk with coaches, players and radio play by play guys from across the state! Listen to GAMENIGHT on over 40 great radio stations statewide and watch and listen to the show @www.wvmetronews.com!