The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 19, 2012

WEEK 9 PREP PREVIEW

Bluefield to host Oak Hill tonight

With just three weeks remaining in the high school football regular season, every game, it seems, takes on added importance as teams battle for a spot in the playoffs or to try to improve their seeding.

Twelve games are on the area slate this week, including the Register-Herald Game of the Week, which has Oak Hill traveling to Bluefield to face the Beavers.

WHAT THIS MEANS

Tonight’s game is a big one for both teams when it comes to their postseason futures.

Oak Hill (5-2) is No. 10 in Class AAA, after making the jump up from AA this season. The Red Devils will probably lock down a playoff spot with one more win, but they’re playing to earn a first-round home game, a huge advantage when it comes to the postseason. A win over Bluefield, even though it would be a AA victory, would help that cause because of bonus points.

Bluefield (6-1) is No. 5 in Class AA, and this is its best chance to move into the top four and give itself an opportunity for two home games in the playoffs. A win over a AAA team with a winning record would be huge when it comes to points.

LAST TIME THEY MET

Bluefield built a 19-0 halftime lead and held off the Red Devils in a 27-14 victory last season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Oak Hill

Jalen Jones, RB —
One of the best running backs in the state, the junior has already topped 1,500 yards on the ground this season and could approach 2,000 with three games left to play.

Antonio Gray, DB — The athletic sophomore gives Jones a breather from time to time at running back, and he’s a playmaker in the Red Devil secondary. In a big win over Point Pleasant two weeks ago, he returned an interception 24 yards for a touchdown.

Bluefield

Montell Leggett, RB — Coming off a 247-yard, three-touchdown performance on the ground against Westside, the Beaver running back is playing with a great deal of confidence. Not many teams have slowed him down all season.

Corey Coppola, FB/LB — The physical sophomore has made his presence known on both sides of the football. Last week, he returned a fumble 10 yards for a touchdown, as well as scoring on a 44-yard run.

KEYS TO THE GAME

In what could be a shootout that rivals the West Virginia-Baylor matchup from earlier this year, turnovers could be huge. Oak Hill is averaging 37.9 points per game, while Bluefield is scoring more than 50 per outing. Both defenses have given up some points, at times, so something has to give.

The team that gives it away and allows the opponent to have a couple extra offensive possessions will likely be the one that ends the night with its heads hanging.

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