By Cam Huffman
With just two weeks left in the high school football regular season, some teams are thinking championships, others are thinking playoffs and for some — who haven’t had the best fall — thoughts have already turned to basketball.
But for most area teams, there’s still plenty of motivation heading down the stretch. Here’s a look at what’s on the line for area teams over the next two Fridays.
Valley — The Greyhounds (8-0) can finish off an undefeated regular season if they can avoid an upset at Midland Trail (4-4) on Friday or at home against Gilmer County (5-3) on Nov. 8.
Valley is also playing for seeding. Ranked No. 3 in Class A, it could move up even further if Madonna or St. Mary’s would lose. If not, the Greyhounds can at least assure home field advantage up until the semifinal round.
Oak Hill — The Red Devils (6-2) have slipped a little in recent weeks with losses in two of their last three games. They’re currently ranked No. 11 in Class AAA. With Woodrow Wilson coming to town on Friday and Greenbrier East making the trip in the regular season finale, there’s still some time to pick up some points and perhaps even earn a first-round home game, depending on what happens to the teams in front of them.
Bluefield — Class AA’s top-ranked team, the Beavers (7-1) have jumped ahead of defending champion Wayne and would host playoff games all the way up until the championship contest if they can stay in that spot. Left on the schedule are home games against James Monroe and a showdown with Wayne to conclude the regular season on Nov. 8.
Summers County — If it weren’t for a last-second loss on the road at Covington, the Bobcats (8-1) would be playing for an undefeated season in Nate Tanner’s first year as head coach. Ranked No. 4 in Class AA, Summers County ends the regular season at Richwood on Friday. Barring an upset, they’ll be at home throughout much of the playoffs.
Wyoming East — The Warriors (7-1) are ranked No. 6 in Class AA but need to keep winning to assure a first-round home game. They have a game at Independence this Friday and finish the regular season at home against Liberty on Nov. 8.
Nicholas County — The Grizzlies (7-2) are No. 10 in Class AA but won’t be able to pick up enough points to get a first-round home game. With only a Nov. 8 home game against Richwood left on the schedule, there aren’t going to be enough points out there to move Nicholas County up the list.
Still, having won five in a row, the Grizzles believe they can make some noise in the postseason and hope to land the highest seed possible.
Greenbrier West — The Cavaliers (8-1) have only one blemish on the schedule, a 27-20 loss at Class AA Summers County. They’ll finish up Friday at home against Fayetteville, trying to pick up a few more points to assure a first-round game in Charmco. West is currently No. 7 in Class A.
Meadow Bridge — The chances of the Wildcats (7-2) moving into the top eight in Class A and earning a first-round home game are slim. They’re currently No. 11 and have only Friday’s home game against a struggling Sherman squad left on the schedule.
The hope for Meadow Bridge is that it can move up far enough to obtain a more manageable first-round game.
Princeton — The chances of the Tigers (5-4) sneaking into the final playoff spot in Class AAA are less than slim. Princeton is only two spots out at No. 18 this week, but it finishes the regular season at James Monroe on Nov. 8. A win against a struggling Class AA team just isn’t going to produce the points to make the jump.
Princeton, though, still has to take the field in that one trying to take care of business and hope it gets a lot of help from other games around the state.
Greenbrier East — The Spartans (5-4) may actually have a little better shot than Princeton, although they’re one spot behind the Tigers in the latest rankings at No. 19 in Class AAA.
East finishes the regular season Nov. 8 at Oak Hill, and an upset of the Red Devils would give the Spartans some important points. Winning against Jalen Jones and company, though, is easier said than done, and even with a win, East would still need a lot of help to make the playoffs for the first time since 1998.
Midland Trail — The postseason is a longshot for the Patriots (4-4), who have been outscored 162-224 this season. But with undefeated Valley and Class AA PikeView left on the schedule, there are points available for the taking for Trail, which came in at No. 21 in this week’s Class A rankings.
Woodrow Wilson — The bad news for Flying Eagle fans is that Woodrow (3-5) is out of the playoff mix. The good news is that it has a trip to Oak Hill and a home game against Hedgesville left on the schedule. Win out, and Woodrow, which has been outscored 169-250 this season, still can avoid a losing season.
James Monroe — The Mavericks (3-5) still have a shot at avoiding a losing campaign in John Mustain’s first season as head coach. But they’ll need wins at Class AA No. Bluefield and at home against Class AAA foe Princeton to do so.
Westside — The Renegades (3-5) have had an up and down season under first-year head coach Larry Cook. They can reach .500 with a win at Mount View on Friday and at home against River View on Nov. 8. That would be something positive to carry into next season.
Liberty — The Raiders (3-5) saw their playoff hopes end with a loss at James Monroe last week. To avoid a losing season, Liberty will need to beat Shady Spring at home on Friday and then win at Wyoming East on Nov. 8.
River View — The Raiders (3-5) have lost four in a row, but they could still reach .500 with wins at Lincoln County and Westside over the next two weeks.
Fayetteville — A brutal schedule has put the Pirates (3-5) behind the eight ball, but they could end with a huge positive if they could win at Greenbrier West and Independence over the last two weeks.
Shady Spring — The second season as a Class AAA member has been filled with more growing pains for the Tigers (1-7), but head coach Vince Culicerto expects his team to fight to the end with games at Liberty and Musselman left on the schedule.
PikeView — The Panthers (3-6) hope to end on a positive note at Midland Trail on Nov. 8.
Independence — Chris Vicars’ first year with the Patriots (2-6) has been a challenging one, but he could build some momentum toward year No. 2 with wins against Wyoming East and Fayetteville — both home games — down the stretch.
Richwood — The Lumberjacks (2-6) will look to play the spoiler role with games against Class AA powers Summers County and Nicholas County left on the schedule.
Montcalm — The Generals (2-7) will end the season at Hannan on Friday.
— E-mail: chuffman
@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.