The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

High School Sports

October 31, 2012

Playoff spots on the line during final week of regular season

Prep football notebook

BECKLEY — The big question on most area high school football fans’ minds — other than if the fields will be clear of snow to play on Friday — is whether their team is in or out of the playoffs, which will begin a week from Friday across the Mountain State.

For some, the answer is obvious. In Class AA, No. 8 Nicholas County, No. 11 Wyoming East and No. 12 Summers County appear to be in, no matter what happens Friday night — or whenever area teams are able to hit the field. So are Class A No. 4 Greenbrier West, No. 8 Valley and No. 12 Meadow Bridge.

For others, the answer isn’t quite as simple.

In Class AAA, No. 15 Woodrow Wilson (6-4) is hanging on by a thread. The Flying Eagles’ regular season is finished, so there’s nothing more they can do to improve their points.

The good news for Beckley fans is that it doesn’t appear as there is any scenario that can knock head coach John H. Lilly’s team out of the postseason.

Oak Hill (6-3), Hampshire (6-3), Parkersburg South (5-4), Logan (6-3) and Shady Spring (5-4) are the teams directly behind Woodrow Wilson in the ratings, and even if all of them win, it appears as though the Flying Eagles will have enough points to stay in the top 16.

The path for the Oak Hill seems pretty clear, as well. Although the Red Devils were dealt a blow when Elkins’ wins, including one over Oak Hill, were restored, they should still get in with a victory. They won’t get any bonus points for a win over 0-9 Lincoln County, but they will get points for a Class AAA win, and under any scenario, that should be enough to give the Red Devils at least one postseason game.

All the other area AAA teams are left without a shot. Shady Spring (5-4) was clinging to hopes at No. 21, but it doesn’t appear as though even a victory over No. 11 Musselman on Friday will be enough to boost the Tigers up five spots. Greenbrier East (2-7) and Princeton (2-8) are obviously out.

In Class AA, the three teams with questions are No. 14 Westside (5-4), No. 18 River View (5-4) and No. 19 Liberty (5-4).

Westside and River View play each other Friday night at River View. The winner will earn a playoff spot, while the loser will have to stay home.

Liberty can get in with a win, as well, although that won’t be easy with Wyoming East coming to town, hoping to improve its own seeding.

The other area AA teams — No. 25 Independence (4-5), No. 31 Mount View (3-6), No. 30 James Monroe (2-7) and No. 32 PikeView (0-9) won’t make the playoffs this season.

In Class A, the picture is fairly clear. No. 8 Valley needs a win against Summers County to clinch a first-round home game, but everything else is decided. No. 21 Midland Trail (5-4) was hoping for a shot at the playoffs, but a win over winless PikeView won’t give the Patriots enough points to find the top 16.

No. 27 Richwood (3-6) and No. 38 Fayetteville (0-9) won’t be playing in the postseason this year.

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With many of the area fields covered in a blanket of white, and schools throughout the state canceling classes, practice has been minimal at a number of schools, and the status of Friday night’s contests have been in question.

Athletic directors and coaches are continuing to evaluate the situation, and a few have already made decisions to change the schedule.

Greenbrier East will be at James Monroe Saturday, instead of Friday, at 7:30 p.m.

Shady Spring, which hosts Musselman, has moved its game to Princeton, but will still play Friday at 7 p.m.

According to Shady Spring athletic director Steve Clark, the field at Shady was covered in 18 inches of snow, and the ground under it was so soft, there was no way the snow could be moved without damage to the field.

“We started looking for alternate sights,” said Clark. “We talked to Concord, and there was a possibility to play there Saturday night. But that didn’t work well for Musselman.

“So we got in contact with Princeton, and they were very willing to help us out.”

Liberty, which is scheduled to host Wyoming East Friday, will not play a home game on Friday. With the field still covered, that much is known. But head coach Jeff Alexander said Wednesday afternoon an alternate plan was not yet in place. The Raiders are looking into alternate locations.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Nicholas County head coach Gene Morris did not know the status of his team’s game, scheduled for Friday at Richwood. Moving the game to the turf at Nicholas County could be an option, but it’s Richwood’s decision, since it’s the Lumberjacks’ home game.

Independence and Fayetteville are also planning to use Nicholas County’s home field to play their game, originally scheduled for Friday in Fayetteville. The day and time, though, have not been set. The teams have to wait for Nicholas County and Richwood to make a decision before they know the availability of the field.

Midland Trail was scheduled to host PikeView tonight. According to Patriot head coach Joe Dean, no determination had been made as of Wednesday evening, but with Fayette County schools closed, it’s unlikely a game will be played tonight.

— E-mail: chuffman@ and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

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