The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

High School Sports

October 5, 2012

WEEK 7 PREP PREVIEW

Must-win situation for Patriots, Bobcats

Nine area teams are in position to make the playoffs and looking to stay there. A number of others are looking to get some wins to get into that mix.

That sets up plenty of drama this week as the high school football season heads into its seventh week with some interesting area matchups.

The Register-Herald Game of the Week puts Summers County at Independence for a homecoming showdown between two teams looking to keep their postseason hopes alive.

WHAT THIS MEANS

If either team hopes to make the playoffs, this game is basically a must-win.

Summers County (3-3) is within striking distance, slotted at No. 19 in the latest WVSSAC Class AA ratings. But the Bobcats need to get back on track. After starting the season 3-0 with wins over PikeView, James Monroe and Grafton, Summers County is dropping quickly. It’s lost three in a row to Wyoming East, Greenbrier West and Covington (Va.).

An offense that was so explosive early in the year struggled to put points on the board in those games, averaging 15.7 points per contest.

Independence (2-3) has some ground to make up, rated No. 30 in Class AA, but there’s still plenty of time. The Patriots ended a three-game losing skid last week with a decisive 47-7 thumping of Sherman.

It’s all about defense for Independence.

In its wins, it held Midland Trail and Sherman to 13 total points. But in its losses to Greenbrier West, Shady Spring and Westside, it allowed 127 points.

Will the Patriots have what it takes to keep the Bobcat offense grounded, or will Summers County find its magic again? The answer could decide which team’s march toward the postseason continues.

LAST TIME THEY MET

Summers County defeated Independence 27-26 last season. The Patriots drove to the Bobcats’ 19-yard line late in the game, but an interception closed the door on the Summers County victory.

Isaiah Brown scored three touchdowns for the Bobcats in the win. Aaron Tolliver carried the ball five times for 18 yards for Independence, but the Patriots’ top star in that game, Travis Mills, who rushed for 224 yards and four touchdowns, was lost to graduation.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Summers County

Isaiah Brown, WR/RB —
What he did last year will certainly be in the heads of the Independence coaches, but Brown hasn’t gone unnoticed this year either. In six games, he has rushed for 373 yards on 68 carries and caught 11 passes for 191 yards.

Independence

Aaron Tolliver, RB —
The biggest threat on the Patriot offense, Tolliver can take it the distance on any carry but is also more than comfortable pounding away three or four yards at a time.

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