The Miners of Mingo Central (8-2) and the Indians of Sissonville (9-1) are similar in talent so the game should be a tough match-up for the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds.
Both teams have a balanced offense with several players that get touches for both squads.
Mingo Central has had a balanced offensive attack this season. “We have four backs we use,” said Mingo head coach Yogi Kinder. “Deonte (Joplin), Chance (Lester), DaKweon (Willis) and Chase (Justice) have all got carries.”
“Then Stevie (Hammond) can run the ball,” Kinder said of his young quarterback.
The Miners can also pass the ball. Hammond’s primary target has been speedy senior split end Alex “Booger” Lee. He has caught eight touchdown receptions so far this season.
“We have a couple of tight ends that have really come along too,” Kinder said. “Nathaniel Abbott and Ethan Collins can catch the ball and they have really helped up on the offensive line.”
Kinder praised his starting offensive line, which is led by senior guard Brandon Blankenship (5-10, 230 lbs). The other guard is junior Cole Ellis (5-9, 233 lbs.) and the center is junior Ethan Jones (5-10, 232 lbs.) The two tackles are juniors Clay Ellis (6-1, 270 lbs.) and Zack Holt (6-3, 225 lbs.)
Kinder knows the Miners will have their hands full with Sissonville.
“They have a heck-u-va quarterback,” Kinder said of Coach Eddie Smolder’s team. “They have three good running backs and a couple of good wide receivers too.”
“We do match-up with them as far as size,” Kinder said. “This will be the first time this season that we have had that.”
All-purpose back Dominic Walker has rushed 158 times for 1,311 yards and 21 TDs, while running backs Jared Wilkinson has had 121 carries for 724 and 12 TDs, Nathan Miller 73 attempts for 548 yards and 5 TDs and Austin Burford 37 yards for 298 and three TDs.
Walker is a senior captain with a lot of experience. During the regular season, Walker finished fourth in Class AA with 1,310 rushing yards on 159 carries and 20 touchdowns. He averaged 8.2 yards per carry.
In the receiving department, Houston Hill has caught 31 passes for 591 yards and seven TDs, while John Landis caught 9-for-208 and three TDs, Tyler Shaffer has 9-for-157 and a pair of scores.
Hill was ejected for fighting last week at Braxton County and has to sit out this week’s playoff game with Mingo Central.
The Miners have been led by sophomore Joplin who now has rushed for 938 yards and 12 TDs. Junior Chance Lester has rushed for eight TDs and over 540 yards, while senior fullback DaKweon Willis has rushed for seven TDs and over 350 yards. Hammond can also run the football and he has over 200 yards on the ground and six TDs, while Chase Justice may also get some carries for MCHS. Justice scored a pair of TDs last week against Mt. View.
Hammond will also throw the ball and his primary target is split end Alex “Booger” Lee who has caught eight TD passes this season and he has close to 600 yards receiving. The young Miner QB may also throw to tight ends Abbott and Collins, and to his halfbacks on screen passes.
Kinder and the Miners hope to take the next step in the evolution of the Mingo Central football program by getting their first-eve playoff win. However, they know they will be in for a fight against the Indians in Kanawha County on Friday night.
Mingo Central 2013 results
Wyoming East L, 26 - 27
Tolsia, W, 20 - 19
Webster County , W, 45 - 24
Westside, W, 22 - 8,
Wayne, L, 12 - 40
Poca, W, 68 - 14
Chapmanville, W, 20 - 14
Logan, W, 26 - 20
Herbert Hoover, W, 36 - 28
Mount View, W, 70 - 8