Clay County (5-4) invades Tug Valley (7-2) Friday night and the contest will have playoff implications for both squads.
Tug Valley, No. 14 in Class A, seals a post season spot with a victory over Clay. If they lose, it will be more difficult with the SSAC points ranking system. It would be possible with some help, but a win should get the Panthers of Coach Tony Clusky into the playoffs.
Clay County, also nicknamed the Panthers, tied for No. 14 this week in the Class AA rankings. A when doesn’t assure them of a Class 2-AA spot. However, the chances are better for Clay County with a win on the road in Mingo County this week.
It would be a good way for Clay County to close out the season that started 1-4. They played four state playoff teams from last year to start the season
Clay County comes in with a four game winning streak. They defeated Midland Trail 35-7, Sissonville 27-20, Ravenswood, 33-7 and Calhoun County last week 40-6.
Mingo Central, No. 20 this week in Class 2A, can finish with a 5-5 record if they beat visiting Herbert Hoover on Friday night. But it will be tough for the Miners to make it into the playoffs. A .500 record would be the same as they finished in their inaugural season.
Losing the first game of the season at Wyoming East by a score of 19-16 has come back to haunt Coach Yogi Kinder’s Mingo Central squad. A win in that opener, with a win in this final game, would have made the Miners 6-4 and greatly improved their playoff chances.
Some other regional teams fighting for the playoffs are Logan, Scott, Wyoming East, River View and Westside. Three of these teams were opponents of Mingo Central. The Miners beat Westside, but lost to Logan a couple of weeks ago.
Wyoming East is rated No. 11 this week, while Westside is at No. 14. Both have a good shot at making it into the top 16. East plays at Liberty Raleigh (No. 19, 5-4) this week, while Westside (No. 14, 5-5) travels River View (No. 18, 5-4) Friday night.
Logan is (6-3) and will travel up U.S. 119 to take on Scott (7-2) this week. Both teams are desperate following bad losses last week. The Wildcats come into the game No. 19 in AAA and even a victory may not be enough to get them into the playoffs. Scott is a Class 2-A opponent.
For the Skyhawks, No. 6 in AA, a win keep them in the top eight and would assure them of a home field game for the first round. A loss would drop them into the bottom of the top 16, and send the Skyhawks on the road.
Bluefield (8-1) is at No. 2 Wayne (9-0) this week. This is a battle of two of the state’s elite programs in Class 2A. The Beavers, No. 4, will make the playoffs. But a win would give them a much better seed.
Each team has locked up just one home game in the playoffs so far. A win by either team should lock up three home games.
Of course much of the playoff picture depends on what other teams do in regards to bonus points and positioning in the top 16. So this last week of the regular season is very important. And with the inclement weather that has occurred in the mountains of West Virginia, it could be interesting in games are postponed and canceled.