Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 31, 2012

Playoff slots at stake in Week 11

By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — One Friday night — and one Saturday — remains in the high school football season.

At least for the regular season.

The playoffs begin next week with the goal being to reach Wheeling, Lynchburg or Salem for area teams fortunate enough to continue to play.

Three schools — and possibly four — from the Daily Telegraph coverage area will keep playing on the West Virginia side of the state line, while Virginia will be represented by six — and possibly as many as eight in the postseason.

The most anticipated game of this week — at least in the Mountain State side of the border — will be the BDTBlitz.com Game of the Week, with Bluefield (8-1) — winners of eight in a row while scoring an average of 56 points a game in those victories — traveling to face Wayne (9-0) — which has tallied 54.4 points a contest in nine games.

The Pioneers are actually scoring 41 points a game in the first half this season.

Bluefield holds a 5-2 advantage in the series with the Pioneers, including a 4-1 lead in the postseason. The Beavers defeated Wayne in the Class AA state championship games in 2004 and ‘09.

These clubs met last season with the Beavers getting hammered 54-3 , effectively knocking Bluefield out the playoffs, while the  Pioneers played on and defeated Point Pleasant in the state finals.

Wayne has won 18 straight games, the longest current streak in West Virginia, and need one more to tie the school record of 19 set in 2006-07.

The Pioneers have not trailed in 827 minutes of play dating back to last season — according to statistics provided by the Charleston Gazette — and the Wayne starting defense has scored more touchdowns (4) than it has allowed (1) this year.

Bluefield has scored at least 50 points in nine games, and missed making it eight by one point against River View. The Beavers have reached 63 twice and 61 once.

The fewest points scored by Wayne was 42 against Sissonville. The most, 84 in a rout of Ravenswood. Overall, they’ve tallied 53 or more in five games.

Wayne is No. 1 in the Daily Mail prep poll and tied with Keyser at the top of the SSAC ratings. Bluefield is second among the writers, but fourth in the ratings.

If the playoffs started this week, Bluefield would host Braxton County.

Wyoming East (6-3) and Summers County (6-3) are ranked 11th and 12th in the SSAC ratings and should secure a spot in the postseason. The Warriors travel to Liberty on Friday, while the Bobcats host Valley-Fayette.

Wyoming East last reached the postseason in 2007, while the Bobcats haven’t been since the turn of the century. If the playoffs started this week, the Warriors would travel to Frankfort, while the Bobcats would visit Robert C. Byrd.

River View is the only other local West Virginia team with hopes at a playoff berth. The No. 18 Raiders (5-4) host No. 14 Westside (5-4) on Friday — weather permitting — and River View must win and get some help to make the postseason for third time in three years of the school’s existence.

Virginia playoff positioning is also taking place, with Tazewell having the most to gain if the Bulldogs can extend its win streak to three games at Richlands.

The Blue Tornado (8-1) is currently looking at a first round bye in the Region IV, Division 3 playoffs, while the sixth and final spot in the postseason would go to the Bulldogs of Tazewell (2-7) or the Bulldogs of Martinsville (1-8).

Either of those teams would probably visit Tunstall next week. Martinsville concludes its regular season tonight against those same Trojans.

Graham and Giles are both playing for positioning tonight in the Group A, West Section, Division 2 playoffs. The Spartans (8-1) are currently fifth in ratings points, while the G-Men are sixth.

The G-Men will host Narrows tonight, while Radford will visit Giles. Grundy still has hopes, but the 18th rated Golden Wave would have to beat Mount View and get some help. The top 16 teams play on next week.

Three teams are currently tied for the 11th, 12th, and 13th spots and two of those would play Giles or Graham if the playoffs began this week, including Virginia High, James River or Riverheads.

It can’t get much closer at the top of Group A, West Section, Division 1 where Honaker, Clintwood and George Wythe are all tied at the top of the of the list.

Honaker can wrap up the Black Diamond District title tonight against Haysi, and then wait to see where they finish. Haysi is No. 8 and would host a home game if they can stay in the top 8.

No. 11 Hurley (5-4) also appears destined for the postseason.

Much will be decided over the weekend, with 11 games slated to be played on Friday, with Haysi-Honaker and Greenbrier East-James Monroe, which was moved to Saturday because of the weather. .

•The Pocahontas Coal Association/Bluefield Daily Telegraph Player of the Week feature article will run in Friday’s paper. The delay was caused by the inability to reach the players’ coach.

—Brian Woodson is the sports editor for the Daily Telegraph. He encourages feedback at bwoodson@bdtonline.com