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Clear favorites emerge for football playoffs

November 9, 2018
Bob Madison - For the Chronicle , Shepherdstown Chronicle

SHEPHERDSTOWN -- Familiarity rarely breeds contempt in the West Virginia high school football playoffs.

In all three classes, the familiar schools with their polished records and shining histories, are back again to defend state championships and produce more lop-sided wins.

In a similar situation as last year's, all four schools from Berkeley County reached the Class AAA playoffs, with another robust Martinsburg team back again with an unbeaten record and this season's No. 1 seed. The Bulldogs have won two straight state titles, and six of the last eight crowns.

Musselman, a 70-0 loser to Martinsburg, is No. 4 with its 9-1 overall record. Hedgesville, which lost 7-0 to Spring Mills in a rain-soaked finale, is the No. 11 seed. And Spring Mills, which is the No. 15 seed, beat North Hagerstown and Hedgesville in its last two games, finished with a 5-5 record, and has to travel all the way to second-seeded Spring Valley for its playoff beginning.

Capital is the No. 3 seed, followed in seeding order by Musselman, Ripley, Parkersburg South, Huntington and Wheeling Park, to round out the top eight.

Seeded nine-through-16 are Parkersburg, Cabell Midland, Hedgesville, Greenbrier East, John Marshall, Morgantown, Springs Mills and Hurricane. No team with a losing record reached the Class AAA playoffs.

The recent Class AA powers Fairmont Senior, Bluefield and Bridgeport are the No. 1 through No. 3 seeds in that class. Seeded No. 4 through No. 8 and owning home-field advantage in the first round are Nicholas County, Poca, Robert C. Byrd, Keyser and Point Pleasant.

Mingo Central is the No. 9 seed, followed by Wayne, Shady Spring, Weir, Petersburg, Frankfort, Oak Hill and Lewis County.

The early rounds in the Class AA ranks annually produce blowouts and severe mismatches.

Wheeling Central Catholic, which lost its regular season finale to No. 9 seed Magnolia of New Martinsville, is the No. 1 seed in the small-school ranks.

Seeded No. 2 through No. 8 are Midland Trail, Mount View, Doddridge County, Cameron, Williamstown and Pendleton County.

Should Magnolia defeat Pendleton County in its first game, and Wheeling Central Catholic also win in the first round, those two would meet in the quarterfinals.

Seeded No. 10 through No. 16 are Parkersburg Catholic, Summers County, Van, Webster County, Ritchie County, Tucker County and Tyler Consolidated.

Several Class A teams are expected to win first-round games, by at least seven or eight touchdowns.



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