GW-Hurricane loser will fall to 2-2
Desperation might be too harsh a word, but one team or the other will be decidedly downcast Friday night at the conclusion of the Hurricane at George Washington game.
Reason? A team that was highly thought of in the preseason will be staring at a 2-2 record with several tough games still remaining on its schedule.
GW made it to the Class AAA state finals last season and began this year with a 26-game regular-season win streak. The Redskins have reached the playoff quarterfinals each of the past two seasons.
However, the loser will have a lot of ground to make up in the SSAC playoff rankings after the Patriots (2-1) and Redskins (2-1) tangle at 7:30 Friday at Steve Edwards Sr. Field in South Hills. As it is, they are currently tied for 12th in the ratings, with the top 16 qualifying for the postseason.
"I heard someone the other day said it was a must-win for either team,'' said Hurricane coach Jeremy Taylor. "No, it's really not. We're going to try to win the game, but if something happens and it doesn't go well, we've still got six more games, and they're all winnable.
"We don't go into any game saying, 'Lord, they're so much better than us. We'll not be able to pull this one out.' At the beginning of the season, you never say, 'We won't win that game or this game because they're so much better than us.' If you coach that way, you'd better get out of it. I know Steve Edwards [Jr., GW's coach] doesn't think that way.''
Taylor pointed to GW's decision to play Ashland Paul Blazer (Ky.) and St. Francis de Sales (Ohio) this season.
"They play those teams,'' Taylor said, "and they're not going to say, 'Oh, no, we've got to play Hurricane, we've got to play Capital.' They've got a great team at GW and they don't worry about that. You play each game individually, and you go in thinking you're going to win. You've got to think that way.''
After GW, Hurricane still has games left with co-No. 6 Capital (2-0), No. 10 Logan (3-0) and No. 1 Cabell Midland (3-0).
If the Patriots are the ones stubbing their toes on Friday, they'll have to make up ground in the ratings going against the likes of dangerous Spring Valley (1-2), Capital, de Sales (1-2) and No. 14 Parkersburg (2-1). Spring Valley's losses came to Midland and co-No. 3 Huntington (3-0).
"Someone's going to be 2-2,'' Edwards said. "It's not something you want to do, but certainly neither team will be devastated at this point in time. But it makes it rough. Both teams are looking to get in the playoffs and you want to put yourself in the best position you can, but both play really tough schedules. You certainly can't drop too many, and each has dropped one more than they'd like.
"I don't think it will be devastating to either ballclub. It's going to be an intense ballgame and a lot's at stake. Nobody wants to leave there 2-2. We'll have our hands full every week. The schedule gets tougher and tougher and the expectations are always higher and higher.''
Before Friday's game, GW will induct a group of 11 into its Hall of Fame.
The list includes Chip Carte, Scott Williamson, Jay Harris, Donnie Miller, Danny Vogelbach, Tim Wilcox, Stan Thomas, Jerry DeJarnette, Shawn Clark, Jimmy Evans and Steve Edwards Sr.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.